Words, words…

La Voz de Galicia – November 10, 2023 →

Cristina PatoToday celebrates the World Science Day for Peace and Development, one of those international days proclaimed by the UNESCO that claims «to renew scientific engagement for peace and development» and to foment «the responsible use of science for the benefit of societies.» And for me, it does not cease to be curious to think about the complex moment in which we find ourselves at a global level, and about that idea of «science for peace» when the conflicts around the world, among them those in Libya, Sudan, Congo, or Sahel, Myanmar, Palestine, Israel, Ukraine…are showing that we are much farther from «renovating» this engagement that UNESCO talks about. This is not to talk about the inappropriate use of new technologies to polarize society. Without a doubt, it is necessary to put into words ideas like «science for peace,» but why are we incapable of putting these words into practice?

When thinking about that, it came to my mind the video of that work of art that Xan showed me the other day. Old People’s Home, from 2007, is an installation the polemic, controversial, and viral Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, that include thirteen human and hyper realist replicas of generals in the army, religious and political leaders from different cultures, all of them elderly, sitting in automated wheelchairs and crashing into one another (and into walls) in random ways in a museum gallery. These figures do not speak to one another, and according to the artists’ website, «the scene resembles a collective silence.» But when I saw the video again, I thought about the sadness and realism of this metaphor about power structures and about its brutal impact on society.

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