Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?? -Thoughts On Love, Stupidity, And Getting Shot

When I first saw this image, the only thing I could think was that it had to be fake. There had to be some kind of safety in place, photoshop, something, anything. It wasn't. It isn't. It's real.

The couple you seen in this photograph are Marina Abramovic, and Ulay, performance artists that came together in the 1970s and '80s to create extreme pieces as an experimentation and demonstration in relationships. This one, entitled "Rest Energy," is exactly as insane as it looks. The performance starts with the bow in its rest position, the pair already standing in place. They then proceed to lean backwards in unison with equal amounts of weight from each of them in order to draw the bow. How they were able to get out of this position after holding it for 4 minutes and 10 seconds without releasing the arrow, I do not know.

Although the greatest burden rests on Ulay, who is holding the arrow in place, pointed straight at Marina's heart through the entirety of the 4 minute and 10 second performance, it is Marina that faces the greatest challenge. She has no control of the situation other than to do her best to hold the bow steady to keep from making Ulay's job more difficult. Beyond that, she has placed herself in a position of total trust and complete helplessness in the hands of Ulay.

There was only one thing I could think of when I first saw this image: Who thought this was a good idea!? This. Is. STUPID!

And then I read the cation that had been written below it:
"It’s like being in love: giving somebody the power to hurt you and trusting (or hoping) they won’t."

And how true that statement is.

How often have we placed ourselves in that position that mirrors Marina's- with no control over the situation other than to do our best to hold steady the very weapon that is pointed at our hearts in a desperate attempt to make the life of the other person easier- in a position of total trust and complete helplessness in their hands, with our very hearts on the line?

But love is not something we often call stupid.

Love often creates such beauty, just like what is seen in this photograph, and such joy, like what the performers were feeling after the show was over. At times, the other person may not even know they are holding the arrow at all, and yet we still put ourselves in danger to hold the bow for them. Other times, they may not even know that they released the arrow until it's too late, and they must then live in a state of eternal regret and remorse, wishing they could mend the hole they created in your heart, but knowing that even if they could, the scar and the memory would always remain.

Why do we put ourselves in Marina's position to begin with? Who thought this was a good idea? What causes us to love another person so much that we are willing to put our very hearts and lives on the line simply to help make their lives a little bit easier?

I don't have an answer to that either.

So is love stupid?

But maybe, just maybe, it's worth the risk as well.

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