By Dylan Greenwell
On March 11th, 2020 Willow Smith and Tyler Cole stayed in a box for 24 hours as a performance art piece at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. In the box they went through the emotions of paranoia, rage, sadness, numbness, euphoria, strong interest, compassion, and acceptance. These all tie into anxiety, the name of the exhibit, their band, and self titled album that was to be dropped March 13th. Smith and Cole were separated from the public by a wall of glass, while the other three walls were canvas which allowed them to write affirmations on them. The event was also live streamed on Twitch.
Jada Smith posted a video of Willow getting her head shaved by Cole during the performance. She captioned the post “ The start of a new beginning”. Each cycle of emotion lasted 3 hours and a color was used to express the emotion as well. The idea came while they were in studio sessions for their new album.
During the whole performance their album was playing as they wrote on walls, threw paint, and just sat around. “We might grunt or scream – it’s going to be very primal,” Smith told the LA Times before the performance took place. After the performance, Cole took to instagram to post a series of photos from the performance. He stated that he would “need some time to process that experience before I really say anything” he continued by saying “ but I will say thank you so much to everyone who came out to MOCA and watched the live stream. I am truly overwhelmed. There is a lot going on in the world and I think THE ANXIETY reflects how a lot of us feel right now. So hopefully this music and the art we are creating can help you in any way even if it’s just a quick distraction from all of this chaos.” He finished the post off by tagging their band and stating the new album is out.
They rented the space in order to show what anxiety looks like and that it doesn’t look the same for everyone. While not all of the reactions were good, they brought awareness to anxiety and how people struggle with it.