L’indifferenza e complicita… graffiti holds new meaning

In April of 2011 I flew to Rome to meet up with my mom after her Reggio Emilia conference. After cruising Rome for a couple days by myself, we met up in La Spezia and traveled on to the Cinque Terre and Siena. A wonderful trip, and life-changing in many ways. While there, I ended a relationship I had been in for the last year and a half (a story unto itself) and was able to achieve that true sense of self that one can only find while travelling. Walking through Rome for two days, completely solo, was an incredibly empowering experience. It had been a few years since I had had the opportunity to visit Europe, but each time before was with a larger group (studying abroad in Berlin, visiting friends in Denmark with my dad, the traditional post-high school European backpack adventure). Striking out on my own was scary at first, but map in hand I soon found that Rome is a beautifully accessible city and I became determined to explore every corner on foot.

Source image for L'Indifferenza e ComplicitaIn Travastere, a quaint neighborhood south of Vatican City, I was roaming the alleyways and small streets west of the river when I came upon some graffiti that caught my eye. I’ve always been interested in street art, and while I wasn’t entirely sure how to translate the words, they held some deep meaning for me. When I got home to Seattle and downloaded my pictures, I translated them: Indifference and Complicity. Wow.

Needless to say, that got me thinking. As part of a generation that is so desensitized from the media, indifference and complicity is a huge deal. We are all guilty of it daily on a large or small scale. Not to imply the legal definition of being witness or accessory to a crime, but in the sense that we all turn a blind eye in our lives at one point or another. This concept really strikes home for me. Are we becoming so desensitized as a culture that indifference and complicity are tools we use daily to shield ourselves from real life? I could go on and on… but think about the last time you saw something happen on the street (whether it be an actual crime, verbal abuse, catcalling, harassment) and did nothing about it.

Anyway, after a couple weeks of musing/ realizations/ severe extrapolations/ general character re-evaluation, I completed the third image in the mixed media collage series (after ‘We All Want to Fly‘ and ‘Iceberg Flow‘). A friend had recently built me a bike, and as I was learning to ride in an urban environment it became apparent that there are huge danger risks to sharing the road. (duh- exactly my point that I didn’t understand until I tried it myself!) It is hard to see after the layers of paper and paint, but the original photograph of graffiti is part of the ground on which the bicyclist lies.

Hope this provides some imagery for thought. I welcome any comments or stories you’d like to share on the topic.

Title: L’Indifferenza e Complicita
Inspiration: Graffiti in Travastere, Rome
Medium: Mixed media collage
Dimensions: 8×10″
Price: $200

2 thoughts on “L’indifferenza e complicita… graffiti holds new meaning

  1. your post got me thinking about my evening at Spirit Rock and the dharma talk about ‘going into the dark’. Does indifference come from not wanting to face the present? By ‘face’, I mean truly BE in the present, whatever that present is. The speaker spoke of going into the dark, not with a light, but embracing the darkness for what it is… perhaps being complicit with it…
    I know when I first got my hand-me-down iPod and put in the earbuds as I was walking through an airport, I was amazed at how ‘present’ yet removed I was. Present because I was actually in the airport; removed because I wasn’t really present- I was ‘into’ the music. It was a feeling of disequilibrium, if you will.
    There’s a whole lot to being really present- in all 6 senses. yes 6.

    Keep ’em coming, Em.

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