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16th October 2012
The short form
Title of film: Tai Chi / 5 Video Artworks / Framed Gallery, Tokyo
Director: Matt Pyke
Tai Chi digital art kicks up a quiet storm in Tokyo

Digital artist and Universal Everything collaborator Matt Pyke talks to 1.4 about his latest project – a series of digital art works on Tai Chi on show at the Framed Gallery, Omotesando, Tokyo until October 26th.

What was behind the decision to work with Tai Chi and what was the thinking behind the final forms you used to convey the movements?

We’ve been working with contemporary dancers on a number of projects, using film, CGI and more recently motion capture to explore body movements, albeit in a very abstract manner (see videos in Related Content).

I’m striving for a balance between abstraction and still having a human presence in there somewhere.

We’ve also been exploring the notion of ‘impossible sculptures’ – how one can work with CGI to create highly realistic tactile materials and bending them into physically impossible forms. I love the tension between the believable and the surreal.

These two approaches have been combined into this new show.
Tai Chi was chosen for the beauty and depth of the movements going way back in history. It also relates to the work of Ju Ming, a Taiwanese sculptor – whose Tai Chi series of stone sculptures made a profound impression on me personally.

We had a motion capture session with a Tai Chi master, turning his body movements into data. We then ‘dressed’ this data with a series of physical costumes.
All five artworks are based on the same movement, when played concurrently a unity emerges between the five disparate forms – the sound was created to work on the individual pieces, as well as five layers heard together to make a whole. This forms a harmony between the humans inside.