There is more to life than increasing its speed.
Born in Malaysia in 1957, Tsai Ming-liang is one of the most prominent filmmakers of the new cinema movement in Taiwan. I was introduced to his work by a friend who took me to the video installation Walker, currently showing in Brussels at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts.
Walker is a compilation of six films inspired by the life of the Buddhist monk and traveller Xuan Zang (b. 602). Tsai Ming-liang started to work on this project in 2012 filming Lee Kang-sheng’s slow walk, cooperating with various cities and organisations.
I found it breathtaking; the meditative pace of the images, the colours, the soundscape and not at the least the unique venue of the installation in the dark cellar of cinema Galeries in the heart of Brussels.
In the words of the filmmaker himself:
“With this series Walker, I want the viewer to think about the following question: Seeing a man who walks this slowly, without really having a goal, not moving or talking, is that a cinematographic work? These movies make the viewer think about how he deals with time and space in his daily life. They allow you to stand still and absorb the environment you live in and determine the rhythm of it yourself.”
A preview of Walker can be found on Vimeo but nothing compares to the meditative experience seeing the video installation at the always remarkable Kunstenfestivaldesarts (which also features a retrospective of his films).