"Panic Play" is a conceptual arena where I invite my personal anxieties to the surface. When wearing these performative masks I am able to mimic the tunnel vision, burred vision, and claustrophobia I feel during a panic attack. Each performance becomes a tangible series of tests for myself, and my will.
In creating this space of controlled distortion and momentary chaos, I can choose when to enter and how long to stay. The performance embodies my movement beyond mental and physical bounds within myself, and becomes a way to observe the frenzy a step removed.
To maneuver inside these sci-fi contraptions old ways must be broken, and new ones learned. I have placed lenses that manipulate my vision flipping it upside down. The very notion of “grounding” yourself becomes very different, what once was fluid becomes very cumbersome. Sight is limited, breath is restricted, and orientation is nearly impossible.
I quickly learn that in order to prevent the lens from fogging up I must stay conscious of my breathing at all times.
With one, I have attached trails of hand-woven duct tape to the back, dragging forty feet of material behind me. The act of weaving became a method to self-sooth, using the repetitive action to shift that anxiety from the body, to mind and away. The ends are left as exposed strands allowing the evidence of anxious hands to grow indefinitely. I am ultimately confronted, however, with the layered reality that the more that is recorded, the more cumbersome my journey.
Photographs by Olivia Beavers