From the top of the slacklining world to the top of one of Europe’s natural wonders, Haruki Kinoshita combined his outrageous skills with unique visuals to produce a performance unlike any other.
Alongside slacklining innovator Andy Lewis, the Japanese teenager produced an incredible routine to live visuals provided by Projektil, the Swiss art collective above Switzerland’s iconic Tamina Gorge.
Because of the gorge’s imposing 80-metre-high rock faces that flank it on either side, it only sees the sun’s rays for a few moments at midday – for the rest of the day it is plunged into complete darkness. Normally home to hikers and climbers, the gorge was discovered in 1240, and in the middle ages, scientist and philosopher Paracelsus wrote about the therapeutic effects of the waters below.
Kinoshita began slacklining as a 14-year-old, having switched from a potential career in baseball. Now, four years on, he is one of the most talented athletes within his sport. In 2016 he won the World Slackline Masters, as well as the Natural Games and the inaugural X Games slackline in Austin, Texas.
Slacklining, for the uninitiated, involves a suspended piece of flat webbing tied between two points, with less tension than a tightrope to allow for give and bounce. For beginners it is a matter of balancing, or walking from one side to the next, while slacklining at the highest level involves complex acrobatic routines that utilise the bounce. The distance between the line and floor depends on how talented or brave the individual actually is, with some hundreds of metres either off the ground, from point to point, or both.
Some of the most spectacular slacklining happens in outstanding natural beauty – among mountain peaks or hot air balloons in the sky – or between the skyscrapers or urban skylines. With athletes constantly looking for exciting challenges, it’s of little surprise that Kinoshita took his talents to Tamina.