a place where beginning and end slip through one's fingers
by Anja E. Redecker
Everything was on the run, everything was temporary,
but we did not know whether this condition would last till tomorrow
or a few more weeks or years or our entire lives.
–Anna Seghers, Transit
Voices enliven the nocturnal city. Before our eyes it grows from the big to the small: from illuminated windows in tower blocks, to the gloomy steel scaffoldings of still uninhabited construction projects to - cut - the suburbs at daybreak that tell of childhoods, of memories, of the melancholy nature of change. The camera remains still as a world passes it by that does not seem to know where to go. Neither it, nor its characters are about to arrive and neither it nor its characters suggest an urge to arrive. They move in an intermediate realm, "Transit", a place where beginning and end slip through one's fingers, a situation of personal and spatial becoming, suburbia. The images are passive, permeable, stuck between feelings of calm and departure. Do you remember the river? Do you remember when we gazed at the stars? Everyday scenes create a space to project distanced nostalgia and the hermetic memory of a place soon to be abandoned.
"Transit Circle" describes a sense of suburbia as well as the drab lifelessness of the urban machine. An invisible organism that demands space, more space - to live, park, work. It captures the tension between economy and liveliness, follows in the footsteps of the crabs, the remaining places whose function does not unfold without the meaning attributed to them by humans, friends, dancers, lovers. Slow images depict the transformation: Old gives way to new. Concrete listlessly mixes with nature or has always been there. Neon light reflects in the river. It's a summer that feels like the last one ever to be. A summer like all summers are, with a humidity and an inertia that dips the threshold between being young and growing up in honey. The silence of a roaring fauna makes people seem slow and silent.
In this setting, a figure, Hanqi, moves beyond her city, stealing its focus, becoming the protagonist. She brings together the loose ends between anonymity and neighborhood, between study and work, between rehearsal and performance, nature and steel, fried food and cauliflower, night and morning, between friendship and ...in it, the contradictions culminate and become tangible in form of a personal biography. Do I leave? With whom will I be? The city and the village appear small before the sheer number of possibilities and decisions her future offers. Hanqi and her friends know and experience this area calmly and with a sense of habit, so that the idea of its finiteness is disturbing but at the same time makes its beauty more visible. As part of the group, the camera captures ordinary moments of being together, pointing to meaningful constants in a transient world.
English translation by Sam Heinrichs