If a stranger sat silently across from you and stared straight into your eyes, what kind of emotions would you feel? Or, better yet, how long would it take before you broke down and cried? In 2010, at New York's Museum of Modern Art, world-renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic put on The Artist is Present, or what's been called, “a milestone in the field of performance art.” She sat silent and still, “like a mountain,” and stared into the eyes of anyone who was brave enough to engage with her.
Visitors took a seat across from the artist and sat there as long as they could (or wanted to). The Yugoslavia-born artist sat in the museum's atrium for a total of 716 hours and 30 minutes, or 7 1/2 hours for three months straight, and came face to face with more than 1,500 people, some of whom waited in line for hours for this bizarre experience.
Last year, a book was released called Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramovic that showed the wide variety of feelings and emotions participants ended up displaying. People from all walks of life were captured at some truly vulnerable moments, including with tears welling up in their eyes or streaming down their faces.
A Tumblr blog brings the most heartbreaking photos all together in once place. Called Marina Abramovic Made Me Cry, it shows a simple portrait and, with it, the time it took before that person broke down and cried. Of course, this begs the question, what could they have been thinking at that exact moment? And, if you knew you could potentially break down and cry, would you do it?
Above: 7 minutes
Yesterday, on Marina Abramovic's Facebook page, the artist asked the nameless people in these portraits to come forth and share their stories. “If you see yourself in this gallery and are inclined to link to the image and describe what you remember about that moment, please do so. We'd love to hear from you.”