Thursday, 21 December 2017

Toward an Aesthetic of Weightlessness: Qinggong and Wire-fu"

A while back I contributed an essay for the catalogue of artist susan pui san lok's exhibition, at Derby Quad, entitled "ROCH Fans and Legends." Susan's work in the exhibition works with video footage, primarily found on fan sites, to explore the cultural translations of Jin Yong's famous wuxia ("swordplay") novels as they migrate across cinematic and televisual cultures and transnational sites of reception and fandom. Doing this, the work also provides a meditation on forms of diasporic cultural identity, and the transnationality of popular culture.

My essay ("Toward an Aesthetic of Weightlessness: Qinggong and Wire-fu")looked at the figure of the weightless body in wuxia wirework, seeking to understand some of the differences between this and the muscular bodies of the "classic" kung fu films of the 1970s.

The catalogue is now available as an ebook, available here:

The book is a really fascinating, rich, multimedia product – a work of art in itself – which pushes the medium to its limits.

As well as giving a much better account of Susan's work than I can in this brief post, it also includes essays by Alice Ming-Wai Jim (University of Concordia, Montreal), Jean Hui Ng (Research Curator, CFCCA), Marquard Smith (Piet Zwart institute, Netherlands / UCL, London), Henry Tsang (Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Vancouver), Andy Willis (University of Salford, Manchester) and Wayne Wong (University of Hong Kong / Kings, University College London).

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