ionicons-v5-h ionicons-v5-f ionicons-v5-f ionicons-v5-k ionicons-v5-a ionicons-v5-i ionicons-v5-e ionicons-v5-h ionicons-v5-l ionicons-v5-j ionicons-v5-g ionicons-v5-g ionicons-v5-i ionicons-v5-k ionicons-v5-g ionicons-v5-g

Open in new window

Five Elements, Five Phases, Five Agents, Five Movements, Five Processes, Five Steps

Title of the performance:
Five Elements, Five Phases, Five Agents, Five Movements, Five Processes, Five Steps.
Date of creation: March/April 2013
Performer: Pier Giorgio De Pinto.
Première made for the Performance Art Award 2013 (not selected).

The chinese Wu Xing
In ancient Taoist thought, Wu Xing (wǔxíng), or the Five Phases, usually translated as five elements, five movements,
or five steps are five dynamic qualities or energies that can be perceived in all natural phenomena. The Chinese
character 行 (xing, hsing), though translated as “phase” or “element,” is a verb meaning “to act” or “to go.” The Five
Agents were believed to control the change and movement of the universe, and to provide the energy for all the other
groups of five in the Chinese cosmology.
The elements are:
• Wood
• Fire
• Earth
• Metal
• Water
The system of five phases was used for describing interactions and interpreting relationships between phenomena. It
was employed as a device in many fields of early Chinese thought, including geomancy or feng shui, astrology,
traditional and alternative Chinese medicine, music, art, military strategy, and martial arts, fortune-telling and casting
The doctrine of five phases describes two Cycles of Balance, a generating or creation (shēng) cycle and an overcoming or
destruction (kè) cycle of interactions between the phases. In any creative activity, such as martial arts, medicine, painting
or music, each element should only be combined with the elements that come before and after it in the cycle.
There are also two Cycles of Imbalance. An overacting cycle (cheng) occurs when the balance maintained in the
generating sequence is disrupted, causing one element to become excessive and “overcontrol” another element. An
insulting sequence (“wu,” also known as rebellious cycle, insulting cycle) operates in reverse to the overcoming
sequence, when the balance between two elements is broken and the element that is usually being controlled “insults”
the controlling element by overcoming it.
De Pinto will act the Cycles of Balance and the Cycles of Imbalance as a performance.
The performance consists of a sort of ritual: an alchemical combination of physical, psychological, and instinctual
responses through the use of natural elements and the use of an interactive installation.
The elements
Metal, wood, water, fire and earth will be presented on the set as real natural substances contained into 5 boxes.
De Pinto will step into each box combining the elements between them first in a cycle of balance and then in a cycle of
Each cycle will combined, transformed and used the elements thanks to the human interaction of Pier Giorgio De Pinto
with the elements and the interactive installation.
The interactive installation
The installation consists of a video generating visuals thanks to the sounds taken from the movement of De Pinto, from
the natural elements and from the sounds generated by the audience and the action itself.
The set.
The set is composed by
1. A vinyl carpet 300x200 cm.
2. Five plastic boxes 100x100x12 cm
3. Some ground (for the earth element)
4. Some water
5. Some pieces of wood
6. Some aluminium foils (for the metal element)
7. Some matches (for the fire element)
8. A laptop
9. A beamer
10. Some cables
11. For the projection is necessary a white wall or a video screen at least of 300x200 cm.
12. White clothes for the performer.
The carpet
This carpet is digitally printed with the drawing of the Wu Xing cycles.
Chiasso, 2013


Full spec

Video and Audio capture via software on real time during the performance.
Pier Giorgio De Pinto
Performance/Aktion für die Kamera / Performance/Action for the Camera
De Pinto, Pier Giorgio
Performance Artist
Video 16:9
De Pinto, Pier Giorgio