The path is narrow; it bends around tight corners.Thick, perfectly shaped shrubs fill the space around my knees while branches, heavy with summer foliage, filter the sunlight overhead. The dense vegetation swallows not only sights but also distant sounds, creating an enclosed space composed of path, stepping stones, and moss-covered borders. Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of the sky through a small opening in the canopy, but my ears are tuned into the sound of my own steps, the gravel crunching beneath my feet, the rustle of leaves when my knees brush against a round-shaped Azalea, the rattling sound made by wind shaking the bamboo grove. There is constant movement, and a walk through such a breathing aisle reveals the smallest changes in topography, luminosity, and volume.With no end in sight, my perception of time also begins to change. Time appears to become stretched until everything appears as if in slow motion.
But suddenly the path simultaneously reveals an opening and an end: a bright gate pulls me out of this cloak of damp darkness. The transition is fast and staggering. Sharp sunrays illuminate the patch of uncovered, white gravel, converting this clearing into a dazzling sea of light. With the sky wide open, sounds hailing from distant, unknown sources fall in large curves from all sides, engulfing me like a flock of darting starlings.The opening is a funnel for the electromagnetic waves coming from every direction, overstimulating the sensitized receptors and whitening the information that reaches the brain. Only after a few seconds will the sensors regain full functionality and be capable of fully perceiving the white, open space which immediately dismisses the damp, muffled feeling from before.
Shisen-dō, June 2015
Text & Animation: Matthias Vollmer
Sound: Ludwig Berger