on being the visitor

Dear fellow artists and filmmakers, dear fellow urban beings,

A few months ago, I accomplished my movie „the visitor“. „The visitor“ is me, as „the visitor“ I am creating wordless contact with strangers in Mega-cities and try to enter their life. This whole process is happening in front of a camera, nothing is staged or written. “The visitor” obsessed me for years. It became much more than a way of filmmaking, it became a way to be and a way to interact.

This article has a mission: I want to transmit „the visitor“ to you.It will be from now on YOUR visitor. You can become it because it is a universal figure. Anybody who understands it can use it as a tool. I know that as an artist you are highly individual and somehow it is contradictory to ask you to do what I already did. Or to join „a movement“. But „the visitor“ is as universal as individual. I am not visioning cover versions of the original “visitor”. I am incredibly curious how you will develop what I did.  I see a complete new movie composed of visitor-episodes by very different people from all over the world. I see other artists doing it, but also really anybody having the guts and the longing to create these kind of encounters beyond the usual and worn out ones.

To understand what I did and why, lets take this simple image of people in the metro, where you keep on being physically immensely close to people you couldn’t be more alienated to. In the metro a life comes so close to you that it touches you unwillingly with an arm or a shoulder, that you can smell it. This life will step out the next station to never meet it again. It is in this contained density of the metro, where you sense the most, that a city is an incubator of lives and lives and lives, breeding next to you, besides you. In these moments, you smell the other lives and it is one of the hidden rules of the city to act as if you wouldn’t, to ignore this human animal in you that senses all these other destinies, to act as if you were alone in this sea of people. Basically, by following strangers in the city, I did something that could be seen almost like a fundamental need of our times, something like eating and drinking: I stopped pretending that I didn’t smell the others. I lifted the curtain of anonymity and alienation and glimpsed into the life and soul of exactly those strangers whose shoulders keep on touching me while sitting in the metro, whose glance touches me while rushing on the streets.

This is so basic and essential that I find it wrong to keep it for myself.

As „the visitor“ you offer yourself bluntly for contact.

But you do so without talking. Yes, that is right. I didn’t talk and this simple tool helped to open a whole different space with the people. As „The visitor“ you remain silent and you offer yourself therefore beyond explanation. Like a silent guardian angel you attend someone by tiptoeing into his or her life. Like a street dog you are following people by smell on the quest of a new home.

It is a sensitive project. It could easily become something nasty, a way to harass people, to play with them in a bad way, to go over the borders of someone in a confronting and insulting way. The art of „the visitor“ is to pass the zone of protection around someone in a most respectful way. „The visitor“ is also a spiritual challenge; you need to get somehow pure to be able to do so. Otherwise you will always mix in your own themes and needs. The visitor is an act of purification for you on the way to another person. I found it incredibly liberating, liberating from myself and my small needs.

Go out on the street and give it a try. Take the courage. The moment you start to do it, you find yourself in a slight different universe with slight different rules. You will find them in the end more organic, somehow more „right“ than what you did before, when you rushed down the street as yourself trying to maintain your life. You find that you get a deeper look for people, a better sense of the city, a feeling of liberation from yourself. There is a magic within „the visitor“ and it starts right away, right in the moment where you go out on the street, a silent figure followed by the camera. I am excited to know that now it is your turn, I am excited to see the results of all those different visitors. When „the visitor“ becomes a movement it hits in the heart of its intention: it becomes a unification of likeminded individuals out on a mission to encounter modern urban life with a simple human and spiritual crush.

The chance is that, the moment „the visitor“ is adapted by others, it will become an own language an own set of mind,

I would hereby cordially and enthusiastically like to invite you to BE THE NEW VISITORS.

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