Film of Changes, (or How I Free Myself with Rules)

Aleatoric or deterministic, mystical or logical, are familiar adjectives in experimental music since the 1950s. For instance, in 1951 John Cage used a Chinese Oriental fortune teller system to create Music of Changes for piano- he consulted the I Ching to make compositional decisions, to achieve his goal of leaving no trace of the composer on the music. With the advent of digital computers, composing like Cage became commonplace. Today, musicians are versed in programming computers to simulate randomness and or follow rules. Computers have become important musical instruments.

Computing technologies, however, are ever-evolving. And so is film.

This project investigates the aesthetics, philosophy and ethics of a traditional Chinese form of cleromancy -I Ching, or book of changes, by writing bespoke coding language and combining this tool with traditional media landscapes like film and creative arts, and related hybrid forms to subvert Its predominant uses.

This approach is to encourage the unforeseen in the filming process, which is breaking the filmmaking rules, and relinquishing control from the filmmaker's decision. The current video and audio outcomes are based on the speculation that there is a hunch in the film industry that a systematic approach to cinematic notation is possible but has yet to be developed. As such, filmmakers could use a system of symbols to build a story, just like the staves and notations used by musicians.

  • Ningrui Liu
  • Ningrui Liu
  • Ningrui Liu
  • Ningrui Liu
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 52 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Ningrui Liu
  • RCA open show at Royal College of Art, London
    United Kingdom
    July 15, 2023
  • iklectik artlab
    United Kingdom
    July 3, 2023
Director Biography - Ningrui Liu

Ningrui is an innovative post-discipline artist who focuses on the artful and experimental design of captivating experiences for diverse audiences. This approach allows her to build an exciting personal practice in living systems and computational systems. Her work ranges from feature films to interdisciplinary art forms.

Set design and film work in collaboration with experimental composers and musicians, choreographers. Interposing elements of science, philosophy and the occult, she investigates the frameworks and fictions we construct to make sense of the world. These outcomes combine intense live performance with experimental design, inhabiting found spaces and repurposing everyday materials, audiences are drawn into the immersive world of the visual, navigating through spaces as different pieces are activated or performed.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Film of Changes is the creative practice of intervening in, designing and generating experiences of complex ideas and phenomena using data and experience design. By using cleromancy combining bespoke coding and traditional storytelling skills, this project attempts to go beyond the personal and embrace collective, trans-individual, and more-than-human perspectives.
Its approach to theory is wide-ranging and transdisciplinary, involving technologists, ecologists and quantum physicists alongside those working in the arts. In comparison with the knowledge of exploring the concepts of quantum superposition and entanglement and their meaning and applications in digital art, we wish to explore the concepts of I Ching, by using its hexagram system, and divination process to generate artworks in a wider digital art landscapes, in order to achieve culture and knowledge exchange in these paradigms.