Traces of Time 跟着时间的轨迹行走

April 30, 2018 2018年4月30日

An elegant, understated charm runs through the furniture of Hung-Ming Chen and Chen-Yen Wei. With clean lines and gentle curves, their tables and chairs feel both effortless and painstakingly designed. Afteroom, the couple’s Stockholm-based studio, has been winning widespread acclaim across Europe and Asia, and even earned a spot on Architonic’s 2016-17 list of the world’s top 100 designers.

家具设计师陈宏铭和魏晨燕的家具作品总是流露着一股优雅、低调的魅力。俐落的线条与柔和的曲线设计,使得他们的桌椅显得随意自然又设计精心。夫妻俩在斯德哥尔摩成立的 Afteroom 工作室在欧洲和亚洲已经赢得广泛赞誉,甚至被知名建筑设计网站 Architonic 评为 2016-2017 世界 100 位顶尖设计师。

When Chen and Wei moved from Taiwan to Sweden in 2006, they planned to stay for just two years, while Chen completed his master’s at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design. Twelve years later they’re still there, making furniture and providing interior design consulting. “We were quite naive, and didn’t think too much before we came here—which was probably a good thing,” they recall. “Otherwise, we couldn’t have accomplished a thing.”

2006 年,陈宏铭和魏晨燕从台湾移居瑞典,他们当时的计划只是停留两年,等陈宏铭完成在瑞典国立艺术与设计大学的硕士学位就离开。但是,如今十二年过去了,他们仍然生活在瑞典,在那里制作家具及提供室内设计等方面的咨询。“我们当时比较天真,来瑞典之前也没有想太多,但这可能是件好事。”他们回忆说,“否则,我们可能什么也做不成。”

In a country where furniture design is something of a national obsession, standing out is no mean feat. Working in Stockholm makes it easier for them to meet with their clients, many of whom are based in Europe. Still, they note, “we miss our families—and the food—back in Taiwan every day.”


Afteroom’s minimalism echoes the design of the early and mid-twentieth century. Though they frequently cite Germany’s Bauhaus movement as inspiration, the couple has never thought of their designs as having any particular regional roots, whether in Europe or in Asia.

Rather, they focus solely on how easy their furniture is to use, and how it looks with the passage of time. “The only thing we care about is whether the piece can be both used practically and maintained aesthetically,” they say.

Afteroom 工作室的作品充满着 20 世纪早中期风格的极简主义。虽然他们经常从德国包豪斯设计运动中获取灵感,但在他们看来,自己的设计向来没有扎根于任何特定的区域,无论是欧洲还是亚洲。


The Afteroom chair, one of the studio’s signature items, has an appealing simplicity: the curvature of the legs echoes the circular seat, while the bar that connects the backrest also joins the legs. Similarly, their sideboard uses striking vertical lines that catch the eye without adding visual clutter.

Afteroom 的椅子是工作室的代表作之一,这件作品有着极为出色的简约设计:椅脚的曲率呼应着圆形椅座, 连接椅背的长条形状与椅脚融合为一。他们的餐具柜也延续了同样的极简主义,摒弃所有令人眼花缭乱的元素,利用醒目的垂直线条来吸引目光。

The core of Chen and Wei’s design philosophy lies in what they call “advocating the traces of time.” This means creating objects that don’t become outdated or shopworn but improve as they age. “A great design should be something that constantly arouses your desire to keep it in your life, something that you really can’t get tired of looking at,” they explain. To enhance an object’s aesthetics, they eliminate unnecessary elements to achieve a pared-down simplicity. “The purpose is to keep the work timeless, and to let it remain neutral rather than burdensome, so the user won’t easily grow tired of it and discard it.”

陈宏铭和魏晨燕的核心设计理念,在于所谓 “突显时光的痕迹”。这意味着他们创作的作品不会过时或变旧,而是能够随着时间经过,不断升华。“一个好的设计应该能不断激发你将它留住的欲望,让你永远不会感到厌倦。” 为了增强作品的美感,他们去掉所有不必要的元素,以求获得极致的简约。他们解释道 “目的是保持作品的经典性,让它保持中立而不是变成负担。这样一来,使用者才不会轻易就厌倦或丢弃它。”

Instagram: @afteroom_studio


Contributor: Allen Young



投稿人: Allen Young

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Shedding Labels with 9m88 90后的老灵魂歌手9m88

April 27, 2018 2018年4月27日

With a head full of curly hair and an oversized coat, 9m88 is a jazz singer who has risen to fame in the Taiwanese music scene in recent times. Her fashion sense often radiates a stylish retro vibe, sprinkled with offbeat, comical touches in the detail. From head to toe, the way she dresses is reminiscent of someone from straight out of an 80s discotheque. Her unique, idiosyncratic style is what’s most striking about her, after her voice.

9m88’s unexpected rise to fame came about following a successful collaboration with rapper Leo Wang on “Weekends with You.” She has a deep, sultry, alluring sound, the kind that feels more fitting for the age of cassette tapes than our Spotify generation. With nothing to go on but a voice alone, it’d be easy to attribute her voice to a soul singer with a few decades under her belt. But in reality, 9m88 is a millennial whose music career is just taking off.

一头卷发,穿着过大的宽松外套,仿佛刚从八零年代复古歌厅走出来的个性女孩,她是台湾当今音乐界最受瞩目的爵士女声 9m88。她全身上下散发一股时髦的复古气息,有时候再加点搞怪的戏谑成分。这种别人模仿不来的独特风格,是这位歌手除了歌声之外,让人印象最深刻的标记。

因为一首和说唱歌手 Leo 王合唱的《陪你过假日》,大家像着了迷似的开始追踪这个魅力十足的嗓音,关于 9m88 的好奇一一浮现。歌声是磁性、低沉而且迷人,是适合存在在卡带里的那种悠扬。如果没有见过她本人,光听声音,脑中想像的是一位已经唱了十年多载的老灵魂歌手。但 9m88 不过是 90后,音乐生涯刚刚起步而已。

My name is 9m, sounds like Joanne


Perhaps like me, you were mystified the first time you saw the name 9m88 – it almost looks like the name of a radio station. In reality, 9m (“jiu em”) is an approximation the English name Joanne, while 88 (“ba ba”) comes from her childhood nickname, Xiaoba.

Ever since she was a child, 9m88 dreamed of becoming a star, she confesses with a laugh. And that always meant through music. She often had intricate fantasies about being on stage with backup dancers performing behind her. “At some point, I’ll have to shoot a few music videos with singing and dancing – definitely!” she laughs. “But now that my artistic career is becoming serious, I’m looking at things more from the perspective of 9m88, figuring out what I want to bring to this world as an artist.”

我的名字 9m,是 Joanne 的諧音


第一次听说这号人物时,连名字都让人有点摸不着头绪,容易联想到某个广播电台。9m 其实是英文名 Joanne 的谐音,88 则取自中文小名‘小芭’。9m 笑说自己从小就有明星梦,音乐是一直不变的梦想,常常幻想有舞者在后面帮忙伴舞那种大排场的演出。“ 未来拍几支唱跳歌手的 MV 还是必须的!但现在当创作者的使命变大了,我会更以 9m88 的身份去做考量,思考自己作为一个创作者,要带给这个世界的是什么。”




While she may not have a group of glamorous backup dancers or tens of thousands of fans at her concerts yet, it doesn’t matter much to her. She just wants to live her life honestly and simply. Even without the resources of a mega-celebrity, she’s still able to create meaningful work when inspiration strikes.

The song “Nine Head Hinano” is a great example of this – it’s a theme song she wrote for a key ring designed by her friends Sid and Geri. The key ring is made up of nine heads, with each representing a different woman. The lyrics describe each woman with a single short line, revealing a little secret about their lives, such as “Joanne sang jazz but didn’t make it, had to work selling juice on the side of the road” (in Taiwan roadside juice stalls are often staffed by attractive women), or “Janet just wanted a little love, went on Tinder but got no likes.”

With this song, the message she hopes to communicate is that people come in different shapes and sizes – there’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all model. In 9m’s opinion, in a society with an increasingly unified standard of beauty, everyone’s gotten so used to striving for so-called perfection that they’ve forgotten that having flaws is healthy and perfectly normal. It’s an intriguing song that sounds casual but is layered with meaning.

即使没有华丽舞群和万人演唱会,只要诚实、简简单单的过好日子,灵感来时不犹豫的把握住,就算没有大明星级的资源,也一样能做出好的作品。这首《九头身日奈》 是她帮朋友 Sid and Geri 设计的钥匙圈所写的主题曲,钥匙圈上面九个头代表九种女生,歌词里每个女生都只用短短一句话形容,揭幕她们生命中不经掩饰的小秘密。“Joanne 她唱爵士乐却没有红,只好去卖大脚桶”(大脚桶是台湾路边常见的果汁摊贩,店员通常是很漂亮的女生)、或“Janet 只想要一点爱,上 Tinder 却没人 Like”。

人本来就各式各样,不一定只有一种样板,9m 想说的是在这个审美观逐渐趋向一元化的社会里,大家似乎都习惯了朝所谓被认定的‘完美’方向前进,却忘了有缺点其实是一件健康、再正常不过的事情。是一首听起来随意,背后意义却不随意的有趣作品。

I don’t care who wants to be a jazz singer


9m went from being a bedroom musician to an artist now under the limelight – after such an abrupt change in status, how does she perceive herself? “I’ve actually never stopped creating, and as a female creator, femininity has long been a concern of mine,” she says. “As for jazz music, that’s just one part of what I’ve studied. Today my main creative focus is searching for the value of being ‘myself.’ It’s hard to say what I’ll want to talk about in a few years.”



从一个埋头写歌的女孩,到舞台上迎着众人目光的歌手,面对状态的转换,9m 是如何定位自己? “我其实一直都在创作,身为一个女性创作者,‘女性’ 这个表述本来就长在我身上。至于爵士乐,它就是我学习的一部分而已。目前的创作主轴主要还是放在探索身为 ‘我’ 的价值,很难说过几年后我会想要讨论什么。”

As more and more people are beginning to hear her work, her shows in Taiwan have begun to sell out, and with this success, she’s even scheduled tour dates abroad. It might still be too early to say her childhood musical dreams have come true, but this is definitely a promising beginning. At this point in time, planning for a full-time career as a jazz singer might be jumping the gun. But she says it doesn’t matter where life takes her – what’s important is the music. “I think music is music. It doesn’t need a hard definition. Having a style is good, but the spirit of music is not making distinctions,” she says. “‘Jazz performer’ is a label other people put on me when they were trying to help me out. I just want audiences to get to know 9m88 better. I don’t care who wants to be a jazz singer. None of that matters. The main thing is to do what you like.”

作品被越来越多人听见,在台湾的表演场场完售,还巡演到了海外。说从小的音乐梦实现了,还太早,但这一切依然是个美好的开始。9m88 在音乐界引起了一阵小小的炫风,现在就问未来生涯是严肃了点,对 9m 来说,怎么走无所谓,一切重要的只关乎音乐。“我觉得音乐就是音乐,是不需要硬去定义的。有风格很好,但不分家才是音乐的精神。爵士女伶这个称号是别人为了帮我放一个注解,我只想让观众更认识 9m88。至于爵士女伶谁想当,我没关系,都不重要。给你或妳当吧,人生欢喜就好!”

Facebook: ~/9m88baba
Instagram: @9m88


Contributor: Yang Yixuan
Photographer: Xu Anrong

Instagram: @9m88


供稿人: Yang Yixuan
摄影师: Xu Anrong


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Unpopularity Contest 你们最大的问题啊,是太畅销!

April 26, 2018 2018年4月26日

“Your biggest problem,” shouts a sadistic instructor at a confused group of writers, “is that you’re too mass-market!” The first story in Da Tou Ma’s How to Write a Worstseller tells of an unusual workshop whose participants learn how to curb their sales appeal. The author seems to be poking fun at literary snobbery, even as she cleverly uses this satire to claim her place as a serious writer.

Da Tou Ma is quickly making a name for herself on China’s literary scene. Her three books – How to Write a Worstseller (2017), Skinner (2017), and Murdering the Television (2015) – have earned her praise from established figures such as Jin Yucheng and Luo Yijun, and English translations of her stories have recently appeared in the Beijing literary magazine Spittoon. Her writing is lively, original, and smart, effortlessly combining literary aims with the readability of – yes – a bestseller.

“你们最大的问题啊,是太畅销!” 一位施虐狂般的导师吼道,底下坐的是一群困惑的作家。这是大头马的作品《不畅销小说写作指南》中的第一个故事,讲述一群作家在一场写作培训班上学习如何让自己的作品不被畅销。作者看似是在嘲刺当今文学的势利性,却又巧妙地利用这种讽刺,来宣称她自己是一位严肃的作家。


Her unusual pseudonym, which literally means “Big Head Ma,” began as a childhood nickname. “When I was little my forehead was big – not that it’s small now – so my friends and relatives, and the kids at school, used to call me ‘Big Head,’” she explains. “And since my Mom’s last name is Ma, her coworkers at the office, where I’d spend most of my free time after school, would call me ‘Little Ma.’” That’s why, in the early days of the internet, when she had to pick a screen name, “Da Tou Ma” was a natural choice—and it stuck. As a child, she used it for her first articles and posts, and before long it became a part of her identity, online as well as off. “Gradually the name became my name in real life. Everyone, even my parents, calls me Da Tou Ma,” she says.

“大头马”这个有意思的笔名源自她童年时的绰号。“我小时候脑门大 (现在也不小),是身体上鲜明的特点。所以亲朋好友和同学都喜欢喊我‘大头’。” 她继续解释,“又由于我母亲姓马,小时候放学后经常到我母亲工作的地方打发时间,她的同事都喊我‘小马’。”因此,当刚开始在网上要投稿和发帖时,她很自然就想到了‘大头马’这个名字。慢慢地,这个名字也成为了她现实中的身份。“大头马逐渐成为我现实中的名字。包括我父母现在都这么叫我。”

Da Tou Ma finds inspiration both in her everyday life and in her expansive reading habits. Recently she’s been especially drawn to nonfiction in science, economics, and politics, while also making her way through classic Chinese authors like Lao She, Shen Congwen, and Lu Xun. “I try to imitate the styles, structures, and tricks of the experience of what I’m reading,” she says. “There are all different kinds of sources of inspiration.”

Her ability to use different styles, structures, and tricks is nowhere more evident than in How to Write a Worstseller. In each of the book’s eight stories, supposedly written by a one of the participants in the workshop, she inhabits a different persona, from a playboy who goes to weddings to pick up women, to the enigmatic author of a guide to apologies, to a chemistry student whose trip to Amsterdam takes a harrowing turn. Switching back and forth lets her try out different tones and voices, and gives the book a dazzling virtuosity.

大头马的创作灵感主要来自她个人丰富的生活和阅读经验。最近,她对科学、经济和政治这些非小说类的书尤其感兴趣。也会从老舍、沈从文和鲁迅等中国古典作家中获取灵感。“我会尝试去模仿我阅读到的文学风格、结构、技巧。” 她说,“多种多样的阅读经验都会成为我的灵感来源。”


Unlike the workshop leader in her story, Da Tou Ma says she likes both “serious” literature and popular genres, like sci-fi, fantasy, and manga. “I think the best works in these genres are every bit as good as the best works of serious literature,” she says. As for her own books, she doesn’t worry about whether readers will think what she’s writing is high art or just entertainment. “Sometimes I think about the reader when writing, sometimes I don’t,” she adds. “I concentrate more on finishing the work itself.”


She confesses to being a little out of step with other Chinese writers. But she notes a split between those who work inside the system—with the writers associations and state-sponsored publications—and those on the outside. “Writers who rely on the system tend to produce a traditional, mainstream sort of writing, and the homogeneity is pretty severe,” she says. “Writers outside the system have a bit more freedom, and try to use richer and more varied forms and styles.” Though she doesn’t say, it’s not hard to guess which group she belongs to.

Da Tou Ma does think things are changing, though, and that more writers from outside are getting mainstream recognition. “I think this generation’s writing is definitely more diverse, more free, and more flexible than in the past.”

她承认自己对其他中国作家不太熟悉。但她注意到当今作家大体上可分为两种。第一种是体制内的写作者,依托作家协会或官方的赞助来出版作品。另一种则是存在在‘体制外’的。“总的来说,依附在体制内的作家一直在沿袭传统主流的写作方式,同质化现象比较严重。体制外的作家则更自由一些,试图创造更多丰富多样的形式和风格。” 虽然她没有说明,但不难猜出她是属于哪一类型。


On a more individual level, she says that biggest challenge she faces is figuring out what to write. “For the first few years I was writing, I focused on basic writing technique. But lately, I’ve found that what to write has become a central question.” No longer content with just writing about personal experience, Da Tou Ma aspires to produce something of lasting value – something that not only has meaning for herself as an individual but can also speak to people outside her immediate circle.

“Answering the question of ‘what to write’ means figuring out how to look at this world and these times, and how to get a deeper understanding of the world and produce work that goes beyond the times,” she says. “That’s the fundamental challenge.”

Click here to read an excerpt of How to Write a Worstseller. To purchase the Chinese edition of the book, click here.

在个人层面上,她表示目前面临到的最大挑战是弄清楚 ‘写什么’。 “前几年刚开始写作时,我都在处理基本写作技巧上的问题。但写到现在,我发现 ‘写什么’ 才是关键。” 大头马不再满足于写个人经历,她渴望能创作出更多具有持久价值的东西。写出不仅对个人有意义,同时也可以对其他人产生共鸣的作品。

“ 当你知道了要‘写什么’,意味着你知道如何去看待这个世界,以及如何更深刻地进一步了解它。能不能写出跨越时代的作品,是所有作家最根本的挑战。”


WeChat: Prophetdatouma


Contributor: Allen Young
Photographer: Nathan Wang

微信: Prophetdatouma


投稿人: Allen Young
摄影师: Nathan Wang

Da Tou Ma’s “How to Write a Worstseller” (excerpt)

April 26, 2018 2018年4月26日

Text no. 1: How to Write a Worstseller


One summer day five years ago, I got a phone call from a city on the coast. The voice on the other end of the line, deep and measured and deliberate, congratulated me on being chosen to take part in a writers’ workshop, and instructed me to leave the very next day for the place it would be held, a small island not far from that coastal city. Room and board would be provided for over the entire two weeks, but I’d have to cover my own travel expenses. The voice hung up before I could reply.

At the time I was at home with my girlfriend in the middle of a fight, desperate to come up with a reply to the last thing she’d said. My first thought was that this was a scam. My second thought was a sudden jolt of inspiration: I found the perfect comeback for the fight. I set down the phone and was about to go on arguing, but my girlfriend turned and asked who’d called. I stopped short, put my comeback on hold, and repeated what I’d just heard. “You’re such an idiot, it’s obviously a scam,” she said.

She had exactly the same thought I did. But now that she’d said it, I couldn’t just agree. I could only counter with: “Not necessarily.”

“What do you mean, not necessarily?”

“Maybe it really is some kind of writing seminar.”

“Then why did they choose you?”

She had a point. Aside from a literary club at university that I briefly got talked into joining, I’d never had a thing to do with literature. Once, carried away by the passion of the club’s president, I drunkenly proclaimed that I too would “one day become a writer.” But I’d never written a single line, and after I got together with my girlfriend, who at the time was the club’s vice-president, I didn’t attend any more of their events. My girlfriend, too, soon quit, and went from aspiring writer to ordinary young bank employee, scrolling through online romance novels on her phone. She’s always been a bit ahead of me in terms of income, though thankfully only a bit. I suppose I did have one writing-related job: after graduation I worked for a text-message marketing company, mostly composing spam texts. In reality, I’d just cut and paste from the ad copy manual. Now I work at a real estate research firm, where my main responsibility is to draft proposals for clients, essentially putting garbage into PowerPoint form.

No, I couldn’t think of a reason I’d be chosen for a writing workshop. Unless it was a scam.

Or maybe—

“Or maybe I really do have some literary talent, it just hasn’t been discovered yet,” I ventured.

“You?” My girlfriend looked at me. “Ha!”

Often our fights would grind to a halt with that laugh of hers, not because I wanted them to grind to a halt, but because I just couldn’t muster a response. I’d sit there like a dud bomb, and she’d act as though nothing had happened. Through a sort of unspoken agreement, we’d both pretend the whole thing had blown over.

There’s nothing enviable about this. Anyone who’s been in a relationship for more than three years has these kinds of unspoken agreements, and my girlfriend and I had been together for six. I can’t say I hadn’t thought about marriage, of course, nor that she hadn’t thought about finding a new boyfriend. During our first three years we must have broken up 800 times, but in the last three years, we both concluded that breaking up wasn’t so different from getting married, and not mentioning the word “breakup” had become one of our unspoken rules. The other unspoken rules included not exposing each other’s lies, not warning each other we were about to make a mistake, not putting our lives on hold for each other, even for a second. Really, aside from a minor fight each week and a major fight each month, we weren’t doing so bad. And the prospect of staying together had its appeal: as time went by, our fights would gradually become less frequent, so that by the day we died, we’d have returned to the honeymoon phase when we could communicate without words. We’d have grown old together.

But this time, I had that comeback to use! Had it not been for that phone call interrupting us, I bet we’d still be hashing out that fight. Who was right and who was wrong had yet to be determined.

That’s why this time I ignored her laugh. “Yes, me. What’s so funny?”

She didn’t expect me to keep going. She gave me a look, then suddenly opened her mouth and reeled off: “The wind is heedless of the slender branch, no dew ignites the cinnamon leaf’s fragrance.”

I didn’t turn around. What did that mean?

Slowly, she asked, “What comes next?”

All at once I understood. That was something I wrote for her in college. After she read it she asked, much to my surprise, what the next two lines were. How should I know what the next two lines were? Those were the only ones I copied out of that volume of Li Shangyin’s selected verse! At the time we were head over heels in love, and naturally this awkward little episode had been quickly swept under the rug. I couldn’t believe she still remembered.

She saw I didn’t respond, and laughed again. “Ha!”

It was that second laugh that made me make up my mind.

The next morning, when I’d packed my bags and was getting ready to leave, my girlfriend, who had just gotten up, groggily asked where I was off to. “The workshop,” I coolly replied. Then I walked out the door and didn’t look back.


作品1号: 不畅销小说写作指南







是啊。这辈子除了在大学时招新被忽悠进了一段时间的文学社,我和“文学”二字从未发生过任何关系。除了配合社长的热情,喝醉后附议过“以后要成为一名作家”的理想外,没干过任何一件写作有关的事。当我和当时还是文学社副社长的女朋友好上之后,就再也没参加过社团的活动。女朋友也很快卸任副社长,从有志于成为一名女作家,变成了如今捧着手机读网络言情小说在银行上班的普通女青年。收入永远走在我前面一点点,还好只是一点点。非要说和“写”这个动作有关的事的话,大学毕业后我在一家短信公司工作,主要内容是撰写垃圾营销短信,实际就是抱着文案书拼贴。如今我在一家房地产研究院上班,主要内容是给各位甲方写方案,本质上是把废话以 PPT 的形式组织起来。
















How to Write a Worstseller
by Da Tou Ma
Hunan Literature and Art Publishing House, 2017

Click here to go back to the original article.


English Translator: Allen Young

大头马 著
长沙: 湖南文艺出版社,2017



英语翻译: Allen Young

Seeking Sacred 追寻神圣的常人

April 25, 2018 2018年4月25日

When visiting new places, traveling off the beaten path can often yield unexpected surprises, as was the case with photographer Enoch Contreras’s trip to Cambodia. Jaded by the hordes of tourists on his visit to Angkor Wat, he wandered off from the crowds in search for a moment of quiet and ended up stumbling upon an adjacent monastery. There, he was met with a monk covered in tattoos, a look that Contreras hadn’t ever associated with Buddhist practitioners. Intrigued by the disparity between his preconceived notions of monkhood and the monk’s actual appearances, he sought to learn more about their lifestyles. For the next few days, with the aid of a younger monk at the monastery who spoke passable English, he embedded himself within their community and produced the Seeking Sacred photo series.

每到一个新地方,独辟蹊径往往能让人收获意想不到的惊喜。摄影师 Enoch Contreras 在柬埔寨的旅程正是如此。前往历史悠久的吴哥窟旅游时,Enoch 避开了热门的旅游景点,却在偶然间发现了附近的一个寺院。

在这间寺院,他遇到一个身上布满纹身的僧人正在切菜,这位僧人看上去与 Enoch 印象中的僧侣形象如此不同,让他感到十分好奇。在接下来的几天里,通过一位会一点英语的年轻和尚的帮助,Enoch 得以融入到这座寺院的生活中,拍摄了《Seeking Sacred》(《寻找神圣》)这一系列的作品。

“I thought that all monks were serious practitioners who chose their path because they wanted to dedicate their lives to the teachings of Buddha,” Contreras told us.

But as it turns out, many from this particular monastery didn’t join out of religious devotion alone. For many of the monks there, Buddhism was more than a religious belief. The monastery provided shelter and food, and so, following the path of Dharma became a practical way for them to survive.

“Many of the younger monks especially,” Contreras tells us. “Their families couldn’t afford to provide for them so they were brought to live there where they knew their kids’ basic necessities would be taken care of. Others were orphans who came for the same reason, as a means of survival. One of the older monks became an orphan during the Cambodian genocide when he lost his entire family. He chose this path in order to maintain a life off the streets.”

“我一直以为僧侣都是严肃的教徒,他们之所以选择成为僧侣,都是想为佛陀的教诲奉献出自己的生命。”Enoch 说。


“对于许多年轻的僧侣,尤其如此。”Enoch 解释道,“他们的家人因为无法负担他们的生活,才把他们带到这里,因为他们知道,小孩在这里可以得到基本的生活必需品。而另一些僧侣则原本就是孤儿,来这里也是出于同样的原因——生存下去。寺院里有一位较年长的僧侣在柬埔寨大屠杀期间成了孤儿,为了免于流落街头,他也选择成为了僧人。”

With an authentic interest in these monks’ lives, Contreras was able to create compelling photos that are a refreshing departure from the typical, detached perspectives of a photographer experiencing a new culture for the first time. Seeking Sacred shows these monks not as mysterious zealots. but reveals them for who they really are, as regular people with their own hopes and struggles. “When there were no tourists around, they relaxed and allowed themselves to be exactly who they were without any masks,” he tells us. “They were gritty and playful, yet balanced by their beliefs. Despite their decision to walk the path of Dharma, they were still holding on to who they were before they became devoted. That’s exactly what I wanted to show.”

通过深入了解生活在那里的僧侣,Enoch 的照片不同于业余摄影师照片中那种置身事外的视角。在《Seeking Sacred》镜头下的僧人,并不属于一个神秘的狂热宗教,相反,这些照片呈现了他们内心真实的一面,和普通人一样,他们也有着自己的希望、梦想和奋斗。“我想表达的是,尽管他们选择了佛教,但他们仍然坚持着做真正的自己。当周围没有游客时,他们会放松下来,卸下面具,做真实的自己。他们坚强又风趣,同时有着自己的信念。”
Instagram: @enochcontreras


Contributor: David Yen

Instagram: @enochcontreras


供稿人: David Yen

Persona 自画像

April 24, 2018 2018年4月24日
Persona -Oct 7, 2015-

Ao Kim Ngân (aka Yatender) is a Vietnamese photographer who enjoys being in front of the lens. She shoots self-portraits that capture her own feminine essence in all of its authenticity, vulnerability, and sensitivity. From peculiar poses alongside household furnishing to drips of menstrual blood dispersing in toilet water, Yatender’s softly lit photos are surreal but intimate. Despite having achieved an aesthetic and style that’s easily recognizable, Yatender humbly tells us, “I actually never think of myself as a ‘photographer,’ as I usually only take photos for myself.”

越南摄影师  Ao Kim Ngân (a.k.a Yatender) 喜欢把镜头对着自己,捕捉自己身为一个女性, 最真实、最脆弱、最敏感的时刻。在柔和的光线中,她拍摄自己摆的奇怪的身体,经血落在马桶里自然散开的红晕、或是和家中一些摆设的互动……透过日常的物件,当然还有她自己,创造一种既亲密又迷离的氛围。尽管早就自成独特的摄影风格,但她说 “我从不觉得我是一个摄影师。因为我拍自己,也只为自己拍照。”

Persona -May, 2015-
Persona -Feb 1, 2017-
Persona -Jul, 2015-

“Before I started photographing myself, I was my first love’s muse for a long time,” she recalls. “After I started to develop a sense for photography and considered creating something with a camera of my own, I felt there was something missing in the process of making photos with others, so I chose to shoot and work with myself. It made sense to me because who else knows how we wish to be captured in front of the camera better than ourselves?”


Persona -Oct 1, 2015-
Persona -Oct 4, 2015-
Persona -Oct 5, 2015-

And thus, the Persona series was born. In the early days of the series, Yatender solely shot with a digital camera. But four months into the project, she picked up her first point-and-shoot film camera and fell in love with the graininess and subdued tones that comes with shooting analog. “I found that there are some limitations with shooting film that really amazed me: the unexpected results, the excitement of waiting for a roll to be developed, the strangeness and unusualness of a ‘bad outcome,’ and so on. It’s these unique qualities that have made me such a huge film lover.”

当《自画像》(《Persona》) 系列刚开始进行时,Yatender 用的是数位相机,四个月后她得到一台底片相机,从此就用底片拍摄。赋予了她作品中这样温柔的色调和特别明显的颗粒感。“我想我喜欢用底片的原因是它的限制——无法预期的结果、和等待它们被冲印出来那种紧张的期待感。最不寻常的惊喜常常都是来自一张‘坏掉’的照片。”

Persona -Oct 6, 2015-
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Persona -Apr 1, 2017-
Persona -Oct 11, 2015-

For Yatender, photography isn’t merely a way for her to capture specific moments of her life. She often doesn’t face the camera in her self-portraits, purposeful avoiding eye contact with viewers. Other times, a movement or lone body part may be the sole focus of a photo. With this approach, she sees her photography as being more of a vessel for her emotions. “This process helps me learn how to accept feelings as a part of our body,” she explains. “To me, the most important thing is being honest with yourself about how you feel – even when you’re hurt or not feeling well. We’re human beings. We’re sensitive and vulnerable creatures, and it’s okay to not always be okay when it comes to dealing with anxiety, stress, or depression.”

Yatender 想透过摄影捕捉的不仅仅止于她某个瞬间当下的样子。很多时候她选择背对镜头,不与我们对视,透过一个肢体动作,她想记录下来的是自己的感受。“情绪也是身体延伸出的一部份。对我来说,最重要的是要对自己的感受诚实——不管你是受伤了、或是感觉不好 。我们都是人类,是敏感、脆弱的生物。并不需要一直假装感觉良好,尤其是当焦虑、压力、忧郁来临的时候。”

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“My life is actually pretty ordinary – sometimes quite boring,” Yatender confesses. “The fact that I only feel alive and driven to take photos when I’m traveling means that I’m often struggling to find inspiration here in Vietnam. It’s hard to stay in one place for too long and still maintain productivity.”

She admits feeling disheartened by the stagnation of Vietnam’s creative environment, believing that the art scene is severely hampered by the country’s authoritarian governance. However, at the same time, she remains optimistic towards the future. It’s limited, underdeveloped – but it is growing – albeit slowly. I truly believe that it will change in time. There are a lot of good opportunities for young artists here to develop themselves and their work.”


谈到越南的艺术创作环境,Yatender 抱著有点灰心、但依然乐观的态度。她认为越南是个被政府控管的社会,艺术产业受到相当程度的限制。“即使现在越南的艺术环境还没完全发展起来,但是已经有在成长了,以一种缓慢的速度。这是我的看法,年轻的艺术家有越来越多机会,我相信情况总有一天会变得更好。”

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Instagram: @yaothemoon


Contributor: Yang Yixuan

Instagram: @yaothemoon


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

Motion Type Project 当汉字开始舞蹈

April 23, 2018 2018年4月23日

With the advent of digital media, motion graphic design’s role in the dissemination of information is becoming even more important. By using a combination of animated images, text, and other dynamic elements, motion graphics help convey information in an easily digestible and visually engaging way. But despite the ubiquity of motion graphics today, most projects rely on the Latin alphabet and relatively few projects with Chinese characters even exist.

Due to the complex nature of Chinese script – where shape, sound, and meaning are interwoven into each character – design guidelines tailored for Western script aren’t suitable for the Chinese written language.

To help Chinese-speaking designers reconsider the possibilities of Chinese motion design, Taiwanese designer and creative director of Studio 411 Ting-An He created Motion Type Project. The project, which was showcased via a series of exhibition, highlights how a Chinese character’s square-block limitations, strokes, and polysemous nature can be reimagined as moving text. The innovative project went on to take Best Design at the 2017 Golden Pin Design Award.




《汉字动态专案》就是为完全从中文字出发创作的动态设计展览,荣获了 2017 年金点设计奖年度最佳设计奖

Dōng (or 东 in simplified Chinese) translates to "east."
Zhù (or 筑) translates to "build."
Yóu (油) translates to "oil."
Shuǐ (水) translates to "water."

“Soon after Motion Type Project was launched, a large number of Chinese graphic and motion designers responded,” Ting-An He tells us, beaming with pride. “It created a more experimental and boldly creative atmosphere around motion design and typography in the region. Although many people will imitate or plagiarize our work, I have long dreamed of seeing this scene come to life in the graphic design industry.”


Fēng (or 风 in simplified Chinese) translates to "wind."
Tàn (弹 in simplified Chinese) translates to "elastic."
Jié (截) translates to "cut."
Kuāng (框) translates to "frame."
(玉) translates to "jade."

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Dualities 无声的对话

April 20, 2018 2018年4月20日
Room 2 (2016) 66 x 110 cm

When your eyes have come to expect dazzlingly bright works of art, it’s a surprise when you find yourself staring so long at the color black.

These layers of black are not silent, but neither are they deafening.

Rather, it’s like a dialogue without words.




Wood Block 10.1 (2017) 90 x 120 cm
Wood Block 10.3 (2017) 90 x 120 cm

Born in Russia, raised in Ukraine, and currently based in Beijing, Alëna Olasyuk is the artist behind these achromatic works, all of which were created using traditional Chinese ink.

Using carved wood in lieu of standard canvases, Olasyuk’s Wood Blocks series is a work of patience and diligence. Anyone can touch the works, anyone can feel their imprint on their own body. Bodily impressions and visual perception overlap: the painting is no longer a painting, the wood is no longer wood. They encourage the viewer to interact with the work. It’s a dialogue between humans and art.

Alëna Olasyuk 在俄罗斯出生,在乌克兰长大,如今长居北京。我们所看到的黑,正是她用所钟情的中国墨水一笔笔画的。

这个系列叫做《Wood Blocks》(《木格》),Alëna 在已镂刻的木雕上耐心地描绘和涂色,最终形成了我们现在所见到的作品。每个人都可以触摸它,每个人也都能在自己身体上留下作品的印记。身体的感知和视觉的观感交叠,画不再是画,木也不再是木。它鼓励着观者与作品进行交互,这是人与作品的对话。

Wood Block 10.2 (2017) 90 x 120 cm

In traditional Chinese art, black and white symbolize the relationship between all things. They’re two extremes that achieve harmony in contrast and movement.

A closer look shows that Olasyuk’s works are more than simply blanketed in pure black ink. Viewed from the front, the entire frame appears to be engulfed in a murky obsidian, with only faint lines visible, but when the same work is observed from a different angle, threads of silver, glimmering colors, and a new world of texture emerge. Darkness reveals itself as light. These perspectives open up an entirely new reality, and as viewers contemplate them, the meaning of dualism becomes clear.

It’s a dialogue between the self and its inner essence. 


但其实细看,Alëna 作品中的黑也并不是全黑。直面画布的时候,你会看到条条延展开去的黑色细线;然而,换个角度,你会将看到一个充满着银丝、明亮的颜色和纹理的新世界。玄黑,转而显现为光明。这样的视角开启了全新的现实,使人们在理解这些作品的同时,体悟到了“二元论”。


Duality 1 (2016) 56 x 76 cm
Duality 2 (2016) 56 x 76 cm

But how to achieve balance in this dualistic world?

Olasyuk’s series Duality presents the idea of a natural balance. In fact, duality itself is part of balance. It’s part of the purpose and very notion of life. But if one doesn’t accept this dual nature, the natural balance can’t exist. Complexity and concision, chaos and balance, movement and stasis, transience and infinity – these are the subjects Olasyuk is eternally exploring in her works.

It’s the perpetual dialogue between humanity and the universe.


Alëna Olasyuk 的作品系列二元性代表了自然平衡的思想。其实,二元性本身就是平衡的一部分,是生活的目标和理念的一部分。但是如果不接受事物的两重性,这种平衡就不可能存在。复杂与简约、混沌与平衡、运动与静止、短暂与无限——这些是 Alëna 在她的作品中永恒探索的主题。


Duality 4 (2017) 75 x 105 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
Instagram: @olasyuk_a


Contributor: Chen Yuan

Instagram: @olasyuk_a


供稿人: Chen Yuan

Neocha Magazine – Issue 01 Neocha 杂志创刊号

April 19, 2018 2018年4月19日

In our increasingly digitized world of device screens and Wi-Fi connections, it’s easy to forget the sense of permanence and focused attention you’re afforded when interacting with a piece of printed work. From feeling the paper stock texture to excitedly awaiting what’s revealed on the next turn of the page, print media offers a tactile experience that simply cannot be replaced by technology. And frankly, we’ve been craving this experience lately.


As such, we’re happy to announce the first printed issue of Neocha, a tangible extension of our mission to celebrate Asia’s burgeoning creative class. In this debut issue, we’re embracing both the digital and the analog with short format stories that provide readers an opportunity to explore supplementary video and photo content online via QR scanning. From a photo series examining the lives of farmers in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan to a profile on Chengdu rap quartet Higher BrotherNeocha – Issue 01 is a roundup of some of our favorite cultural and creative stories from around the region.

To be eligible for the chance to win a free copy of our inaugural print magazine, please fill out this short survey!


为了回馈在线读者,我们将赠送限量版的《Neocha》创刊号。欢迎点击填写 Neocha 创刊号问卷调查,即有机会免费获得!

Faceless Portraits by Norris Yim 如果你是一种颜色

April 19, 2018 2018年4月19日

If everyone were a color, which one would you be? Hong Kong-based painter Norris Yim specializes in abstract portraits — unlike most portraits, his have no faces. Looks are not a person’s most important distinguishing feature in his art — which is perhaps to say, looks are not what’s important about a person. He likes to view people through color. “Every work uses different colors. Those abstract pigments represent my current feelings and mood. I use my own mood to get to know and define each person I paint. My mood forms the basis of the work. Even if I painted the same person a hundred times, I’d still get 100 different results.”

如果每个人都是一种颜色,你有想过自己是什么颜色?来自香港的抽象画家 Norris Yim 擅长人像画,但与一般作品不同,他画的人一律没有脸孔。在他的画里,长相不再是区分一个人的重点,或者说,长相根本不是一个人的重点。他喜欢以色彩去观看一个人,“每一幅作品用的颜色都不一样,那团抽象的颜料代表了我当下的感受和情绪,我用自己的心情去认识、和定义画笔下的每一个人,心情就是我的创作依据。 就算是同样的人我画一百次,也会有一百次不一样的结果。”

Painting, for Yim, is purely a means of self-presentation, a process of transforming his observation of others and internalizing it as creative inspiration. “I’m always painting for myself, and what I seek is my own spiritual satisfaction,” he says.“But this satisfaction is often tinged with loneliness.”

While Yim has always enjoyed flexing his creative muscles, he never realized how deep his love for art truly was until college. After this self-revelation, art became an essential part of his life. “In college, I found that painting was the one thing I could concentrate on, the one thing I always wanted to do. At first, I just wanted to take an extra arts course, but when I came into contact with painting, it was like finding my own long-lost soul,” he recalls.“Ever since then, in a very natural way, I feel I have to pick up a brush every day, even if it’s just to tweak a color. That’s how painting became fundamental for me.”

画画对 Norris Yim 而言,是纯粹用来阐述自我的工具,一个从观看他人、内化到创作灵感的转变过程。“我一直都是为了自己在画,求的是个人精神上的满足,心境上甚至是带点孤寂的那种。”从小在香港长大,Norris Yim 说自己一直都喜欢创作,尽管途中迂回了一些,最后依然幸运的走回纯艺术的道路上。 “大学时期发现,画画是唯一能让我专注下来,而且渴望一直去做的事。本来只是想多学一门手艺,一碰触到画笔,就像意外找回自己许久不见的灵魂。从那时候起,很自然地每天都要动动笔,仅管只是调个颜色也好。就这样画画成了我的基本。”

In his Portraits series, some of the subjects are based on real people while others are completely conjured up from the depths of his imagination. Who they are is unimportant, because they exist solely in Yim’s mind. Occasionally, he paints with a specific subject in mind, but even then he’ll often still title the work as Someone or Untitled. He does this to avoid any link to the outside world, and to make the painting solely a tool for recording his mood.

Among his early works are some portraits with distinguishable faces. He moved toward his current approach because he wanted his work to be unconstrained and offer more space for creative freedom. “Looking back at my past pieces, I always think they feel too much like portraits. Anyone can paint a likeness. While the human figure is there, the painter’s soul is missing. I don’t want to limit my own work to someone else’s standards. I’m often asking myself, is my imagination unlimited? This question is the basis of all my art. I want to seek more possibilities in painting and color, more possibilities in myself.”

在人像画《Portraits》系列里,人物有些是真实存在,有些是出自凭空幻想。至于他们是谁,也不太重要,因为这些人都只存在在 Norris Yim 的一刻想像里。即使有时候有明确画的对象,Norris Yim 还是会以《Someone》(《某人》)或《Untitled》(《无题》)来命名,为的是不让以外的事件碰触,让画纯粹作为一个记录自己心情的工具。


Behance: ~/norrisyim
Instagram: @norrisyimyn


Contributor: Yang Yixuan

Behance: ~/norrisyim
Instagram: @norrisyimyn


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

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