The second season of Zhejiang Television’s cultural reality show “The Shape of Culture” has impressed global audiences with intriguing world heritage tales and stories. The “youth troupe” led by Shan Jixiang, director of China Cultural Relics Academy who served as the curator of the Palace Museum in Beijing between 2012 and 2019, has journeyed 11 destinations in the first 11 episodes of Season 2, with a keen focus on the heritage values and continuation of Chinese civilization and intermingling of global cultures. The 12th episode will be aired on March 6, sharing the heritage tales of the Beijing Central Axis, the best-preserved core area of the old city of Beijing and best embodiment of the Chinese urban construction idea of “respecting the middle.”
“Along the journey, our strongest feeling is that once we recognize the great charm of the cultural heritage around us, everyone will feel a sense of happiness from the bottom of our hearts, evoked by nostalgia, and some inspired by pride,” said Shan. “I have a wish to integrate world heritage into the modern life of Chinese people, to make more young people fall in love with traditional Chinese culture and bring China’s world heritage to the world in a vivid, cultural attitude.”
Following the huge success of season one, the show has elevated the creative concept and narrative logic, presenting more in-depth, structured answers to the three key questions: What is world heritage? Why is it world heritage? What can world heritage do?
In terms of selecting the heritage sites, this season has especially emphasized diversity, featuring a wider range that not only includes archaeological sites like Yin Xu but also natural and cultural sites like Mount Wuyi, highlighting a distinct down to earth style of youthful spirit, artistry and critical thinking, which all together has endowed the show with a wider, deeper perspective in time and space. The “youth troupe” also participated in the story and planning meetings of the second season, expressing their personal understandings of the world heritage sites.
The new season also optimizes the content structure to improve content richness: each episode opens with a suspension or curious fact, using personified expression to have the treasures “talk” about the legends and historical tales, by documenting the lively moments of modern city life, recording 24 hours of real life scenes around the heritage sites, through a history chatroom that virtually asks the historic figures to tell the stories, or using heritage big data to highlight the uniqueness of Chinese heritage in a global perspective.
The program, aiming at to awaken the culture of World Heritage sites, combines technology, aesthetics of traditional clothing, music, peotry and mock dialogue with ancient people to enrich and explore the extradinary way of culture presentation. In the show, audience are able to watch the tradtional clothing fasion show, enjoy themselves at concerts of traditional music, and join the poetry session in the midnights through the lens.
Visually, the film language of the new season not only emphasizes “beauty,” but different ways to interpret the various kinds of beauty. To achieve this goal, the production team used the meticulous design of the camera angles as part of an integrated system that converges sound, lighting, graphics, style and copy. Through stage performance, theater interpretation and modern art, the show has deconstructed Chinese aesthetics to inspire the public’s perception of the beauty of China.
Source: Zhejiang Television