In mid 2000, so almost 11 years ago, I and two other creatives in Germany got invited to create a digital art work for the exhibition Berlin – HongKong. We contributed the most logical thing: an ‘ultra-interactive KungFu Remixer’. We called it “I know where Bruce Lee lives” (a nod to the TV Personalities‘ lyrics of ‘I know where Syd Barrett lives‘).
It essentially was a very early mash-up piece, using snippets of Bruce Lee films (animations, fight sounds and loops of the score by genius Lalo Schifrin). Particularly entertaining for us was the hammy gangster dialogue snatched from the German dubbing of said martial arts films. Sprinkled into the mash-up were Chinese characters that mimic some of the sounds you hear. In order to get these right we had asked a Chinese language professor for help – to this day I have no idea what they really mean (see a trailer for the app here).
The playful interactivity comes through using your keyboard to ‘make music’ with Kung Fu. There is a longer list of the international festivals and exhibitions (from the US, Brazil, Spain and Holland to Hongkong and Australia) it was part of.
To this day ‘I know where Bruce Lee lives‘ ranks among the top Google search hits for the Asian hero. I still receive emails of people discovering and liking it, among them many martial arts fans but also musicians such as Krautrock-god Holger Czukay of CAN fame. The latest feedback email came through last week, from one of the members of ‘V for Volume‘. They are apparently a very popular Chilean band, coincidentally sporting some half-German members in their line up.
It is kind of hard to see the Bruce Lee connection in this video, maybe I should brush up on my Spanglish. But despite this, it never ceases to amaze me how the internet connects us in different ways at different times with our various tastes and aesthetic sensibilities. Double Rainbow all the way.