Natalia Martinez-Kalinina is the General Manager of CIC Miami, an innovation district opening its first phase in October, and the founder of Awesome Foundation Miami. She contributes to The Huffington Post, World Economic Forum; La Nación and .Mic.
Years ago in Italy, I saw the following graffiti on a wall: “I like you Jackie, I’m just not in like with you.” Years later, in Poland, I saw this phrase wrapped around a tree: “Derek, I love you most even still. – Kerry.” Last year in Buenos Aires, I walked by a wall bearing a fragment in Spanish: “Let’s meet face to face in a dream.”
Love sure seems like the most frequent topic of artistic expression throughout civilization. Our mythologies, fairy tales, religious texts, paintings, poems, dances, and operas all frequently touch on the search for love, its loss, and its abundance.
Love is ubiquitous in art precisely because it is ever-present in human experience. It is a necessary, albeit sometimes insufficient, ingredient to our relationships with each other and the world around us.
But that doesn’t mean love is simple. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke reminds us that, “For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.”
When I was younger, I imagined individuals as small and constantly changing microcosms of chaos, so it seemed like an almost-miracle that two such entities could create a small but functional universe together. That this could survive over time seems both a puzzling and delightful surprise.
But sadly, unfortunately, regrettably, sometimes fortuitously, it often does not.
As intense as our fascination with love is, our reaction to its loss or absence is equally consuming and intense. How often do we experience, remember, or think of heartbreak, loss, unrequited love, forgotten love, missed opportunities, mistakes, and failures? How much do we do to avoid and hedge for these risks? How slowly or quickly do we recover? Which memories do we keep with us and which ones do we try to extinguish?
Ultimately, how much time do we spend grieving, mourning, regretting love instead of seeking and enjoying it?
To explore these questions, I took inspiration from the Museums of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles and Zagreb, two very different corners of the world. And now, the next stop on my communal love art journal has become Miami. A couple of us are organizing an exhibit that will shine a spotlight on the heartbreak that lives in our backyard.
For one week during Art Basel 2016, we will showcase artifacts that share stories of locals’ lost relationships, whether traumatic, hilarious, fracturing, enraging, ironic, or grateful.
Any object is welcome: the fork used for a breakup meal, a heartfelt letter, the iron used to press a wedding dress, a set of forgotten furry handcuffs, the regretted breast implants. Even the most ordinary items can hold significance.
“Love Lost, Miami” will be in part a destination, in part an added perspective. We hope that turning our individual losses into art will yield a vulnerable, honest, arresting, and thought-provoking exhibit and unite Miamians in a shared moment of release, communal grief, and remembrance.
Sharing our stories will hopefully help us with our own personal journeys, purges, and recoveries. And by sharing them openly, we can accept the universal interdependence of hope, hardship, joy, loss, and survival – and become more empathetic toward our neighbors, our city, our relationships, and ourselves.
So go ahead, submit your proposed item by Sept. 30 and participate in this experience with us. We will review suggested submissions in October, and reach out to every person who submitted an item in early November.
Your View is a recurring series of opinion pieces from members of The New Tropic community. To share your ideas, goals, and work about Miami with the community in a Your View piece, please email us at [email protected]