We are facing a historic and human moment without precedent in our memories. We are slowly getting accustomed to unknown rhythms which destabilize our habits and our perception of time and space; most importantly we are discovering things we didn’t know about ourselves, about our houses, about the people we love. We’re even speaking to our neighbors. And it moves us.
In these days of cosmic limbo, in which virtually all humankind is currently immersed, we often find ourselves deeply moved: while listening to the radio, while neighing bread (haven’t you started yet?), while looking outside the window, while queuing at the supermarket or outside the chemist’s in those rare outdoor moments granted to city dwellers these days. While listening to the news, while thinking of those who cannot physically share the spaces we call our own. Sometimes even over the telephone. And we are fragile, like sheets of tissue paper blown away by a light breeze and inevitably forgotten.
Eugène Atget, Parc de Saint-Cloud, French, 1904, Albumen silver print, 22.2 × 17.9 cm , courtesy of Getty Museum
We are not alone: we can count on the solidarity of every other human being, on the Pope’s prayers in a deserted Saint Peter’s Square, on the energies which the world is unleashing. And we are part of it all, whether we are aware of it, or not.
We are discovering city-scapes halfway between the apocalyptic and the poetic: deserted squares, empty streets, where the only visible forms of life are those of nature, which continues unperturbed down its path without our ‘help’. Our hearts become aware of the fact that we. ‘thinking beings’ are not indispensable to the world, and whenever I’m faced with drawing of rainbows claiming #allwillbewell, I’m tempted to reply: #allwillbeasitshouldbe. Because that is what will happen. All will be as it should be. And it will be fine. A very wise friend, a true terracotta artist, once told me: nature isn’t dumb.
Indeed. And I must admit that, despite my general distaste for humankind, neither are we.
Draped with emptiness and immersed in an eternal present, as Nature intended, we’re coming up with the most creative, vivacious, yet at the same time incredibly simple, activities seen in the last few years. Videos and tutorials teaching us how to deal with our boredom; positive initiatives to stop our brains and bodies from shutting down populate social media platforms. We’re singing, dancing, creating.
The Getty Museum in Los Angeles challenged art fans to post photos of themselves recreating their favorite works of art from the safety of their homes. Twitter is overwhelmed by #gettymuseumchallenge People responded with a lot of enthusiasm and flooded social media with their unique artistic interpretations. The results are at once intelligent and irreverent and I encourage you to visit the museum’s page.
A pretty funny website proposes a ‘cat hunt’ amongst its pages, and the list of alternative activities is truly never-ending: every platform suggests embracing our imagination to remedy our lack of activity, with man being at the center of every proposal.
One of the perfectly funny images from the website.
And that’s how in Italy (pardon my bias), neighbors play board-games across balconies, tombola across the street, DJ’s stream or play live sets from their terraces and tenors sing arias in the middle of the night. I’m not sure whether it’s sickness, loneliness, confinement, lack of sun or anything else, but what is certain is that we have finally recognized the human ability to resist and, in some ways, be reborn. And it is neither money nor power that bolster this change: it is our minds, and our hearts.
Creativity banishes boredom and immobility; it creates diverse and parallel world in which we can immerse ourselves and let go. Creativity is the basis for art; it is fantasy, it is freedom. This is my wish for all of us. Let us resist and be reborn; let us be free and creative. Let us be alive and love.