Today I remembered the work of a chilean artista, Alfredo Jaar, who has been living in New York for a couple of years and who some time ago did an intervention in the middle of Times Square. In one of the led screens he exposed a map of the US and on it he wrote: “This is not America”. The work was quite polemic, for many thought he was offending their homeland. Jaar did it as a form of protest, because everyone who lives in America is American.
Walking down Broadway I remembered the piece, giving it an interpretation I had never given it before: this city is overpopulated with foreigners, belong to everyone as well as to no one; Jaar is right. “This is not America” is a work for every country of the world, for every person I saw today on the street, for the young, for the old, for the white, for black people, Asians and Nordics, belonging to everyone who decides to live here. At some moments I closed my eyes and tried to separate the voices I heard, as to differentiate languages: all together in one place, none imposed over the other, all at the same level at the same time. It could almost be an impressionist piece, full of color, lots of pigmentation, half romantic even. But when you open your eyes and began seeing the faces of it all, you begin to travel through installations, performances, through the universality of this city. Everyone being so different, no one looking like anyone else, no one looking at anyone, except me: observing every detail in everyone that passed by, assuming that New York is not only made of buildings, of great constructions, nor skyscrapers that I’ve been able to watch enthusiastically and puzzlement on every street, every corner as well as today in the Skyscraper Museum. New York is also that unstoppable devotion from its people, that big “hey, here we are” sign… We are part of a world that no one wants to get off of.
I didn’t get lost in the map today, I got lost inside me: inside everything each of those voices said, without me wanting nor being able to understand them. It’s magical to travel alone; the amount of silences, of thoughts, of own views on a same subject, the capacity of letting go and be surprised only by thoughts, that autistic gesture that is always frowned upon and that today is my best allied.