Exhibitions

209 Women

14 December - 8 February 2019

Events

Coast to Coast to Coast: map, line, and stitch

20 December 2018

Events

Book Launch: Carousel

6 December 2018

Projects Culture Shifts

Where Things are Different

15 August 2017

Exhibitions

She Dreams – Yan Wang Preston

24 September - 5 November 2018

Main Exhibition

Wake Up Together

15 November - 17 February 2019

Exhibitions

DISTINCTLY

19 September - 25 September 2018

Projects

209 Women Crowdfunder

6 September - 17 October 2018

Past Exhibitions

XU ZHEN: OPTIMIZING

13 July - 7 September 2018

Past Exhibitions

HIDDEN WORLDS

14 July - 16 July 2018

Past Exhibitions

New Brighton Revisited

14 July - 25 August 2018

Exhibitions

SEEING FUTURES: HUGH BAIRD PHOTOGRAPHY UNDERGRADUATES & ALUMNI

29 June 2018

Past Exhibitions

‘ELLESMERE PORT’ WHITBY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT EXHIBITION

22 June 2018

Past Exhibitions

Liverpool Biennial 2018: Beautiful World Where Are You?

14 July - 28 October 2018

Past Exhibitions

China Conversation

17 June 2018

Projects

MA Course Brief

1 September 2018

Main Exhibition

Our North

28 March - 30 March 2018

Past Exhibitions

Snapshot to WeChat: A Migration of Identity

6 April 2018

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

The Pier Head – Tom Wood

12 January - 25 March 2018

Past Exhibitions

Ferry Folk

11 January - 25 March 2018

Projects Past Exhibitions

Culture Shifts: Local

6 October - 22 December 2017

Past Exhibitions

Finding Fangorn

26 October - 26 November 2017

Past Exhibitions

Who We Are

22 June - 26 June 2017

Past Exhibitions

OPEN 3: AFFECTING CHANGE

7 July - 17 September 2017

Past Exhibitions

Tate Exchange Liverpool

27 November - 29 November 2016

Past Exhibitions

Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2015

28 October - 18 December 2016

Wall Work

40 Years of Open Eye Gallery: 1977-2017

5 January 2017

Past Exhibitions

North: Identity, Photography, Fashion

6 January - 19 March 2017

Projects Past Exhibitions

Culture Shifts: Global

7 April - 18 June 2017

Projects Culture Shifts

Life Beyond Diagnosis

9 October 2016

Projects Culture Shifts

Home Is A Person/ L8: The World Lived Here

9 October 2016

Projects Culture Shifts

POSITIVE CHANGES

9 October 2016

Projects Culture Shifts

WINDS OF CHANGE

9 October 2016

Projects Culture Shifts

St Helens

9 October 2016

Projects Culture Shifts

As and When

9 October 2016

Projects Culture Shifts

Wirral: Another Language/ In The Pink Room

9 October 2016

Culture Shifts

Animator Training

9 October 2016

Past Exhibitions

Liverpool Biennial 2016

9 July - 16 October 2016

Past Exhibitions

Walter & Zoniel: Spectra

9 July - 16 October 2016

Past Exhibitions

Tromarama

9 July - 31 July 2016

Past Exhibitions

Telling Tales

6 July - 11 July 2016

Past Exhibitions

Collected Possibilities

15 June - 19 June 2016

Past Exhibitions

Open 2: Pieces of You

15 April - 5 June 2016

Past Exhibitions

Flat Death: Edgar Martins & Jordan Baseman

15 January - 3 April 2016

Past Exhibitions

Edith Tudor-Hart: Quiet Radicalism

2 March - 29 April 2013

Past Exhibitions

Mishka Henner: Precious Commodities

2 March - 29 April 2013

Past Exhibitions

A Lecture Upon The Shadow

7 December - 17 February 2013

Past Exhibitions

Kohei Yoshiyuki: Liverpool Biennial 2012

15 September - 25 November 2012

Past Exhibitions

E. Chambre Hardman

7 December - 17 February 2013

Past Exhibitions

Mark Morrisroe: Liverpool Biennial 2012

15 September - 25 November 2012

Close
Close

Laura Robertson: I Just Want to Lie Down

Laura Robertson is the editor of The Double Negative, and Open Eye Gallery’s critical-writer-in-residence. This piece was written for the November 2018 issue of TILT, as a response to the writings of Ren Hang. Ren Hang is featured in our exhibition Wake Up Together. As well as making photographs, he also wrote poetry and kept an online journal titled ‘my depression’.

 

I just want to lie down

 

I just want to lie down, let myself stretch, feel like I’m extending indefinitely. My body is like a rope constantly being stretched.

Being alive is the same as being asleep. Flesh is numb, a cocoon: I search for lines of weakness hidden within and tear out

flee

skyrocket

up, up

out of my body.

Watch blankly as I fade into a tiny blur, and then a dot, and then nothing at all, nothingness, into boundless space. I am atomized, a mote to be wafted away.

The only urgency is trying to remember why I’m not really here. Here or there. But what is and what was and what shouldn’t be is all stirred up. There’s no corporeality; I’m mid-air, made of air. Nothing can make a dent.

I’m something to be observed from afar.

I’m dull to the bone, leaden, shipwrecked.

I feel that I have become very small.

I embrace myself, hard. We’re crying with adrenaline. The apparatus is enormous, towering above us, but we must get to the roof. As we take our positions, I fall. I watch myself sluggishly drop away from me, descending, seeping into the floor, disappearing. We keep eye contact for the whole time. I clamber down, hands slick and grabbing at rungs, tumble to my knees, intending to pull myself back. My hands push through the ground and it gives, soft and dense like treacle.

At the place my face used to be

only the after image remains.

The floor seals up, solidifies. I pick and claw at the concrete, grating fingertip skin, bending nails, desperately trying to claw my face back.

I want to rescue the people trapped in the abyss. All people fall into depths. But I can’t help myself. My life is a bottomless pit. I can only fall.

It’s the shuddering at first that stops the breathing: convulsive sobs that grip and squeeze and shake what’s left. Legs retract like the elastic’s been cut. Heels up to my arse, knees either side of my chin, mouth stretched wide trying to draw oxygen in. Wet and slick. Rocking back into an unborn state. A wheeze. A low noise, an animal noise. An emptying out.

The world is zooming in

Or am I closing in

Inevitable fuck ups

A swelling

An endless plane.

Sometimes the tentacle reaches out for me: a glutinous, nimble thing. Rasping, terrified, I bat it away as it comes unbearably close to my face. It has never touched me before, but has always been there, I know that now.

Maybe it can see the hole where I used to be.

My eyes bulge, pitch black turns to retina burns. The room presses insistently on my chest

lovingly

leaning  in

and all I can think about is the pressure, the desire to detonate. Let me be reduced to atom state.

All people fall into depths.

Other people’s bodies are raging; inflamed and dimpled and throbbing. Mine’s a dead weight. I imagine struggling out of the cocoon, touching its weak seams and forcing the rip, casting it off. Considering for a short moment its exterior, woven with twigs to keep people away. Slipping into the heat and friction of someone else’s body, bearing the load, staring out of strange eye sockets. Slithering into rubber gloves and socks, supple and eager to propitiate. Holding someone else’s hand from the inside. To be embraced by another.

All embraces are a cell.

Supine, running my new skin-gloves over goosebumps. Getting to know its foreign calluses, its raw edges, its hot folds. Rubbing fur the wrong way. Firm, borrowed contours stretched gloriously over mine. I luxuriate in the grip. Delirious, stretching, tongue out and neck arched and toes splayed, feeling the extent of the hold.

I’ll lie down in someone else’s body and pretend, for a while, that it’s you.

 

Laura Robertson

In italics: quotes from Ren Hang’s blog ‘My Depression,’ 2007-2016, reprinted by The Chronicle, translated into English by Maria Jeleriu (10 March 2017)

http://www.thechronicle.ro/arts-culture/world-premiere-ren-hangs-journal-of-depression/

[accessed 11 November 2018]

 

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