From ordinary to extraordinary: workshop iteration

‘The thing is to learn from your own art because it is much farther along than you are.’ (Marina Abramovic quoted in Richards, 2010, p. 68)

Prompted by reflections on the feedback from the second part of the deconstruction workshop, I decided to revisit some of my research from as far back as end of Unit 1. The second session of the workshop did not engage the participants as much as the first one, and although this was partly because these participants were familiar with activities that focus on writing, it did help me think about ways in which the second part could be made more interactive and how the overall workshop could be further developed.

I am fully aware that the workshop is only a very first version and needs much more development. Because the main objective of the  workshop is to explore individual narratives and engage with the creative process as an activity that derives purpose from within itself, it would be beneficial to include as many different sensory experiences as possible and to bring ritualistic elements into the process.

This brings me back to the research I did on the philosophy behind Marina Abramovic’s work during the first phase of my research.  A big part of Abramovic’s work is informed by ritual and ancient spiritual practices, which has resulted in a whole range of different exercises used for meditation, reflection, and creative energy. Her purifying rituals take a holistic approach to making and according to Abramovic, it is only by preparation of the mind and body that a true receptiveness and responsiveness to the flow needed for the creative process can be obtained (Richards, 2010).

During Unit 1, when I started working on shaping my final project, my first ideas for an intervention where that of a creative ritual. The idea was to create a workshop that comprised three different stages: stillness, making, and performance. The current workshop method does already partly draw on these three themes, however, prompted by the latest test of the workshop I am now returning to these ideas more in depth. The workshop method could benefit significantly from more ritualistic and meditative elements, both because it has potential to enhance the experience of creative flow and because it can help with the emotionally triggering topics that arise. Taking into account observations made after the visual deconstruction during the first part of the workshop, I would confidently say that a meditative exercise before and after would be beneficial for the individual process. Drawing attention to stillness could also help some participants let go of a goal-oriented focus, making it easier for them to engage with the process for the sake of the process.

‘…you go through the ritual and you’re not the same after; you learn and become different.’ (Marina Abramovic, 2016)

I am going to trace my steps back and explore some of the concepts Marina Abramovic uses in her method, such as ‘the power of repetition’ and ‘making the ordinary extraordinary’, and read more about the philosophy and inspiration behind the Abramovic institute and method.

I am also hoping to schedule a small session with a couple of MA students from Central Saint Martins to test an iterated version of the workshop method during this month.



Marina Abramovic in Brazil: the space in between (2016) Directed by Marco Del Fiol [Film]. Brazil: ELO Company

Richards, M. (2010) Marina Abramovic. New York: Routledge


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