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Illusion of Flow - Self-narration for Can Chanchan (Silkworm Spinning)

Author: Liang Shaoji 2013

I. Interpretation of the title: Murmuring (chanchan) is a word that can describe the gurgling water. According Chinese Five Phases (metal, wood, water, fire, and earth), silk features water. Hence, Can Chanchan (Silkworm spinning) here can be seen as a metaphor of the flowing lifefgulfilled with any changes and possibilities. Constant yet impermanent, this is the deep state of Chan Buddhism.

II. All creatures possess their own biological clock. When I videoed the whole process of silk spinning, it was surprising to find that the biological clock of silkworms looked similar to the seasonal changing in Chinese scenery paintings. At the beginning of spinning, thousands of silkworms clustered together covering the stains of their excretion. As much more silk appeared gradually, various patterns contributed by various spinning density, radian and length were getting presented bit by bit. Likewise, the flowing water changed its waves and shaped due to temperature and humidity differences: murmuring in spring, gurgling in summer, meandering in autumn and freezing in winter. Accordingly, the stains left by worms resembled all kinds of scenes in the paintings: wild grassland, dashing mountain stream, vast field, steep hills and even an ancient world. When the spinning finished, some cocoons were buried under the silk, scattered and silvering. Eventually, a swarm of beautiful butterflies turned up and fluttered away from the spun silk, just like picturesque winter blossom coming into sight from the snow.

Attracted by the silkworms, I could barely notice the surroundings. Lying on my stomach and concentrated on observing, I was amazed by the world of silk in the camera, tiny but unlimited. Seemingly, the only way to solve the mystery of silk is to bond yourself together with the silk world. And this is the initiate of life as well, which features “existence” and “rebirth”.

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