Pour Your Body Out

Pipilotti Rist’s Pour Your Body Out avay:

Thankful for museum memberships to get me out of long lines, and anxious to see what all the fuss was about, I finally went to MoMA the other day to view Pipilotti Rist’s Pour Your Body Out, a multimedia interactive piece commissioned by MoMA, site-specific to the atrium on the 2nd floor. What resulted from the collaboration between Swiss visual artist, Rist, and MoMA is a very beautiful film that, in my mind, is about regeneration. Various elements and stages of being are depicted; the body interacts with properties of death and the cultivation of life through death…sort of. 

Anyway, in the center of the atrium ia an enormous couch for visitors to lounge on, surrounded by projections of the film on all of the walls surrounding it. Visitors are encouraged to sing, dance, and react to the piece in any manner. The mission statement tells us that it is meant to get us in the mood for the rest of the art one is about to view in the rest of the museum. I went just to see this. It was enough for one day; absolutely wonderful. 

I could have sat there all day. The kid friendly atmosphere would have gotten to me after awhile—I got a knee to the head once or twice, but couldn’t help but think it awesome that these kids get to experience a little of the avant-garde and taboo at such a young age—breasts, menstruation, feral animalistic behavior, dirt, garbage, sexuality; all of those elements interacting. 

It is an entirely visceral as well as visual and aural experience. It fits the space perfectly. The beauty of MoMA’s structure interacts so brilliantly with the colors and aesthetics of the film. It’s only viewable until the end of February, so if you can check it out, do so before it’s too late! 

In this world, the measure of power is connectedness. Almost 30 years ago, the psychologist Carol Gilligan wrote about differences between the genders in their modes of thinking. She observed that men tend to see the world as made up of hierarchies of power and seek to get to the top, whereas women tend to see the world as containing webs of relationships and seek to move to the center. Gilligan’s observations may be a function of nurture rather than nature; regardless, the two lenses she identified capture the differences between the twentieth-century and the twenty-first-century worlds.