Sunday, 22 November 2009

Take care of yourself

I took advantage of last Thursday evening's late night opening at The Whitechapel Gallery which is exhibiting Sophie Calle's 'Take Care of Yourself'. 

Calle: "I received an email telling me it was over. I didn't know how to respond. It was almost as if it hadn't been meant for me. It ended with the words 'take care of yourself'. And so I did.
I asked 107 women chosen for their profession/skills to interpret this letter.
To analyse it, comment on it, dance it, sing it, exhaust it. understand it for me. Answer for me. It was a way of taking the time to break up.
A way of taking care of myself."

I was familiar with the project before I went to see the 107 responses, but all in a room together, it was quite powerful. The emotional beings that women are, attempting to understand a man's insensitive ending. A collection of interesting and varied responses to the words that fill the gallery. 
The predominantly female audience grew around the wall filled with films showing the video responses. We laugh, tut, roll our eyes together as the chosen women try to make sense. It feels like the room understands how unjust Calle's email ending was. Every one of the women in that room had a story, could relate. It sounds like corn-ville, but it felt like there was an unspoken solidarity in the room. It was nice.

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