Charles, Rivers of Wisdom, Notation and Animation

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Ever since my conversation with Charles Reep at his home in 1996, I have been thinking about the fate of his real-time hand notation of the 1958 World Cup final that he transposed subsequently onto a roll of wallpaper.

My discovery of the twelfth century painting by Zhang Zeduan of Along the River During the Qingming Festival has sent me off thinking about Charles’ record of the game. Zhang Zeduan’s painting has survived despite the turmoils that have impacted on Chinese life for a millenium.

This picture was painted on a hand scroll of light-colored silk. The scroll is 24.8cm x 528.7cm and depicts 814 humans, 28 boats, 60 animals, 30 buildings, 20 vehicles, 9 sedan chairs and 170 trees.

The picture became the subject of a most remarkable animation by Chrystal CG. The project took two years to complete and the outcome was thirty times larger than the original scroll. Although the original picture is a daytime picture, Chrystal CG created a nighttime picture too. Their animation cycles between day and night in a four minute loop.

Gizmag says of the animation:

During the daylight scene, 691 characters go about their business. They are so detailed their facial expressions can be seen changing as a team of camels walks slowly by, or as they go about the task of taking down the masts of their vessel as they sail along the river. Then at night, lanterns and candles come alight for the 377 characters visible in the nighttime scene. As an example of the attention to detail, the creative team used more than 10 kinds of lanterns because historical records show that they varied in size and shape according to where they were hung – be it the gates of homes, government offices, stores or other places.

All of which got me thinking about how we might animate Charles’ picture of 1958. I realise now that I have been inappropriately Eurocentric in my suggestion that Charles’ wallpaper roll had the status of the Bayeux Tapestry. The animation of the picture of the river during the Quindong festival is called River of Freedom. It would be fascinating to think how Charles’ hand notation might be animated by Crystal CG.

I wonder how a young Pele would appear in such an animation.

This is what the River of Wisdom looks like:

Photo Credit

Along the River During the Qingming Festival  (Gizmag)

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