Shan Shui on the Empire State Building is a proposal of presenting Chinese shanshui paintings on the facade of skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building use projection mapping technique. In the demonstrative mockup video above, the projection is on a large print of a photo of the Empire State Building and other buildings in New York. The projected work is painted by renowned contemporary painter Li Keran (李可染, 1907–1989).
Shanshui painting depicts natural scenes in a semi-abstracted purified way. Behind this very spiritual art form are the naturalistic ideology of the Chinese and their thinking about the relationship between urban life and people's yearning for nature. Imposing the depictions of the natural scenes directly onto skyscrapers—the symbol of urban life and the artificial world—makes a dramatic contrast between the two. Shan shui on the Empire State Building not only is an spectacle to watch, but also provokes the audience's awareness and consideration about this relationship.
(Shan shui on the Empire State Building is a collaboration between SHI Weili and Lisa MARKS. Shanshui painting credit: LI Keran. Photo credit: Daniel SCHWEN, Empire State Building as seen from Top of the Rock. Music credit: QIAO Shan, Flowing Water.)