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Composed and Performed by the Vaad

Inspired by the Ju Ming sculpture

Taijitu is the Chinese word for the symbol we commonly know as Yin and Yang. We are all familiar with the classic icon where white and black share equal parts of an interlocking circle. This Taoist symbol generally represents the idea of opposites living in harmony.

Practitioners of the martial arts ascribe to this ideology of opposites when they speak of and execute techniques that are either hard or soft. Hard is opposing, responding with to force with force using the attackers momentum against him or her. Soft is yielding, responding to force by deflecting the attackers force by exerting the least amount of energy possible while pushing the attacker off balance.

Ju Ming’s “Tai Chi Single Whip” presents a substantial, chunky stone figure performing the moving meditation of Tai Chi. When I first encountered the sculpture, I was attracted to the softness of the pose as it contrasted to the hardness of the materials. The physical weight of the piece balanced against the litheness of the figure calls to mind the essence of the Yin/Yang symbol and martial artists concept of hard and soft. This guy can move gently if he chooses, but can also crush you with his substantial weight if you antagonize him.

My musical approach to it erred on the side of the softness, enhancing the perceived gliding motions our sculpture man is attempting to make. I didn’t want to get crushed…

Benjamin Kaplan
St. Louis, 2014

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from 38​.​627​,​-​90​.​194, released July 1, 2014
Composed and Performed by the Vaad

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Commonwealth St Louis, Missouri

Commonwealth, founded by artists Benjamin Kaplan and Chris Grabau and, “is an approach to making art that comes in response to our surroundings,” says Grabau. Kaplan adds, “St. Louis is a city of neighborhoods, both geographically and psychologically. We live in our neighborhoods. And we see Commonwealth as a way to expand that neighborhood.” ... more

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