Kung Fu – Motion Videos

Similar to Jayna’s post, I was also looking at one of my favorite art blogs Colossal. I found a video titled “The Physics of Kung Fu Brought to Life Through Motion Capture Visualizations” by Tobias Gremmler. This first caught my interest due to the curiosity I have in the Chinese martial art. In class we talked about visual art being created in Eastern countries but we never really talked about the hundreds of fighting styles that show up in artists 2D work. Gremmler was able to capture this art form in an entirely new light through motion sequence shots. There are various animations the artists uses to turn the movement into structure and closer look at the physics of kung fu.

After watching the video I started to look at the lines created by the motion of the kung fu and how similar they looked to ink. (You might be rolling your eyes saying “just because this is a video about a Chinese martial art does not mean we should associate it with ink”). But seriously during the first half of the video, the colors created in the video the dark blacks and whites and the seemingly brush stroke quality of each motion leads me to think this. I researched the artist, Tobias Gremmler and there is not much information on him. He is a German artist but has studied and given lectures/workshops in Hong Kong, China. This specific video was commissioned by International Guoshu Association for an Kung Fu exhibition, initiated by Hing Chao. The exhibition focuses on the legacy of Hakka martial arts in Hong Kong. The Kung Fu Masters whose motions has been captured are: Master Wong Yiu Kau (Variation 1-3) and Master Li Shek Lin (Variation 3,4).

The image above on the left was included on his website but the interpenetration on the side was in German, but that looks like a classic ink gesture drawing to me. The image on the right is of a still from the video showing the gestured strokes through the HD camera. These similarities are striking to me. I wonder if the artist was intentional about making the video look like ink paintings because of the depiction of the art form. Could we have put this video in our gallery along with Zheng Chongbin? This artists is not Chinese or actually using ink at all does that matter?


One thought on “Kung Fu – Motion Videos

  1. Kara raises some interesting questions addressing the characterization of this art form. I agree with her when she states that there are similarities between Zheng Chongbin’s ink art and traditional Chinese ink art. The gestural quality of each stroke following the movement of the body is very similar to the two previously mentioned art forms. It is interesting that Kara denies the link between Chinese martial arts and ink painting. I think that the fact that they come from the same culture is integral to understanding how the form is presented. It would be interesting to see how a different movement pattern would influence our reading of this art form.

    When I watched the video, it reminded me of an article I had read recently about a 3D painting app called Tilt Brush. It is developed by google and allows users to paint in 3D space in order to design and draw anything they please. It is a very cool app and it is to be used in conjunction with HTC vive, a virtual reality and 3D mobile phone, glasses, and hand wand hardware and software. As shown in the link posted below, the users are using gestural strokes to create virtual art in 3D space. It is interesting how the gestural quality of Chinese ink art is reflected but also changed due to the 3D nature and the virtual technologically mediated experience of the Tilt Brush app.


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