A few days ago, I was in a hurry walking down the street while occupied with my thoughts. Suddenly I found myself outside an art gallery and saw the name of the exhibition. In one of those strange moments of synchronicity, the name of the exhibition coincided with what I was thinking as I was walking.
“A delicate bond which is also a gap” is the exhibition’s name by the artist Isabel Nolan.
After thinking about it and in homage to that instant of simple magic, I gave Nolan’s idea a twist and came up with the notion: “A big gap which is also an eloquent bond”, and that’s what I want to talk about today.
We are forever connected to some people, places and things. Our parents, our friends, the neighbourhood we grew up in, our native country, our mother tongue, and our home. But we are also separated from people and things that we do not see, we do not know, or we can’t even grasp. This duality makes us who we are: people who live focused on the relationships with those like us, anchored in the vicinity of what we call belonging.
Seen like this, it seems obvious to all of us, but is this bonding and separation part of our daily experience?
Are we able to recognise the bond and the separation?
How does being aware or ignorant of this invisible duality affect us?
If we think about it: while we order our food in a restaurant, wait to be served in a shopping centre or the hospital’s waiting room, we are connected to all those ‘invisible’ persons working so that we can obtain what we have come for: food, a new television or medical attention. But we are also separated from them by an invisible gap.
We don’t see them; we don’t know their names or where they live; we don’t know if they like their jobs or what kind of dreams, aspirations or difficulties they have. However, it is thanks to them that we will get what we came for. In some strange way, we have been called to this place to be aware of that familiarity with those who are not familiar to us at first sight.
What if we could suddenly see, bring them to where we are, all those who worked producing the Avocado that we have in our hands?
What if we saw the faces of all those who are there -only five meters under the floor in which we stand-, stuck between the pots of boiling water and squeaking oil, cutting the carrots and lettuces that in fifteen minutes we will happily begin to eat?
Why don’t we see them? Why are we not aware of the invisible?
The answer is simple and complex.
If we saw them, if we really saw them, we would see ourselves reflected in them. We would see our face in theirs. Then the real revolution would break out, and the consumer system that insists on separating us would undoubtedly collapse.