Hefei Through the Lens of Liu Tao

October 31, 2017 2017年10月31日

Liu Tao is a Chinese photographer from Hefei, Anhui Province. With his keen sense of humor and an insider’s perspective of the city, Liu has been given the nickname “wild street photography master.” Despite the extravagant title, Liu actually works as a water meter inspector for the public utility services. The contrast between his day job and his street photography has made Liu a subject of interest in the media in the past few years. However, Liu doesn’t see any conflict between these two parts of his life. His job for the public utility services gives him a set schedule, allowing him the freedom to go out and consistently take photographs throughout the year. Now, with seven years of street photography experience under his belt, Liu has captured the everyday lives of many of Hefei’s residents and has documented almost every emotion on the human spectrum along the way.


来自安徽合肥的摄影师刘涛,作品诙谐有趣且接地气,被号称为野生街头摄影大师”,而他的本职工作却是一家自来水厂的抄水表工。这两个身份的戏剧性冲突,让刘涛一度成为了前两年媒体竞相报道的热点。

刘涛却不以为然。水表工这份工作给了他固定的休息时间,也为他提供了全天候的街拍时间。7年寒来暑往的拍摄,不仅记录了当地人柴米油盐的日常生活,也记录了嬉笑怒骂的人生百态。

Liu’s favorite place to shoot is one particular street in Hefei, located in an old neighborhood that’s bustling with life. Whenever he has a day off, he’ll take his camera there, often spending the entire day shooting. Initially, when he first started taking photos here, some of the residents would react in a disapproving or standoffish manner. Liu says, “Two years ago at the door of the food market, I would come across a bulky guy selling peaches every day, and we would exchange glances. He thought I was from the city. Last year, at the intersection, we met again and he was selling sugar cane, and he thought I lived nearby. I told him I was just a photographer. This year, we crossed paths again at night, at the entrance of an alleyway where he was selling watermelons. As soon as he saw me, he yelled, ‘What are you up to! Why do I see you everywhere! Don’t mess around with me!’ His yelling startled all of the other streetside vendors around us.” Liu tells that normally when a photographer becomes a familiar face in the area, people will be more receptive to being photographed.


刘涛的拍摄地点是合肥一条充满生活气息的老街。每逢休息的日子,刘涛都会带着自己的小相机去街上拍照,常常一站就是一天。

而居民们对于这个定时造访的“怪客”,一开始都会有着天然的抵触:“前年在菜市场门口那个季节每日相遇,大汉在卖桃子,咱们两个眉来眼去的,他以为我是市容的……去年在十字路口那个季节相遇,大汉卖甘蔗,以为我住附近,我和他表白说我是爱好摄影。今年在巷口他卖西瓜,晚上相遇,他刚大喝一声:你到底干嘛的!怎么在哪都看见你!别开玩笑了!这声音大得惊动了周围卖冷饮的、卖日用的,还有卖煎饼的……

刘涛说,只有熟悉了这个街道,那里的人才会接纳摄影师的镜头。

Over the years, Liu has observed both the familiar sights of the old streets as well as the changes in both the city and its residents. He shares that he doesn’t go to commercial or business districts, disinterested in photographing skyscrapers. He says, “Those places don’t have the atmosphere of daily life.” As an ardent observer, Liu remains fascinated by the daily patterns of people on Hefei’s old streets. But what truly captivates his interest are the stories behind each and every person.


这些年,刘涛背着相机在路上,看到了年年岁岁相似的景象,也看到了从城到人各自的变迁与成长。他不去商业楼盘拍高楼大厦,“因为那里没有生活气。”

刘涛是个观察者,老街上人来人往的生活氛围吸引着他,而那些带着人情的故事更是。

Taking photographs in the same area for such a long time, Liu will often run into the same people again and again. This has led to no shortage of awkward moments. One time, a photo that he took of the female butcher shop owner taking a selfie with her legs kicked up on the table became the headlining photo of a local newspaper. He confesses that now, every time he passes by the butcher shop, both he and the owner will avoid making eye contact with each another. “It’s way too awkward,” he says.


固守在同一条街拍照就必然会撞见同样的人,尴尬的时刻当然不少。刘涛曾拍过一张肉铺店女老板翘脚自拍的照片,后来成了新闻报纸上的头条图片。他坦言现在每次去这家肉铺,女店主和他都会默契地避开眼神接触,“太尴尬了。”

Liu always finds interesting perspectives to shoot from. He may stay in the same spot for a few hours – even a few days – waiting for the perfect moment to present itself. Sharing the story behind the above photo, he says, “When I shot this, I saw that there were people coming to take photos in front of these flowers, while these aunties were doing exercises next to them. The aunties just happened to be bowing down while the woman posed in front of the flowers, so I captured that moment.” Liu’s street photography style draws from his own influences as well. He’s a lover of the films of Stephen Chow, and he never gets tired of their sense of humor and slapstick moments. What motivates Liu to keep exploring and shooting are coming across these humorous, interesting moments within the mundanity of daily life.


刘涛所拍的照片视角很有趣,他会在一个角度蹲点好几个小时甚至好几天,去等待那一瞬的绝妙时刻,让照片本身成为一个故事片段。拍这张照片是看到有人走进花坛里拍照,而跳健身操的两个阿姨和她正对着,又正好做个鞠躬弯腰的动作,就拍下来了。这也许和他的兴趣爱好相关,他很喜欢周星驰的电影,其中的幽默、熙攘、烟火滋味,让他百看不厌。而在无趣的生活中搜索有趣,在寻常的琐事中发现不凡,这也让他百拍不怠。

Now, as a father, Liu spends a lot of time photographing his daughter instead of Hefei’s old streets. When he was offered an opportunity to become a full-time photographer, he declined, choosing instead to humbly continue his work inspecting water meters. For Liu, photography was never about advancing his position or chasing fame and fortune – he just wanted to experience more of what life was about, to fully live life and live it well.


现在的刘涛已经当了爸爸,镜头除了对准人来人往的老街之外,也会拍些自己的女儿。他拒绝了做全职摄影师的机会,依然还是做着抄表工的工作。因为在相机背后的他从没想过居高临下,而是想真正走到生活中去,生活。

Instagram: @Grinch0748
Weibo: ~/Grinch1982

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan
Images Courtesy of Liu Tao


Instagram: @Grinch0748
微博~/Grinch1982

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan
图片由刘涛提供

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DELAYED

October 26, 2017 2017年10月26日

Written in not-so-perfect English, a sign at the Bangkok Railway Station reads, “Travelling by Train is Comfort, Economical, Fast and Safe.” This nostalgic form of transport has long piqued the curiosity of Thai photographer, Watcharawit Phudork, who created his series, DELAYED, centered around the 19-hour train journey from Bangkok to his hometown of Hat Yai.


乘火车旅行,舒适、经济、快速、安全”—— 这是曼谷火车站的一个标语。这种传统交通方式,激起了泰国摄影师Watcharawit Phudork的好奇心,将镜头对准从曼谷到他的家乡合艾共19个小时的火车旅程,创作出摄影系列《DELAYED》(晚点)。

Phudork notes that whilst other forms of transportation excel both in speed and economically, there is a still a sizable demand for Thailand’s slowest form of domestic travel. With a mind full of questions and a camera in hand, he bought the cheapest ticket available and embarked on his near day-long journey home.


Phudork注意到,虽然其它交通方式在速度和价格上都比火车有优势,但作为泰国国内最慢的交通方式,火车依然有着很大的需求。带着一堆疑问和手中的相机,他买了一张最便宜的车票,踏上时长将近一整天的归家旅程。

The subjects of DELAYED are noticeably from an older generation; commuters who likely accepted their longer journeys as the norm. The half empty, run down carriages inspired Phudork to explore the other side of railway travel; the inevitable abandonment caused by dwindling demand. His second series, Out of Service, lead him to visit Hat Yai train garage, where worn out train compartments are sent for repair or abandonment.


DELAYED》镜头下的对象大都是上了年纪的人;他们早已习惯了如此漫长的旅途。残旧的车厢中有一半的座位都是空的,受此启发,Phudork又去探讨火车旅行的另一面——需求下降后,那些被扔弃的火车。在第二个摄影系列《Out of Service》(停止服务)中,他前往合艾火车车库,这里堆满了送来维修和废弃的火车车厢。

“Every compartment will be brought to a garage, even if they are in a completely bad condition,” he says. This includes the compartments that were near obliterated during a bombing by the South Thailand insurgency, the remains of which have been left behind alongside other trains to wither away with passing time. Today, Phudork works out of Bangkok and continues to tell stories of disappearing slices of Thai culture through his trusty lens.


“每节车厢最后都会被卖到某个车库去,即使是已经完全报废的车厢。”即使是那些在泰国南部叛乱时期被轰炸到的废车厢也不例外。随着时光推移,这些旧车厢逐渐消失。今天,Phudork生活在曼谷,依然用镜头讲述那些逐渐消逝的泰国文化的故事。

Website: watcharawit.wixsite.com
Instagram: @watcharawitwat

 

Contributor: Whitney Ng


网站: watcharawit.wixsite.com
Instagram: @watcharawitwat

 

供稿人: Whitney Ng

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9999

October 25, 2017 2017年10月25日

Earsnail is an electronic music duo comprised of musicians Wang Xu and Yan Shuai. Combining their individual approaches to music, the duo is unconstrained by boundaries of genre. Their experimental style reimagines the possibilities of sound and how music can be presented. Under FakeMusicMedia, the two have recently released their debut album, 9999, and locked in tour dates that takes the duo across China. We grabbed drinks with the duo during the Shanghai stop of their tour to learn about their recent musical developments and what we can expect from them in the future.


耳蜗是北京非刻文化旗下的电子乐团,由音乐人王旭和阎帅组成。二人对音乐及乐器的把控有着不同寻常的理解及释放,没有风格的界定及预想,他们发掘着新的方式,试图用不同于以往表达的途径和声音构建一些新的可能。借着新专辑《9999》的发布,耳蜗的全国巡演来到了上海站,我们就在一个雨夜,跟耳蜗一起喝着啤酒聊了聊他们以及他们正在做的事。

Having played in bands when they were younger, Wang Xu and Yan Shi have both been interested in creating music even prior to Earsnail. In 2013, the two would meet up and experiment with the production equipment they each had on hand. These early days of experimentation became the foundation for Earsnail. Now, the two’s production style have matured immensely since those early days, with each track filled with richly complex elements. Yan Shi shares that one of his favorite samples is from a field recording of a random saxophonist they met at the park – even though the original recorded sound wasn’t interesting, they were able to take segments of it and integrate it perfectly into a track.


王旭和阎帅早年都身处各自的乐队,13年两人决定把手头上的电子设备攒在一起,开始创作电子音乐。耳蜗的音乐里包含着丰富的元素,阎帅跟我们分享了他们录取的公园里有人在练习吹萨克斯的声音。录音本身也许极不协调,却被很巧妙的融入他们的作品中。

The new album, 9999, is a reference to Beijing’s nickname of “The Four Nine City,” a fitting name considering that the duo sees the album as a compilation of their memories from living in Beijing. For Wang Xu, the most meaningful track on the entire album is “City Bird.” “The song has to do with the place where I called home,” he shares. “There was a tree in front of my house, and during that time, Beijing’s air quality was particularly bad. A few birds made their nest there, and I would observe these birds as they grew and hatched babies. Watching them survive in this kind of environment gave me a lot of different ideas. It made me feel like our lives were not too different from the lives of these birds.” Similarly, their “Ant” track builds on the theme of living in urban environments. The song is a statement about the daily lives of the working class, likening them to a colony ants, continuously working to survive without a moment of respite.


《9999》意为四九之城,这张专辑也记录了两位创作者在北京的生活状态,让王旭印象最深刻的是《城市小鸟》,“这跟我住的地方有关,我们家前边有一棵树,北京那段时间的空气特别不好,有几只鸟在那棵树上筑巢,那两只鸟越来越大,后来还生了小鸟,它们拥有这样的一个小窝在这个城市里生存着,我每天看着他们的状态,有一些想法就记录下来了,觉得我们其实跟它们差不多。”而《蚂蚁》也正是反映了生活在北京的全国各地的人们的一种共同的生活状态,在这个偌大的城市里,我们也许像蚂蚁一样微不足道,却始终推动着大齿轮的转动,一刻不得松懈。

Listen to select tracks from the new album below:

Earsnail – Ants

Earsnail – City Bird

Earsnail – Post Soho City


点击下方链接试听新专辑的精选曲目:

耳蜗 – 蚂蚁

耳蜗 – 城市小鸟

耳蜗 – 后现代城

The two share a similar mixed feeling around the current state of electronic music in China. They’re both eager to see more new faces and hear new sounds but also feel a sense of apprehension. “I feel like it’s good that more and more people are interested in this kind of music, and more are willing to try and produce it,” Wang Xu comments. “But at the same time, I feel like people are very impatient in this kind of environment, whenever they start anything they’ll first think about whether or not their work will succeed or be recognized by others.”


对目前的电子音乐创作环境,他们有担忧也有期待:“我觉得有一点特别好的是,越来越多的人对电子乐感兴趣,也尝试去创作。 只是其实当下的创作环境还是挺浮躁的,大家在做一件事的时候可能会先去想我的作品会不会成功,会不会被认可。”

As their tour nears the end, Earsnail has toured through a number of different cities across China. The duo has been documenting every city along the way. “Of course, every city is different,” Wang comments, expressing an eagerness to revisit certain cities on their tour. “I’m curious about the changes that these different cities have undergone over the years. The plan is to snap some photos and also keep my ears open to try and find interesting sounds to sample in these different cities.” Concluding their China tour, Earsnail will be stopping by Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai. Click here to purchase tickets.


巡演过程中,耳蜗去往全国很多城市,熟悉或不熟悉的都有,他们也期待纪录下更多内容。“每个城市都特别不一样,最大的好奇点是这些城市相对于几年前发生的变化。我们会在这些城市采集一些有趣的声音,拍一些有意思的影像。” 接下来,耳蜗的巡演还会去到广州、深圳及珠海三个城市,点此购票。

Xiami: ~/Earsnail
QQ: ~/Earsnail

 

Contributor: Shou Xing
Photographer: Ye Zi
Additional Images Courtesy of Earsnail


虾米: ~/Earsnail
QQ: ~/Earsnail

 

供稿人: Shou Xing
摄影师: Ye Zi
附加图片由耳蝸提供

Searching for the Self

October 23, 2017 2017年10月23日

Yuqing Zhu is a Chinese American artist, writer, and Ph.D. student in neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Using materials including pencil, chiyogami paper, origami paper, and magazine cut-outs, Zhu creates colorful self-portraits that examine the nature of identity and culture. Neocha spoke with Zhu to learn more about her life, art, and studies. Check out the conversation below.


朱禹清(Yuqing Zhu)是一名美籍华裔艺术家和作家,目前在芝加哥大学攻读神经学博士学位。通过铅笔、千代纸(Chiyogami)、折纸、杂志上剪下的图片等材料,她创作了一系列彩色自画像,以此对自我身份和文化本质进行审视。Neocha和朱禹清聊了一下,进一步去了解她的生活、艺术和学业。一起来看下这段对话吧。

Neocha: As a neuroscience student, how do you balance your art with your academic studies?

Zhu: Before beginning my program, someone told me that finding a hobby as soon as possible is the best way to keep sane. Luckily for me, I already had something. I think the key to finding balance was by assigning equal importance to both art and science. It’s truly a matter of mindset. I’m serious enough about neuroscience to be part of a five-year-plus Ph.D. program, so it’s quite a struggle to match that level of dedication in my art! I may need to spend more time in lab or in lecture, simply due to the nature of the work, but I try to think about and create art consistently as well.

Some days I recognize that I’ve been neglecting creating art for too long. On those days I simply put down my science and draw. This usually rejuvenates my work on the science side as well. Scientific research can devolve into a lot of drudgery and grunt work but doing something creative reminds me to think broadly and reassess where I’m at. My most inspired periods in the lab usually match up with my most productive periods at the easel.


Neocha: 作为一名神经科学的学生,你如何平衡自己的艺术创作与学业?

Zhu: 在我开始修读学位之前,有人劝我尽快找个爱好,这是让自己保持理智的最佳方式。幸运的是,我早就有这样的爱好。我觉得,找到平衡的关键是对艺术和科学赋予同等的重要性。这确实就是心态的问题。我对于学神经科学是很认真的,所以才会决心读一个5年多的博士学位课程,所以要在艺术方面也投入同等的专注,确实不容易。我可能会花更多的时间在实验室或上课,主要是因为这个专业本身的需要,但我会尽量保持不断地去思考和创造艺术。

有些时候当我发现自己太长时间没有进行艺术创作时,我会先把学习放在一边,去画画。这样一来,我在科学学习时也会有更多新的能量。科学研究常常需要做很多苦差事和繁重的体力劳动,所以进行一些创意创作可以提醒自己想得更广,重新评估自己的位置。我在实验室受启发最多的时候,往往也是我艺术创作最多产的时期。

Neocha: What are some of the parallels between art and neuroscience?

Zhu: I’ve had a lot of people ask me this question, and I’m not sure if I can give a satisfactory answer even to myself! Here’s my shot at it: art and science are both parts of an abstract search for the balance between beauty and complexity. Self-portraiture and neuroscience are both parts of an abstract search of the core of one’s identity beyond one’s own biases.

I adore complexity. It wasn’t always obvious that the complex system I wanted to study was the brain. I used to, and still do actually, love things like M. C. Escher’s prints and delight in the extremely dense inkwork of Edward Gorey and more recently of Manabu Ikeda. Complex interactions in anything from ecology to musical scores are still fascinating to me.

A lot of times neurobiology gives you extremely elegant solutions to complex problems. How do we hear? How do entire nervous systems develop from embryonic stages into adulthood? How can we sense things like temperature, and how do we perceive things like colors? When systems like these come to be understood and explained, we realize how logically elegant they are! That doesn’t mean the solutions are simple or straightforward or even the most efficient, but nonetheless, they work, and I find them beautiful! A large part of the time we don’t know the full answer yet. For me, the process for finishing a work of art is the same as for finding a piece of evidence in the framework of a scientific theory.


Neocha: 艺术与神经科学之间有什么相似之处?

Zhu: 已经有很多人问过我这个问题,即使是回答自己,我也不确定可不可以给出一个满意的答复!不过我可以试一下。艺术和科学都属于为寻找美丽和复杂性之间的平衡而作出的一种抽象性探索。自画像与神经科学都属于为寻找一种超越自己偏见、核心的自我身份认知而作出的一种抽象性探索。

我崇拜复杂性。以前我没搞清楚原来自己一直想研究的复杂系统就是大脑。我以前(现在也仍然)很喜欢M. C. Escher的版画,Edward Gorey以及最近很喜欢的池田学(Manabu Ikeda)他们那些极其细腻的钢笔画。从生态学到乐谱,任何事物间复杂的相互作用对我来说都充满魅力。

很多时候,神经生物学可以给你一个极其优雅的答案,来回答复杂的问题。我们是怎么听声音的?整个中枢神经系统如何从胚胎阶段发展到成年期?我们如何能感觉到温度,或者我们如何感知色彩?当我们能够理解和解释这些系统时,我们会意识到,它们有着多么优雅的逻辑!这并不意味着它们所提供的答案是简单的、直接的,也不是最有效率的,但它们是行得通的,而且我觉得很有美感!大部分的时间,我们还未知道全部的答案。对我来说,完成一件艺术品的过程与在某个科学理论的框架里又找到一块证据是一样的。

Neocha: Expanding on that, are there any other similarities between the creative process for art versus science?

Zhu: I think the creative process is crucial for good science. You can’t create good art or do good science by being dogmatic about it. Scientific research is all about finding something new that’s never been known before. Art is about creating something that has not existed in the world before. Paradigm shifts occur in science as well as in art! New movements emerge when individuals dare to look at things in vastly different ways. The move from geocentrism to heliocentrism, from Lamarckian inheritance to Darwinian evolution (and now to a complex epigenetics that is beyond me), all happened because scientists dared to think differently!


Neocha: 进一步说,科学与艺术创作的过程之间有其它的相似之处吗?

Zhu: 艺术创作的过程对于进行科学研究也是关键。如果太过于教条主义,你不能创作出好的艺术,也不能进行很好的科学研究。科学研究就是要寻找人们未知的新事物。而艺术是要创造出世界上之前并不存在的事物。范式转变在科学和艺术上都会发生!当个体敢以截然不同的方式看待事情时,就会催生新的运动出现。从地心说到日心说的转变,从拉马克获得性遗传到达尔文的进化论(再到现在超越我理解的复杂的表观遗传学)的发展,都是因为有科学家敢于从不同角色思考而发生的!

Neocha: What does your personal creative process usually look like?

Zhu: The process of creating a portrait is very straightforward. I can pull up a piece of paper and simply start drawing. Sometimes I’ll draw myself without much thought. Those are usually sketches to be filed away. Other times a specific idea will come to mind, and I’ll act on it. I like to finish pieces in one long breath – I’ll think of something as I eat breakfast and by the time I go to sleep that night it’ll be finished. Of course, I usually don’t spend that whole stretch of time literally drawing. Almost every portrait involves a little bit of research about the historical period I’m assuming in my clothing or looser web browsing for inspiration and references.

I’m terrible about finishing something that I started on a different day. I guess it’s possibly because when I wake up the next morning I feel like a brand new self and the half-finished piece no longer has power as a part of me. I rarely sit and ponder or actively brainstorm for a portrait. The pieces fall together as I work.


Neocha:你艺术创作的过程一般是怎样的?

Zhu:创作画像的过程很简单。拿出一张纸,我就开始画画。有时我会画自己,也不会想太多。那些一般只是一些蓝图,很快就放在一边去了。其它时候,如果突然想到一个特定的想法,我就会将这个想法画下来。我喜欢一口气完成几幅画,可能我吃早餐的时候有了一些想法,然后到我那天晚上去睡觉前就可能已经创作出来。当然,我不会真的一整天一直画个不停。在画每一张画像前,我几乎都会先对画像中预想的服装造型所涉及到的年代进行一点研究,或是随意地上网浏览,来找灵感和参考。

我很怕要去画完我前一天开始的作品!可能是因为,当我第二天醒来的时候,会感觉自己已经是一个全新的自我,之前创作了一半的画已经不再是我的一部分,也失去了它原本的力量。我很少会特意坐下来去思考,或进行头脑风暴,来想如何创作一幅肖像画。通常我一边工作的时候就一边想好了应该怎样进行创作。

Neocha: How does heritage influence your work?

Zhu: I try to learn as much as I can about something before I incorporate it as a facet of my portraits. This is especially important for Chinese history – if I don’t understand something sufficiently (it’s the science researcher’s mindset), I feel like a fraud, like I’m wearing a “Chinese Halloween costume.” Sometimes I feel very far removed from China and its peoples and their rich history. Creating these self-portraits is a way to look at myself and see who I may be inside or the ancestors I contain.

The color palettes that I use are definitely inspired by the colors of modern metropolitan China as well as the dynastic past. Sometimes I have misgivings about using chiyogami. I try to pick patterns that are in common with traditional Chinese textiles and not ones that are uniquely Japanese since that culture is not part of my heritage. I got the idea of dressing my self-portraits from my paternal grandmother. She used to cut out patterned paper to decorate or altogether recreate scenes from children’s books, creating beautiful, intricate collages. Right now, I use a similar technique to what she did with tracing paper. I draw myself, get a rough sense of which collage elements I will need to overlay, and then use tracing paper in order to get the outlines exactly right. Then I use that as a stencil to cut shapes out of patterned paper.


Neocha: 你自身的文化背景如何影响你的作品?

Zhu: 在我将某种元素融入我的肖像画时,我都会先尽可能多地去了解它。尤其是关于中国的历史,如果我不能充分地了解某种事物(这是一种科学研究者的心态),我会感觉自己像个骗子,仿佛我披了一件“中国的万圣节服装”。有时,我会觉得自己与中国、中国人和他们丰富的历史隔得非常遥远。而创作这些自画像就变成一种审视自己的方式,让我去了解自己的内心,了解我所来自的文化。

我的色彩灵感来自现代中国的大都市和过去的王朝历史。有时,对于使用千代纸我也会有一些顾虑。我会尽量选用一些图案更贴近中国传统纺织品,而不是那些一看就是日本风格的千代纸,因为日本文化不属于我的文化背景。我后来想到了按照奶奶的打扮来画自画像。她以前常常用来剪出的图案纸装饰或重新设计儿童书籍中的场景,打造出错综复杂的美丽拼贴画。现在,我按照她的手法,在描图纸上创作。我通常先画出自画像,大概感觉下我可能需要怎样的拼贴元素,然后使用描图纸,获得正确的轮廓。然后用它作为模具,从图案纸上剪出形状。

Neocha: How have art and science changed your perception of self and identity?

Zhu: We are so, so biased in our conception of our brains because our thoughts can never escape them. Oftentimes, we fall into the trap of “this is so obvious,” when actually our firsthand experience is quite wrong. For example, our visual perception of the world is just a useful approximation of what is truly there. The perception of color – a biological representation of the electromagnetic spectrum across animal species – is the most fascinating thing to me (not to mention the phenomenon of consciousness, a taboo topic for most neuroscientists still). Working past, and sometimes outright rejecting the ideas that we hold based on our own brainy experiences is central to the practice of good neuroscience.

Self-portraiture is the exact same. We as individuals don’t, in fact, have an accurate idea of what we look like, much less of who we truly are. Someone once told me that, while I was pretty accurate at drawing other people, my own portraits were lacking. This was perhaps a year ago. That’s the point at which I began to draw myself in earnest and to strive for self-understanding and representational accuracy. I try to portray different aspects of what I understand as my actual self in my self-portraits. More and more, these are buried aspects – split open my face and what would you find? An octopus – an organism that is remarkably intelligent yet with an altogether alien nervous system. Do they operate at similar levels of cognition as humans? What would that mean in practice? Put my past in front of me, dress me in Qing Dynasty robes, and what do we have? The truth or still a self-distortion? As a young Chinese American, when I assume the attire of Communist-era China, am I connecting to my parents’ generation, or am I romanticizing a past that I do not have any true ownership of? These are questions I can’t yet answer.


Neocha: 艺术和科学如何改变你对自我和身份的看法?

Zhu: 我们大脑里的观念充满了偏见,因为我们的思想离不开大脑。很多时候我们掉进一些所谓“显而易见”的陷阱,但实际上,我们的亲身经验却是错的。例如,我们对世界的视觉感知只不过是真实世界的近似值。对色彩的感知——电磁频谱在动物物种间的生物表述——是对我来说最有趣的事情(更不用提“意识”这个在大多数神经科学家中仍然是禁忌话题的现象)。要进行有效的神经科学实践,我们要抛开,甚至直接否定这种我们根据自己自以为是的经验所得出的想法。

自画像也一样。作为个人,我们事实上并知道自己真实的样子,更不知道我们到底是谁。有人曾告诉我,虽然我画其他人的时候画得很像,但画自己就不是那么准确了。那大概是一年前的事情了。但从那时起,我才开始认真画自己,努力去理解自己,准确地描绘出自己。我试着从不同侧面,在我的自画像中描绘出我所理解的真正自我。慢慢地,我的笔下出现了越来越多那些曾被掩埋的一面,撕开我的脸,你会找到什么?章鱼是一种非常聪明的有机体,却有着人类完全陌生的中枢神经系统。它们的认知水平是不是跟人类类似?在实践中,这将意味着什么?将我的过去放在我的面前,让我穿上清朝的长袍,又会产生什么呢?是真相,还是依然只是扭曲的自我?作为一名年轻的美籍华人,当我穿上共产主义时代的中国装束时,我是让自己回到了我父母那个年代,还是在美化这种我并未真正拥有过的过去?这些都是我还无法回答的问题。

Website: yqzhu.com
Instagram: @yq_z

 

Contributor: George Zhi Zhao


网站: yqzhu.com
Instagram: @yq_z

 

供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

✧*。(Single KTV)✧*

October 20, 2017 2017年10月20日

“Hi~~I’m*٩(Guo Pinjun*aka*٩(Σ>-(Pin Jun★Future))♡→*aka*。Pin Pin Future*。” – this is Taiwanese artist Guo Pinjun’s self-introduction. Through her preferred mediums of installation art, video, photos, and performing arts, Guo transforms Asian pop culture into a visual language of her very own. Her style is self-described as a blend of “infinite narcissism and an obsessive, cult-like sense of self-adoration.”


~我是*٩郭品君*)و*aka*٩(Σ>-(品君★未來)♡→)و*aka*٩( ピンピン未來)و*这是一段来自台湾艺术家郭品君的自我介绍。装置、视觉、行为艺术是她创作的主要形式。她将大众流行文化做为视觉语言,呈现“无敌自恋自溺自爱的邪教教主风格 ”来自品君自己的描述)。

✧*。(Single KTV)✧* is Guo’s recent art piece, combining installation art with performing art. “People don’t need a reason to go sing karaoke in Taiwan. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a good mood or a bad mood. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good singer or a bad singer. You can just go out and sing,” she says. “One night, I went to sing with my friends, and I sang a bunch of sad, lovesick songs in a row, such as SHE’s ‘Not Yet Lovers’ and Twins’ ‘Jian Xi Ai Shen.’ I was getting really into it and dancing around when I noticed one of my friends was staring at me in a pitiful way. She asked me, ‘Pinjun, are you desperate to meet a boyfriend?’ It was then that this idea came to me. Does singing love songs, after seven years of being single, look really sad in front of people? Does being single mean I can’t sing love songs?” For this art piece, she set up a unique KTV booth in a public space, inviting strangers to join her or watch her sing karaoke. By doing this, Guo hopes to initiate a conversation on the subject of loneliness with her audience and explore how society views “single” people.


*(单身KTV)*》是郭品君最近创作的装置行为艺术作品。关于如何萌生创作这件作品的想法,品君这样告诉我们:在台湾去唱卡拉ok是不需要理由的,不管你心情好或心情不好、唱的好或不好,只要找到机会就可以开唱,有一次和朋友约唱歌,我一连唱了好几首恋爱情歌,例如SHE的《恋人未满》、Twins的《见习爱神》等等,当我唱的超投入跳超嗨的时候转头看到我朋友竟然用一个很悲悯的眼神看着我,然后问我说,品君,你是不是很想要交男朋友阿?,这时我脑中闪过的是,难道单身已经7年的我唱起情歌来的样子在别人眼中原来是很可悲的?难道单身就不能唱情歌吗?” 因此,她创作了这件装置作品,在公众地方建立了这个粉色主题的开放式KTV包厢,邀请陌生人和她一起唱K。品君希望通过与观众的互动和交流,测试大众对于单身这个身分的反应。

Taiwanese pop culture at the turn of the millennium is one of the most prevalent influences in Guo’s art. In the early 2000s, as Guo sought to figure out her own identity as a teenager, a Japanese craze was sweeping through Taiwan, introducing things like Ganguro fashion, old school Decora style, anime, and sticker photo booths. “The interesting thing is that I absorbed these elements of Japanese pop culture after Taiwan had localized it,” she says. “So in a way, my work is a fusion of Taiwanese and Japanese styles.”


千禧时期的台湾流行文化对品君创作影像风格带来很深的影响。2000年开始,她渐渐进入脱离爸妈全权掌握,有点想要自己决定喜欢什么、爱追随流行的青少年时期,而当时台湾正在风靡一股非常强烈的哈日风潮。109辣妹、old school Decora视觉系、动漫、拍贴机等等的这些日本流行文化,影响着她的成长。有趣的点在于,我所吸收的都是台湾‘在地化’过后的日本流行文化,因此从我的影像中可以看到的是一种台日混血的风格呈现。

Aside from her own artworks, Guo was eager to share with us a list of some of her favorite modern creatives, including Japan’s Magma, Taiwanese designer JennyFax, British filmmaker Nadia Lee Cohen, Japan’s creative collective ChimPom, and French conceptual artist Sophie Calle. “My favorite art is art that’s very decorative, with aesthetics that people might consider kitsch. I also enjoy the inclusion of some dark humor, a little playfulness, and a bit of craziness. My own work is also moving in this direction.”


品君还和我们分享了一些她最近注目的艺术家,有日本的Magma,台湾的旅日设计师JennyFax,英国的Nadia Lee Cohen,日本的艺术家团体ChimPom 和观念艺术家Sophie Calle。“我喜欢非常装饰性、媚俗、黑色幽默、有趣、带点疯狂行为的作品,我自己的作品也是朝这样的方向前进的。

Instagram@pin_chun7
Flickr: ~/pin_chun7

 

Contributor: Ye Zi
Images Courtesy of pin_chun7


Instagram@pin_chun7
Flickr~/pin_chun7

 

供稿人: Ye Zi
图片由 pin_chun7提供

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Xander Zhou Spring/Summer 2018

October 19, 2017 2017年10月19日

For the unveiling of Chinese designer Xander Zhou‘s latest collection, the runaway was transformed into an office-like environment, or more specifically, the headquarters of an imaginary corporation called “Supernatural, Extraterrestrial & Co.” But instead of white-collared workers, Zhou’s office is populated with uniformed staff in glittery tracksuits, bowling uniforms, oriental garments, and other outlandish outfits. Every outfit is a “standardized uniform” in Zhou’s reimagining of modern society in an alternate reality, but the details in each design help draw attention to the diverse origins and cultural backgrounds of Zhou’s imaginary characters. For every single one of his collections, Zhou has described his design approach to be similar to producing a movie, with each look helping to build a cohesive and compelling narrative.


新一季的Xander Zhou的T台被打造成一个巨大的办公室场景,但里面可不仅仅只有西装革履的上班族,更充满了外星人、餐厅服务生、神秘的东方法师等各种角色,乍一看他们隐藏在现代文明之下,却在各自的着装细节里透露着自己身份的线索。对设计师而言,整个系列就像一次个人电影创作,所有look一起构建出最终完整的剧情。一起来看看这场Xander Zhou SS18台前幕后精彩的“演出”。

Website: www.xanderzhou.com
Instagram: @XanderZhou

 

Contributor: Shou Xing
Images Courtesy of Xander Zhou


网站: www.xanderzhou.com
Instagram: @XanderZhou

 

供稿人: Shou Xing
图片由Xander Zhou提供

Mue Bon

October 17, 2017 2017年10月17日

 

无法观看?前往优酷

Mue Bon is a Bangkok-based street artist who works in painting, installation, and mixed media. As a member of Thailand’s early generation of street artists, Mue Bon began painting at a time when street art in his country was neither well known nor respected. Without creative agencies, big brands, or fine art galleries seeking out their skills, street artists were left with little financial incentive to continue their work. Regardless, Mue Bon continued creating work in the streets, motivated by his desire to elevate the status of street art in his country by making art accessible to the public.


Mue Bon是曼谷的街头艺术家,作品包括绘画、装置艺术和混合媒体作品。作为泰国早期一批的街头艺术家,Mue Bon刚开始创作时,泰国的街头艺术还不是很流行,也不是很受人们尊重。当时没有创意机构、大品牌或是美术画廊需要街头艺术,因此,街头艺术家的经济收入很低,很多人都没有动力继续创作。但Mue Bon一直坚持创作街头艺术至今,因为他希望通过向公众展示自己的作品,提升街头艺术在泰国的地位。

As street art became more popular in Thailand, businesses began to see commercial opportunities for street art collaborations. An impressive art piece on the wall meant that more customers and tourists would be attracted to the place of business. Mue Bon says, “The business owners would become curators too. They felt that, in a sense, this artwork belonged to them as well, because it was on their property. So they would be able to talk to their customers about street art, the artist, and the story behind the artwork. Even the lady selling fried bananas on the corner would become a street art curator.”


随着街头艺术在泰国越来越流行,商家开始看到了与街头艺术合作的商业机会。当企业的墙壁上出现一幅令人印象深刻的艺术作品,也就意味着会更多的顾客和游客被吸引这里来。Mue Bon说:“企业主也会成为策展人。他们觉得,从某种意义上说,这件作品属于他们,因为那是在他们的房子上的。因此,他们能够跟顾客聊街头艺术,聊艺术家和作品背后的故事。就连是在角落里卖炸香蕉的女摊主会可以成为街头艺术的策展人。”

Over the years, Mue Bon has created a cast of signature characters that he paints on the street and the canvas, including a cartoon bird, a girl behind a mask, and Mr. TV, a man with a television screen for a face. Despite their cute appearance, all of Mue Bon’s works contain commentary on social issues, including wealth disparity and inequality, the influence of media and propaganda, and anti-war activism. His iconic Mickey Mouse skull stickers and wheatpastes are the artist’s version of a memento mori – a reminder to find peace, meaning, and a sense of humor in the face of our inevitable mortality. Today, Mue Bon’s work can be seen not only throughout Thailand but has also made its way around the world.


多年来,Mue Bon在大街的墙上和画布上创造了一系列的角色,其中包括一只卡通鸟、戴面具的女孩和电视机先生(长着电视屏幕脸的男人)。虽然这些角色看上去很可爱,但Mue Bon的所有作品都传达着他对社会问题的看法,从贫富差距到社会不平等,从媒体和政治宣传的影响力到反战行动。他标志性的米老鼠头骨贴纸和糨糊贴纸是他的 memento mori (拉丁语,意为“记住你终有一死”),提醒着他去寻求和平,生命的意义,以及面对必然的死亡时依旧保持幽默。Mue Bon的作品如今已经在泰国和世界其它国家展出。

Mue Bon will hosting an upcoming solo exhibition in Tokyo, Japan opening on October 20th, 2017. See below for full details.


接下来,Mue Bon 将在东京举办个人作品展,开幕日为2017年10月20日。请参阅下面的详细细节。

Event:
SYSTEM ERROR!
Mue Bon Solo Exhibition in Tokyo

Address:
Megumi Ogita Gallery
2 Chome-16-12 Ginza
Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to, Japan

Date:
October 20th to November 4th, 2017
11:00–19:00 (closed on Mon., Sun. & Public Holiday)
Opening Reception October 20th 18:00–20:00


活动:
《SYSTEM ERROR!》
Mue Bon 东京个人作品展

地址:
Megumi Ogita Gallery
日本东京都中央区
银座2丁目-16-12

日期:
2017年10月20日至11月4日
11:00-19:00(周一、周日及公共假期闭馆)
开幕酒会:10月20日,18:00-20:00

Website: muebon.com
Facebook: ~/bon.mue
Instagram: @mue_bon

 

Contributor & Videographer: George Zhi Zhao
Images Courtesy of Mue Bon


网站: muebon.com
Facebook: ~/bon.mue
Instagram: @mue_bon

 

视频摄影师与供稿人: George Zhi Zhao
图片由Mue Bon提供

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The Long Journey

October 16, 2017 2017年10月16日

Johan Chomet is a French photographer born in Paris. In 2013, he set out on The Long Journey, a series of travels that led him overland through Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Nepal. Most recently, Johan’s journey took him to Seoul, South Korea, where he captured a series of images that present his perspective of the city. Johan tells Neocha more about his work and his travels below.


Johan Chomet是来自法国巴黎的摄影师。2013年,他上了《The Long Journey》,进行了一场跨越欧洲、俄罗斯、蒙古、中国、日本、越南、泰国、缅甸和尼泊尔的漫长旅程。最近,Johan又去了韩国的首尔,在那里,他拍摄了许多照片,记录下他眼中的这座城市。Johan跟Neocha分享了许多关于他的作品与旅行的故事。

Neocha: What’s your process for planning your travels?

Johan: I never have a plan or route. I don’t try to organize anything in advance. I usually get transportation and visa sorted to my first destination and then take it from there. It gives me a lot more freedom as I don’t have to be somewhere at any specific time and can change my plans at the last minute if I feel like it. I also try not to have any time constraints.

Traveling overland is a totally different experience. You have to endure every kilometer of your trip, you have to find your way, and you have to deal with uneasy, sometimes unpleasant, situations. But you also get to live and share so much more. You see the landscapes changing and get to meet people along the way. To me, travel means freedom. It means adventures, meeting people, seeing things from a different perspective, and obviously photography! Travel and photography can hardly be separated for me.


Neocha: 你是怎样计划你的旅行的?

Johan: 我从来不会做计划或设计路线,我不喜欢提前计划好任何事情。我一般只会先把第一个目的地的交通和签证办好,然后就出发。这样我可以有更多的自由,因为我不需要在特定的时间到达某个特定的地方,也可以随时改变计划。我也尽量不给自己时间上的限制。

横越大陆的旅游是完全不同的体验。你不得不忍受旅行时每一公里的路途,你必须找到方向,你要处理一些不安,甚至令人不愉快的情况。但你也能够有丰富的生活体验,可以分享更多。你可以看到沿途风景的变化,一路认识新的朋友。对我来说,旅行意味着自由、冒险和结交朋友,从不同的角度来看待事物,当然还有摄影!对我来说,旅行和摄影是密不可分的。

Neocha: How did your trip to Seoul come about?

Johan: I really had no idea about what to expect when I decided to go to Seoul. I had been in Japan for a few months and my visa was expiring, meaning that I had to leave the country for a while. South Korea had always been on my list, and I was really looking forward to seeing it for myself, as for some reason I never got to see many images of the country. When I got to Seoul, it took me about 24 hours and a lot of walking around the city to take my first photo. Things were a lot less accessible and obvious than in Japan, and it felt like I had to soak it all in before I could start taking any photographs.


Neocha: 为什么会想要去首尔?

Johan: 我一开始决定去首尔的时候,我真的没有带着什么特别的期望。当时我已经在日本呆了几个月,签证快要过期,所以我要离开日本一会儿。韩国一直是我想要去的国家之一,我也很期待去这个国家,但不知道为什么,我一直很少机会看到关于这个国家的图片。刚到首尔的时候,我在这座城市里逛了很久,过了快24小时才拍下第一张照片。比起日本,这里的一切更难以接触,更隐晦,感觉就像我必须要深入其中,才能拍到想要的照片。

Neocha: What were some of your first impressions of the city?

Johan: Seoul had been very confusing for me at first, as I could see very little related to its past and history, and what I could see did not always feel coherent. Architecture in many parts of the city made me feel like I was in some sort of communist country with all these identical concrete buildings shaping the landscape, and just a few kilometers away you’d find yourself walking on huge avenues filled with hundreds of high-end shops, and you’d be reminded that you were in a country that’s embraced capitalism like no other.

Another thing that struck me was the overabundance of churches everywhere. Every direction you look, you’d see them – red neon crosses that have invaded Seoul’s skyline. Talking about neon, it’s something I’ve been shooting a lot of lately. I love the light and the atmosphere that it creates. Neon definitely feels a little bit retro, but at the same time, it keeps us fantasizing about these futuristic vertical metropolises.


Neocha: 你对这座城市的第一印象是什么?

Johan: 一开始,首尔让我感到很困惑,我很难看到这座城市与其过去和历史的关联,我所看到的事物也总是感觉不是很一致。很多地方的建筑让我感觉这是一个共产主义国家,一模一样的凝土建筑物,组成了这座城市的景观,然后仅几公里之外,就是宽阔的商业大道,充满数以百计间高端商店,这时你才会意识到,这也是个不折不扣的资本主义国家。

另一件我最难忘的事是,这里的教堂无处不在。不论在哪里,你都能看到那些红色的霓虹灯十字架,占据着首尔的城市天际线。说到霓虹灯,这是我最近很喜欢拍摄的东西。我很喜欢这种灯光,以及它所创造的氛围。霓虹灯确实有点复古的味道,但同时又会令人幻想到未来的垂直化大都市。

Neocha: As a film photographer, what are your thoughts on the film versus digital debate?

Johan: There shouldn’t be any final conclusion about film or digital – they both have their pros and cons. Digital is easy to use, convenient, accessible to everyone, and gives flawless results. Unlike film, the processing is instantaneous, costless, and allows for endless post-processing modification. As always, industries deliver what consumers are asking for.

Film is expensive and frustrating. There’s no insane post-processing to make dull images look great in the end. You can’t take hundreds of photos in a day, hoping to have a good one in the end or take the same photo over and over again until it looks good on-screen. You have to get it right the first time, and this is without a doubt the best way to learn. Shooting mechanical cameras and film gives me the feeling that I’m part of the process, that I’m in control, and that I’m actually making the photo. Working with film, I realized that I was spending a lot more time on framing and working on composition, and more importantly, I would not rely solely on the camera for the result. If your photos are not good enough, you can’t blame the autofocus or justify it by the fact that you didn’t have the money for that ISO 204800 camera. If your photos aren’t good, it’s simply because you’re not a good photographer. Technology in photography doesn’t make things better. It just makes things more convenient.


Neocha: 作为一名用胶片拍摄的摄影师,你对于胶片摄影与数码摄影之间的争论有什么看法?

Johan: 对于胶片摄影与数码摄影之间的争论,应该永远也不会有最后结论,这两者都有各自的优点和弊处。数码摄影更容易、更方便,所有人都可以使用,拍出来的照片也很不错。与胶片摄影不同,数码摄影即时显像,不需要成本,也可以有无休止的后期修改。每个行业都会努力提供消费者所需要的产品,这一点向来如此。

而胶片摄影的成本更高,也往往容易令人沮丧,你不可以疯狂地进行后期处理,将一张原本平庸的照片变成一幅棒极了的照片;你也不能一天拍好几百张照片,然后指望其中会有一张好照片;或是一遍又一遍地拍同一张照片,直到在你屏幕上的照片看起来不错。你必须在第一次按快门就拍好,所以这无疑是学习摄影的最佳途径。用机械胶片相机和胶片拍摄,让我感觉自己成为了这个创作过程的一部分,我有控制权,我感觉这才是真正地在创作一张照片。用胶片拍摄时,我发现自己会花更多时间思考构图,更重要的是,我不会全然依赖相机。如果你的照片不够好,你不能说是自动对焦的问题,也没有藉口说是因为你没有足够的钱,买一台ISO 204800的相机。如果你的照片不够好,只是因为你不是一个好的摄影师。在摄影方面,科技不会让照片拍得更好。它只会让拍照变得更方便。

Neocha: How would you summarize your approach to photography, and what are some recurring themes in your work?

Johan: I used to take a lot of photos of people in busy places, mostly cities, of people in motion, people that would catch my attention. I’ve never tried to make any specific statement with my photos. I just want my photographs to be a reflection of a time and place. They’re just snapshots. I usually go out walking with a camera in my hand and take photos of the things that I react to. I don’t believe photography should be too cerebral, and I try not to overthink my shots. I like spontaneous things.

As I mentioned, film photography changed my approach a little. It forced me to take my time. It helped me to be more patient, and so I started to photograph things differently – more still images, pictures with no people, empty spaces. I also started paying more attention to colors and geometry. When I’m traveling, things are also a bit different. I try to build a series rather than taking a bunch of candid shots without any specific theme.


Neocha: 你如何描述自己的摄影方式,你的作品中的常见主题有哪些?

Johan: 我曾经拍过很多人们在繁忙地方的照片,大多是在城市,拍摄一些行动中的人们,拍摄那些会引起我注意的人。我从来没有试图在我的照片中表达某种特定的态度。我只想通过自己的照片记录某个时刻和地方……它们只是一张张快照。我通常拿着相机就出门散步,看到想拍的事物就拍下来。我认为摄影的时候不需要思考太多的事情,我在拍摄时尽量不去考虑太多。我喜欢自然而然的东西。

正如我前面所说,胶片摄影也影响了我的摄影方法。它让我在拍摄时放慢速度、更有耐心,也因为这样,我开始拍摄不同的对象,更多的是静止的图像,没有人,空荡的场所。我也开始更多地关注颜色和几何形状。当我去旅行时,拍摄的方法也会有点不同。我会试着创作一个系列,而不是没有任何特定的主题,直接拍一堆照片。

Neocha: Are there any particular themes or lasting impressions from your series in Seoul?

Johan: Culturally, It feels like there’s this huge gap with massive differences of interests and lifestyle between generations. South Korea, and Seoul probably even more, has been changing so much and in such a short period of time. Because so many younger generations of South Koreans are able to travel and study abroad, I guess many came back with a different idea of what they wanted for their country and for their lives. South Korea has been heavily impacted by Western culture, but it feels like its people managed to adapt and blend it to their own culture, making it theirs. I definitely want to go back to South Korea and focus more on the youth next time.


Neocha:这一次在首尔摄影的作品中,有没有什么特别的主题或比较深的印象?

Johan:从文化上来说,我觉得韩国不同世代的人们之间在兴趣和生活方式方面有很大的差异。在韩国,尤其是首尔,在很短的时间内,这里发生了翻天覆地的变化。很多年轻一代的韩国人出国旅游和留学,我想,他们中很多人回来后对于自己的国家和生活都会有了不同的想法。韩国受到很多西方文化的影响,但似乎韩国人们将这种影响成功融入到他们自己的文化中,将其变成韩国的特色文化。我还想再去一次韩国,下一次会把目光更多地放在年轻人身上。

Neocha: What is your personal philosophy towards photography? What does photography mean to you?

Johan: To me, photography is about accurately remembering and capturing real life for future generations. Photographers are witnesses of time, documenting life. Some photographers are talented enough to add emotions and beauty to their images, to get reactions out of their viewers. I hope that people can see my photographs in 30, 40, 50 years in a different context. Who knows what will have become of photography and the world in general by then.

My relation to photography is very personal – it’s almost a kind of therapy for me. Walking with a camera in my hands is one of the rare moments when I manage to completely focus my mind on what I’m doing. It forces me to be in the moment, and it stimulates me. It keeps me curious and gives me the motivation to make new projects, or even just to simply go outside and do something.


Neocha: 关于摄影,你的个人理念是什么?摄影对你来说意味着什么?

Johan: 对我来说,摄影是要准确地记录和捕捉当下的现实生活,留给未来的人们看。摄影师是时间的证人,生活的记录者。一些才华横溢的摄影师能把情感和美融入到他们的照片中,引起观众的情感共鸣。我希望在30、40或50年后,不同时代的人们可以看到我的照片。谁知道到时候,摄影和世界会变成怎么样呢?

对我来说,摄影是挺个人的事情,几乎可以说是一种治疗。拿着相机散步是很弥足珍贵的时刻,因为我可以完全专注其中。它迫使我融入那一时刻,刺激着我。让我保持好奇,给我动力去进行新的项目,甚至只是简单地到外面去,做点什么。

Websitejohanchomet.com
Instagram@johan_chomet
VSCO~/thelongjourney

 

Contributor: George Zhi Zhao


网站johanchomet.com
Instagram@johan_chomet
VSCO~/thelongjourney

 

供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

362 Heong Peah

October 13, 2017 2017年10月13日

It’s 7 a.m. The sun has barely risen over the sleepy town of Gunung Rapat, but already, Uncle Liow is sweating profusely. His lone figure silhouettes against plumes of smoke snaking out of the four self-made brick furnaces of his ramshackle biscuit workshop-hut, the air heavy with the bittersweet scent of burnt caramel and coconut husk. Around him, rays of light stream down through holes in the makeshift rafters, the chiaroscuro illuminating balls of dough arranged neatly on the table to his side, patiently waiting to be baked off. Uncle Liow shovels more coconut husks into the furnaces, fuelling the growing pyres of flame. Then as the fires subside and the coconut husks turn into perfumed cinder, he takes in a long drag of his cigarette, picks up a dough ball and plunges his hands into the 300°C brick furnace, baking off the first of 1,200 heong peahs for the day.


早上7点。太阳刚刚升起,小镇昆仑喇叭(Gunung Rapat)还万籁俱寂的时候,Uncle Liow已经忙得满头大汗。他孤零零的身影,映衬着四个自制砖炉中飘出的缕缕烟雾,在他这个简陋的饼干工坊里,空气弥漫着焦糖与椰子壳交融那种甜中夹苦的浓郁气味。在他的四周,一束束阳光从临时搭建的屋椽间投射下来,照在他身旁桌子上整齐排列的面团,形成或明或暗的光影变化,这些面团接下来就要被放入砖炉里烤制。Uncle Liow锹更多椰子壳入炉,让火焰燃烧得更旺盛。然后,火势逐渐减弱,椰子壳也烧成了芳香煤渣,这时,他深深抽了一口烟,拿起面团,徒手把面团放入300°C高温的砖炉中,准备烤制今天头1200个香饼(heong peah)。

Though biscuit shops and confectionaries aren’t all that uncommon in Malaysia (after all, the neighbouring city of Ipoh is well known for its egg tarts, kaya puff biscuits, and lotus paste buns), Uncle Liow’s workshop makes, and have only ever made, one particular type of biscuit – the legendary heong peah, which literally means fragrant pastry in Hokkien. They’re flaky, delectable puff biscuits filled with oozing, sinfully thick malted caramel. Its outermost layers are often charred to a deep golden brown, while the caramel inside remains glisteningly moist. It’s akin to a lighter, flakier, Asian version of a Breton Kouign Amann, with a heavier caramel hit.


虽然马来西亚有很多饼家和糖果点心厂家——毕竟,旁边的怡保就是闻名的蛋挞、加央角(kaya puff)和莲蓉饼(lotus paste buns)产地,但Uncle Liow的工作坊只制作一种特定的甜点——著名的香饼。香饼一词来自于闽南语“Heong Peah(芳香糕点)”。薄脆的酥饼内充满浓浓的麦芽焦糖。最外层通常烤成深金黄色,而饼芯则是湿软的焦糖。它就像是亚洲版的布列塔尼特色甜点黄油酥饼(Breton Kouign Amann),但更清淡、更酥脆,焦糖味更浓郁。

Despite having a Chinese moniker, these biscuits first gained recognition in Malaysia back in 1981 when a second-generation Chinese couple started Yee Hup, a small biscuit workshop based in Gunung Rapat. Yee Hup specialized in heong peah, which until then had only been a niche, sparsely sold biscuit of the region. They developed and improved upon the traditional recipe and baking method, and in less than a decade, their heong peahs gained a cult following throughout Malaysia. Bakers and biscuit-makers around the region soon joined them, wanting to learn their ways of biscuit making. Soon after, with Yee Hup’s growing popularity came the desire to scale up production, but with the traditional methods requiring much effort and manpower, they eventually turned to mechanization and moved to a large-scale factory setting.


尽管有一个中文名字,但香饼一开始在马来西亚家喻户晓得归功于1981年一对第二代移民的中国夫妇所创立的余合饼家(Yee Hup)。余合是一家位于昆仑喇叭的饼家,以制香饼(Heong Peah)为主,同时也会制作当地特色饼糕甜点。在此之前,香饼一直是很小众的甜点。他们在传统秘方和烘烤方法的基础上进行研发和改进,在不到十年时间里,使之成为马来西亚各地广受欢迎的美食。附近的面包和饼干制造商很快就加入了他们,想要学习他们的饼干制作方法。不久之后,余合越来越受欢迎,也有了扩大规模生产的想法,但传统的制作方法需要投入很多功夫和人力,他们最终选择机械化,搬到一个大型工厂进行生产。

Uncle Liow was one of Yee Hup’s very first workers, and after many years of toil, he rose up the ranks to become one of their stalwart bakers. But when Yee Hup upscaled their business, he parted ways with the company as he wanted to preserve the artisanal methods of biscuit-making. And today, despite having labored over heong peahs for over 30 years, he remains true to his belief, never once faltering and submitting to the less-laborious, profit-driven modern methods of biscuit production. According to Uncle Liow, to get the truest, best-tasting heong peahs, two things are needed – a searing hot furnace fueled with coconut husks for that musky aroma and char, and more importantly, solid technique, which he clearly has a wealth of.


Uncle Liow是余合饼家(Yee Hup)第一批工人之一,经过多年的辛劳工作,他逐渐成为了店里的资深饼糕师傅之一。然而,当余合饼家扩大业务后,他选择了与公司分道扬镳,因为他想保持传统的手工饼糕制作方法。如今,他已经制作香饼30多年,但他仍然坚持着自己的信念,从来没有选择那些更省功夫、更赚钱的现代机器来制饼。Uncle Liow说,要做出最正宗、最美味的香饼,有两件必须品——灼热的烤炉,并且要用椰子壳来生火,因为可以有麝香香气和焦香气味;更重要的是,要有过硬的制作技艺,这一点他显然不缺。

Watching him work is truly mesmerizing. To make the heong peahs, Uncle Liow braves the 300°C heat of the cylindrical brick furnaces, sticking each piece of dough to the searing hot furnace walls in one deft movement. All the while, the hissing flame at the very bottom of the furnace licks at his fingertips, vaporizing the sweat on his hairless, burn-scarred arms. He works in a trance-like state, dancing around the furnace. His brows are furrowed; his hands in and out of the fire with fluid speed and purpose, stopping only to wipe away the beads of sweat collecting on his temples. His focus is palpably intense, as any slip-up would immediately result in painful third-degree burns. Only when every inch of the inner walls of the furnace has been filled with heong pPeahs does he allow himself breathe and take in a few drags of his cigarette as they bake off. Barely ten minutes later though, he is back at it again, this time with a scraper in hand to pry the biscuits off the furnace walls and onto cooling trays, ready to be checked for quality, packaged, and sold.


看着他工作很引人入胜。制作香饼时,Uncle Liow无惧于圆柱形砖炉300°C的高温,迅速将一块块面团放入灼热的炉壁上。砖炉底部的嘶嘶火焰舔着他的指尖,蒸发掉他光滑、布满烧伤伤痕的胳膊上。工作的时候,他仿佛置身另一个世界,变成一名在砖炉上跳舞的舞者。他的眉头紧皱,除了拭去额角上的汗珠,他的双手一直在快速、准确地伸入、抽出砖炉。他如此的专注,因为任何的疏忽都可能会导致三级烧伤的痛苦后果。只有当每一寸炉壁都摆满了香饼后,他才会停下来休息一下,抽口烟,等待香饼烤熟。不到十分钟,他又要回到砖炉前,这一次他手中拿着一把刮刀,把香饼从炉壁上取出,放到冷却托盘上,然后检查香饼的质量,进行打包和出售。

Together, with his team of five employees who helps him in making, filling, and packaging the biscuits, they bake off thousands of heong peahs every day in his humble workshop. They work tirelessly 12 hours a day, six days a week, which is admirable, to say the least, given the intensity and laboriousness of this artisanal business. However, Uncle Liow’s diligence and dedication have definitely paid off, as his workshop (362 Heong Peah) has over the years become a stand-out among the slew of biscuit shops and confectionaries in the area, garnering many loyal customers who travel from all over the country just to get his freshly baked biscuits.


在他的这间制饼工坊里,他和团队里的五名员工一起配制、装馅和包装饼干,每天烤制数千个香饼。他们每天不知疲倦地工作12小时,一周工作六天,鉴于这份工作的强度和辛苦,实在是令人钦佩。然而,Uncle Liow的勤奋和专注显然得到了回报,因为他的制饼工坊“362 张记炭烧香饼”经历多年努力,如今已经成为当地著名的品牌,赢得许多忠诚的顾客,甚至有许多人专程从马来西亚的其它地方过来,只为了能吃到他新鲜烤制的饼糕点心。

Although Uncle Liow’s heong peah business has continued to thrive over the years, other artisanal biscuit-makers have not been as successful, either succumbing to the ever-growing pressure to turn to modern, less laborious methods or having to close down their businesses due to old age and the laboriousness of the process. Thus, 362 Heong Peah now remains one of the few, if not the only artisanal heong peah workshops left in Malaysia, which reflects the unfortunate ravages of mechanization on the humble artisanal biscuit trade. However, despite the current state of the industry, Uncle Liow remains loyal to his mantra that flavor is king, and as such, he believes there will soon be a new wave of young artisans to take up the mantle of reviving and elevating the near-lost art of handmade heong peahs.


虽然Uncle Liow的香饼生意还在不断发展,但很多其它手工饼干制造商却没有他这么成功。他们要么屈服于不断增长的压力,转向现代化、省力的制作工艺,要么不得不因为年纪大了、制作过程太辛苦而选择结业。因此,362 张记炭烧香饼现在仍然是马来西亚为数不多的手工制饼工坊之一,这也反映出机械自动化对手工制饼行业的冲击。然而,虽然行业当前状态不容乐观,但Uncle Liow仍然忠于他的口头禅——好的味道才能成为最终的赢家,因此,他相信,很快会有新一代的年轻制饼师傅,承担起振兴和提升手工香饼制作这一门即将失传的艺术。

Address:
362, Jalan Gunung Rapat
Taman Rapat Setia, 31350 Ipoh
Perak, Malaysia

Tel: +6053113529

Instagram: ~/explore/locations

 

Contributor: Yi Jun Loh


地址:
362, Jalan Gunung Rapat
Taman Rapat Setia, 31350 Ipoh
Perak, Malaysia

电话: +6053113529

Instagram~/explore/locations

 

供稿人: Yi Jun Loh

The Chaos of Hong Kong

October 11, 2017 2017年10月11日

Duran Levinson is a filmmaker originally from Cape Town, South Africa. Aside from filmmaking, he’s an avid globetrotter and photographer whose travels have taken him throughout Asia. He admits the massive metropolises of Asia fascinate him way more than his hometown. Out of his travels, one of his favorite locations to capture is Hong Kong, a place he frequently visits every year for weeks at a time.


Duran Levinson是一名来自南非开普敦的影片制作人,但在拍摄影片之外的时间,他也喜欢带着他的相机去四处拍照。除了他的家乡南非之外,他更情迷亚洲的城市,香港就是其中一个他特别钟情的拍摄地点。Duran每年会去香港旅行几次,每次待上半个月左右的时间。

“The Kowloon side of Hong Kong appeals to me the most because of the chaos and beauty,” Levinson fondly describes. “I love that it’s so messy, so busy, and so cluttered. For photography I would say it is one of the most interesting places in the world I have ever photographed in.”


“我喜欢九龙地区的杂乱,这里就像是整个世界被浓缩在一小块区域里。这种混乱嘈杂和忙碌正是九龙最吸引我的地方。这里有最有趣的建筑,但走几条街又有自然风景。对于一个摄影师来说,我可以说这是全世界我拍过最有意思的地方了。”

Beyond the chaotic beauty of Hong Kong, Levinson’s love of the city can also be attributed to the people he’s met there. “I have so many great friends in Hong Kong. I always enjoy spending time there working and shooting with new and old friends. I believe people in Hong Kong are more exposed to creativity than a lot of other Asians, and this can help with planning and organizing shoots. I find that my friends in Hong Kong are always down for adventure and spontaneous photo missions.” See more of Hong Kong through his eyes below.


另一个喜欢香港的原因,Duran说是因为那里的人。“我有很多好朋友在香港,我很享受拍摄时和老朋友叙旧,也喜欢通过拍摄认识新的朋友。比起亚洲其他地方,这里的人更多受到西方文化的影响,他们更大胆。拍摄时我有什么新奇大胆的想法,他们都很愿意去尝试去冒险,这也是我喜欢在这拍照的原因。”下面一起随Duran的镜头看看他眼中的香港吧。

Websiteduranlevinson.com
Instagram: @duranite

 

Contributor: Ye Zi


网站duranlevinson.com
Instagram@duranite

 

供稿人: Ye Zi