If you, like Marina Abramovic, consider yourself a “modern nomad” with “no family” (“I go wherever ideas take me”), or perhaps just aspire to be one, especially over the holidays — when you’re stuck with your actual family in the suburbs, arguing over showtimes to take the nieces and nephews to see Rogue One — instead, lock yourself in your childhood bedroom with your laptop and go on a spiritual journey across Brazil with her. Her new documentary The Space in Between, made with the Brazilian filmmaker Marco Del Fiol, is now available on Vimeo. It introduces you to a vivid assortment of faith healers, shamans, drummers, dancers, and holy sites from across that vast polyglot country — not to mention an adorable and wise 110-year-old woman — all accompanied by Abramovic’s droll, diaristic voice-over.
Like her memoir, Walk Through Walls, and her institute’s various traveling happenings (she brought the circus to Brazil in 2015 after this documentary was shot), it was also a way to organize her legacy as she prepared to turn 70. She celebrated it publicly at the Guggenheim earlier this month with a group meditation session (noise-canceling headphones were handed out to guests, which made it possible to walk the spiral and take a look at the Agnes Martin exhibition in blessed peace) followed by Anohni (of Antony and the Johnsons) singing a re-gendered rendition of “My Way.” (Her actual birthday was November 30.)
Earlier this week, The Space in Between — which was something of an art-film blockbuster in Brazil when it ran for five months earlier this year, Del Fiol told me — screened at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, the day it became available on Vimeo. There, Abramovic recalled how she took too much ayahuasca — a “horse dose” — after worrying at first that it wasn’t affecting her. She got naked, had various urgent and involuntary bodily function issues, and had a vision in which she was trapped in a kitchen with an older couple. (Maybe this reminds you of holiday vacation?) Meanwhile, her photographer was running around in the woods taking pictures without his camera.
The Space in Between is a sincere film, but not without its lighter moments. There is no spirit cooking, but among other things Abramovic provides useful travel advice, should you find yourself, as well, a modern nomad: Eat raw garlic and raw onion, in that order, to kill whatever is inside you that needs killing. Which sounds easier than so much of what she has put herself through over the years.