Motion graphics, Performing Arts

Embu focuses on integrating music and projected animation. I communicate the spirit of karate in a new context; transcending the original limitations of kata performance while still paying respect to the traditions of karate. My work explores the relationship between music, karate kata performance and visual images. The final outcome of my project is a live performance accompanied by an animated piece projected onto the wall and accompanying music.


Project Objective

I want to bring my interests: music, visual art and design, and karate together. I want to see how the motivation and emotion of music can affect karate movements and visual language. In doing so, I want to take advantage of the flexibility of projection technology and project video to weave movements and audio together. I want to bring the viewer a new multiple sensation experience that creates an interesting way of interpreting the spirit of karate kata.


Project Details

I use two projectors to project on the wall and floor accompanied by music to create an immersive environment surrounding the performer. I am choosing to perform the piece live instead of using the format of video documentation, because I find that the impact of body movements, audio, and visual elements have a stronger impact in live performance. Live performance provides a different experience that allows audiences to closely engage with the performance by interacting with the visuals and sound effects in person. 

“Embu” originates from the karate term “演武 (えんぶ)”, which literally means martial art performance. However, the actual meaning of “embu” in kata performance is not as simple as just demonstrating various movements without intention. Rather it embodies deep meaning and spirit according to Funakoshi. The deep meaning in “embu” is the movements representing the fighting techniques that are applicable in the real world with an actual opponent. Every decision of movement, every step, and every direction are based on this fundamental notion. In my project, I adopt this central idea of “embu”, integrating different media in order to expand and underline this pivotal meaning


Visual Elements




Installation Details

PA system

PA system

Double projectors

Double projectors




Embu live



J. Zachary Keenan

Piotr Szyhalski
Pramila Vasudevan
Ben Moren

Lister Rossel
Desiree Niu

MFA program
Media center