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Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society fonds Gardens, Chinese--Taoist influences With digital objects
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China garden

Item is a short documentary exploration of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen gardens with a meditative, philosophical, and poetic approach. The narrator speaks about some of the essential elements of a classical Chinese garden: Water, Rock (Mountains), and Buildings, followed by recitations of poetry by Ge Gong and Tao-yün. The occasional narration is accompanied by zheng music and a selection of garden scenes that illustrate many of the different ‘views’ of the garden that are relevant to the narration. Special attention is given to the flow of water over the rocks, the railings, screens, and leak windows, and a high vantage point view of the whole garden from the mountaintop pavilion.

Garden of ease

Item is a documentary film about the Taoist meanings of various elements of the design in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden. The film opens with a street scene of Chinese New Year, including lion dances, firecrackers, and a parade. The main film is an interview with James Yu, the maintenance coordinator of the garden. He discusses the contrasting elements (yin and yang), the different kinds of plants (plum, bamboo, and pine), the leak windows, the upturned eves, and the reflections in the water, and then presents a Taoist interpretation of each of them. The narration is supplemented with film footage of the gardens illustrating each point in turn. The film concludes with more footage of garden views and details.

Harmony in a garden

Item is a short documentary tour of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden with a focus on the philosophical Taoist elements. It discusses how each of the four major garden elements (buildings, rocks, plants, and water) is represented in the garden, and explains some features in the context of Taoist balance and function. This discussion is illustrated with footage of the relevant elements and Chinese style background music.

People will talk

The item is a recording of a segment of a longer news program called ‘People Will Talk’ hosted by Laurier LaPierre on the subject of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese garden. The segment is in two main parts, the first part is a report by David Kincaid which includes footage of the construction of the gardens and later footage of the gardens in their completed state. Narration accompanying the footage describes the history of the classical Chinese garden in general, the construction efforts, and the goals of the final project, and some of the theories around the art form of the classical Chinese garden.

The second part is an interview with Sue Yung Li, a landscape architect and filmmaker from San Francisco. They discuss the role of the classical Chinese garden in Chinese culture as a source of artistic inspiration, the difference between a Chinese and a Japanese garden, the importance of rock and water in the garden, the accessibility of these kinds of gardens to the western audience. They also discuss elements of Li’s personal life, footage of the construction of the gardens and later footage of the gardens in their completed state.

Refreshment for the Heart

Item is a documentary film about the construction of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens. It is divided into two sections: the first section is a discussion of the classical Chinese gardens in Suzhou while the second, much longer, section discusses the construction of the gardens in Vancouver. It uses footage filmed during the construction process, descriptive narration, and short segments of an interview with Joe Wai, one of the project architects.

The documentary opens with narration about the importance of water to the region and the history of the region, illustrated with footage of boating and agricultural life. The city of Suzhou is introduced with narrated scenes of the city, canals, and tourist destinations. Next the film explores a few of Suzhou’s famous gardens. The gardens discussed are: The Master of Fish Nets Garden, The Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lion Grove Garden, and The Lingering Garden. The film then concludes this section with a discussion of design elements and the Taoist elements of each feature.

The film then moves to Vancouver, beginning with footage of famous city landmarks and city views (e.g. Lions Gate Bridge, Canada Place, the Skytrain) with an emphasis on the modern technological nature of the city. Street scenes of Chinatown are the backdrop to a discussion of the history of Chinese people in Canada, the development of the Chinese Cultural center, and the pre-construction process of getting the approval and funding to build the garden. Discussion of the construction of the garden focuses on the Suzhou artisans who built the garden according to traditional means, emphasising the use of traditional tools, building methods, and materials. This is illustrated with footage of moving the Lake Tai rocks by hand and placing them into position.

Tthe film talks about the artisans, with scenes of the builders socialising at a banquet, singing, and playing table tennis. The documentary then focuses on the finishing touches and role they play in the finished garden. The documentary concludes with the official opening ceremony with dignitaries and the artisans followed by footage of the completed garden.

The bridge of five thousand miles

Item is a video photo montage ‘walking tour’ of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, narrated by Mary White. The film discusses the history of Chinese gardens and the history of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden, including a discussion of the construction materials and techniques, and the artisans who built it. Different architectural elements of the garden are considered, and their function and meaning discussed. The philosophical elements of garden construction as an art form are discussed throughout.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society