The Vulnerability of Eye Contact, the Power of Communication

Looking into someone’s eyes must be one of the most special moments in life. Keeping the gaze, being locked into someone’s eyes must be the most precious moment in life. It is like opening doors for the person in front you, and letting yourself to be vulnerable.

Even though most people may never accept the truth, there are few people who can actually look into the eyes of the person in front of them. For many, it is very difficult to hold the gaze while they listen to or talk to that person. Have you ever paid attention where you look at when you talk to someone? The nose? The mouth? Or that freckle somewhere on the face?

When you think about it, it is actually funny and maybe equally difficult to look at other parts of the face rather than eyes.

Eyes tell more than we know. Marina Abramović’s performance at MoMA in 2010 emphasizes the power of eye contact. Marina Abramović is a Serbian performance artist who has various performances that push her body to extremes to experience pain, nudity, violence, and vulnerability. In her performance The Artist is Present, which took place in MoMA in 2010, Marina sits on a chair as the spectators come one by one to sit in front of Marina to look at her eyes for a whole minute. Each participant reacts differently; some frowns, some smiles.

Marina and Ulay in The Artist is Present

Then Ulay, a German performance artist, comes and sits in front of her. This minute is different from the other one-minute silences, because Marina and Ulay have a past that includes love and performance art. They had collaborated and performed together for years and had broken up in their performance piece The Great Wall Walk; they walked from two ends of the Great Wall in China and met in the middle to say goodbye. Years later in The Artist is Present, Marina and Ulay see each other and look into each other’s eyes.

The moment they look at each others’ eyes and communicate without any words is so deep that the vulnerability of eye contact becomes the power of communication. In just one minute.

Some people won’t ever look into your eyes, and some won’t let you to look into their eyes. If you find people who let you, look into their eyes, and remember that moment is precious.


Övgü and Öykü

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