Espacio para la seguridad afectiva (Space for affective safety) | Explanada de Santa María la Ribera, Mexico City | May 1st, 2010
BY ADRIÁN MONROY
Even though a couple of months have gone by, the memory expands itself. Trying to evocate it in a clear way is complicated due to the multiplicity of events occurred in a short time. A lot of questions emerged, and also some strange situations occurred. All this was because of the visit of Ruslán Torres, an artist who was invited to participate in the development of a collective piece with the participants of the seminar. During his presentation he explained to us the development of the activities he had carried out in his art workshop, and he told us about some experiences he lived in different stages, places and groups. He also showed us a series of actions performed by his students. A couple of these pieces motivated us and thrilled us because of the strength they were identified with the situation we had started living in the country for some years: in one hand, the sensationalist media drew in the collective imaginary a latent violence, followed by a concealed tension and panic; in the other, the policies of an over- watching process by the police force increased. When Ruslán compared this to Cuba, a smile was drawn on his face, because what we live here related to State espionage is nothing compared to what they live in the island. These topics triggered a chat that lasted several hours and in a short time we achieved a peculiar communication with someone who was a perfect stranger until that moment. It was a day full of politics, art, pizza and beer, a great combination.
The main problem everyone agreed with was that there was an explicit collective fear that stopped people from trusting others, this as a symptom of the referred circumstances. This was committing for us: What could we do towards it? How could we exorcize this problem, at least temporarily? What were our possibilities as artists to do something? Was this even our business? The answer was implied in our questions. Nevertheless, this was not obvious, we didn’t know how. First we came up with some individual actions, loose exercises that wouldn’t take us anywhere. The following day, there was already an idea floating in the air: to provide people of safety through an action, a simple gesture based on something that gave us this safety during difficult situations. IT may sound strange, but from my perspective we met the simple face of art, and I am not saying this in a derogatory way, but with a particular admiration. Maybe we had thought about it, but never materialized in such a clear, natural and simple way. Some decided to perform rituals; others for listening, chatting, hugging, working with the body, with memory. In the end we had twenty different ways for providing an affective attention. We achieved to design a simple and plain space, an almost virtual space where, as artists we provided a service of affective safety, a new niche to develop through the public services. In the morning of the 1st of May the people at the plaza of Santa María la Ribera were surprised when we offered our services to them. Despite of this, we were welcomed and the results were magnificent. For a moment we could give the so desired safety in a space without walls or limits, in an open space that was filled with smiles, reflections and even tears. When the dawn came everything disappeared just like that, and made way to the trivial daily life at the plaza, at the end of an odd week.