Mixed media installation and performance, as a part of ‘Marina Abramovic presents’ at Manchester international festival
Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Maria Balshaw
Whitworth gallery, Manchester, UK
Hours performed: 105
Video and photos by Ilya Pusenkoff
My mouth is a temple re-enacts the life and death of Vitaly Titov (1946-1979), a soviet engineer who survived for 20 days having an artificial body attached to his head. During these days Titov managed to convert most of hospital’s staff into the sect that he created. November 30 was supposed to be the day of Titov’s and his sect members escape from the hospital. They prepared the ‘base’ – an appartment which was supposed to become the sect’s headquarters. Apparently one of his stalwarts betrayed him which made all sect members committing suicide on the same day – under Titov’s supervision. The last one to die was his older sister Lydia who turned off Titov’s lever and then gave herself a lethal injection. With only his mouth visible through the 'glory hole', artist asks audience members to feed him, brush his teeth, make sure that he has enough drink, and undertake other physical actions towards his mouth totally exposed to the audience members. Before entering the temple visitors should cross arms on top of their chest. Before accessing the altar, visitors would need to spend a few minutes queuing – at this time they should stay silent and calm their thoughts and feelings down. The temple’s attendant will guide them through the altar. After that visitors are free to stay inside the temple as long as they want or leave it at their convenience. The last visitor climbing up the stairs of Titov’s temple in the evening of July 19th was obliged to put the lever into ‘off’ position and terminate the performance.