By Gabrielle. Photos by Marco Anelli.

I meet a lot of people, especially at conferences like Alt (Will we meet in June?) and Mom 2.0 Summit (Will we meet in May?), and sometimes I forget a name. Or three. But what I always seem to retain is the memory of a good conversation. About anything under the sun; the topic doesn’t really matter as much as the enjoyment that lingers awhile afterwards. To me, the best conversations are about being interested and engaged, and attempting to maintain awesome eye contact.

The eye contact part is often more difficult than anything, don’t you think? Are you good at it, or are you more of a magpie and easily distracted by shiny objects? (I’d say I’m okay, but not great. I totally get distracted.)

I saw this clip via Swiss Miss from Marina Abramović’s The Artist is Present performance at the Museum of Modern Art, back in 2010, and can’t get it out of my mind for two reasons. One, her performance was a 736-hour and 30-minute static and silent piece where museum visitors waited in line to sit across from her and look into her eyes. I can’t imagine over 700 hours of silent anything, can you? (Don’t answer that, moms of wailing newborns and babies who never sleep!)

And two, the eye contact that was required must have taken such an emotional toll! In fact, there was a Tumblr created during this exhibit called Marina Abramović Made Me Cry, with photographs of those who cried and the length of time that lapsed before they did. Shockingly, some sat across from her for over an hour! How long would you last?

P.S. – How romantic is the moment Marina sees her former love, Ulay? As the story goes, the two had a relationship in the 70s. When they felt like the affair was over, they decided to walk The Great Wall of China, each from opposite ends, meeting for the last time in the middle and never seeing each other again. That last hug must have been heartbreaking.