The video "Recover" was shot without the kayaker knowing that I was filming. I accidentally came across this man and was simply intrigued by his meditative movements, his focus and how his body and the canoe seem to merge into one. He'd be upside down, disappearing into the water, sometimes just long enough to make you wonder if he'd ever make it back up. He'd make the most beautiful moves, very dramatic and exercised with the greatest precision. Almost ritualistic or like a dance. I had no idea what the man was doing in the water, and I'd never seen anything like it before. I later learned that the kayaker is practising so called 'qayaq rolls'.
The rolling is intriguing to watch. The disappearing into the sea and the miraculous recovery. The exhaustion. I saw in it a poetic performance showing the thin line between life and death and the balancing act in between. One can only be upside down in the water for so long, a bit longer and you could actually drown.
As the main character is practising his rolls, he literally 'overthrows himself' and then has to 'recover himself'. Literally submerged in his surroundings, one could say there is no ego, he has transcended the difference between himself and his environment. A self inflicted 'falling' and 'getting up' again. A practise for life. Carried out in such precision, like a ritualistic dance with an intense focus. As the Zen Master Dogen said:
"On the great road of buddha ancestors there is always unsurpassable practice, continuous and sustained. It forms the circle of the way and is never cut off. Between aspiration, practice, enlightenment, and nirvana, there is not a moment’s gap; continuous practice is the circle of the way. This being so, continuous practice is unstained, not forced by you or others. The power of this continuous practice confirms you as well as others. It means your practice affects the entire earth and the entire sky in the ten directions. Although not noticed by others or by yourself, it is so.”
This quote shows me that there is a considerable connection between this work and Buddhism. In the cycles of overthrowing and resurfacing the main character shows how the self can be transcended in 'ordinary' practice,
Thank you Hitoshi Maida. Singapore 2017.
Born 1971 Netherlands
1994-1998 Willem de Kooning fine Art Academy, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
1997-1998 Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Java, Indonesia
2004 Pacific Art, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, O'ahu, Hawai'i, USA