Directed by Žanete Skarule, documentary, 56 min, eng subtitles, 12+
Written by Žanete Skarule
A dreamer by nature, Chinese businessman Quanqi Zhu decides to set up a unique installation on the side of Sacred Songshan mountain in China, a place often called the spiritual “Centre of Heaven and Earth” and also the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and Kung-Fu martial arts. Despite the language barrier, his closest companion in doing this is Latvian architect Austris Mailītis, the creator of the visionary and daring architectural design. As construction begins, the creators themselves have to levitate between cultural differences, conventions and personal ambitions.
Mailītis, inspired by Zen Buddhist writings, wishes to create a unique architectural space realising men’s age-old dream of flying and paying homage to Eastern philosophy, while Quanqi Zhu thinks of bringing the West to China, always looking forward. The result, the astounding Shaolin Flying Monks Temple, boasts a unique levitation pavilion that houses a giant vertical wind tunnel allowing monks to levitate above a 230-seat amphitheatre used as a platform for artistic performances. Designed to make the monks fly, “the concept of the structure”, says the architect, “is to tell the history of Zen and Kung-Fu through artistic performances and the architectural image of the building itself” inspired by a translation of Shaolin, meaning: mountain in the wood.
In collaboration and with the support of Mudam and the Embassy of Latvia to the Netherlands.
Within the framework of Design City LX Festival