The alarming health situation in which we currently find ourselves in Paraguay, exceeding 120 deaths per day, with a health system that does not provide enough and hundreds of lives lost in recent weeks without having been provided with dignified care can only leave us perplexed. A social mourning permeates every corner of the city, the acquaintance of such died, the sister, the mother, the friend. Outings, activities are restricted, many people who previously had to worry about taking care of infections today are waiting for what job to get, how to respond to their basic needs, in short, survive, this seems the most unfair and uncertain process known to contemporary society.
The political crisis in the misrule of the current president, his laconic and dispassionate figure, tells us about the social staging that apparently works out so well for the Colorado party: a sparse and indifferent guy talking about family, country, good intentions , while behind looting of loans to "combat the covid", state coffers and not forgetting the records of drug trafficking that we export to Europe with the puppeteer uncle. We could make several analyzes about what is brought "to the fore" and what is left behind the scenes in this "work of surviving in the post-apocalyptic pandemic Paraguay", but that is not the main intention of this text. Rather, it is to raise some concerns regarding the roles that artists and researchers occupy in this crisis, which in addition to leaving us poor, anxious and stressed, will probably intensify the feeling of injustice and perhaps stimulate the divergence or multiplicity of discourses.
How is the art that is produced in Asunción in a Pandemic? Are there groups / people who reflect and propose critical and political positions on what happens from art? How is this crude, dehumanizing and fatal experience touching our sensibilities, our paradigms? I understand that there is a deficit in regard to the political positioning of artists and groups as a vestige of the various silencing dictatorships, and I also understand that we are not, as I have heard said several times out there, in the "favorable political conditions" to take sides " against ”the magnates who run the sources of employment or funds we receive. However, I wonder how long?
Times move quickly, communication and links are becoming more instantaneous, disembodied, volatile and dispersed. And it is not a coincidence. When you are over-informed about certain issues that directly appeal to sensitivity, to needs, to what you were talking about a while ago and that already appears on the phone, and everything seems so overwhelming and overwhelming, how can you not get depressed? In addition, you add the bills to pay, such a project, this essay, the immeasurable wait for them to release the money ... wait, of course, this is if you were not lucky enough to be an heir in addition to being an artist. Because now you have to appear happy, successful, breaking it even in a pandemic, always working, so that this does not deactivate you. That the post you saw of this or that does not deactivate you.
And maybe my question is not so much about whether we take a position or not, if we add ourselves to # ANRnuncamás or stay quiet by posting photos of Saturn (or both, so what?) But rather what other steps we could take the artists in this headless bid that I do not see more organization than a collective exhaustion and an urgent need for change (so as not to end up dead or vaccinated only in 2026). Will the ghost of the ugly dinosaur puppet of the Yankees that ruled three decades continue to assert itself as a villain banner in our artistic productions forever? Will we be able to generate rhetorics, arguments, stories, imaginaries that also think about a creative, non-traditional reality, or can we at least manage those spaces to inhabit them while we are still alive?
Or always, being an artist, is all our work going to be about what we feel, what we live, what we suffer, what we are or what we discover that we are or were or… or… or… nothing personal? Are we always going to continue to be the politically correct ones, the ones that want to be liked if not by the government, by the public, or investors or can we create mechanisms of collective expressions that open us to see art (or life) as something else than a profession? Can we link it with transforming our material existence in some way?
There is no formula or proven method to generate changes, to live them, but if there is one thing I am sure of, it is that in the March Paraguayan 2021 demonstrations we were many artists, many writers, researchers, but that we were not working together for the modification of a reality as a whole and in an organized manner with human rights organizations and groups present. Perhaps we still do not know how to do it, and / or we are veiled by personal discrepancies that in eternal loops block the possibilities of alliances and strengthening. Perhaps we, the artists, also wait for some caudillo to hate or from whom to receive favors, or we are too focused on our careers to even be able to look at what concerns us all.
The crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic could be, in addition to a global status-quo nightmare, the initial instability that allows underground, tectonic movements, that modify from the foundations this house of cards of spoil and corruption that is the social context and politician in Paraguay. Coaches in self-help mode would say “look at the crisis as an opportunity”, it could be time to get out of this anguishing intensive therapy that represents not knowing how to be involved in change and constantly wanting it, why not?
Brune A. Comas - email@example.com
3.6.21 - Asunción