03.11.22, 5:26

I can feel them coming in the night: A warm force within my closed eyelids. Each and every time, I hope they will subside before the pressure is high enough to release them into my sleepless night. I am terrified of what will happen otherwise.

So often in the past two years, a single drop would lead to hours of crying. A silent sob, barely recognizable through unsteady and pressed breathing might build up to an open cry with soft moaning which may then escalate into a panic attack, depending on which images and thoughts well up in the outpouring. It would leave me empty, embarrassed, and exhausted, a mere shadow of my former selves. With each of these crying sessions, I would sink deeper into the darkness, awakening the ghosts of older wounds that would accompany the recent ones on their way to the surface of my eye.

So when I feel them coming, I try to suppress the transgression with breathing techniques, a softening of the face muscles, an adjustment of my posture to make more space for the wet disaster lingering on my eyeballs. I turn to discipline to force the immanent loss of control back into the realm of the unconscious. If I succeed, sleep may find me again.

Tonight, it’s just two tears on my pillow.

By Be Körner

Be Körner is an artistic researcher, activist and educator working with performative strategies. Be is working as a research associate at the professorship Arts and Research at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and is doing a practice-based PhD on the entanglement of performance art and mental crisis.

The dissertation project looks at conflicting ideas of normalcy and deviation through the entanglement of artistic privilege and psychiatric stigma. Be explores moments of transgression and the productivity of deviation and wildness.

Since 2012, the works have been exhibited internationally in galleries and institutions, for example at Reykjavík Museum of Photography, CCI Fabrika Moscow and Bundeskunsthalle Bonn. Be works both as a solo artist and in changing collaborative constellations.

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