I found it difficult to create a story or have a point of view on bankers and portray that in an animation. I needed to find my own way to show the theme of this assignment. For my keuzevak I’ve been researching the Japanese ‘Ma’ which means ’emptiness’. The Japanese really appreciate emptiness in their lives, work, in their everything. Without this emptiness there is no value in things or life. I wanted to use this principle with this assignment and my concept.
I wanted to show the busy, chaotic world of someone working at the office of a bank, analyzing stocks or graphs of some kind. No one can function without some peace, or in this case, ‘ma’ in their life. I wanted to show people change because of ‘Ma’. With that in mind, I did some more research and then came up with two ideas.
Ma is the emptiness full of possibilities, like a promise yet to be fulfilled.
E.g.: a tea break in a busy day has to be in a quiet place, away from the routines of work — so that one can soak in the serenity of Ma before getting back to busy life.
Ma is what creates the peace of mind (called ‘heijoshin’ in Japanese) we all need, so that there is room for our thoughts to exist properly, and to thrive.
In nothingness, Ma enables. The empty boundary provides a place for everyone’s version of reality or imagination to exist. The further my text spreads out the more you wander away from my message and in fill with your own thoughts.
Ma reminds us that what isn’t there provides the ability for everyone’s story to co-exist. It is the boundaries of space that allow us, and all our ideas, to exist side by side.
Everyone needs Ma in their life. It’s important to take breaks from work so you don’t stress. Without a moment of emptiness/nothingness you can reflect on other things, appreciate other things around you and let appreciate the work that you’ve done.
Ma gives meaning to things. E.g.: where there is clutter, even valuable things lose their value. Where there is too much, nothing stands out.
Emptiness, Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.
We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.
Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.
Bankers need Ma just like everyone. Without it they might turn into psychopaths because of the horrible system in banks (Luyendijk/Het brein van de bankier). They need balance in their lives.
There’s a banker who is having a tough time at work. There’s a lot to do, it’s loud, his boss keeps yelling at him, his pay is low, there are too many people, he’s always cranky at work… Everything’s chaotic at work and he doesn’t seem to calm down soon.
We see him waiting outside somewhere with his back to a building, looking across the road at the people and cars passing by. He has a cigarette in one hand and he’s pinching the bridge of his nose with his other hand. You can clearly see that he’s stressed and cranky. He probably also has a headache. People around him give him weird looks, avoiding his gaze, keeping their distance.
While he’s looking at the rushing cars and chattering people passing by, events of the day flash by: the stacks of paperwork/documents, the chaos on his desktop/table, the looks of co-workers, the many footsteps, the yelling, the spit flying out of his boss’ mouth and landing on his face… While these images flash by, his face twists and turns, his headache only seems to be getting worse, the sounds around him keep getting louder, his boss’ voice keeps on drumming on in his head. The image keeps switching from the banker’s face to the events playing on repeat in his head, building up.
It looks like he’s about to lose it but then we hear a soft, high voice that breaks through all the chaos in his head. Everything seems to slow around him. His mind is clear. He turns and sees his son/daughter standing next to him, looking up at him with a smile on their face.
He notices the smallest details of the child: the breeze moving their hair, their smile with missing teeth, every little detail in their eyes.
We see the banker’s face: his scowl is gone, we can see him relax, forgetting about the events of the day. (Maybe his eyes are even a little watery.) He sighs and smiles. He’s found his Ma.
(He takes his child’s hand and they go home/He kneels down, gives his kid a hug and the kid starts telling him about everything that happened at school…)
(Setting: Office building, part of bank, City park – Japan.)
(Time: early afternoon, Summer)
The main character’s a man at the (office of a) bank, working behind a crowded desk. The rest of the room is filled with other bankers/accountants/brokers and people working. There is no break in the phones ringing, the people walking back and forth, and the tapping on keyboards; there’s no peace. It’s visible that the main character is exhausted and has a lot of weight on his shoulders but he stills has a lot of work to do.
As he stares at his screen analyzing graphs e.g., a co-worker opens a window close to the main character’s desk. Being so close by, the light Summer breeze ruffles through some of his papers and touches his face. The breeze carries a light fragrance of flowers and grass. He instinctively looks outside.
Next to the office-building there’s a small garden in the heart of the city, like an oasis. He sees the different kinds of flowers and trees and notices someone sitting alone under a tree. It’s a woman, maybe in her 30s. Her eyes are closed, her legs stretched out, hands on her lap. She looks at peace. She’s not doing anything, just sitting there enjoying doing nothing and being away from the busy city and work life. The breeze lightly ruffles through her hair. It ruffles through the main character’s hair as well. He doesn’t feel like he’s in the office anymore. He feels like he’s in the garden, enjoying the breeze, the fragrant flowers, the sun shining through the branches and leaves of the trees touching his face. He forgets about the world around him. All the sounds of his surroundings fade away. He hears the leaves rustling in the wind, a wind chime, a gentle stream and birds singing in the distance. He closes his eyes. For a moment there’s nothing. Just peaceful emptiness and the distant sounds of the garden…
He slowly opens his eyes. His surroundings look different to him. Everything’s clearer. He looks rested. He sighs and smiles. Looks out the window one more time and gets back to work. We keep looking at the window, getting closer. All background noises fade away. We see the sky. There’s nothing but silence, peace…, Ma.
Out of the two ideas I have I like the second idea more because it portrays Ma more clearly. I want viewers to be able to understand Ma and it may not be as clear in the first idea as I feel it is in the second idea.
So, number 2 it is!