Freeing the Voice, 1975
Freeing the Body, 1975
Freeing the Memory, 1975

Since the beginning of her career in Belgrade during the early 1970s, Marina Abramović (born 1946, Serbia) has pioneered performance as a visual art form. For this trilogy of works she developed a simple set of scores, the first of which was: “I lie on the floor with my head titled backward. I scream until I lose my voice.” The painful reality and the durational element of Freeing the Voice (the actual performance was over three hours in length, this film version is only 35 minutes long) prefigured her lifelong commitment to such bodily experimentation and was followed by Freeing the Body (55 mins), in which Abramović dances vigorously until exhaustion sets in and she collapses.

By cutting off her own vision with a mask she was further attempting to achieve a higher level of consciousness where there is no fear of pain, death or physical restriction. For the final work and her first purely mental activity, Freeing the Memory (50 mins), she recited every word of Serbian she could recall, including some in English and Dutch, until the well of words has dried and the performance is over.