Digital / interactive works

Door Games Window Frames: Near Drama 景框戲門

Exhibition site video view // Demo (proposal phase) // Link to related video work: Door Game (2005 / Linda La / 26-min. single-channel videoi)


Linda C.H. LAI 黎肖嫻

- an automated multiple-window installation exploring mannerisms and formulaic structures in Cantonese melodrama from 1960s

Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards 2012 Exhibition, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 4 October 2013-5 January 2014.

16th Generative Art Conference, Triennale, Milan, Italy.[...], 9-12 December 2013. Proceedings [...] Long text in digital catalog [...]

THE BURNING EDGE, MAKING SPACE, ACTIVATING FORM, the 1st Faculty Exhibition of the School of Creative Media, the City University of Hong Kong, Jan 12 - Apr 30, 2012, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, Hong Kong [...] 燃燒邊緣 — 製造空間與激發形式》, 香港城市大學創意媒體學院教職員展覽, 2012年1月12日至4月30日,邵逸夫創意 媒體中心。[...]


SYNOPSIS IN CHINESE: (read in English...)


《景框戲門》是一個衍生性藝術作品,可稱之為「程式 演算創作裝置或「演算法錄像電影」。作品由三個並列 影象組成,以程式語言編寫的規則,依據重複、組合、交換排列的邏輯,玩弄著約五百個「門與窗」的影象碎片,引發出三個影象的聲畫內容對流關係:攪拌出龐大的劇力,卻似是而非的劇情。



  1. 由關門和窗的片段,可以是開門、關門、窗前景、進、出、窺、看等等
  2. 兩個銀幕曝光率極高的男演員 – 張瑛、謝賢 – 的表情演出
  3. 11部電影裏面出現過的女主角的臉部表情特寫
  4. 小物件的特寫鏡頭
  5. 香港戶外街景




**For a detailed discussion of theoretical conception and research objectives vis-a-vis 'database cinema' and 'generative art', read original work proposal HERE.**

Door Games Window Frames: Near Drama is a generative art piece consisting of sequences of open-ended drama based on a database of about 500 movie clips extracted from HK Cantonese
thrillers and melodramas from the early 1960s. In the form of a 3-channel projection, the automated drama explores the mannerism and formulaic structures of 11 such films. Works in commercial cinema are largely genre films, indicating the power of formulaic treatment of character relation and event development. From the viewpoint of contemporary cinema, the frequent closing and opening of windows and doors to introduce new scenes is redundant, a residue of the traditional box-like theatre'a treatment of space. But for this project, I have turned such door and window movements literally into a unique propeller of drama. As punctuations as well for emotive shifts, the combinatorial game I play with these clips constructs micro-narrative movements. The 'near dramas' resulting from the game are not prescribed, but rather programmed for open meanings as filmic elements freely align and combine based on preset algorithmic rules.

The 500 clips were extracted with the following interest: (1) door and window shots from the 11 films, (2) the performance of the male protagonists -- mainly 2 actors -- in scenes with doors and windows, (3) the close-up shots of the facial expressions of female protagonists in the 11 films; (4) close-up shots of everyday objects, and (5) outdoor scenes that contain visual view of the city space of Hong Kong. Whereas the first three criteria set up my analytical-visual studies of the genre characteristics of these films, the latter two criteria form the anthropological-ethnnographic objectives of this project, acknowledging photography and cinema's intrinsic power to preserve the looks and appearances of material existence from the past.


Acknowledgements 鳴謝:
Research Assistant: Terence Chan Kwan-ho 研究助理:陳坤浩
Programmer: Philip Kretschmann 程式員:Philip Kretschmann
Programming Consultant: Hector Rodriguez




Technical Description & Meta-data organization

This work highlights an internal self-generative logic by which a program defines principles of self-organization to a bulk of carefully selected movie clips. The combinatorial justaposition of these clips is divided into THREE phasis, each operating upon a different set of rules to achieve its own visual music.
Each movie clip is assigned a number, each digital representing a value, including:which of the 11 movies it is from, duration, types of shot (window, door, object, location, facial expression), shot size and so on, which all form the basic grammar of visual music.

In Phase I, clips are sequentially ordered (within one window) and justaposed (across the 3 windows) purely based on the length (duration) of the clip, as variables of 2 seconds, 3 seconds and 5 seconds.
In Phase II, the organization acroos the 3 windows follows the type of shot (window or door), with a very small number of clips marked for delayed repetition across the the 3 windows.
Phase III works upon the setting of intervals of unison (same clip across the 3 windows), and the free alignment of clips between intervals as long as the clips add up to a set number in total duration.

The time taken for Phase I, II and III to complete is 24 minutes. The combinatorial possibitiies are theoretically infinite, and exactly repetition of sequential ordering and across-windown combination is rare.

After a few rounds of experiments, the final version of the codes adopts a central clock unit to ensure smooth synchronization of the 3 windows.

[See technical description of rules for the 3 phases open...




HK films researched and included in this work: thriller + melodrama

All movies were made in the 1960s.

Film Title Director Male protagonist played by... Genre
Blossoms in Rainy May I 《五月雨中花》上集
QIN Jian 秦劍
Family romance
Blossoms in Rainy May 2 《五月雨中花》

QIN Jian 秦劍

Family romance
捉姦記》 (catching the adulterous ones)

WU Hui

Thriller (Hitchcockian style) + romance
《夜半奇談》(strange tales at midnight)
XIE Hong 謝虹
Thriller (haunted house) + family
Rear Window 《後窗》

CHEN Pi 陳皮

Thriller (Hitchcock's Rear Window adapted)
The Splendor of Youth 《黛綠年華》


Family romance
《難兄難弟》(unbreakable fraternity)
QIN Jian 秦劍
Social reality + comedy + romance
《午夜招魂》(calling the spirit at midnight)
ZHANG Ying 張瑛
Thriller (haunted house and murder)
09 《金枝玉葉》(golden branch jade leaves) WU Hui
ZY Romance + comedy
10 《第7号司机》 (driver no. 7)
ZHANG Ying 張瑛
Social Drama
11 Second Spring 《翠樓春曉》
WANG Tianlin 王天林
Family romance

XX = Xie Xian (Tse Yin) 謝賢 / ZY = ZHANG Ying 張瑛

Female protagonists played by: Jia Ling 嘉玲 / Jiang Xue 江雪 / Li Zhuozhuo 黎灼灼 / Wang Aiming 王愛明 / Nan Hong 南紅 / Bai Xuexian 白雪仙 / Zhou Jialing 周嘉玲 / Zi Luolian 紫羅蘭 / Mei Qi 梅綺 / Xia Ping 夏萍 / Bai Luming 白露明

Other male protagonists played by: Hu Feng 胡楓 / Wu Chufan 吳楚帆 / Luo Jianlang 羅劍郎



Spatial set-up (technical drawings)