The Floating World: Introduction
Three screens confront us, an altar of post-apocalyptic images, shot, edited, and manipulated with technological subtleties to implore the terrible beauty of a world which seems familiar, but not yet encountered. In German, we have the wonderful word unheimlich, it can be used in this instance to describe the frightening, but fascinating universe that Langan depicts. In The Floating World our heim, home, is no longer a safe and comforting place.
We watch the skyscrapers of Dubai rising higher than clouds, follow a camera as it climbs the stony steps of Skellig Micheal; Mount Olympus trans-located from Greece to this remote place in the eastern Atlantic, a mystical spot once used by Monks in their search for the divine. This imagery suggests what Heidegger and the Greeks called aletheia, a place where truth reveals itself, a clearing or spot light on a landscape that can tell a tale and evoke the whole world.
The elements water, snow, earth, air and clouds move — everything is floating. These are places where time does not exist anymore, where snow and dust fall and rise at the same time, inside becomes outside and the air above the clouds a new, uncertain ground. Perception, mind, memory, our knowledge of the world becomes less certain. Clearings within these landscapes move us beyond any comfortable understanding, as the light and effect of Langan’s lens illuminates a dark and chaotic reality.
This is a film about civilisation and its uncertain future, perhaps even its end.
© Heinz Peter Schwerfel
Art Critic, Director of Kino der Kunst, Munich