Digital / interactive works

Vaulting Space 翻騰空 (2014)


a Mock-up video on Vimeo


Linda C.H. LAI 黎肖嫻

- an automated 3-channel physical projection exploring Chinese swordplay films

"Tracing Data: What You Read is Not What We Write" - the 5th edtion of the Writing Machine Collective research-based exhibition, the Connecting Spaces HK-Zurich, 9-22 October 2014; a HK-ADC (Hong Kong Arts Development Council) project. 文字機器創作集展覽第5輯,《讀寫靈機:唧唧復唧唧》,2014年10月9-22日,Connecting Spaces HK-Zurich。(香港藝術發展局資助)

version 2.0: "The Age of Experience Vienna"; University of Applied Arts in Vienna, 10-20 December 2016

KEYWORDS: archive, cinema history, structural films, visualizing reading and writing, permutation/combinatorial logic, narrative experiments, generative system, intermedia scoring


A 3-screen automated projection runs 431 clips from swordplay films spanning across 1927-2011, exploring visual styles and spatial imagination in Chinese swordplay films and their possible origins... The codes of the artist’s former work, Door Games Window Frames: Near Drama (2012), are adapted to highlight the counterpoint relations of three image discourses, from the minimalist-constructivist view of the locomotive human body and tools and objects of swordplay to the most basic criteria of locomotion.

彈騰、滾進、跳出、閃入、穿越、跨過,不動聲色。奔跑、攝走、驅散。著地、猛進,無重狀態 。
看得見的音樂,無盡延伸的律動, 武俠電影的斷代板斧。請接招。


Concept Brief / Artist Statement 概念/藝術家陳述

Vaulting Space, adapting the codes for my work Door Games Window Frames: Near Drama (2012), is an algorithmic combinatorial projection in 3 channels distributed in different parts of a room. Clips from 16 "wuxia pian" (Chinese swordplay films) are combined and projected on 3 horizontal banners (projected surfaces) hanged from the ceiling of 21:9 aspect ratio. The 3 banners, lying horizontally on parallel planes, are also orchestrated in such a way that the minimal actions form a visual chorus. The making of rules is comparable to counterpoints in music to govern the interdependence across the three image discourses (on 3 screens) and independence within each of the three image discourses. There is no big theory while the clips I cut up span across 1927-2011. But I certainly believe in the revelatory power of longue durée (long duration) as well as the excavational power of thinking moving images just for their surfaces. From epic-stories to micro-narratives, I have further descended onto the deconstructible level of action sequences to see how local capabilities of our body, limbs and joints have been subjected to the imaginary scores of vaulting and swordplay that comprise the most unique genre of Chinese cinema.

On a broad level, Vaulting Space is a pleasurable celebration of the low-level visual/body mechanics and narrative components of swordplay in the form of a try-lateral polyphonic chorus. However, an under-current interrupts the image discourse of glorification every now and then -- the monstrous and the tyrannical are the constant antagonists of swordplay heroes and heroines. Jianghu [the world of gallant chivalry of swordplay], after all, is a world of the outcast and the anti-establishment in a situation of no choice. Between allegorical ontologies and phenomenological engagement of swordplay processes, I am exploring the many possibilties of writing/reading, discursive formation and articulation.



Acknowledgements 鳴謝:
Research/Technical Assistant: Wong Chun-hoi 研究及技術助理:王鎮海
Technical Consultant: Mike Wong 技術顧問:王健明
Programming Consultant: Hector Rodriguez
, Philip Kretschmann 程式顧問:羅海德, Philip Kretschmann

Sources of the 440 clips 440 個電影碎片的出處:

Film Title Year Director
Tale of the Western Chamber (aka Romance of the Western Chamber)
侯曜 Hou Yao

哪吒救母 (aka 哪吒蛇山救母)

How Nazha rescued his mother from the Snake Mountain

黃鶴聲 Wong Hok-sing

The Young Swordsman Lung Kim-fei (aka Buddha’s Palm)

凌雲 Ling Wan
Moslem Sacred Fire Decree
蕭笙 Siu Sang

Come Drink with Me

胡金銓 King Hu

Dragon Gate Inn

胡金銓 King Hu
A Touch of Zen
胡金銓 King Hu
The Valiant Ones
胡金銓 King Hu
09 楚留香 Clans of Intrigue 1977 楚原 Chor Yuen
10 倚天屠龍記
The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber
楚原 Chor Yuen
11 射鵰英雄傳(下)
The Brave Archer 2 (aka The Legend of the Condor Heroes 2)
1978 張徹 Chang Che
12 山中傳奇 Legend of the Mountain 1979 胡金銓 King Hu
13 蜀山 Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain 1983 徐克 Tsui Hark
14 東邪西毒 Ashes of Time 1994 王家衛 Wong Kar-wai
15 龍門飛甲 The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 2011 徐克 Tsui Hark
16 東方三俠 The Heroic Trio 1992 杜琪峰 Johnnie To













Tales of the Western Chamber 西廂記 (1927, Shanghai)

Notes on Chinese swordplay films:


Reference reading:

David Bordwell on King Hu:

Hector Rodriguez: “Film Form and Narrative Space in the Cinema of King Hu” [check]