Below is the text and videos for my video installation for Experimental Film & Video module in the first year at university on May 18th 2011.
The two big (projection) screens with sounds muted of Marylebone Road and Oxford Street were in V shape. The Waterfall smaller video screen with sound on was at the corner point of the letter ‘V’. All videos were looped. 5m2 in space.
Two months before I knew I would go to London, a girl from my high school passed away in London when crossing the street. I used to think such accident would not happen in a developed country like England…
Four months later I arrived in London. By the first time waiting for the light for pedestrians to turn green I had my first culture shock from the speed of the cars on Marylebone Road. The drivers must be stressed enough to drive at that speed. The first morning in London, after finding my way from Marylebone Road to Baker Street for a while, I found myself walking much faster than usual as if unconsciously I was catching up with others’ speed. I slowed myself down.
Big screen 1 – One side of V shape (Marylebone Road)
Marylebone Road with stores full of mass produced souvenir about London and Britain added up with numerous tourists from all over the world makes that part of London Chaotic. However, later on, it is Oxford Street that makes London not being a classic cultural European place I expected. A whole long street of super big glossy stores of supposed to be famous brands of clothes and everything else that is called fashion. Noisy and dusty streets of on-going constructions, cars, buses and pavements packed with people walking one after another with big shopping bags. Trying to find a way out of Oxford street in the weekends feels like trying to find a way out of the flow of a society where people slave themselves for commercial products.
Big screen 2 – The other side of V shape (Oxford Street)
Leaving all the dramas back at home in Vietnam to start a new life in London, day after day, month by month I realise I haven’t prepared myself enough for all these difficulties and stress when living in a whole new city of a whole new country doing a whole new course all by myself. Dragging myself through the gloomiest days of the winter and my mind with all problems here and home, past and present and worries about the future, I gradually find peaceful moments when being in the nature part of the city – the parks.
Small monitor screen – At the corner point of V shape(Waterfall, Regent’s Park)
Recalling what I read in Thich Nhat Hanh’s books about knowing your breath in each and every single second, I allowed myself to sit in the park for a long time just to look at trees, listen to the waterfall sounds, look at the water flow, breath, think about nothing – do nothing but immerse myself in the nature surrounding.
- Anger, The Art of Power – Zen Buddhism Meditation Practice Books by Thich Nhat Hanh.
- Zen For Film (Nam June Paik, 1962-1964)
P.S. Since then, I have discovered more of London’s nice bits for myself and get more used to the stress side of the city. You can visit So You Think You Know LONDON for some art, social and cultural event updates that I repost from my favourite places in London.