Gabi Scardi - June 2020
The event of Covid 19 was a precious opportunity for analysis and self-analysis. But it is not so easy to tell.
Its shock so strong has brought out the deep emotional mechanisms that regulate feelings and behaviors; and it has allowed us to ascertain, at an individual and collective level, what we know how to respond and what instead we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed, what reactions, what deep energies we are capable of putting into play in the face of extreme events and situations.
As far as I am concerned, I believe that the most direct and burning discovery was limitation and vulnerability; in an emotional sense, even more than physical.
I bring with me the sense of disbelief and the disorientation of the first days of enclosure, the experience of a paralyzing apprehension; of a dilated, but also flattened temporality: a sequence of fragments suddenly devoid of rhythm, removed from any planning, from any direction.
There is also the even overwhelming annoyance for some words, for example for references to a war situation, the hymns to heroes, in which I have always felt ambiguity and rhetoric.
For everything else I think it was an individual and collective accelerator. Much of what is now proposed as new was already present in an underground mode; the trend towards fast digitization in every field is a clear example.
The real transformations, social and individual, instead require an assumption of responsibility and a great and conscious effort, because the tendency to persistence and the force of passiveness are strong. I wonder if they will.
Stronger than anything else remains the perception that, as individuals and as a collective, we are interconnected and dependent ecosystems; that even health and serenity cannot be only subjective. We cannot, even for a moment, avoid placing ourselves in an overall frame. Hence the importance of the concept of care, which I have already been dealing with in recent years. Nothing is too small, irrelevant, far away to deserve attention. Care, thoughtfulness, attention are therefore concepts from which to start again, after the lockdown, to recover ourselves and, above all, the external, public and common space: the one of interaction, which, for several months, has had to renounce.
Last months, the light of the days that were getting longer, the bright green of the trees that was expanding, the clear air have been activators of serenity. Definitely the private space lived in relation to the outside. The ongoing disaster generated a sense of encirclement; but the happiness of nature allowed moments of joy.
Perhaps it’s left to speak about culture, which, in my life, represents an immersive environment as much as the natural one; and it has always been a shared experience of the present. Many works marked by an attitude of interconnection, solicitude and social sensitivity have revealed themselves to me with new intensity, and in their predictive value.
But, in recent months, a lot of us have also experienced the frustration of seeing art diminished; presented not as a thought, but as a communicative pretext, as a filler usable through the monitor frame; surrogates of art, which we forgot to declare as such. Well, in this sense, it is now a matter of recovering its deep and public sense.
Gabi Scardi - Gabi Scardi is a contemporary art critic and curator. She is now working in the field of public art and culture projects connected with public space.