Shan Shui in the World · 世间山水
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.
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.
The generative shanshui paintings were printed and framed into traditional Chinese scroll paintings, and inscribed and sealed by hand.
BETWEEN SPACES: Parsons MFA Design + Technology Class of 2016 Thesis Exhibition. May 17—21, 2016. Parsons School of Design, New York.
Overfitting. August 26-28, 2016. Ouchi Gallery, New York.
NYC Media Lab 16. September 22, 2016. Columbia University, New York.
Metamorphoses: VISAP'16, the IEEE VIS Arts Program. October 23-28, 2016. Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD.
Digitalia. March 18-April 15, 2017. Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY.
Art: Key to Conflict Resolution. July 17-31, 2019. Serafio, Athens.
Weili Shi. Shan Shui in the World. 2016. The New School Design + Technology (MFA) Theses. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive.
Weili Shi. Shan Shui in the World: A Generative Approach to Traditional Chinese Landscape Painting. In Proceedings of the IEEE VIS Arts Program (VISAP), pages 41-47, Baltimore, Maryland, October 2016.
Weili Shi, A Generative Approach to Chinese Shanshui Painting, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 37, no. , pp. 15-19, Jan.-Feb. 2017, doi:10.1109/MCG.2017.13
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