Who will you meet?
Covid-19 has made everybody ‘sick’ on the sociability front. Of course we don’t need to share a handshake or a smile (the former banned, the latter hidden by a mask) to express sociability: altruism and solidarity can be exercised even keeping the one-metre distance! It is a fact, thought, that our planet’s cities, the preferred habitat of over 50% of sapiens, the place emblematic of human concentration and social gathering, stopped for an incredibly long time (given the speed at which the world of humans moves), becoming ghostly scenarios of absent life, i.e. the social one, which turned overnight into a threat. The other, no matter who it was, became a potential danger, since we are the ones making the virus circulate.
I’m not saying that paranoia took over all of our lives triggering a war of all against all. But it’s undeniable that the virus has breached through the ‘social body’, causing, to different degrees but globally, a withdrawal in ourselves, a raising of shields, a diffidence that has been somehow justified as a slowing down, a taking time to reassess priorities, choose and ponder, when it has in fact been feeding solitude and a new selfishness (not least, the social Darwinian mors tua vita mea – ‘your death, my life’ – which we have seen make a dramatic comeback).
Many asked me how MACRO Asilo would be in times of Coronavirus, if it hadn’t ‘preventively’ been closed. It’s not difficult to imagine that a ‘meeting device’ on urban scale like the one experimented with by the ‘welcoming’ museum could have temporarily moved onto a social platform, with lectures in streaming, conferences and debates on Skype or Zoom, remote performances and online workshops. It’s more difficult to convey the ideal principles – the value of collaboration, of being and building together, of difference – at the basis of this cultural and political project, which actually focused on inhabiting (the museum, but more in general the city). The greatest effort won’t be in finding new ways to be together – those are easy to imagine -, but in fighting any psycho-pathological derivation leading from considering the other human beings as carriers of an invisible threat to wanting to make them disappear.