Dancing Calligraphy

This is a contemporary dance company based in Taiwan called Cloud Gate Dance Theater. The group combines martial arts and contemporary dance in their choreography. This is a clip from "Xing Cao" the first of three dance performances inspired by calligraphy. I found this clip enlightening, the movement emulates both the hand and brush.  

I think it would be nice addition in the thesis but I don't know what to do with it, or where it fits or if I have time to play around with it. 

video

Revised Thesis Structure

Abstract: 1 page, 260 words

Lan Ting: 2 pages, 200-250 words + photograph

Part 1: A Landscape Continuously Unfolding

Aesthetics & Shi: 8 pages, 500 words words + diagrams

Countless Peaks and Vales: 10 pages, 2000 words + diagrams (in with text)

Diagrams of Peaks and Vales: 14 pages diagrams + text

Timeline: 2 pages

Part 2: Lesson from Old Masters

Linguistics: 2 pages, 350-400 words + diagrams (in with text)

Form as Poetry: two pages, 445 words + diagram (in with text)

Calligraphic Style: 3-4 pages, 775 words + images (in with text)

Materials: Hand - Brush, Ink-Paper, 4 pages, diagrams, images + text

1 blank page + character ‘yong’ - 永

Stroke order of Yong: 2 pages, diagram + text

The Eight Laws of Yong: 4 pages, diagram + text ( 8 strokes + laws taken from reference book)

A Beginner’s Struggle: 4 pages, diagram + text (various stroke, figure/ground errors)

Graphic Design: Li Chun’s 84 Laws: 30 pages, 150-200 words (1 page text introduction, 28 pages diagrams + laws translated by me)

Graphic Design: Multiple Characters: 8-10 pages diagrams + text

A Reservoir of Knowledge: 4-6 pages, 375-400 words + diagrams (in with text)

1 blank page + character ‘hua’ - 花 in 5 styles

Stroke order of Hua: 2 pages, diagram + text

Rhythmic difference between Hua’s: 2 pages, diagram + text

1 bland page + character ‘hua’ - 花 in 3 cursive variations

Stroke order of Hua: 2 pages, diagram + text

Rhythmic difference between Hua’s: 2 pages, diagram + text

1 blank + quote: As in calligraphy, it is necessary to emphasize a contrast so that one term prepares for the other; not simply so that the one throws the other into greater relief but also so that the former necessarily cries out for the latter to follow it all the more forcefully precisely because the balance needs to be restored and a harmonious arrangement maintained through compensation. - Jullien

Stroke Order: 8 pages, diagram + text (general cases)

Front and Back: 2 pages, diagram + text (differences in pressure seen on paper)

Ink and Paper: 2 pages, diagram + text (ink and paper in ‘section’)

1 blank page + ‘Wu’ - 無

Diagram of writing ‘wu’: 6 pages, diagrams + text (sequence in plan, elevation/section)

Diagram of writing ‘zhong’: 4 pages, diagrams + text (sequence of writing with broom)

Calligraphic Space: A Function of Accumulated Time: 4-6 pages, 1500 words + diagrams/images (in with text)

1 fold-out page of calligraphy by Dong Qichang


Part 3: Conclusions

2-4 pages, 550 words

Lan Ting - Revised



'Wetter' but is it better?

I visited Orchid Hill Park on a November morning on my last day in Shaoxing. I entered the park following a winding path that cuts through a bamboo grove, the sound of raindrops lightly tapping my umbrella. The path was paved with stone slats and the slick surface was a wet wash of branches and shadows. The path led me to a small pavilion perched before a lily pond raised on a platform three steps high, the sweeping gable roof raised by four stone columns. At the center was a stone tablet inscribed with the words “Lan Ting.” During the Spring Autumn Period, a pavilion was built at the foot of a hill where once there were orchids planted. It was named Lan Ting, the Orchid Pavilion. In the spring of 353 Wang Xizhi and forty-one of his friends and family gathered here. For the literati, spring was a time of renewal when one returns to nature and washes away the grime of winter. Wang and company played a game floating cups of wine down a stream, drinking and writing poetry. Wang wrote a preface introducing these poems titled “Lan Ting Xu,” considered the masterpiece of Chinese calligraphy. Looking at the fabled pavilion I thought: this is it? Where was the trickling stream? The lofty hills behind? Had it not been for the inscription, the building was simply ordinary, the place’s significance verified by two words. Was that enough? I came here chasing the beautiful place I sensed in Wang’s writing. I came searching for clues connecting the present to that spring day in 353. I wanted inspiration. No one noticed. I guess calligraphy gods don’t like rain either.

Abstract + Intro

I'm playing around with a few options for the Introduction. I can't decide if I like the first layout or the second better. Any advice?



Abstract - Revised

This is in response to a question about what my thesis is:

In this thesis, the Chinese writing system: from tools, technique, movement patterns to compositional tendencies across the five calligraphic styles are analyzed using line drawings, notations, video, and stop action frame grabs. The line is the fundamental component of Chinese brush calligraphy. It is an impression left by a brush moving rhythmically over an absorbent white paper. The hand, brush, ink and paper interact in three dimensions: the x, y, and z-coordinates. Each Chinese character is a stand alone graphic inscribed within an imaginary square. The hand moves circuitously over one spot, the lines are strategically placed in a predetermined order, building a Chinese word. Calligraphy is a spatial practice. A calligrapher’s spatial sensibility combines graphic knowledge with kinetics. Movement and time are important themes in Chinese art, there is no single point of view, only elements arranged serially unfolding localized vignettes. The stroke and the paper represent the figure and the ground - a graphic space in the x-y direction, designed to convey dynamism. ‘Change’ is a transfer of states and brush technique shifts from one gesture to another. There are rhythmic variations within a calligraphic line. Two types of movement: the broad sweep and the pause exists simultaneously, causing friction between momentum and inertia. The distance between pauses represents time and the various stroke widths indicate speed. This reciprocity of opposite conditions is best defined as ‘shi,’ a term used in numerous strategic manuals. ‘Shi’ represents a dynamic logic, where a position is defined by the most advantageous outcome. A brush is flexible, ensuring that surface contact between it and the paper are in constant flux. The hand pushes the brush into the paper, from an upright stance on the z-axis, and the paper responds, soaking up the ink. The harder the hand pushes, the darker the stroke. The stroke is a measurable trace of a hand’s force and direction of movement. But the Chinese character is also a descriptor of historic time. Brush calligraphy is a two thousand year old practice, and Chinese characters in its present form incorporates all past forms and techniques. Style choices reflect the purpose of the work and the artist’s personal preferences. Furthermore, various environmental and emotional factors influence the piece’s overall effect. A piece of calligraphy is a route map showing the hand and brush in motion and a relic from a moment of creativity at a specific time and place in history.