Following its Paris premiere in June 2012 at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Baradaran’s performance of “Marry Me to the End of Love” will make its U.S. debut during his UC Berkeley campus visit. In this interactive performance, Baradaran will marry anyone he can convince to enter a temporary marriage. This playful, performative act of marriage draws from the Shi’a Islamic tradition of temporary marriage (Sigheh) and attempts to introduce these traditions into the performance art lexicon. This performance piece also critically questions the recent and perplexing push by “progressives” to “include” same-sex couples in the definition of marriage. Baradaran’s play with temporary marriage recognizes that love and desire are temporal, shifting, transactional, always changing, and inseparable from power. “Marry Me to the End of Love” builds on past projects such as “Frenchising Mona Lisa,” which was critiqued by Forbes magazine for using “guerrilla tactical maneuvers” to cover the daVinci painting in a digital “augmented reality” hijab made of the French flag. The paradox is that Amir Baradaran reintroduces the progressive concept back into the queer conversation by way of “backwards” Islamic customs and costumes, such as hijab and temporary marriage. Baradaran first introduced the idea of Sigheh when he infiltrated Marina Abramovic’s live sculpture, “The Artist is Present” at the New York MoMA, thereby creating his own guerilla performance, “The Other Artist is Present”, and proposing marriage to her: “I love your bodies of work… and I would love to be wedded to this body, here and now.”
*Because of the nature of this interactive performance, audience members may come and go as they please.