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Echoes of Resistance

Keywords: audiovisual installation, projection mapping...

Echoes of Resistance        2024       created and documented by Xiangrui Zeng, Ian Tang, Pierre Pi

Echoes of Resistance is a 15 minutes audiovisual installation about ancient Chinese Chaoshan music. The physical visual art component of the project is inspired by the musical pieces composed by Pierre Pi. It is consisted of three paintings and three animations projected onto the paintings, each corresponding to one of the three movements of the music.

The painting using shapes and colors not to represent concrete images but to convey the feelings and understanding of the music. The approach intertwines sound, shape, and color through synesthesia, linking sensory experiences to create a cohesive artistic expression. The first painting, aligned with the "Nostalgic Dreams" movement, utilizes a palette that, while not highly saturated, offers a rich array of colors. This choice mirrors the once-thriving but rapidly vanishing culture of Southern China's microtonal music. The canvas is primed with a layer of plaster cloth, creating a rough, primitive texture that transports viewers back to the era of the music's origins. The second painting corresponds to the "Talk in the Sleep" movement. Its blurry brushstrokes blur the boundaries between colors, evoking the fluid and elusive nature of dreams. While the forms within the painting are indistinct, they invite viewers to project their own interpretations and imaginations onto the music, mirroring the movement's depiction of a fantastical world. The third painting, associated with "The Return" movement, synthesizes and integrates the artistic features of the previous two paintings to reflect the blending of traditional and modern concepts in the music. This piece visually represents the culmination of the musical journey, tying together themes of heritage and innovation.


In this project, the animations projected onto three paintings are ingeniously designed to illuminate and energize the visuals, while the combination of paintings and projections also symbolizes a deep projection of modernity onto tradition, creating a visual dialogue. As the music progresses, each painting is sequentially illuminated by projections, revealing a clear artistic narrative that forms a coherent and dynamic visual flow.

The first movement’s animation employs a blurring technique aimed at capturing the essence of Chinese ink painting, depicting a stormy scene that evokes a poignant nostalgia for bygone times. This approach does more than enhance the visual appeal; it touches deep emotional chords. The second movement's animation uses flowing water effects, symbolizing a river of history that connects the past with the future. In this river, chaotic thoughts are visualized as blocks that eventually weave into a vast net, symbolizing the endless possibilities extending into the future. In the third movement, inspired by ancient Cantonese notation, animated text leaps and bursts from the center of the canvas, displaying the eternal vitality of ancient art. This scene not only highlights the enduring allure of culture but also celebrates the fusion of tradition and modernity.

The focal point of the entire animation is a kite drifting in the storm, symbolizing forgotten cultures and their lonely but resilient spirit. From the lonely drift in the storm in the first movement to the challenges of exploring new possibilities in the second, and finally breaking boundaries in the third, the kite’s journey weaves through the visual narrative, symbolizing the pursuit of freedom and relentless exploration of culture.

The entire multimedia art form is influenced by Wassily Kandinsky, a pioneer of abstract art known for his mastery of synesthesia, including his ability to "hear" colors. Kandinsky's concepts and his exploration of the perceptual phenomenon of hearing and seeing as intertwined senses have significantly inspired our approach to linking visual art with musical expression. Through these works, we aim to offer an immersive, multi-sensory experience that resonates deeply with the viewer, which bridges the gap between the auditory and the visual.

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