Posted on September 9, 2010 by Wei Na
It was a short walk from the airplane to the Amsterdam Schiphol airport building, but long enough to feel a revolution in the climate, quite cold and humid, that at home in China would not have occurred in this month. Walking into the main hall four immigration officials sat and gazed with an air of curiosity and unhurried wonder, like a scholar scanning the books in a library. But the line of passengers began to stretch out of the terminal and towards the edge of the airfield.
I arrived at the house of my new hosts. Quietly walking into my room, turning on the light and opening the window, the room was bright, large and empty. Beyond the window, the traffic ran in silence along six lanes, and I noticed there was a big garbage truck slowly moving its body in front of our building, and I thought of its strange existence in this silent night. I grew aware of an until then overlooked fact: that I had inadvertently brought myself into another culture. A quaint correlation came into my head, something about this scene that moved me to think of a certain other equally and unexpectedly scene: the garbage handcart that always staying in front of our house in my hometown. Several images appeared on my mind.
It was a kind of tool for the cleaners to move garbage in my city. Through its simple design, discomfort frame and dirty colors, the appearance of this object could never on its own attract my curiosity. Until one day I heard a sad story about its owner, a person who did his cleaning job all his life and who died due to a traffic accident. Then this fact strangely built a contrast between the thing in front of my eyes and the basic psychological knots in my heart. Then I started seeing it, shooting images when I passed by, the handcart continue changing it postures day by day, but I never saw the new host until I left. It seems a symbol of a kind of spirit behind its composition.
The outside garbage truck already disappeared in the darkness, but my thoughts were flying great and ignored stretches of my experiences, large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts new places. This moment might be compared to a long-winded film, assisted by this unfamiliar environment around me, by the small clothes-pin on the back of the door, by the long light string on the wall, by the 2010 calendar in the cabinet, and the silently unknown outside views below me.