Shan Shui in the World · 世间山水

Read More

https://vimeo.com/169304961

本文中文版链接 (Chinese version): http://shi-weili.com/shan-shui-in-the-world-chinese/

Shan Shui in the World presents shanshui (山水, landscape) paintings of selected places in the world generated by a computational process based on geography-related information.

This project revisits the ideas implicit in Chinese literati paintings of shan shui: the relationship between urban life and people’s yearning for the nature, and between social responsibility and spiritual purity. For an audience living in an urban area, a traditional shanshui painting provides them with spiritual support through the depiction of the natural scene of elsewhere. With generative technology, however, Shan Shui in the World has the ability to represent any place in the world—including the city where the audience is—in the form of a shanshui painting based on geography-related information of the place.

The notion that shan shui can exist right here (though in a generative parallel world) not only underscores the contrast between the artificial world and nature, but also reminds the audience of an alternative approach to spiritual strength: instead of resorting to the shan shui of elsewhere, we may be able to obtain inner peace from the “shan shui” of our present location by looking inward.

The Generative Process

In this first production of Shan Shui in the World, the shan shui of Manhattan, New York is generated based on its building information. The generative engine was written in C++ with use of creative coding toolkit openFrameworks. The code that renders the shanshui painting was written in OpenGL Shading Language as fragment shaders.

Height and area of the buildings in Manhattan, New York plotted according to their location.

Adjacent buildings merged into mountains, indicated by colors.

Outline of the mountains generated based on building information.

Mountains rendered in the style of ink-wash painting.

Mountains rendered in the style of blue-green shan shui.

Scroll-making

The generative shanshui paintings were printed and framed into traditional Chinese scroll paintings, and inscribed and sealed by hand.

A partially unfurled handscroll, together with a furled one in a samite box.

Details of a scroll painting.

Two seals and their imprints, together with red ink and a carving knife.

Generative Shanshui Paintings

Scroll of Shan Shui in Manhattan, New York. 2016. Handscroll. Ink on paper. (192 × 12 inch) Scroll left to see the whole painting.

Downtown Manhattan, New York, High Distance. 2016. Hanging scroll. Ink on paper. (24 × 55 inch)

Uptown Manhattan, New York, Level Distance. 2016. Hanging scroll. Ink on paper. (24 × 55 inch)

Scroll of Blue-green Shan Shui in Manhattan, New York. 2016. Handscroll. Ink and colors on silk. (178 × 12 inch) Scroll left to see the whole painting.

Blue-green Downtown Manhattan, New York, High Distance. 2016. Hanging scroll. Ink and colors on silk. (24 × 55 inch)

Blue-green Uptown Manhattan, New York, Level Distance. 2016. Hanging scroll. Ink and colors on silk. (24 × 55 inch)

Scroll of Blue-green Shan Shui in Baltimore. 2016. Hanging scroll. Ink and colors on silk. (20 × 55 inch)

Exhibitions

Publications

(Credits: The geographical data used by Shan Shui in the World is from © OpenStreetMap contributors, Who’s On First, Natural Earth, and openstreetmapdata.com through Mapzen.)

Shan Shui on the Empire State Building

Read More

https://vimeo.com/170707382

Shan Shui on the Empire State Building is a proposal of presenting Chinese shanshui paintings on the facade of skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building use projection mapping technique. In the demonstrative mockup video above, the projection is on a large print of a photo of the Empire State Building and other buildings in New York. The shanshui painting projected is painted by renowned contemporary painter Li Keran (李可染, 1907–1989).

Shanshui painting depicts natural scenes in a semi-abstracted purified way. Behind this very spiritual art form are the naturalistic ideology of the Chinese and their thinking about the relationship between urban life and people's yearning for nature. Imposing the depictions of the natural scenes directly onto skyscrapers—the symbol of urban life and the artificial world—makes a dramatic contrast between the two. Shan shui on the Empire State Building not only is an spectacle to watch, but also provokes the audience's awareness and consideration about this relationship.

(Shan shui on the Empire State Building is a collaboration between SHI Weili and Lisa MARKS. Shanshui painting credit: LI Keran. Photo credit: Daniel SCHWEN, Empire State Building as seen from Top of the Rock. Music credit: QIAO Shan, Flowing Water.)