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Performance |
ROOM 122
Marilyn Arsem

This work by seminal performance artist Marilyn Arsem responds to our exhibition A Divided Landscape and to the elusiveness of the presence of the people who have occupied this place and altered the landscape. Accounts of migration, ambition, love, alongside violence, illness, and death offer us insight into a world forgotten, and perhaps a key to understanding our world today.

For one week, September 13-18, from opening to closing of the Momentary’s galleries, Arsem will read aloud the published death notices of the people of Benton County. In the language of their times, these notices reveal the lives of ordinary people who lived in this region. But only some of their names are recorded, and many remain unknown. Is it possible to restore what has been obliterated, lost, forgotten?

We exist in landscapes where bodies have disappeared into the earth, with little to no record of their existence in the present. And yet, the world we live in today is shaped by those people and their beliefs, their desires, and their decisions. We are who we are today because of them. Every part of our environment has been touched by the decisions of the past.

Free, no tickets required.



TUES, WED, SUN: 10 AM – 7 PM
THU, FRI, SAT: 10 AM – 10 PM



Marilyn Arsem has been creating live events since 1975, ranging from solo performances, to large scale, site-specific works incorporating installation and performance.  Based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Arsem has also presented work in 30 countries, at festivals, alternative spaces, galleries, museums, universities and conferences in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Oceania and Asia.

Many of Arsem’s works are durational in nature, minimal in actions and materials, and often located in peripheral spaces in the context of larger events, where viewers discover the work on their way to seeing other performances. Arsem regularly creates performances for galleries, but in the last 20 years she has focused on site-responsive performances.  They are often designed for audiences of a single person, and respond to both the history of the site, as well as to the immediate landscape and materiality of the location.  Her performances are designed to implicate the audience directly in the concerns of the work, to create an experience that is both visceral and intellectual.  She incorporates a broad range of media, and often engages all the senses. Sites have included a former Cold War missile base in the United States, a 15th century Turkish bath in North Macedonia, an aluminum factory in Argentina, the grounds of an abandoned tuberculosis sanatorium in Poland, the site of the Spanish landing in the Philippines, and a deserted Russian mining outpost in the Arctic Circle.