Nikolina Page

exploring human connection & intimacy

NIKOLNA PAGE PERFORMANCE ART BW PHOTO ECUADOR

Autistic Performance Artist

My body is an art object and, through sensory-manipulative design, I unmask societally-repressed vulnerability to invite an experiential, often nonverbal, emotional and energetic interchange with others, offering an alternative style of human connection that expresses how I wish life could be.

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My life’s mission is to raise the vibration of love on the planet through cathartic art. I desire to stare into your eyes, so you feel love and acceptance, which you can then share with others.

– Nikolina Page

Watch documentation of the debut of “Eye Contact” (more details under Current Projects below)

Current Projects
Nikolina Page Eye Contact Demo Berman Gallery-Cover

“EYE CONTACT”

Live Performance Art Piece in Plexiglass

Initial debut – December 9, 2023 Bergamot Station Art Fair at the Robert Berman Gallery from 2-4 pm.

Next showing – 18th Street Arts Center Frieze Art Fair Event March 3rd, 2024.

  1. Conception

Contemplating auctioning myself as performance art led to the design of an experiential piece for meaningful impact and mutual safety. I envisioned placing myself in a small plexiglass box on the ground for hours, inviting others to make eye contact as I send them love through my eyes, an offer they can accept or refuse. It comes in two versions.

  1. The Family-Friendly Version

In the first clothed version, interaction is simple, allowing participants to engage or avoid unbridled human connection. This phase debuts at the family-friendly Bergamot Station Art Fair in Santa Monica on December 9th.

  1. The Full Monty

The fully nude version, regardless of the time of the month, maintains the same interaction instructions: walk up, make eye contact, and receive love through my eyes. Nakedness manipulates the decision point, challenging observers to accept or reject me based on my anatomical exposure and their socially-conditioned feelings about it. It’s their freewill choice, and from inside my box, I feel safe enough to keep sending them love, no matter their reaction.

Please contact for private exhibition and select events.

EYE CONTACT - Artist's Statement

“If I show all of me, am I still worth loving?
Will you receive my love?
I sit naked in this box to, through eye contact,
Send you love.
Whatever you are going through,
I love and accept you.
Whatever you think of me.
I love and accept you.
Will you accept me?
My love? My body? My mind? My menses?
It doesn’t matter.
I’m here to love and accept you.”

⁃ Nikolina Page

eye contact demo in box

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Coming soon!

“DREAM SHOW”

Feature-Length Film

A dark surrealist art film based on my one-woman show in Ecuador (see Kaula Tantra and Shamanism under Influences below) wrapped in layers of the stories of every artist who has touched it along the way. Directed by Robert Morrissey.

Premieres at Longmont Fine Art Museum in Colorado, TBD

Distribution, TBD

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Coming soon!

“TITLE TBD”

Experimental Video Art

An experimental video art collaboration with Michael J. Masucci for the 45th anniversary of EZTV, an independent artist organization in pioneering digital video, queer, and feminist arts since 1979. Exhibition in 2024. https://eztvmuseum.com/

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Themes


Tantric Ritual:

I set a clear intention for connection with a defined start and end, allowing the middle experience to unfold as a human experiment in vulnerability.

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Heyoke, the Shamanic Clown:

I attempt to hold a mirror to society, embodying taboos others wish to express but may reject due to social conditioning.

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Late-Diagnosis Autism:

I use performance art to unmask the shadow aspects of my unique sensory experience and communication struggles, designing abstract circumstances for expressive human connection, often nonverbally.

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Emotional Exhibitionism:

Shifting from traditional acting as emotional escapism, I empower my artistic and human agency to design experiences for conscious emotional exhibitionism and cathartic release for my audiences.

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Self-Objectification:

Having been objectified by society as a women, trophy wife, and actress, as a performance artist, I design personally comfortable conditions to self-objectify as a human art object, granting permission for others to experience me freely, on my terms.

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Influences

The Artist is Present

Growing up in the northeast, my parents took me to art museums like the Whitney and MoMA. It’s only recently that I fully appreciate how the time spent in these quiet institutions influenced me.

In 2010, I remember going to the MoMA and seeing a woman sitting at a table. As soon as I found out we could sit across from her, I rushed over for my turn and sat down. I had no idea I was starring into the eyes of Marina Abramović.

From this experience, I internalized that human connection, the abstraction I yearned for, is also art. The rest of her retrospective, with video art and people attached to walls, also resonated with me. I realized I naturally expressed similarly but hadn’t accepted it until recently.

In 2023, through EZTV, I met Barbara T. Smith, a female performance artist now in her 90s, during her Getty retrospective in Los Angeles. In our encounters, I learned the challenges of creating her pieces and leaving her known life to pursue performance art amid societal barriers against women and divorced mothers.

Thinking of these pioneering women in performance art, like Barbara and Marina, who forged on beyond challenges, inspires me daily. Their experiences validate my artistic compulsions, reminding me that the human condition, with its struggles and mistakes, is the creative process.

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Kaula Tantra and Shamanism

In 2019, I went to Ecuador for what was supposed to be six weeks but turned into six months. I studied Kaula Tantra yoga, which originated in matriarchal Dravidian societies nearly 5000 years ago. This happened at Durga’s Tiger School on the obsidian Incan volcano of Ilaló, with concurrent parallel education in the local cosmovision, indigenous spiritual beliefs, taught by present-day shamans of the Camino Rojo.

During this immersive education, I remembered myself as an artist, a part of me I had long repressed but could never expose. I extended my stay as a performance artist in residence. There, I created a one-woman show dealing with the loss and search for my inner child, exploring life events, including multiple divorces, leading to that moment and the existential question of what comes next when you can’t go back. This show later became the foundation for the surrealist art film “Dream Show” in Colorado later that year, marking the beginning of my tantric-shamanic rebirth.

These rituals and my spiritual connection to existence continue to be part of my daily practice, influencing how I construct my performance art as experiential human experiments.

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European Clowning and Comedy

In Ecuador, I discovered Heyoke, the trickster shamanic clown. In Los Angeles, I found the European clown of the inner child. European clowning, distinct from the American Circus clown, comes from the Gaulier school in Paris, rooted in Marcel Marceau’s mime lineage.

Encountering this clowning form, I experienced emotional shifts similar to shamanic practices. The focus was on pure vulnerability, where the audience played a vital role in calling bullshit or laughing at genuine human experience. Being a clown meant complete exposure.

While I struggle to orchestrate typical comedic acts due to my neurodivergence, I infuse my performance art with the clowning essence of exposure and genuine human experiences, consciously embracing potential embarrassment.

Despite ongoing challenges, I aim for moments of amusement, acknowledging that mastering comedy involves understanding mass human behavior—a journey I anticipate continuing throughout my life. The struggle itself becomes an integral part of my artistic expression.

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Slavic Linguistics and International Relations

After stopping performing arts at 18 to attend Brown University for Russian and international relations, I also pursued a master’s in South Slavic sociopolitical linguistics at the University of Washington. All together, I spent a total of two years studying abroad in Russia.

At age 19, while in Moscow, I married a Russian classmate. The marriage ended in domestic violence and divorce a year later, derailing my State Department career aspirations due to security clearance issues.

Living in Russia revealed the complexity of geopolitics and people as well as exposing the hypocrisy in the system I was part of. Struggling with the existential and psychological consequences, I sought answers in yoga and alternative modalities while navigating through various corporate positions, including as a software developer.

Despite the lack of a clear career path, the passionate art and music emerging from the hardships of Slavic peoples, along with musical experiences in France and South America, have stayed with me. I incorporate these influences into my work today. As an actress, I’ve worked bilingually in Mexico, even using a Russian accent over Spanish for a short film. My aspiration is to continue traveling and participating in films and art projects in other languages around the world for a global audience.

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Other Art Forms


I love to express myself in various art forms where the human body is the instrument such as singing with my harmonium, acting, and dancing.

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While performance art allows me to delve into personal depths, collaborating on film sets and in live shows to interpret and express someone else’s work with a team pushes me to explore aspects of my psyche, body, and the human condition that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

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As AI evolves, it raises questions about whether actors in traditional Film/TV studios will maintain human agency or become source material for digital skins. For now, I continue pursuing on-camera performance in TV/Film as my goals of emotional vulnerability and audience catharsis is aligned with my performance arts intentions. Plus, on-camera acting is a fantastically surreal experience of on-demand and improvisational internal emotional provocation.

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Artistic & Instructional Design

Online Courses as Self-Regulation

Reviewing my past life experiences as a yoga teacher, technologist, and linguist through the lens of my late autism diagnosis, I now recognize that my pursuits involved regulating the nervous system, organizing data, and decoding human communication into symbols or other languages for improved self-expression. Despite not initially understanding these as common autism spectrum symptoms, I used to turn these “special interests” into online courses to organize my thoughts and share my insights.

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Re-Embracing the Past into My Present

Transitioning into a full-time performance artist in 2019, I initially believed I had to erase my inauthentic past. However, I still use my bite-size yoga practices every morning, have repurposed my linguistics training for dialect and speechwork as an international performer, and unexpectedly rekindled an interest in software through cybersecurity while assisting a documentary on AI topics at DEFCON.

Looking at my yoga materials from a different time I once rejected, I now see them as snapshots of myself that I’m ready to re-embrace. In the spirit of performance art, I prefer exposure and vulnerability over hiding my whole self from the world.

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More to Come

Designing courses helps my brain process data and manage stimulation overwhelm, as I also have ADHD. Currently, I’m repurposing and releasing more online courses on dialect and speech skills, cybersecurity, and paradigm shifting, driven by my passion and the belief that others might find them useful in uncertain times as well.

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I am here to love and accept you.

– Nikolina Page