Dino Ferruzzi - April 2020

Locked inside our walls, we’re generating regressed pathologies to be more and more present on the screens of all our electronic instruments. The impossibility of seeing each other physically, does it really scare us? No. We're afraid of not being able to be a living part of the great amusement park that is the world. And so crystallizes, in a manner that is traumatic and with an insufficiency of bodies, our need to be seen and to display our now asocialized personalities at delirious rhythms.
We are not imprisoned by our walls but by our communication system, which is ever accelerating and is as unsustainable as the crash created by the disease right next to us.
The condition we are experiencing is a consequence of a system that has reached its point of saturation, of a universe, which in order to return to existence should recreate itself in a great new initial bang. Today I worry about my students, I would need to prepare a distant learning lesson in order to meet them and I don't feel like it. Perhaps they don't feel like it either, despite the fact that they are children born and raised in the neuronal environment of the social network. The discourse on distant learning is becoming increasingly more pressing, it permeates our lives as an innovative solution that should finally solve the enormous problem that is the cultural formation of future generations. Then this would likely be the solution being prepared by the new Gurus of the imposing machine of official education. The more we try to think about education, the more it eludes us in its most authentic sense.
The short circuit triggered by Covid-19, is a good time to go on living, a time that demands an awareness which goes beyond the logic of time according to mass media. We should all be muzzled, silenced, living in suspension, in order to be able to turn our eyes and ears to a newfound ability to understand the society in which we live.
In the meantime, ambulances speed by with their sirens deployed, transporting feverish and exhausted bodies to the campsites located in the parking lots of the hospital in Cremona.
We are catapulted into an enormous machine of collective blinding, of radical otherness conceivable only by the logic of a frightening conformism.
I cannot be distracted. I need to focus on something to tell my students, in a few hours I'll be online like Maestro Manzi’s TV show "It's never too late”.
But what am I supposed to tell my students today? Sitting there with their eyes pointed at the screen, all together yet separate. Here's the fateful embrace of the politics of life and tele-technology, a generalized interweaving of the communicative and the cognitive, a place without inventions. This time that is lost in nothingness gets labeled as good practice.
It feeds, during all this emergency, a sort of "autoimmunity of education which, the more it’s thought of and considered in the light of its own existence, molded, submitted to good practices, objectives, projects, evaluations, cultural and intercultural proposals, etc., the more it becomes necrotized, spoiled and commodified”.
So, now is a good time to take a break. But you will have to go out some day, into the open air. Staying indoors, the only future you create will be one that doesn’t go beyond the copy; you will write books made out of other books, you will stare at images made out of other images, certain educated forms that contribute to education, but the purpose of education is not education itself. You have to get out. And once we’re out, what will we do? We'll have to look for other possibilities. Go back to the beginning.
Yet, the beginning has a proper location, one has to know a bit of geography in order to reach the banks of the river Po.
"A certain disorder favors synthesis", Michel Serres would say.
I will tell my students that during the day I dedicate myself to wild agriculture, I'm not a land surveyor, and at night I continue to draw like an infant, to occupy myself with the work of my hand tracing lines upon lines, struggling like a craftsman who’s sweating profusely. “To create: to give oneself over to nothing but that, from dawn till the throes of death”. Oozing along uphill paths for dozens of kilometers. You must train. "Do you seek to invent or to produce? Begin with exercise, seven regular hours of sleep, and a strict diet. The hardest life and the most demanding discipline: asceticism and austerity. Resist fiercely the talk around you that claims the opposite. All that debilitates sterilizes: alcohol, smoking, late nights, and pharmaceuticals. Do not resist only narcotics, but especially social chemistry, by far the strongest and thus the worst: the media, conventional fashions. Everyone always says the same thing and, like the flow of influence, descends the steepest slope together". You should design and create because art derives from "a unique disposition of neurons and blood vessels. Never from collective banality”.
“The one who does not invent works somewhere other than in intelligence”.
One day we'll get out, but "do not forget that the media repeat what those who control them today were saying when they were twenty years old: they are at least a generation behind and sometimes two. Thus you must search passionately for what you are and not for what they say you are. Don't listen to anyone. Resist the torrent of influences, the medals." The hour is 15:50, only a few minutes away from the online lesson on MEET. In the Italian dictionary MEET stands for “a gathering of those who take part in a horse hunt".
So am I being staged thanks to a false connection that will filter my image as a proper mask would? Who are we, bodies mixed together, constellated, shimmering? When our gazes meet, we will feel the fluid solitude mauled by the racket of the microphones.
Are we all here, guys? Have you entered the access code? Fix the audio... In these few seconds that separate me from the lesson, I think that the problem we’ll have to face stems from a question: what type of educational policy awaits us after Covid-19?
I don't have time to think about it well enough, I need to hurry up and introduce myself to the students waiting to connect. I have to comb my hair to be more presentable.

Instruct. Teach Back.

As everyone begins to disconnect slowly, the program swallows their "digital portraits”. For a moment there appear circular shapes upon which are marked the individual letters assigned to those who aren’t connected with their cameras, incognito. Nobody can notice it, I was the last to abandon ship, astonished, I watch as the letters gradually disappear; only six letters remain eerily forming the word

D I M O R A.

Day over. And yet, the beginning really happens.

Dino Ferruzzi - teaches at the IIS Liceo Artistico Stradivari in Cremona, in 2016 she published with Postmedia Books: CRAC TEN YEARS 2004 - 2014: Arte, educazione, formazione, lavoro, spazio pubblico.