Marina Abramovic Just Wants Conspiracy Theorists to Let Her Be

On April 10, Microsoft uploaded a movie to its YouTube account about Marina Abramovic, the Serbian efficiency artist identified for pushing her physique to the restrict.

Ms. Abramovic’s work will be violent, generally bloody, however the Microsoft video was extra innocuous: It was targeted on “The Life,” during which museumgoers put on particular headsets in order that Ms. Abramovic appears to seem earlier than then.

The video was basically some P.R. fluff for the tech firm’s function within the art work, which is scheduled to be auctioned by Christie’s in October. But in a single nook of the web, it was seen as one thing else fully: proof of a Satanist conspiracy.

Soon after the movie appeared, it was being mentioned in these phrases on Reddit and different social media platforms. An article on the conspiracy principle web site Infowars accused Microsoft of working with a “witch,” a “black magic performer” and a “Luciferian individual.”

As the net clamor escalated, the YouTube clip racked up greater than 24,000 dislikes. Microsoft took it down on April 14. “We recognize that our association with this project served as a catalyst for online attacks,” a Microsoft spokeswoman stated in an e-mail.

Ms. Abramovic stated in a phone interview that she was not consulted earlier than Microsoft took the video down, including that she had hardly ever spoken about her remedy by conspiracy theorists as a result of she didn’t need to encourage them. She is breaking that silence now, she stated, as a result of she is fed up.

“I need to open my heart,” Ms. Abramovic stated. “I really want to ask these people, ‘Can you stop with this? Can you stop harassing me? Can’t you see that this is just the art I’ve been doing for 50 years of my life?’”

Ms. Abramovic added that perhaps if the people attacking her really engaged with her work, they would see that their view was mistaken.

Thousands of people came to see her 2010 work “The Artist Is Present” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Ms. Abramovic said, often waiting hours for the opportunity to stare into her eyes. Many found the experience moving, she added.

She added that she would be willing to let the conspiracy theorists sit opposite her, too, if it would help them understand her work.

But even that might not help. “Their energy is driven by conspiracy theory,” she said. “They don’t have another theory to replace it.”

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