The spiral of life and death
Today I revisited one of the exhibitions at Daphne Arts in Second Life, ‘Nativo’ by Stefano Mingione. I know many prefer the soft art with elegant nudes, erotic sensuality, romantic encounters and other kinds of SL magic, but I cannot help to often also have a weak spot for the more ‘hard’ art if I may call it like that. The raw view on life and death, the exposed emotions of torture, the blunt battles of survival, the soul struggles and the burdens. Second Life is to relax and be happy, I agree, but that does not mean we need to also get that confirmed all the time with sweetness and innocence, perfection and bliss. I love to immerse myself in the more complex artistic works. It challenges more, it forces you to think about things we like to escape from sometimes, it keeps us aware of not being only an avatar, but also that human with its own harsh battles in life. I think Mingione’s Nativo is the perfect representation of this awareness to be part of a big circle of life and death in which happiness and sadness, good and bad, love and war, right and wrong, pleasure and sufferings bring us back to what we are: humans facing their duality.
What is Nativo?
I see no better way than to quote the official blog about this
Mingione is an Italian artist in the physical world, who has been active since the 1970s, working with different media, like paintings and sculptures. After visiting his previous exhibition in the metaverse Second Life (see review by Sheldon Bergman), the distinguished artist was invited to be our guest and show some of his artworks at DAPHNE.ARTS.
“Nativo” (Native in Italian) brings a compilation of Mingione’s disegni, and, as it is common on his works, they depict the duality of human nature: youth and adulthood, birth and extermination – in a never-ending spiral of life and death. His works, however, are rich in symbolism, offering multiple interpretations to the audience. Along with his artworks, Mingione is presenting, for the first time in Second Life, three of his poems, including “Nativo”, that gives name to the exhibition. For this, an installation was specially built, and the visitor will be indulged by Mingione’s voice, who was encouraged to narrate the poems.
This week I will face the circle of life and death in RL. A very close and good friend has decided to end his own life and will be euthanised. After decades of severe illness his life and body have stopped to be enough to want to continue and to prevent to now slowly change into a vegetative status. Yes we have this choice in our country, to decide it has been enough. But make no mistake that it can be done just like that, as some seem to think. It happens very rare and only when all conditions to ask for such an act are present and when the doctors are ok with that as well. One doctor with his own doubts and preferences can overrule all and stop the procedure. It has to be crystal clear there is no alternative left anymore for an acceptable life. Since this was all approved of, we now moved into a kind of surreal world in which we know exactly when someone is going to die and can tell friends as well . . . . btw, ****** is going to die on ********. It evokes all kinds of emotional thoughts like:
- Only 2 days sleeping together left
– Only 2 breakfasts to go.
- Last look at the garden.
- Last cuddles and kisses
- Last hug for friends like us.
- Say goodbye to soo soo sooo many people and things.
- In fact one big countdown from life to death.
Writing this makes me cry instantly again, because going into a flash forward of missing him already and knowing how sad his partner will be. Tomorrow we have a last ‘party’ in honour of his departure of life and in honour of his presence in our life as husband, brother and friend. It will be emotional and strange, I already know that, but also gives a feeling of gratitude to be able to programme such a goodbye for oneself and have time and attention to not forget one single person or thing before the deed of eternal ‘sleep’ will be done. His death will generate a loss, obviously, but also marks the beginning of a new life with a new balance and new goals and growth to find for the one(s) he leaves behind. But sadness will rule first, as it should, and has its own energy to make people cope with loss of life and love. Getting hold of it all again is like swimming in mud. Time and mind are not good friends in this so much. Time always slows down when sadness takes a mind. I hope to be able to help with that, like these friends helped me when I was in my worst state ever many years ago. I hug and kiss them both and tribute this little blog to them. I probably will show it to them, if they are up to reading it.
Daphne Arts has made its own circles of life and death as well one could say. Not in the literal way, the curators, Sheldon BeRgman and Angelika Corral are still here thankfully, but like I said in a previous blog, I find they have evolved very well from a small gallery with mainly pictures on a wall, to a fully immersed art sim with very nice installations and their own unique views on art in general and in Second life. They take part of many exhibitions as curators by creating a space and objects but also just accommodate space and prims for artists who will do their own project without any curator interaction. They teach themselves new skills of all kinds to make it all work and look very smooth and pro. Dedicated and effortless. As I understood from my last talk with Sheldon and Angelika a few weeks ago this is how they like to promote arts in Second Life. To give space to all kinds of artistic expressions, even when their own preferences could differ from what they like or dislike themselves. They do not want to be the kind of curators that forbid, only guide, accommodate and interact in a way that fits with a freedom of expression. Not aesthetics being the big lead, but ‘an open mind for all’ BEING the actual aesthetics here. Art is more than aesthetics anyway. It sometimes can be repulsing, ugly, shocking or totally stupid. But it never is dead . . .. that maybe is a nice contrast to end this blog. Art will never die and always be alive. But it can give new birth, by inspiration and sharing creations. Congrats Daphne Arts to have become such a professional place with an also professional approach and blog. And credits for the curators to always be present without this often annoying need for fame and glamour in SL. An absence of that maybe is the most powerful presence I know. Modesty versus overpowering with vanity. I like that very much and it reminds me of the Metales atmosphere I always liked so much, so keep on rolling please :) Below the video by Daphne Arts about Nativo.
Blog: Daphne Arts (do visit for other exhibits present as well but not blogged here).
TP: Nativo Stefan Mingione
Facebook page Daphne Arts
Facebook page Stefano Mingione
Advanced WL is recommended and sound has to be on to hear the poems.