Injecting more Silence in 2018

To Repeat or Not!

New York Art Trip 2018
Álvaro Cepeda Samudio with García Márquez, Pepe Dominguín and Alejandro Obregón.

What can I write on New Year’s Eve without repeating too much what has already been said? It is like a work of art; what can I paint without repeating what has already been done? Last year, I wrote on “furtive peace” and the year before on “being a conscientious artist” and both posts were written in Colombia where I am at this very moment; my two nieces were then the source of my inspiration, but this year, Nanis is.

Nanis is the grandmother of the house, “la abuelita” as we say in Latin America. Born in 1920 in a Colombia then in development, Nanis seems this year much more introspective as if she knows that her great voyage is very near. She talks much less; her words are chosen, she doesn’t want to say what has been said, she just expresses her needs and shows gratitude with her eyes and a smile. I have found this with other older people too; is it wisdom? Nanis observes her surroundings and loved ones with deep eyes as if all shapes, colours and faces needed to be well etched on her retina. As if she was storing in her memory as much as she could for her last journey, which I believe will be soon, peacefully in the comfort of her bed. Love is indeed surrounding her, the reason she is trying to stay awake as much as she can.

All this leads to my questioning: why don’t we look in a more introspective way, with more consciousness? Since we are human beings with zillions of neurons, why do we have to repeat and repeat the same, same, same trivialities, even in painting? Like the notorious chickadees or barns in the field. I must link this thought to my best year’s reading, Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. In a nutshell, the historian discusses the role and the future of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) in our society.  My question is the following. Are robots going to repeat? I do not think so, unless the robot’s intention is “to repeat”. A.I. is fed by algorithms that always go forward, without repetition, hence always developing new content. I do understand recurrences are patterns of our lives (entrenched in our DNA), that give us a sense of security, and contributes to our identity. But my thought refers to the trivial repetition.

Why do we need to furnish or to secure silence by what has been said yesterday or even last year? Why the TV is always on repeating the very same news? Why do we have to write the same old things on Facebook? Why our eyes are always glued on our phone to read the same things? In 2018, why can’t we push new ideas by just trying to say something different, that belong to our own self, our own particularity without fearing what the other will think? Why not share new readings, new experiences and weave them into interesting discussions to build long-lasting relationships? In Paris, were Sartre, Camus and de Beauvoir repeating when they met in a café of the Left Bank? In Barranquilla, did Alejandro Obregón, Gabriel García Márquez, and Álvaro Cepeda Samudio repeated the same things when they met at La Cueva? Absolutely not. The advance of knowledge would have been impossible.

This year, I will try to inject more silence into my life so objects (in the philosophical sense) will be more distinguishable. The world under a dusky light is more beautiful than under direct sunlight; the “golden hour” as called by the visual artist and the photographer, since it allows to enjoy the fullness of every aspect of nature through light and shadows… and in silence.

3 thoughts on “Injecting more Silence in 2018

  1. I’ll try to be a little quieter. Makes so much sense and also to listen more. We don’t have to hear ourselves talk about nothing or something that has already been said……..I’m doing it right now. Stop!


    1. Je suis en symbiose avec toi dans ton récit – ce silence et ce vide qui donne la place à la création. Même le Pape a proposé le silence, un moment de silence tous les jours, pour la paix. Je suis en train de lire un livre intense et lumineux de Marc-Alain Ouaknin,«Bibliothérapie – Lire c’est guérir». Ça ressemble, je crois, à ta philosophie de la vie et de l’art: «La fonction du récit est d’ouvrir à la possibilité de la renaissance perpétuelle de l’être.» Comme la peinture et toute forme de création, qui sont récits.


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