Do you think more people were more collaborative in 2020 just out of fear? My dear friend A., who is an amazing singer and songwriter brought this aspect of the pandemic to my attention on a recent chat, and her remark kept echoing in my head for a long time.
Her comment took me to a trip down memory lane. During 2020 we had contact with the best and worst in human beings. There were people sharing help and people fighting over a bottle of hand sanitizer. There were people searching day and night for a vaccine and people (a lot of people) spreading fake news to get likes on social media.
And there was this zone of common experiences, mostly very painful ones. The whole world was suddenly dealing with great charges of loss, fear and isolation. 2020 seems so far away from our current point of view, and yet, the sadness in our hearts is right there, so close that we can reach it with a simple comment on a chat.
We could not choose 2020, but we can decide if we will repeat it forever or if we will finally try (this time for real) to find a possible balance. Without great illusions or expectations, I sincerely ask myself whether it is still possible for some event that could fix us collectively.
We are full, crowded and crammed with individual “fixes”, but where did these small individual/individualist solutions take us? Are we doomed to repeat 2020 in cyclical intervals? I do not know about you, but I failed to find anything new about the new normal. Maybe it was just a great desire to break this vicious cycle that made me warn possible “competitors” about a new call for artists.
Here is the story: me and a bunch of other artists, we were in a room waiting to be called to sign our contracts with the city hall, in order to hand over the rights to exhibit our works (in my case, a videopoem). While people kept looking to their mobiles, looking totally self-absrobed I simply cannot contain myself: as if it had a mind of its own, my big mouth opens and spreads the news: “Hey guys, there’s another call going on, but hurry up, because the deadline is coming up.”
This is the kind of spontaneous action that generates an immediate sense of guilt. Why did I do this? Why did I increase the number of competitors in a competition in which I am also fighting for a chance? Sincerely? I do not know.
My guess is that deep inside my heart I do not believe that my victory can only happen through the loss of other people. Okay, more competitors, but are they really my competitors? Do they work with the same subjects that I do? In the very same way? Certainly not. Call me old fashioned, but I believe in my work and see no reason to be afraid to share the news of a grant or artist residency.
The way I see it, meanness is one of the l old-normal-old-fashioned concepts we should leave behind. Only then we would live a new normal.
Be seeing you!