Willow Smith Locked Herself in a Glass Box for 24 Hours to Act Out 8 Stages of Anxiety

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Juliette Virzi
·3 min read
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Willow Smith and "The Anxiety"
Willow Smith and "The Anxiety"

On Wednesday, 19-year old Willow Smith (daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith) and her boyfriend Tyler Cole locked themselves in a glass box for 24 hours as part of art performance called “The Anxiety” for The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles. The performance was streamed live on Twitch.

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For those who are unfamiliar with anxiety, there are many types of anxiety disorders, ranging from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to panic disorder to different phobias. Though anxiety manifests differently for everyone, common symptoms may include feeling on-edge, struggling with irritability, experiencing panic attacks and avoiding situations that trigger anxiety.

During “The Anxiety,” Smith and Cole acted out eight stages of anxiety including paranoia, rage, sadness, numbness, strong interest, compassion and acceptance (each of which was acted out for three hours). Before the event, Smith told the Los Angeles Times that although they were acting out complex emotions, they would act in silence — excepting the occasional primal “grunt or scream.”

Related:I Wasn’t Prepared for How Anxiety and Depression Would Make Me Feel Unlovable

Social media users took to Twitter to share photos of the emotional anxiety awareness art exhibition:

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Related:When Anxiety Makes You Feel Guilty About Saying Anything

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Related:A Eulogy for Who I Was Before Surviving a Traumatic Event

This isn’t the first time Smith has been open about her mental health. Two years ago, she revealed on an episode the Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk,” that she had struggled with self-harm after the success of her single, “Whip My Hair,” which was released when she was 9 years old.

“After all of that settled down and there was a lull, I was just listening to a lot of dark music… I was just plunged into this black hole,” she said. “I was, like, cutting myself and doing crazy things… Totally lost my sanity for a moment there.”

After completing the 24-hour art exhibit, Smith and Cole released a music album called “The Anxiety.”

If you struggle with self-harm or anxiety, you’re not alone. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Did you see the exhibit? What was your take?

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