Sep 24 2020

Artstrology: Libra 2020, Social Distancing

by Pamela Wong

Illustration by Tiffany Tam for ArtAsiaPacific.

We can’t wait to restart our businesses and our parties; we can’t wait to stand up to those with opposing opinions—these are the effects of Mars’s four-month staycation in Aries. When we are constantly fed by our passion, anger, and a sudden sense of self-righteousness, some healthy social distance is required to avoid detonating conflicts. Libra season is here to remind us of the merit of remaining courteous and respecting the viewpoints of others. As one of the few zodiac signs represented by a non-living entity—the scales—Libra is sometimes criticized for their cold rationality. Their impartiality is almost inhuman, but this is because the sign has to ensure fairness on both sides and come up with a peaceful solution.

The Libra drive for fairness often leads to (what appears to be) indecisiveness. The reluctance to draw an emotional conclusion and choose a side is captured in the title of Michael Rakowitz’s project, I’m good at love, I’m good at hate, it’s in between I freeze (2009– ). The project stems from the artist’s speculations about the ambiguous stance of Canadian Jewish singer Leonard Cohen on the Palestine-Israel conflict. In a letter addressed to the singer, the Libra artist weighs the reasons for supporting Israel and his own life experiences as a self-described Arab Jew and a supporter of the boycott against the state. Rakowitz writes, “I have never been interested in being perfect, morally or ethically, I am interested in the real, the contradictions and the resultant tensions that are created within the self.” 

This ability to balance and seek the truth makes Libra a great negotiator, social worker, and judge, but it does not necessarily win them a lot of close friends, for they tend to maintain an equal distance with every person. This distancing quality can be observed in the work of Libra photographer Daido Moriyama. He believes that the photographer can only be in touch with the surface, and that there’s no “depth” to be realized from the image. Some might get the sense that he is detached from his subjects, showing equal attention to whatever he captures: a stray dog, a prostitute, a passerby on the pavement, or the train tracks on the road. He explained later that photography is not just “a means by which to create beautiful art, but a unique way of encountering genuine reality at the point where the enormous fragments of the world—which I can never completely embrace by taking photos—coincide with my own inextricable predicament.” 

Libra season is a time for us to work on our connections with others, whether that means a breakup or meeting new people. As Libra symbolizes marriage, this month might see couples growing their families or ending in shocking divorces. In general, be careful of overspeeding, both on the highway and in conversations with others. Learn when to stop and listen. That way, by the end of the season, we will hopefully not have set our lives on fire.

This article is written for entertainment purposes only.

Pamela Wong is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor.

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