The Bearable Heaviness Of Being
The Bearable Heaviness of Being Dumped by Email.
When a boyfriend broke-up with her by email, ( what a coward, by the way), French conceptual artist Sophie Calle asked over 100 women to read the letter and to analyse it according to their professional interest, including a chess player, a Palestinian ambassador, an intelligence officer, an etiquette consultant, a clown, a judge and a medium. Wish I’d thought of that.
“The idea came to me very quickly, two days after he sent it,” she said. “I showed the email to a close friend asking her how to reply, and she said she’d do this or that. The idea came to me to develop an investigation through various women’s professional vocabulary.”
At first it was therapy; then art took over. “After I month I felt better. There was no suffering. It worked. The project had replaced the man.” She feared he might come back seeking a reconciliation, which would have ruined the whole thing.
It was set to music, re-ordered by a crossword-setter, performed by an actress, and probed by a forensic psychiatrist, amongst others. The resulting artwork called Take Care of Yourself (after the boyfriend's parting words) fills the French Pavilion at the Biennale.
You can read my title for this post, how you like. Yes I used Kundera’s title “ The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and played with it. The way I see it is, no matter how hard the situation is, you can free yourself from the sadness, disappointment, and shame because we as humans can fight that heavy toll that results from a heart broken. We have the emotional tools to protect ourselves, time is healing, and we take care of our being no matter how bearable/unbearable it is.