Thursday, 7 October 2010

Of how Tea is an ancient pendulum..and my love for it's ticking

I love tea. It's a personal fact. But how I came to explore its artistic possibilities (which I am still doing) is something I could say happened quite recently...thought it may have been simmering in my mind.
It is incredible how memory takes us back to powerful, vivid images. In this collision of events, -me staring at a sinking tea bag one morning and a film echo from over 8 or 9 years ago-  I recalled one of Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Dekalog": A series of ten short films he made for Polish Television in the 80's and whose plots are based on the ten commandments. In one of the films, a weary doctor puts a tea bag in a transparent cup while a whistling kettle sounds in the background and the camera lens zooms closer to the cup and frames it while the tae bag distills colour. The close up has turned it into a star of ordinary life events. What a way to meassure time.!
To this day I am attracted by the image of a sinking tea bag and to think that whether this may take place in the most contemporary stainless steel kitchen or in one like that of the Dekalog, the ancient Chinese discovery prevails and that time has got many ways to be felt. I love tea and I love Kieslowski's films in their tribute to all the taken for granted things. The simple happenings that make us human. Interestingly, this film director was born in 1941, a historic time of devastation. He studied Film in Lodz in 1969 and worked extensively in Documentary before he was acknowledged in Cannes in the 80's for one of his Decalogue short films. His visual language is almost tangible, deeply human and paradoxical. His images speak of feelings even at moments when his characters become mute. We listen to their thoughts, to their sorrow and joy. It is this contemplation of life through colours and sounds like the sound of a drop in a Hospital or the sound of Veronica's angelical voice in "The double life of Veronica" that draw our senses. It is this close attention to how water boils, how the infusion taints the liquid, how life can be condensed in the mere act of waiting for tea to be ready while we question ourselves.