This is an artwork by Irene Fernández Arcas for the nGbKB project “Kunst im Untergrund 2022-23”.

It is a creative tool offered as a meditation to connect with ourselves and commence the practice of cultivating an inner space in which we can retreat. The practice of the inner forest. This is only a metaphor for a space of your own. You can call it inner retreat, inner forest, inner room or inner sanctuary. Some other times I have called it inner garden or inner jungle. It is the same.

We live fast and move rushing. We got used to consuming our time and wasting our energies. Concentration, exploration, creativity and meditation are some very healthy tools, gifts that we rarely give ourselves the pleasure to embody. This artwork is a tiny journey for inspiration. It isn't a magical guide to a special place, or a perfect recipe to heal, but it offers a small taste of the powerful tool that is your mind, your wonderful being, and the images you got inside yourself. This is an easy guide into your internal cavities, your own sanctuary as a way to explore yourself in a creative way and build in your mind a space of retreat where you will always find peace, sunshine, inspiration, plants, water and everything you love. It isn’t easy to practice around so many people in the metro station - I know you know- but I invite you to go inwards as best as you can, try to forget where you are, ignore the thoughts that you were having now or you normally have here, and leave aside your rush for some minutes. Allow this artwork to happen inside your mind. I am aware we are all different and have a variety of experiences and backgrounds: the same practice might be very different to all of you even when detailed explanations are given. I try here to give some hints of inspiration and allow some space for growth and personal expansion. This small moment of practice is just a first walk together to a space that you can later cultivate alone.
Every time you come, you can change everything, and that space will grow. It will become richer, and most importantly: the path to get there will get easier.

The city is full of contradictions and struggles. How to keep the inner sunshine and calm ourselves everyday?

How to make time for everything we want? How to be aware of our privilege and yet aim for a change of structures? How to survive in this financial and health crisis? How to care more for the important things, for my body, for my friends, and still keep up with the rhythm and rush of the city? How to keep a good mood in bad times? How to be informed about the world’s struggles and yet enjoy our own life? How to be active in global change, and also learn to, at times, let go and care for the inner health? I believe that if we all work together for a most friendly environment around us when we move around places, walk through the city, give a smile, keep calm, practice tiny moments of positive thinking and allow meditation several times a day, we can contribute for a better ecosystem of joy and life quality: a better place to exist together and face these contradictions.

This audio file is just one of the keys to access those special places that bring us back to feelings and emotions we have captured but we often forget. This journey won’t probably heal you. Neither will enlighten anything new. But maybe it will open a small door to inspiration and to the wish of exploring and practicing more often this and other tools of self and collective care. Share the knowledge that makes you happy and strong. Practice radical affection, enthusiasm and slowness.

This audio work offers a set of tools, visions, framings and gestures that, trained with some care and repetition, I believe can help orient us to ways of being-feeling-filling up space and time differently, slowly.

To achieve change within us, on how we live, and to liberate us from structures that have limited our ways of navigating the days and the rhythms of the city, internalizing patterns that don’t allow us to feel our bodies and build spaces of creativity and expansion, within ourselves, for ourselves. I believed to feel often contained and pushed into other people’s frustration, as well as carrying my own worries toward someone else’s. Those small gestures of collectively healing could allow a more healthy environment of ease and peace around us. Daily, or just more often. Towards building a common existence and communications of care and affection.

This works proposes a re-appropriation of one's own time, and one's own space, the “time of wait” and spaces of transitions that are often taken over by the capitalist infrastructures we live in. This way, we can take over this “time”, interrogating structures of oppression, investigating other ways of spatial consciousness. This intervention aims to create environments to unleash the emotional load of negative feelings and explore the ignored landscapes that we have living within us.

My aim with these exercises of joy and color is not to oversimplify or belittle the real loss, struggle, anxiety and problems many of us are experiencing. Rather focus on small tools that are easy and nearby to everyone’s resources, and remember the possible shifts in consciousness that are possible with small mindful gestures. Also if sometimes unavailable, those spaces are ours. Of course, the quality and effects of these experiments come out of repetition, practice, trust, patience, opening up to healing and playfulness…

No matter what, anyone who makes an effort to learn and discover will experience an evolving journey that can lead to new forms of consciousness. With time, this journey can help shift our ways of existing in both public and private settings and even facilitate reprogramming of our habitual patterns of thinking and behavior. By maintaining a consistent desire for growth, we can experience unexpected effects, including heightened self-awareness, a sense of lightness and ease, and new intuitions. By engaging in small, intentional actions with mindfulness, we have the ability to unlock previously untapped potential within ourselves and unearth fresh understandings and avenues for creative living.