From breeze to storm.
Waiting for a letter, a package, a message, is a spasmodic emotion, which grows the closer the presumed moment of delivery approaches and explodes if it crosses the line that we had imposed on ourselves as an ultimatum. Coyan Cardenas, aka Memory of God, synthesized this emotion in The Stillness of the Wind, to create an unprecedented narrative model. We are not the ones to go towards the narration, it will be she who arrives virtual day after virtual day, together with a traveler with whom an inevitable relationship of mutual affection will be established. An interactive, placid and warm epistolary novel, on which, however, the long and gloomy shadow of a world from which our Talma she wanted to isolate herself, the only member of her family who never wanted to move to the city.
Version tested: Nintendo Switch
The pains of the elderly Talma
A solitary, peaceful and almost resigned life, surrounded by memories that become his only way of telling himself in the first person. A characterization with many and fundamental blind spots, only partially illuminated by the daily correspondence he receives from relatives. Through their way of writing we are able to imagine them and give them almost a face, framing them in the social fabric of a world upset by events of the recent past. There is a constant and procedural construction of the same in our mind, through clues and assumptions. A game of implication where the player is a spectator and Talma is an impenetrable vault of real life. We talk about children born healthy, "with ten fingers", as an exceptional event, people who have disappeared into thin air and lunar colonies, but also about festivals, politics and simple normality. Letter after letter we find ourselves more and more curious, but with the heavy breathing of someone who is inhaling an odorless gas that leads to paranoia. There is something disturbing in the progress of the work, despite its apparent lightness. There is no sense of a world on the brink of collapse, but of a deep and irreparable crack.
Cardenas manages to break the narrative into small everyday stories that have no influence on our routine, but managing to weigh it down or lighten it emotionally.
The bucolic everyday life flows, warmed by a soft sun and by the enveloping colors that paint the expanse of sand of the valley, between agriculture and breeding, frugal meals and mushroom picking, awaiting the arrival of our friend, the only human being who now ventures up to the old woman's farm. He always has a good word for us, an anecdote to tell, mail to deliver and products to trade in a very intelligent and delicious micro-economic system. The few activities to be carried out are real rituals that exorcise the anxiety of the arrival of a new letter. A routine made up of small actions and a few unexpected events, built with extreme playful simplicity but fundamental in creating an empathic bond with the elderly. You physically perceive the limitations of his age, his slow pace, the effort of hoeing the earth, too short days ended with a yawn that frees all the effort and infects the player. Sitting on the old armchair after having eaten dinner, we find ourselves reading a story, rereading certain letters, simply thinking and reflecting. The night is too dark, even if you will often find yourself strolling there out of simple curiosity, and a rifle leaning against the dairy hut is there as a warning of possible hidden threats.
However, sleep is not a mere rescue point, but a gateway to the subconscious. Grotesque dreams, smoky, industrial, able to leave shaken by their emotional impact without transmitting or showing anything explicit, but spreading like an infection among our thoughts. However, it is the wind that speaks clearly, the first light and fragrant breeze that you seem to feel in your hair and on your face, and then mount more and more in parallel with the emotions, the powerlessness of living the tragedies of our family too far away; up to raging covering the sky with leaden clouds, full of rain and regrets. We are overwhelmed by the power of certain phrases, by doubt, by waiting. Anguish and relief, hope and resignation, tangible despite its limited physical dimensions offset by boundless emotional prairies.
Verdict 8/10 Delicatissimo - cit. Comment The Stillness of the Wind is a work that must be lived, a sunset to be admired with the regret of having lost the day before it, imagining it looking at photographs taken by other people. It is contemporary art, conceptual and powerful in its delicacy, unforgettable for those who approach it with the right predisposition, synchronizing the heartbeat to its rhythm and dedicating a handful of hours to themselves. Pros and cons ✓ Epistolary narration of great impact
✓ Warm and distressing world building in equal measure x Talma lives the events in a too detached way, apparently