Aural postcard: Can-Am championship

Mainly what I wanted to demonstrate here is the chaotic – both visually and sonically – environment of the Can-Am championships, Vancouver 2012. In this corner of the video we see the Qigong competitors moving along to soft music with focus and concentration, next to the more advanced Taiji individual forms. Then the video pans to the right where two large rinks are dedicated to Southern style kung-fu with lots of energy, yelling, thumping, kicking and twirling in the air. Further yet in the other side of the gym are the karate-do, tae-kwon-do boxing and wushu competitions. I was mostly fascinated with the soundscape. So busy, so counter-intuitive for the calm zen focus required for Qigong. I’m reminded of Ursula Franklin’s Silence and Notion of the Commons where she introduces the practices of Quaker communities. Taiji, something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and Qigong strike me as practices in need of some sort of silence – external or / and internal? Actually, the movement itself is silence. Just like the movements of wushu and southern kung-fu are themselves loudness. In any case, I wanted to capture the atmosphere of this event in its audio-visual glory. It was quite different on competition day as compared with the opening ceremony where triumphant warrior musical orchestrations accompanied all the school demos. Sans the glamour of evening glow, competitions were more like the metaphorical daytime light, unforgiving, full of energy, stress and possibility. Team cheers and chants were then the soundtrack of the better martial arts forms, with the only exceptions being Qigong group forms with the little distorted transistor radio soundtracks, the grit of the low-quality music player clashing with the intended grace of the forms.

Filmed with an iPhone 4 camera.

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