|Ecozine summer edition 2015|
within two hours we find 246 shoes. a friend of mine and me are on a beautiful beach in south lantau. we're by ourselves except a fisherman on a rock in the far distance. the beach is filled with white sand and embraced by big bleached boulders on both sides. the water is clear and soft waves fill the air with a calming swoosh. a black kite is soaring high above us. on the horizon small islands are in a misty blur. for thousands of years chinese artists have captured this serenity of nature on paper. these ink scrolls are called 山水. literally 山 means mountain and 水 means water, translated as 'landscape'. for thousands of years this landscape has not changed. but starting 50 years ago a third element, man-made, has entered the picture: plastic. our civilization will be remembered by this element, because it lasts hundreds maybe thousands of years. we do not know the exact durability because we are in this experiment for the first time ever.
500 years ago leonardo da vinci drew a picture called 'le proporzioni del corpo umano secondo vitruvio'. it depicts a beautiful man in a circle with his arms and legs stretched out and free. it is the artist's observation of the proportions of the human body and the translation of those natural measurements into architecture. nature was the artist's paradigm for the creation of beauty. today we still possess this tremendous creative power. the centre of the circle is the human navel: all comes from within us, imagined by the human mind, materialized by human hands. yet today we cannot move freely anymore. lying in this circle of marine litter i feel like lying in a body cast. we have created an avalanche of material beauty that has gotten out of hands. we have created a reality in which we cannot swim in the sea anymore, because it is full of trash. we cannot eat fish anymore because it is contaminated. we cannot appreciate the horizon anymore because it is blurred by smog. we believe that we need 'things' to make life easier, more comfortable, essentially happier. and this surely is true to some extend, but today we have lost the sense of proportion! do we really need 20 pairs of shoes in our closet? do we really need bottled water from the other end of the globe for lunch? rather than working to earn the money to buy another pair of shoes, would it not be wonderful to spend that time walking barefoot on a beautiful beach? rather than drinking sterilized water from a plastic bottle would it not be wholesome to drink cool fresh water from a mountain stream?
the relation of man and nature is what da vinci captured ingeniously in his drawing 500 years ago. this relationship has never changed. we are still striving for a balanced and harmonious life. for me personally nature is the answer. all of what we are looking for is already here. it is just outside of our civilized reality, waiting for us to arrive. now.
this portrait is called 'out of proportion' and is part of the series 'trash-land-art / 垃圾山水'.