abstract

Neoliberalism privatizes social problems by severing the individual from the collective. This extends to human expressions of feeling. As a result, the neoliberal state captures potentially collective expressions of feeling as individual sentiments, dampening the possibility for collective political expression. This process is represented and sustained by what I term “the feelings industry.” To better understand how the feelings industry functions and explore some features of a space where it might be resisted, I turn to a performance by artist Marina Abramović. I argue that Abramović’s The Artist is Present (2010) produces a space with vast potential for collective expression of affect; it serves as a constructed invitation to dwell in public feeling. Through the experience of collective presence, bodies within this space may resist neoliberal privatization of feeling.