2020 will be – indeed is being – recorded as one of the most unpleasant years of the current century. For some, it marks the culmination of a period in which the politics of division and deceit have held sway, bringing forth the best in some and the worst in others. For all, it has been the year in which a pandemic held sway, bringing personal and community hardship and suffering, whilst further amplifying both the best and worst in people in terms of care and support, and selfishness and carelessness.
The coming of the end of the year will not bring an end to all that has happened – the pandemic will not up and vanish; nor will the division and deceit be so easily overcome. However, the end of the year does mark the opportunity for reflect on all that has happened in the last twelve months. With the Path to Oneself Reflection, the SL Random Art Crew led by RoxkSie (Roxie Logan) have sought to do just that, by offering an immersive, art-focused environment that seeks to encourage us to review the year and consider all that has happened, and the manner in which it has both divided and united people.
This is both a complex and evocative installation, one in which art, mythology and history are brought together to frame our exploration of the year and offer subtle context to help steer thoughts and consideration. This actually makes Path difficult to define in writing, but when visited, easy to conceptualise – and as such, I do encourage people to pay a visit before it closes at the end of December 2020.
From the landing point, visitors descend steps to a path through a canyoned landscape in which the seasons pass as a part of the passage through the high rocky walls. Along the way, visitors pass first Michelanglo’s David, together with a explanatory text. Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues, it came to symbolise the defence of civil liberties within the Republic of Florence. Thus here, it is a reminder that the years leading up to 2020, as well as the year itself, have seen the very real erosion of the civil liberties afforded to some; whilst for others, the sensible constraints we have all been asked to observe until effective vaccines can be made available to overcome the threat of COVID-19, are – somewhat foolishly – have been an unbearable toll on their liberties.
Beyond this, a statue of Mnemosyne encourages us to consider our own memories of the year and to recall how the year has affected us, together with a general introduction to Path, providing us with the approach the installation takes in informing, challenging and encouraging; the vignettes that follow recalling the events of the year – both directly and indirectly, and through the use the of figures from history and mythology -, each offered within the season of the year in which it occurred, culminating with the cold of winter, where we can consider the coming year and the role we might play.
Throughout the installation, events are presented in a manner that both gives pause for our own reflection and which offer counterpointed views. For example, up on a peak, we’re encouraged to consider the way fear of the pandemic led to a run on essential goods in stores as a result of selfish hoarding by some, counterpointed by the fact many acted selflessly to ensure the vulnerable within their families / communities were correctly shielded and cared for.
Also to be found are warnings that, as mentioned above, all that has happened both throughout 2020 and the the years leading up to it is not going to vanish with the turning of the year: there are wounds that will take time ho heal, and the pandemic itself has yet to be brought under control. Which is not to say this is a dark, brooding, installation. The presence of the art, the use of mythology and historical characters reminds us that humanity is capable of creating lasting beauty and has the ability to come together for its own betterment, whilst the setting itself reminds us that, like the seasons, life is always changing, offering a chance for renewal and growth.
Again, words alone do not do justice to this installation; a visit really is needed to grasp all of its context. Doing so also provides the opportunity to help the artists in their support for Relay for Life by making a donation at one of the RFL kiosks to be found within the installation. For those who enjoy the spoken word, stories are offered every Monday – details are available at the story amphitheatre that forms a part of the installation – and when visiting, do make sure you have local sounds enabled for the fullest experience.
- Path to Oneself Reflection (Devil’s Legion, rated General).