During the lockdown caused by the pandemic, all of us experience things, which bring us to our limits. We must keep distance and long to be close. We cannot embrace our beloved ones to our hearts. In times like these, there are many moments, which jeopardise our rhythm. Our Umbrella Organisation of the Austrian Federation of University Women finds itself in a new period. The new Board has been elected and we are excited as to when the constituent assembly can take place. Yes, we are also tense.
Is the feeling of being powerless the worst thing? Through a Google alert I have learnt that the artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, 86 years old, is recovering from a Corona infection. I am appointed ambassador of the Third Paradise, a symbol created by Pistoletto, which is being realised all over the world. Knowing that earth does not forget, the artist sees himself in a big social responsibility. I felt so powerless when I put a few words of sympathy into a WhatsApp message. I was doubting. The crisis leaves its mark, does it maybe even take words? At the very same moment I received a friendly e-mail invitation from our CER to write for the UWE blog. I was happy, of course cautious, already being used to withhold my emotions. When I received a personal response from Cittadellarte, Pistoletto’s art city in Piedmont, where I travelled three times in the course of my scientific work, I was certain again. The performative power of thoughts is something to rely on. I do so. With words, we move towards each other.
President VAÖ Styria
I am a doctor of general medicine in private practice. I used to work in the public health system but am now retired and, because of my age, I belong to a high-risk group. That means I cannot stand in for other doctors, nor can I help out at the Red Cross. My activities as a doctor are currently limited to weekly or fortnightly calls on a few patients who are all over 90 and living at home. Between these calls I, too, am spending my days at home, with my activities limited to what is absolutely necessary. At the moment I cannot imagine that we will ever again be able to go to the theatre or to travel or welcome our children and grandchildren to our homes, without some concern. At home, I have long since done the tidying up and dusting, but nobody comes to visit and the dust settles again and again.
Coronavirus-inspired artwork by Dr. Maria-Luise Öhl, Chair of the Austrian Doctor‘s Art Association, text in English by Natalie Öhl