As the child of a sailor, to me sailing is to search for a balance on shaky ground, on the sea of our life, that bristly waves often cut through. It is a harsh and unpredictable journey, cadences by its necessary events: hostile, unexpected, or more fortunate and happy. Sailing, what a sweet verb!, and the ships, welcoming cribs where you can trustfully lie down and keep on navigating while being still. Open hands ready to hold and take you in a safe haven. The word sailing may awaken in the heart a desire of escape, a quest for estrangement, a search for the self and the finding of the self, until you find the courage to begin a difficult journey. I think of the sea crossing of those who are inhumanly packed. For some, for those who cross that body of water, it is an obstinate search for hope, for another future – for them, amassed on unstable boats. But I can see those who sail along the rivers, on unfolding grey snakes, massive and indolent, sometimes more similar to the imposing sea, and to whose current we fearfully abandon ourselves. For the most fortunate sailing is sweet. Since I was a child I have been used to ship decks, to times, even short times, when the only thing you can do is to scratch on a thought, a dream, or a hope. When you sail, there is time to unfold and to fill with nothing.
I believe that learning to sail is an immense luck. The notion of sailing is close to that of passing of time, as you need to learn what to make with downtime. Time should always be considered a gift. The boat, a shrine, a world that sucks you in, a time of our own, at the prow, head over heels, while the boat dashes away. And ‘re-thinking’, or thinking of nothing at all. Sailing is pondering. It is learning to be patient, to try to live your life from within, to know what is, after all, your place on this earth. And our cravings, possibilities, talents. Our own condition. When you sail you are also a prisoner, as we are during our daily life. Prisoners. Still, we act, develop, move towards something, keep going. Unbeknownst to us or not, we are small vessels affected by the weather encountered when we sail. Sailing on the sea is life, death, and a real, authentic hope and will: we do this with great humility, confronting that shaky ground because, as the saying goes, When the sea is very calm, aren’t we sailors all?
Ginevra Lilli is a poetess and writer who lives and works in Rome. Her first collection of poems was recently published by Marco Saya Editions (Milano 2014). Ginevra Lilli has written this text for the special project #6, Navigare, realized by the collective Studio ++ for Arshake’s banner as a series of contributions that involved art critic Antonello Tolve (with an introduction to the work), and climates scientist Carlo Buontempo.
(all) Studio + +, Navigare, snap shot from the web installation, now on Arshake’s banner.