Marina Abramoviç b. 1946
Balkan Erotic Epic (2006)
Duration: 13 minutes

In 2005, performance artist Marina Abramovic shot a series of seven videos depicting ancient rituals from her birthplace, the Balkans; this one re-enacts mystical rites related to fertility and virility. From medieval times to the 18th century, men and women from small villages believed they could use their sex organs as tools to improve their lives, to reach the gods: copulating with the earth to boost the crops, for example, or showing their genitals to the sky to scare the demons that caused storms. Interspersed throughout are reflections from the artist on the genesis and production of the project.

Through eroticism, the human attempts to make himself equal with the gods. In Balkan folklore, men and women sought to preserve indestructible energies through the use of the erotic. They believed that erotic energy was something non-human that could only come from higher forces.

Various explicit acts were performed for a variety of purposes; to promote the growth of crops, to heal a sick child, to protect against evil spirits and so forth.

Abramovic's interest lies in what can be learned from these ancient traditions viewed now in a contemporary context.