Anxiety Machine

Romy Yedidia - 'Anxiety Machine' is a project which reflects upon individuals anxiety in relation to performance in social settings, and serves as a coping mechanism of the artist’s own angst. Anxiety is an omnipresent feeling of contemporary society which too often is only deposited inside us, without any possibility of channeling that emotion out. For exactly this purpose, the artist constructed a device composed of a long table with a metal pipe with two outlets in the middle, and accompanied by a cut-out hole through which a person can slide into. This anxiety relief instrument is part of a performance, and its construction enables not only to ease the anxiety, but also visualizes its presence. The artist screams into a pipe, containing a black powder, which is mobilized by the scream and blown into a dark cloud that slowly sinks down on the white surface of the table, creating an ‘anxiety painting’. It’s a short cathartic moment. Yedidia’s performance pushes the boundaries of this catharsis when she keeps on screaming until she is completely out of breath. She creates an endurance piece where the sense of liberation is slowly replaced by discomfort and worry. How much anxiety can a person take? How to face this visceral performance without being shaken by the screech which is nowhere near to be stopped? Are we prepared to see something that was never meant to be seen ‒ the real internal suffering of another person? Romy Yedidia takes the risk. She crosses the line. It’s a purification process, it’s an abjection of internalized pressures resting in all of us, which she aims to critically reconsider in order to be a little bit more free. Text: Viktória Beličáková 

Video & Photos: Fan Liao