Enter the Dragon 1973-2008

Paul Wong

2010, 05:35 minutes, colour


Enter the Dragon 1973-2008 is available in single channel for screenings and as a two projection installation.

Two seminal moments of recent media history are presented side by side. The closing scene from the film
Enter The Dragon* starring Bruce Lee is juxtaposed with the first segment from the Opening Ceremonies* of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

On the right, Bruce Lee uses traditional martial arts to battle evil. On the left, 2,008 perfectly choreographed performers synchronize ancient drumming with new digital art forms to create, in the words of Steven Spielberg,
“the grandest spectacle of the new millennium". The 35 years that separate the production of the footage on the left from the footage on the right demarcate an important period of decolonization. Bruce Lee whose strong and virile film appearances both popularized the martial arts and challenged the stereotype image of the Chinese male as an emasculated coolie*. Broadcast to a billion Chinese in China and to billions more world-wide, the opening ceremonies was the moment that China shed its image of feudalism and backward communism and re-positioned itself as a leading cultural, economic, and political force in the early 21st century.

*Enter the Dragon was the first kung fu film to be co-produced by a Hollywood studio, Warner Bros. This is Bruce Lee’s final film before his untimely death just before the films release in 1973.

*The opening ceremony proper began with a contemporary drum sequence by 2,008 Fou drummers [21]. The LED-embedded Fou drums and their glowing drumsticks were lit up by the drummers. In formation, the drummers lit their drums to form giant digits (in both Arabic and Chinese numerals) to countdown the final seconds to the Games and herald the start of the opening time of 8:00 p.m. local, in continuation of the 8/08/08 opening date. [22][23] A Taijiquan performance by 2,008 Tai Chi Chuan masters [34] in white showed the fluid movements achieved when in harmony with nature.
*coolie: historical term for manual labourers from Asia, a contemporary racial slur.

Enter The Dragon 1973-2008 is part of ‘5 Paul Wong Projects’ commissioned by The City of Vancouver through its Olympic and Paralympic Art Program.

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