North Koreans in 3D

October 9, 2015 2015年10月9日

Photographer Matjaž Tančič recently held the first foreign photography exhibition in one of the world’s most inaccessible cities: Pyongyang, North Korea. The show featured his portraits of everyday North Koreans – but in 3D. It was a unique experience for those in attendance, who mostly didn’t have any greater context of photography from the internet and literature to draw from. “North Korea is special – it’s like traveling back in time. Everything was retro, funny lights and colors, like a Wes Anderson film. It was so raw, so different seeing things you will remember forever, meeting people who’ll probably never have a chance to be seen again.”

最近摄影师Matjaž Tančič成为第一个在世界上最难接近的城市之一朝鲜平壤举办个人摄影展的外国人。该展览以3D效果呈现他在朝鲜每天所遇见的人物肖像。对于从没有通过网络和书本了解过摄影的人来说,这是一场独特的体验。“朝鲜这个地方很特别,像是穿越时光一样。一切都很复古,有趣的灯光和颜色,就像Wes Anderson的电影一样。所有东西都那么原生,这种画面你会难以忘记,相遇的人可能从此不会再见。”

An accomplished photographer who studied at the London College of Fashion for Photography, Matjaž grew up in Slovenia, formerly Yugoslavia. Images of political leaders, working brigades, and propaganda have always been familiar. In his trip to North Korea, Matjaž focused on showing ordinary people as much as possible. With the help of North Korean specialists Koryo Studio he spent ten days driving through the entire country, shooting more than 100 portraits.

才华横溢的摄影师Matjaž曾经就读于伦敦时装学院时尚摄影专业,他从小在斯洛文尼亚长大,亦即前南斯拉夫。政治领袖、流水线工作以及政治宣传相关题材是他的摄影作品常见的主题。此次朝鲜之行中,Matjaž想要尽可能多地展现普通人的面貌。在位于朝鲜的专业艺廊Koryo Studio的帮助下,他花了十天穿越这个国家,拍摄了超过100张的人像照片。

“It was a very intense, by-the-minute schedule. With limited time, you have to think fast, find the location, make sure the light is good, make sure the feeling is right, and stay friendly and curious on top of it all. It was intense and hard, but super rewarding to see something no one has shot before.”


Students, waitresses, doctors, farmers, athletes, and factory workers all stood as still as possible for the 3D portraits. Using his experience in 3D photography and technique, Matjaž only had 5 – 10 minutes per portrait to nail the shot with one camera. 3D photography is achieved by combining two frames (one for the left eye, and one for the right eye) with two identical cameras or with a slider. It is very exacting and can be difficult to compose in this way, especially under challenging conditions and situations.


Shooting in 3D is often seen as a gimmick, Matjaž says – but it can also add more value to your subject. It depends on the selection and the craft of the story. Matjaž, who is based in Beijing, previously shot a photo series in Yixian, Anhui Province in China entitled Timekeepers. Using 3D photography, he made diptychs of villagers in their remote, traditional homes. In one frame is a portrait of the villagers in their living room. In the other is a still-life of their possessions, which included a clock in every home, leading to the title Timekeepers. In 3D, the sense of personal life, personal space, and personal objects is heightened. Every object and detail is greatly emphasized.


Timekeepers was published by Jiazazhi Press in May 2015, disguised as an old Chinese photo album in a box. Matjaž is now working on a book featuring his North Korean portraits as well as other documentary photography projects.


Contributor: Jia Li

供稿人:Jia Li

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Soft Lipa

October 7, 2015 2015年10月7日

Since the start of his music career in 2009, Taiwanese hip-hop artist Soft Lipa has gained a strong following with his smooth, jazzy hip-hop tracks. Songs like “Re Shui Zao” or “Cai Jiao Ta Che” bring out his enjoyment of daily life, or his song “Guan Yu Xiao Xiong”, which narrates the relationship of two lovers through a toy bear. Soft Lipa has adapted the hip-hop genre to fit a personal style that’s all about, in his words, “comfort.”

台湾嘻哈音乐人蛋堡,自2009年开始音乐生涯以来,已经通过他恬淡优雅的爵士嘻哈曲目赢得众多粉丝。 《热水澡》《 踩脚踏车》等作品描述的是他日常生活中的愉悦,《关于小熊》则是讲述两个恋人通过一只玩具小熊维系感情的故事。蛋堡认为,一切最重要的就是“舒服”,更是将这种个人风格渗入嘻哈音乐,让自己的作品独具一格。

Soft Lipa Choice Tracks:


 Soft Lipa – Re Shui Zao

 Soft Lipa – Qi Jiao Ta Che

 Soft Lipa – Guan Yu Xiao Xiong



 蛋堡 – 热水澡

 蛋堡 – 踩脚踏车

 蛋堡 – 关于小熊

Neocha: When you were back in high school in Tainan, what did you think then about hip-hop music and rap as a form of expression?

Soft Lipa: I first got exposed to hip-hop when I joined a club at school, the hip-hop dance group. Because of that group, I started to listening to hip-hop music. I heard MC Hotdog’s music during my last year of high school, and I thought about how Chinese rap could sound. That’s when I first tried writing my own music.

Back then, I thought of hip-hop as a music form that could give me a feeling of release. Since Taiwan’s school system is pretty intense, as well as in most of East Asia, I felt like hip-hop gave me a path outside of that.

Neocha: 你在台南一中读高中的时候,你当时对写饶舌歌曲和说唱作为一种音乐风格和表达形式有什么样的感觉?

蛋堡: 我一开始接触到嘻哈是通过参加学校的一个社团,就是热舞社,开始跳街舞。因为加入那个社团,我开始听一些像hip-hop风格这样的音乐。到了高三的时候,听到热狗(MC Hotdog)的音乐,我当时就觉得中文的饶舌也可以这样唱,可以这样写饶舌。所以我就开始自己尝试写写看。

那时候我觉得hip-hop是可以给我一个解放的感觉的音乐形式。因为像台湾的升学制度,会比较压迫一点,可能东方都是这样吧。所以当时hip-hop 这种音乐对我来说是一个出口,可以在里面得到解放。

Neocha: Most of your songs have a laid-back feel to them, or what you call “soft rap”. Does writing songs that are smooth and laid-back help you feel relaxed?

Soft Lipa: I tend to like things that I find comfortable. Not just hip-hop, also other kinds of music that feel comfortable to me. For me, it means letting myself relax. I always want to listen to music when I’m by myself working on something.

In terms of making music, I feel that music should be smooth and natural, which is how my music ends up sounding. Even with jazz, it’s all in a style that I like.

Another aspect is that hip-hop originated in the U.S., and East Asia is not like the U.S. As someone from the East, I find that people are more introverted here, which could make hip-hop less suitable. If you were to take it directly and move it over here, or copy it over here, it wouldn’t really work.

Neocha: 你大部分的歌曲一听就会有一种轻松的感觉,也是你所谓的轻饶舌风格。创作这样的歌曲会让你自己安静下来吗?

蛋堡: 我比较喜欢自己觉得舒服的东西。不一定是hip-hop,可能是音乐,我就是喜欢舒服的东西。它对我的意义就是,让我放松,而我需要放空,做我自己的事情的时候我想听音乐。


另一方面, hip-hop这个东西源自于美国, 我觉得东方不像美国,以东方人的角度来说,可能比较内敛一点,hip-hop不见得那么适合。如果你要直接把它移植、复制过来的话,其实没那么适合。

Neocha: There are only a few songs of yours that have Taiwanese in the lyrics. What is the difference between using Taiwanese versus Mandarin in your music?

Soft Lipa: The tonality of Taiwanese is different, since Taiwanese has eight tones. Because of this, when it comes to singing, Taiwanese has a greater degree of freedom. Mandarin is the official language, so it already has certain limitations to it, while Taiwanese has a lot of slang, and it has a very local feel to it. For writing songs, though, I still tend to use everyday Mandarin in my lyrics.

Neocha: 你的歌曲里面比较少有台语歌词的,对你来说用台语来说唱跟用国语来说唱有什么不一样的感觉?

蛋堡: 台语的音调上面不一样,台语有八个音。所以唱起来,台语的自由度会比较高。国语是官话,那它其中就是已经有某些限制。台语有很多俚语,是一种有local(当地)味道的东西。但我还是会想用那种生活化的国语的方式去表现。

Neocha: Hip-hop music is obviously not native to Taiwan, with its origins in New York in the 1980s. How do you view hip-hop culture? Do you try to produce entirely your own style of hip-hop music, or do you strive more to build upon traditional hip-hop?

Soft Lipa: Right now I have been adding more of my own ideas, my own feelings, into my music, so the creative frame is even looser. Whether something is hip-hop or not is more of a feeling or a vibe for me. All these years, hip-hop has become internal to me. It’s my main key that plays in the background. Whatever I do from here won’t stray from it.

Neocha: 因为嘻哈本身是一种外来的文化,源自于美国纽约的80年代。你对这种文化的态度是什么:你想做原汁原味的嘻哈音乐,还是在传统嘻哈音乐上做改良?

蛋堡: 到现在我会越来越多地加进自己的想法、自己的感觉,框架会比较开放一点。hip-hop还是不hip-hop,这其实是一种感觉,一种氛围。这么多年,hip-hop对我来说,某部分已经内化了,是我的一个基调,一个底蕴。所以,我再怎么做,我应该不会偏离太多了。

: @softlipapa


Contributor: Ross Donovan
Photographers: Crown Wang, Leon Yan
Instagram: @softlipapa


拱稿人: Ross Donovan
摄影师: Crown Wang, Leon Yan

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Te To Ka

October 6, 2015 2015年10月6日

In the Kanda district in Chiyoda, Tokyo, there is a laid-back artist café and gallery space called Te To Ka.

東京都千代田区の神田に、Te To Kaという名前のくつろいだ雰囲気のアーティストカフェとギャラリースペースがあります。

The name “Te To Ka” means “Hands and Flowers” in Japanese, which as the owner Chieko Kobayashi and gallery director Atsushi Tezuka explain, indicates the café space’s dedication to handicrafts and handmade art.

Te To Ka」は、「手と花」という意味です。ギャラリーのオーナーの小林千絵子さんとディレクターの手塚敦嗣さんは、お店の名前について、「手工芸と手作りの芸術のためのカフェスペースであること」を表していると説明しています。

Formerly an old store, the space at Te To Ka now regularly hosts art workshops, small exhibitions, and local art events. In its own way, by supporting independent artists, Te To Ka wants to offer a small kind of resistance to the relentless commercialism that we encounter every day.

以前は古い店舗であったTe To Ka では、現在は芸術のワークショップ、小規模な展覧会、そして地域の芸術イベントを定期的に主催しています。独自な方法で独立した芸術家を支援することで、Te To Ka は日々私達が目にする容赦のない商業化に対するささやかな抵抗を意図しているのです。

Te To Ka is filled and decorated with vintage furniture, second-hand books, artwork, and other kinds of interesting old objects. For Chieko, there is currently an overabundance of mass-produced and cheap impersonal products in Japan, and a dearth of honest and real craftsmanship.

Te To Ka には、ビンテージ家具、古本、芸術作品やその他の古く興味深い品々がたくさん飾られています。小林さんは、現在の日本は大量生産され安く個性のない製品で溢れており、正直かつ本物である職人的な技巧(クラフトマンシップ)が不足していると感じています。

She believes that by supporting craftsmanship and rejecting crass commercialism, a community of local independent artists can come together and grow together.


As a gallery, it regularly hosts artist talks, film screenings, art exhibitions, creative workshops, live music performances, and DJ & VJ events. The space can hold up to 30 people, so it is always a small and intimate gathering at Te To Ka.

Te To Kaはギャラリーとして、芸術家のトークイベント、映画上映、美術展、創造的なワークショップ、ライブ音楽演奏、DJ VJのイベントを定期的に主催しています。Te To Kaの収容人数は、最大30人なので、常に小規模でくつろいだ集いを開催しています。

In the past, their exhibitions showed works of more well-known artists, but going forward, Te To Ka is also dedicated to helping lesser known and underrepresented local artists. The atmosphere at the café is always welcoming and friendly, and visitors can easily interact with this talented community of artists.

過去のTe To Kaの展覧会は、知名度が高い芸術家を扱うものでしたが、ゆくゆくは、知名度が低く過小評価されている地域の芸術家にも貢献します。カフェの雰囲気は、心地よく友好的です。そして、訪れる人たちは、才能のある芸術家のコミュニティーとたやすく交流することができます。

If she had to choose only three words to describe the spirit of Te To Ka, Chieko would say that it was: personal, handmade, and rough. Check out Te To Ka’s website and see what’s coming up on their calendar of events!

Te To Ka の精神を3つの言葉で表すとすると、パーソナル、手作り、そして大ざっぱであることと小林さんは言われるでしょう。Te To Ka  ウェブサイトにアクセスし、どのようなイベントが近く予定されているか見てみましょう!

2-16 Kanda-Tsukasamachi
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Hours: 4pm〜11pm





Contributor & Photographer: Leon Yan

投稿者&カメラマン:Leon Yan

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Kazuaki Harada & His Automatons

October 1, 2015 2015年10月1日

With the turn of a handle, Kazuaki Harada becomes a creator of pure delight as his wooden toy starts to come alive. In 2002, Harada became fascinated with moving toys after a friend introduced him to the book Automata: Movable Illustration, written by the late Japanese automaton artist Aquio Nishida. Thus began Harada’s transition from an ordinary print shop employee to a wooden automaton maker.


When he first started learning the craft, Harada would meticulously follow the designs and instructions laid out in Aquio Nishida’s book. Harada’s interest soon became more than just a hobby, and in 2006 he found himself in England as a part of the Contemporary Crafts graduate program at the Falmouth School of Art, while simultaneously conducting research under British automaton maker Matt Smith.




Upon returning to Japan in 2007, Harada settled down in Yamaguchi, a seaside city beneath the mountains that served as a peaceful location for him to delve into full-time automaton creation. In addition to establishing a wooden automaton studio, Harada regularly showcased his work at the Automaton café and exhibition space. A few years ago, Automaton would be open to the public every weekend, but these days it only opens on special occasions, allowing Harada time to focus on new creations.


Harada’s inspiration comes from many places, such as language, music, and his wife. Each time he visualizes a new invention, he immediately starts to sketch out the design. Developed sketches turn into prototypes as Harada then begins to test the mechanics. Taking with him the lessons that he learned under Matt Smith, he pays very meticulous attention to the aesthetics of movement, as well as to the maintenance of completed automatons.


Many of Harada’s early designs were conceived around the theme of animals. Harada’s first completely self-designed and self-made automaton called Exercise (2006), features a pig lifting dumbbells and remains one of his favorite creations. According to Harada, it’s one thing to turn living objects into automatons, but it’s much more difficult to make inanimate objects come to life. Thus, he began to experiment with turning still-life objects into automatons.




These days, Harada is more focused on the aesthetics of motion, with creations such as Mechanism of Love and Air Sculpture. Mechanism of Love (2014) is an automaton that imprints the Japanese character for “love” on a plain white card. Simply performing this act by hand is a mundane display, but turning it into an automated mechanism is something of a much more layered and intricate nature. This juxtaposition of simplicity and complexion gives Harada great delight, and is one reason why Mechanism of Love is among his favorite works.


Harada admits that these works “don’t have much of a practical use, but like other art forms such as painting or sculpture, automatons are a way to enrich our lives and spirits, a way to open ourselves up to even greater possibility.” He says, most importantly, “I like to make people laugh, to create a sense of wonder.”




When asked about his future plans, Harada says that he has already collaborated with musicians and artists in the past, so he wants to collaborate with electricians or programmers in the future. In doing so, he hopes to further expand the art of creating automatons.


We eagerly await Kazuaki Harada’s future creations, which will surely embody his works’ three central principles: “a simple composition,” “a sense of humor,” and “something unexpected to create a sense of wonder.”



Contributor: Banny Wang



寄稿者: Banny Wang