Mexican cartoneria acrylic paint 37x17x4 2020
Mexican cartoneria acrylic and oil paint with imitation jewelry 40x17x4cm 2020
Mexican cartoneria acrylic paint 40x19x3cm 2020
Mexican cartoneria acrylic paint 37x17x4 2020
Traces and faces of Uncertainty
Think about the future. How and from where? Back-to-front or front-to-back? Starting from the present moment that questions us and projects us beyond the present. When I read Catalysti's call or this exhibition, I was tempted by the idea of imagining different panoramas for the year 2084.
Many of my hypothetical scenarios were connected with George Orwell's 1984, a dystopian political fiction novel set in a global wartime scenario. Suddenly, the whole world was deranged by the global declaration of the pandemic. The highly contagious spectrum of coronavirus type 2, better known as CORONAVIRUS-19.
This pandemic has led to a relentless turmoil of situations, emotions and information around the world, paving way for what we now know as "the new normal." Normality that requires us to critically question the neoliberal policies that began in the 1980s and whose consequences are now very visible in the collapsed public and social health systems of the countries where these sectors were privatized and/or cut.
This new normality requires an urgent rethink about the concessions granted/self-imposed by the totalizing system that claims that nature and its resources are expropriable and exploitable property under its own capital accumulation benefits. In the so-called Welfare States, corporations have more rights than the people themselves and so both citizens and workers are condemned to become person-products.
The new normal is rapidly standardized under the slogan of curbing the spread of the virus at all costs around the world. Compulsory confinement, social distancing and limiting our movements in public spaces have merely been desperate attempts; attempts at control, from authorities following other countries' protocols of action in the face of a reality we have never experienced before. In these times, globalization has shown us its effectiveness beyond the market and capital purposes to which it was created. We have seen how, practically in a matter of few months, the virus spread around the world and how information generated in a specific place travels across the world in a matter of minutes. We have also witnessed a growing censure towards freedom of expression and the right to access truthful information. We are interconnected and this new normal puts us back in place by reminding us of our vulnerability and helplessness as a species.
The truth is that beyond the global pandemic there are still wars and conflicts caused by the interest towards controlling natural resources (oil, precious metals, diamonds, hardwoods, cocoa, coffee, and psychotropic substances), for reasons that are ethnic, ideological, religious and technological, for interests that are commercial and market-related. In the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia and Syria, people are dying and people are trying to escape the horrors of war. We cannot forget about the victims and displaced persons of the places of conflict in Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico. Conflicts that – being situated beyond our imaginary borders – are regarded with apathy and detachment by many people, without realizing that, beyond their loci, they have a lot to do with all of us. If we don’t proclaim universal respect and the global establishment of fundamental human and environmental rights, we are, in various ways, giving up our own right to life.
In these days we have even seen how the measures that were being demanded for slowing down climate change to avoid a catastrophic future, and which we were told were virtually impossible to implement (reduction of greenhouse gases), have become noticeable with the low emission of pollutants by the halt of industry worldwide. Border closure, militarization and physical and technological surveillance was already an existing reality in totalitarian countries before the pandemic and something we now must keep an eye on. It is possible that, in this new normality, we are being subjected to control mechanisms that, instead of protecting us, end up becoming devices for surveillance and obedience to oppressive systems.
The globalized capitalist system is angry about its losses in the financial markets. Unsurprisingly, we are witnessing a rise in hate speeches, xenophobe and supremacist ideologies that seek to destroy the positive that is created by the moment when we face our vulnerability. Solidarity, empathy and the questioning of this outdated system. It is very true that people, workers, traders and virtually all of us are affected by market prices that fall after international companies prefer to close down or file for bankruptcy rather than allocate resources that contribute to the restoration of the well-being, health and dignity of people worldwide. We are immersed in great uncertainty before the fear, the paralysis of family economies and above all, we witness with great anger and frustration how wealth accumulates in the hands of few who are already beginning to speculate with the pharmaceutical, technological and arms industry.
Global quarantine forces us to think about the future without leaving the present aside. 2020 is a crucial year to look ahead to 2084 and the centuries to come. We cannot stay and contemplate the "catastrophe" waiting for vaccines, for international agreements and for country leaders to find solutions for the panacea. It is up to us to stem from our individuality and coincide (virtually, face-to-face, hybridly) and begin to weave bonds of solidarity and empathy towards a shared future where restoring balance with the natural is imminent.
English translation by Anne Ketola
September, 2020. Helsinki, Finland
This mask collection was part of 2084, a collective exhibition curated by Anne Klontz as part Catalysti cultural program at Kaapelitehdas in October, 2020.
© 2023 by Rosamaría Bolom
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