The Secret Life of Plants & Fungi 蘑菇悠游,花草漫步

December 31, 2018 2018年12月31日

In hidden corners of our world, there exists a group of mysterious but adorable lifeforms. They may appear as a cluster of fallen petals, as a mushroom growing from a rotting log, or as a plump, prickly cactus. These seemingly random florae and fungi all come to life in the illustrations of Hong Kong-based artist Ceci Lam.

Having been a plant lover since childhood—an appreciation inherited from her father—Lam one day noticed a tiny mushroom sprouting on the side of the road. The next day, expecting to see it again, she was surprised when it was nowhere to be found. “At that moment, it felt like the mushroom was just a passerby, and we ran into each other by chance but it’s gone back to its world,” she recounts. “That’s when I believed plants had a life of their own, and that, just out of sight, they had busy lives of their own. I wanted to draw the world they live in.”

在一些我们不知道的角落,其实住着一群很神秘又可爱的生物:随意跌落到地上的花瓣、雨后在腐木上生长的蘑菇,以及圆滚滚胖乎乎的仙人掌,这看似随意却又相互关联的自然万物,组成了香港艺术家 Ceci Lam 的画。

受爸爸影响,从小就很喜欢植物的 Ceci,无意间发现大马路边有一株小蘑菇,隔天再去找,却怎么都找不到了。 Ceci 说:“有一下就觉得,她(蘑菇)昨天只是经过,刚好相遇,今天已经回去自己的世界了!那时候就觉得她们真是存在的,在我看不见的地方,用自己的生活方式努力生活着,只是在很隐密的角落,所以就想把她们的世界都画出来。”

Behance: ~/cecilam
Instagram: @ceciilam


Contributor: Chen Yuan

Behance: ~/cecilam
Instagram: @ceciilam


供稿人: Chen Yuan

Tokyo Blockparty 午夜暗巷里的法外狂欢

December 28, 2018 2018年12月28日

Around midnight, a black gear van pulls up in the laneway behind Shibuya Nonbei Yokocho, one of Tokyo’s most famous drinking alleys. The doors open and members of the Ill Effects crew pour out. They begin setting up a makeshift DJ booth and sound system in the narrow street, but there isn’t much urgency to their work: a few of them are just milling about, drinking, smoking, and shooting the breeze. However, as soon as the speakers are plugged in, DJ Vulgar steps behind the decks and sets the party in the motion.

People dance, passersby gawk, and others hang back sipping convenience store-bought booze as a crowd begins to gather in the street. Vulgar is chain smoking cigarettes as he mixes together electro bangers with hip-hop beats. As the set ramps up in intensity, the crowd’s rhythmic swaying and head bopping soon escalate into dancing frenzies. But just as the street party goes into full swing, the police turn up.

午夜时分,一辆黑色的挡风车停在东京涩谷最著名的酒巷 Nonbei Yokocho 后面的车道上。门开了,Ill Effects 的成员们涌了出来。他们不慌不忙地在狭窄的街道上搭建临时 DJ 棚和音响设备,团队里一些人还会到处走走逛逛,喝酒、抽烟、吹吹风。而当音响一插上电源,DJ Vulgar 就上台正式“开趴”。

当人群开始逐渐在大街上聚集,里面的人跳着舞,外面的路人盯着看,另外还有一些就喝着从便利商店买来的酒。Vulgar 一根接一根地抽着烟,并把电炮(electro bangers)和嘻哈节奏混在一起。随着人流越来越密集,场地也越来越紧张,观众的节奏也越来越有节奏地摇摆着,很快就变成了疯舞。但正当街头派对如火如荼的时候,警察来了。

The music cuts and Vulgar bolts around the corner, leaving his crew to deal with the authorities. He occasionally peeks around the bend to see how negotiations are going. Five minutes later, the cops leave, and Vulgar saunters back to the decks triumphantly. He flicks his long aqua-green hair and starts again. A fresh crowd begins to gather, replacing those that left during the short interruption. This time the show runs a little longer, 20 minutes, enough for about four songs, three cigarettes, and a freestyle cypher from a few Ill Effects rappers. Again, Vulgar spots the approaching authorities and ducks out.

音乐声戛然而止,Vulgar 迅速逃到拐角处,留下他的队员与当局交涉,而他时不时偷看一下谈判进行得如何。五分钟后,警察走了 Vulgar 得意地回到台上。他拨了拨他的水绿色长发,又开始了新一轮演奏。新一批观众聚集起来,取代了刚才中断时离开的那些人。这次演出时间长了一点,20 分钟,足足放了四首歌、抽了三支香烟,还来了一段《Ill Effects》的即兴说唱(freestyle)。但又一次,Vulgar 发现了警察局的人,赶紧避开了。

This is how a typical Ill Effects party goes down at their unofficial home at the back of Shibuya Nonbei Yokocho. A three-minute stroll from the Shibuya Crossing, behind a lantern-illuminated alley of bars, and tucked between two department stores, it’s a patch of rare inner-Tokyo space that can fit a small crowd, but it’s not ideal for avoiding the attention of the law.

It’s a mystery as to why Vulgar and his crew doesn’t get into more trouble considering that Japan only lifted its infamous Fueiho law—a piece of legislation that literally outlawed dancing—around three years ago. The 70-year-old statue came to be during World War II as a way for officials to keep control of dance halls, which were often used as prostitution hubs. For owners to run a nightclub, they were forced to apply for a “dancing license.” Although throughout the second half of the 20th century the police generally turned a blind eye to the regulation, there was always a risk that bored officers would arbitrarily enforce the rule if they felt like it.

这是典型的Ill Effects”团队如何在涉谷 Nonbei Yokocho 后巷,他们的“后院”举行的派对模式。从涩谷十字路口出发,在灯火通明的小巷后,夹在两家百货公司之间——这是一隅难得一见的东京腹地,可以容纳一小撮人,但它并不是块合适的“法外之地”。

在大约三年前,Vulgar 和他的组员们还没陷入大堆麻烦中,因为日本解除了臭名昭著的“风营法”(Fueiho,日本娱乐产业管理促进法),这项法律几乎禁止跳舞。这个有着 70 年历史的“法律”出现在二战期间,其时作为官员们控制舞厅的一种方式,而那时候的舞厅常常被当作卖淫中心。很多老板为了经营一家夜店,不得不申请跳舞执照。尽管在整个 20 世纪后半叶,日本警察通常对这一规定视而不见,但风险仍在:只要那些无聊的警察如果愿意的话,舞厅就会受到严厉的处罚。

For most streetside performers, police attention would be enough to call it a night, but the game of cat-and-mouse feels like part of the show for Vulgar. He proudly declares himself to be a chinpira (meaning “delinquent”), and in some ways, it feels like the boys in blue are an accessory to this image. “It’s just their job,” he says with unexpected empathy. “I know some of the young ones are Ill Effects fans too.”

对于大多数街头表演者来说,吸引到警察的注意力就够了,会适时结束了,但这种猫捉老鼠的游戏对 Vulgar 来说就像是节目的一部分一样,他自豪地宣称自己是个 Chinpira(意思是罪犯)。从某些方面来说,这个蓝头发的男孩正是他们组合形象的门面。这只是他们(警察)的工作,他带着意想不到的同理心说道。我知道有些年轻警察也是 Ill Effects 的粉丝。

 “Keep it real” are the only three words on Vulgar’s Facebook and Instagram bio. It’s also his e-mail sign-off. These three simple words have become a motto of sorts for him and his crew. For cynics, the proliferation of this slogan has made it devoid of all its meaning over the years. You’re more likely to see the words scrawled across a poorly designed t-shirt than associated with anything of any real substance. But the earnestness with which the Ill Effects crew embrace the terms brings it a renewed authenticity.

With Vulgar’s style, charisma, and talent, he could easily be making good money playing glitzy clubs in Roppongi to crowds of rich gaijins and businessmen drunk off bottle-service champagne. He’s instead sipping on convenience-store coffee and playing to a motley crew of listeners in a back alley. That seems as “real” as it gets.

“I wanted to play in a space where everyone can participate,” he explains. “Some people don’t like clubs, but they still like music. I’d say some of my most dedicated fans are homeless.”

“Keep it real”是 Vulgar 的脸书和 Instagram 简介上仅有的一句话。这也是他的电子邮件签名。这三个简单的单词已经成了他和他的组员的座右铭。而对愤世嫉俗的人来说,多年来这句话的泛滥,已经使它失去了所有的意义。你更有可能看到在一件设计糟糕的 T 恤上看到这潦草的字迹,和任何真正的物质都无关。但是,Ill Effects 这班人却马郑重其事地看待这句话,给它以新的“真实性”。

凭借着 Vulgar 的风格、魅力和才华,他可以很容易地在六本木市(Roppongi)的豪华夜店里赚大钱,去博得大批有钱的老外、能喝整瓶香槟酒的商人的喜好。但他却在喝便利店里的咖啡,给一群杂七杂八的听众在后巷演奏。这看上去再真实不过。


Oceans and decades away from tonight’s Shibuya street party, hip-hop was born. Like the thick layers of spray paint, poster glue, and inner-city grime that formed on the well-trodden streets of New York City, the late 1970s saw the genre emerge as an accumulation of influences. Built from the past, but something undeniably of the present.

“Fancy clubs aren’t the birthplace of hip-hop and dance music,” Vulgar says.

Real hip-hop attitude is synonymous with the grimy underbelly of the city. True hip-hop doesn’t care about the gold chains around your neck or your pricey limited-editions Jordans.

Vulgar’s Nicki Minaj-dubstep-EDM mashups may not be the same as Tupac’s politically charged anthems on All Eyez On Me, but the ideology is the same—a defiant stand against an, at times archaic, legal system, and a fight for unity in a world that loves to build social barriers.

This past summer marked the third year of illegal pop-up block parties for the crew, and it looks like it’s here to stay. “This adventure is my way of pursuing my love of street-centric hip-hop,” says Vulgar. “This is the dream. It’s not a bridge to something else. This is it. I am living the goal.”

今夜的涩谷街头派对和早先年代相比,已经沧海桑田,嘻哈音乐诞生了。就像在纽约,从 20 世纪 70 年代末开始的一层层厚重的喷漆、海报胶水和城市里的泥污,这逐渐累积成为一种影响后人的风格。一切建立在过去的基础上,但不可否认的是,它们是现代的产物。

高档夜店不是嘻哈和舞蹈音乐的发源地。” Vulgar 说。


Vulgar 的 Nicki Minaj 回响贝斯(dubstep)和电子舞曲混搭可能和 Tupac 在《All Eyez on Me》上发布的充满政治意味的作品不同,但其意识形态是一样的——在一个喜欢制造社会障碍的世界里,它是对一种过时的法律制度的反抗,是为团结而作的斗争。

刚过去的这个夏天,是组员们连续三年非法演出的 pop-up 派对,看似是要在这留下了。这次冒险是我追求的、对以街头为中心的嘻哈音乐的热爱的方式。俗话说。这就是我的梦想,不是通向其他事物的桥梁。它就是梦想。我活在我的目标里。

Instagram: @vulgar5111
Facebook: ~/illeffects2015


Contributor: Lucy Dayman
Photographer: Benjamin Hung

Instagram: @vulgar5111
脸书: ~/illeffects2015


供稿人: Lucy Dayman
摄影师: Benjamin Hung

Painting Culture with Heesco 在蒙古遇见街头艺术家 Heesco

December 26, 2018 2018年12月26日

Khosnaran Khurelbaatar (a.k.a Heesco) is an internationally renowned artist who’s best known for his larger-than-life murals. The Mongolia-born artist initially found his footing in the art world with his street art in Australia, but a willingness to experiment with different mediums and techniques has proven that the label of “street artist” simply doesn’t do him justice. “It shouldn’t matter what medium or tools I am using,” he says. “I want to be able to use anything at my disposal to create the images I want to create.”

Khosnaran Khurelbaatar(a.k.a Heesco)是一位国际知名的艺术家,以其令人印象深刻的巨型壁画闻名。这位出生于蒙古的艺术家最初在澳大利亚以街头艺术找到了立足点,但他不断地实验和尝试各种技术和媒介,证明了单单“街头艺术家”这个称号并不能满足他。“无论使用哪一种媒介或工具都无关紧要。”他说,“我希望能够使用任何我可以使用的东西,来创造我想要创造的图像。”

Heesco’s dreams of becoming an artist were already abrew in his teenage years. But opportunities were limited for a young, aspiring creative in Mongolia. Discouraged, he set aside his artistic ambitions and moved to Australia to pursue a degree in business management, a pragmatic decision that was meant to placate his parents. But once in Australia, he had a change of heart, enrolling at the Sydney College of the Arts instead.

成为艺术家的梦想在 Heesco 青少年时就已经成形。然而在蒙古,年轻有抱负的艺术家能获得的机会有限。他感到相当气馁,于是放下了自己的艺术野心,搬到澳大利亚攻读商业管理学位,这是一个用于安抚父母的务实决定。但是一到澳大利亚他就改变了主意,转而就读悉尼大学艺术学院。

After completing his degree in 2005, he moved to Melbourne. And it was there where he discovered a thriving and welcoming street art scene. He followed in the footsteps of established local street artists, and like them, the city became his canvas. “I moved there without knowing anyone and with little idea of what to do with my life and career,” he recalls. “But in a short period of time, I met many amazing artists who took me under their wings and showed me the ropes. I haven’t looked back since.”

2005 年完成学位后他搬到墨尔本,这里拥有一个欣欣向荣的街头艺术场景。Heesco 追随许多当地成功街头艺术家的脚步,并和他们一样将整座城市变成了自己的画布。“我在没有任何工作和未来规划的情况下搬到了墨尔本。”他回忆起,“但是在很短的时间内,我遇到了许多优秀的艺术家。他们把我纳入麾下并为我指出方向。从那之后我再也没有回头。”

As Heesco developed his style, his colorful, expressive murals began garnering attention from the fine art world. As of today, he’s held numerous successful exhibitions across Australia and his murals can be found around the globe.


But his path to becoming a full-time artist wasn’t without hurdles. In Heesco’s early years as a working artist, he struggled to strike a balance between commissioned projects and personal works. Due to financial realities, he wasn’t able to invest all of his time solely on personal projects, but committing too much time on commercial works felt like a betrayal to his own artistic vision.

This outlook would change with time—rather than seeing commissioned work as compromises to his own creative vision, he saw them as opportunities to step out of his comfort zone. This was a eureka moment that encouraged him to take on subject matters he’d never painted before. “After seeing it as a challenge, I gave it my best shot,” he recalls of one particular project that he was initially reluctant to take on. “I learned how to paint buildings, trams, horses, and small portraits—all from just one job. In other words, I basically got paid to experiment and learn new skills.” With this new perspective, Heesco began to understand there were no constraints with what he could or couldn’t do in art. Even on personal works, he started challenging himself to take on subject matters that he previously considered to be too difficult or uncharacteristic of his personal style.

但在 Heesco 成为一位全职艺术家的道路上并非毫无阻碍。在刚开始从事艺术时,他努力地在商业项目和个人作品之间取得平衡。由于经济考量,他无法将所有时间都投入个人作品,但是一旦为商业项目贡献太多时间,他感觉像是背弃了自己的艺术眼光。

但是随着时间推移,这样的观点改变了——不是将商业项目视为妥协,现在的他反而认为这是走出舒适区的机会。这是一个恍然大悟的时刻,鼓励着他接受以前从未碰过的主题。“在将此看作一次挑战之后,我用尽了全力。”他回忆起当初一个他不愿意接下的项目。“它让我学会了如何绘制建筑物、电车、马匹和小型肖像——这一切都起源自一份工作。换句话说,有人付我酬劳让我去实验和学习新技能。”通过这种新视角,Heesco 明白到艺术并没有限制,没有什么是能做或是不能做的。即使在个人项目里他也开始挑战自己,开始画那些以前他认为过于困难、或是与他个人风格不相符的主题。

Heesco’s perspective of art continued to evolve after becoming a father: he started to see the value of art as a tool in educating the next generation. From an armor-clad Mongol warrior riding a skateboard to a smartphone-wielding girl in a Mongolian dress, his work started blending traditional Mongolian culture with contemporary pop culture, a way of reminding young Mongolians to not lose touch with their cultural roots. This neo-traditional style has now become one the most defining characteristic of his works.

在成为一名父亲之后,Heesco 对于艺术的看法也产生了变化:他开始将艺术视为教育下一代的宝贵工具。从滑着滑板的蒙古装甲战士,到手握智能手机、身穿传统服饰的蒙古女孩,他的作品开始将传统的蒙古文化与当代流行文化融为一体,提醒蒙古年轻人不要忘记他们的文化根源。这种新传统风格(Neo-traditional)近年来已成为他作品中最具代表性的特征。

Aside from just developing his own art, he’s also become a mentor to aspiring artists, teaching lessons that extend beyond just technical skills. He believes it’s far more important to encourage young creatives to stay perseverant and self-motivated, as these are what will ultimately contribute to their long-term success. “Art is the same as sports—you have to keep training to stay in shape,” he urges. “It doesn’t matter that you have a natural talent to run fast; if you don’t train and keep in shape, how can you stay good at it?”



Contributor & Photographer: Anand Tumurtogoo
Additional Images Courtesy of HEESCO & Baatarchuluun Nyamkhuu



供稿人与摄影师: Anand Tumurtogoo
附加图片由 HEESCO 与 Baatarchuluun Nyamkhuu 提供

Neighborhood Stories 王占黑:一个老小区的小朋友

December 24, 2018 2018年12月24日

For my interview with Wang Zhanhei, one of China’s youngest writers, I arranged to meet her in Dinghaiqiao, a neighborhood on the outskirts of town.

From the subway, I had to pick my way through an open-air market, where stalls with an assortment of vegetables, baskets of fruits, and buckets of freshly caught carp—some still flopping about—lined the road. Two blocks later, I turned down an alleyway barely wide enough for a person, walked a few hundred more meters, and finally arrived at the place where we’d agreed to meet: Dinghaiqiao Mutual Aid Society, a volunteer-run organization that offers assistance to migrants and manual laborers. It’s a place that Wang often visits.

When I arrived, she was already inside, engaged in a lively conversation with some of her friends.




1 / Unsung Heroes

Displayed on a shelf directly inside the entrance are Wang’s two recent books, Jiedao Jianghu (“Neighborhood Adventurers”) and Kong Xiang Pao (“Air Cannon”), the latter of which just won the inaugural Blancpain-Imaginist Literature Prize. The cover jacket contains a short bio:

Born in 1991 in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, Wang Zhanhei graduated from Fudan University with a degree in literature. Her stories Neighborhood Heroes, which originally appeared on Douban, have been published in ONE, FurongShanhua, and the Sinan Literary Journal.

Succinct and straightforward, this statement of fact is the book’s only introduction to the author.

As it happens, since she graduated from Fudan University, Wang has been working as a high school instructor, teaching seniors in an international program. She only sees herself as a writer when she’s actually writing—the rest of the time she calls herself a working stiff. When we arranged to meet, she texted me that she happened to have the day off, but she followed this information with a frowning emoji: “Next week I have to work six days straight.”



“王占黑,1991 年生于浙江嘉兴,毕业于复旦大学中文系。曾在豆瓣写了一系列‘街道英雄’的故事,已有作品散见于《ONE一个》《芙蓉》《山花》《思南文学选刊》等。”



The interview officially began as we strolled among the clusters of low-rise apartment buildings in the neighborhood and chatted.

The neighborhood consists of typical working-class housing, and was reminiscent of the place Wang herself grew up in. Familiar sights and sounds filled the streets: neighbors cheerily greeting one another, older folks and young kids dawdling along the streets, and identical square laundry racks sticking out from every window.

“I still live in an old building like this,” she said. She spoke calmly, though her eyes constantly looked this way and that, fascinated by everything around her. She’d point out cats busily cleaning themselves, tame rabbits hopping about, overgrown loofah vines climbing the walls, and balconies decorated with potted plants.




In her Neighborhood Heroes series, the “neighborhoods” are the apartment blocks and residential complexes built as worker housing in the late 20th century—a common sight in Chinese cities—while the “heroes” are the ordinary residents: security guards, fruit vendors, trash collectors. These humble characters take center stage as the stars of her stories.

Wang has a knack for striking up conversations with strangers. As we walked and took pictures, curious neighbors would approach us, and she readily made small talk.

“Is this your dog? What a good boy!”

“Yep! He’s an old dog, over ten years old. He was even on T.V. back in the day.”

“That old? How long have you lived here?”

The conversation was animated, with the old man speaking in Shanghainese and Wang answering in her Jiaxing dialect. As the sky darkened above us, her eyes seemed to gleam even more brightly.







Wang gives her characters intriguing names: Xiao Guan (Little Official), Lao Jin (Old Gold), Chun Guang (Spring Light), and so on. Many of these are cobbled together from names she heard called out in waiting rooms in banks or hospitals, or which she happened across in short news items. With some rearranging and a lot of revision, she created a series of old “neighborhood heroes.”

“In the beginning, both books were called ‘Neighborhood Heroes,’ but the titles were overhauled in the editorial process,” she recalls. “I suppose everyone’s definition of a hero is different. For some people, heroes are mighty individuals, such as a military general. But my interpretation is different.”



Wang began writing the first piece in her series just after high school, inspired by Xiao Guan, a security guard who looked like he’d been around the block a few times and would make a good story. But once she got to university, she stopped, and when she eventually looked back, the stories and their characters had aged: she discovered that heroes can grow old. They’re just ordinary people.

Not long ago, speaking on Yixi—a platform akin to TED talks—Wang said: “There are a lot of lovable people in that world, and a lot who are lovable and despicable at the same time. But I like to see them as larger than life. Others might say they’re just the common folk, but I like to see them as heroes. Others might say they’re a lost cause, but I want to sing their glories.”

When she published the collection in two books, she changed the title from “Neighborhood Heroes,” but her name for the people hasn’t changed. She still calls them heroes.




2 / A Little Kid in Momentous Era

Ah Ming is one of Wang Zhanhei’s many neighborhood heroes.

One day around noon, when the trash collectors got to the last building, they picked an old woman out of the trash. She’d fallen head-first into the bin and was now fast asleep. When they pulled her out, her whole body gave off a sour stench, and her hair was soaked in a soupy liquid. Wrapped around her breast was a misshapen rubber apron. They turned her over to look and saw—good lord, it’s little old Ah Ming! The one who lives in the garage at the western end of the neighborhood.

(Click here to read more from this excerpt)

In fact, stories like this aren’t so unusual in the Yangtze region, not even in Shanghai. After a layoff or some other misfortune, some people turn to scavenging to get by. A lot of what they take can’t be sold, and they end up hoarding piles of trash. Their stories make the news all too often. But these people, who often face looks of contempt from strangers on the street, are too quickly forgotten about.

But Wang writes about them.

In the story, Ah Ming is fished out of the trash bin and sent to the hospital, but before long she goes back to her trash-picking life. Wang doesn’t give her a tragic ending, yet the story gives you pause.







There’s also Chun Guang, who works as a carpenter, Zhao Guangming, who delivers milk, Mei Fen, a middle-aged woman who waits anxiously for her daughter to find a husband. Wang writes about their everyday household struggles.

Over time, her cast of characters grew and grew, and eventually became a series. Wang also came to understand her own style. “After figuring out what my quirks were, I got a clearer sense of what I wanted to write, what I could write, and what I could try to write. Some people love to banter and are always shooting the breeze. Some people are always thinking about the past, and are a bit solemn. I want to include a lot of different kinds of people, and use different styles.”

Wang doesn’t purposefully romanticize her characters, nor does she intend for readers to leave with some profound takeaway. She describes these older residents in old neighborhoods in a four-word phrase:

Laid-off factory workers have an expression: nan bao nü chao—“secure men, super women.” It means the men work as security guards, the women work in a supermarket. For every ten families where factory workers were laid off, seven or eight are like that. Mei Fen and her husband were no exception.

(Click here to read more from this excerpt)

Secure men, super women. These are trivial things—nothing thrilling or out of the ordinary. But isn’t there a heroism in these stories?






On our way to the market, Wang stepped into a little shop selling eggs.

She doesn’t have to ask how much fresh chicken eggs and salted duck eggs cost per pound. After her father passed away, she had to take charge of the cooking. “My mom can’t cook, so I learned from my dad,” she says. From a young age, Wang followed her father around the neighborhood, and a lot of what she knows, like how to talk to strangers and how to haggle over prices, she learned directly from him.

Wang’s fiction is based on the stories of city dwellers set against the backdrop of fast-moving times. She doesn’t look down on her characters from on high, but sees herself as “a little kid from an old neighborhood.” She looks up to everyone in older generations, and her veneration of these heroes comes partly from her respect for her elders. and partly from her inborn empathy.

Before we get to the market, Wang says she doesn’t want to take photos there. “There are a lot of ways to connect with familiar spaces,” she says. “But this sort of ‘photo shoot,’ I don’t know, it feels wrong.”


鸡蛋多少钱一斤,咸鸭蛋多少钱一斤,王占黑知道。爸爸去世后,她是那个掌厨的人。“我妈妈不会做饭。这都是我爸爸教我的。” 占黑从小跟着爸爸在街道里窜,怎么跟陌生人搭话,怎么讨价还价,她得到了真传。

王占黑的小说,就取材于这大时代背景下的小市民故事。她不会把自己放在很高的位置去看,反而把自己当成 “一个老小区的小朋友”,所以觉得每个长辈都高高大大。伟岸的英雄形象,一是来自于对年长者的尊敬,二则来自于下笔时不自觉的悲悯。


3 / A Pen in My Father’s Hand

Her new book Jiedao Jianghu is dedicated to “Jia Tao the king.” Jia Tao was her father, who didn’t actually read her stories. “He’d just pick one up, look at the title, and say something like, ‘Oh, you’re writing about Ah Ming! Looks great!'” she reminisces.”My mom’s the one who often reads my books and proudly shows my work to other people.”

Wang is an animal lover. When we ran into a dog that came up to her barking, she just held a finger up to her lips to tell it, “Shh! Stop barking. You’re going to get yelled at.” Her dad also loved animals. The two of them used to talk about what they’d name their dog if they had one, but sadly Wang’s mom wouldn’t let them get one. “I still want a dog, but my boyfriend doesn’t,” she sighs.





What her father passed on to her is small but substantial. “My dad liked how I’d meet different people and ‘forge my own path.’ He didn’t teach me anything groundbreaking, but he had his own personal life philosophy. Most of all, he gave me a pair of eyes to observe the world around me. In some ways, I’m just a pen in his hand, recording the world we both lived in.”

爸爸给她带去的财富,很细小,却很有分量。 “我爸喜欢我结交不同的人,‘出去闯’。他倒没有教我很了不起的事,他有自己的一套哲学在。但他给了我一双眼睛,去看身边的世界。”王占黑一直这么说,“我可能就是老王手下的一支笔吧,去写下我和他共同生活的世界。”

When praising a writer’s work, critics sometimes say that it epitomizes an age, or that it raises a style to new heights. Yet Wang isn’t that sort of writer, nor does she aspire to be. She discovers people who have been washed ashore by the waves of time—wary grains of sand, swept away, stranded, and heaped together to form a beach where Wang Zhanhei, like a curious child, kneels down with her magnifying glass and calls out to her dad to come take a look.

No matter how many neighborhoods there are, or how many stories, for Wang, the real hero is her father.

Not long ago, I clicked on her Douban page in search of a bibliography of her works. Looking at the comments section, I noticed next to her name a few extra words: “Jia Tao the king.”

Both of Wang Zhanhei’s books, Jiedao Jianghu (“Neighborhood Adventurers”) and Kong Xiang Pao (“Air Cannon”) are now available (in Chinese) on the Neocha Shop.




王占黑的两本著作《街道江湖》和《空响炮》都在 Neocha 商店中有售。

Douban: ~/WangZhanhei


Contributor: Chen Yuan
Photographer: Chan Qu



供稿人: Chen Yuan
Chan Qu

The Story of Ah Ming (excerpt)

December 24, 2018 2018年12月24日

Every day little old Ah Ming spends even more time in the dumpster than the trash collector does. She goes through it after dark, she goes through it the morning. The trash collector starts work before the sun comes up, but she’s already gone through everything. Anything that can be sold has been nabbed, and everything else is left strewn across the ground. It’s hard to pick up, so he hates Ah Ming. Sometimes the old woman isn’t quick enough, and the two of them cross paths. The trash collector curses at her and chases her off with a broom. When he’s feeling extra assertive, he’d go as far as to shove her to the ground.

Beat it, grandma! His voice rings out clearly, as though he wants everyone to know he’s caught her in the act. After a few times, even the little dog turns against Ah Ming. It starts barking furiously when she’s near, and as soon as it spots her, it charges after her until she turns and runs in fright.

Her neighbors hate her most. She reeks. At noon, when it’s 38 degrees and there’s no one on the street, but one of the trash bins in the row is tilted slightly forward, you know Ah Ming is on an after-lunch treasure hunt. Back doubled over, head hidden, only the lower half of her body is visible. Both hands sift through the contents and toss things into a burlap rice sack. When she gets to the bottom of the bin, she’s practically folded herself inside. After a while, a sour stench clings to her body, and people on the street hold their nose and turn away. When people come to take out the trash and Ah Ming is digging around inside, some of the crueler neighbors will just roll their eyes, give a shrug, and toss their garbage bags on top.

Tattered rags, broken toys, aluminum cans, styrofoam slabs: there’s nothing she won’t take. No one knows what she wants all that stuff for, they just see her, well over seventy, carrying her burlap sack upstairs, dumping it out, carrying it back down, making several trips a day, with a stench trailing behind her that reeks to high heaven. She’s still holed up in the ground floor garage. Her neighbors knock on the door to tell her clean up, and she begrudgingly throws a few things out, but the putrid smell just can’t be gotten rid of.

People can’t figure it out: an old woman with a good pension, who knows everyone in her building, who could behave respectably and ought to know better, wants to spend her time rooting around in a stinking dumpster. They can’t make sense of it, they can only talk: she’s lost it, she’s really lost it.






Click here to go back to the original article or visit the Neocha Shop to purchase a copy of Jiedao Jianghu.


Copyright Wang Zhanhei. For any reproduction requests please contact the author.

点击此处返回原文,或进入 Neocha 商店 购买《街道江湖》。



Mei Fen’s World (excerpt)

December 21, 2018 2018年12月21日

Laid-off workers have an saying, nan bao nü chao: “the men are secure, the women are super.” It means the men work as security guards, the women work in a supermarket. For every ten families where workers were laid off, there are seven or eight like that. Mei Fen and her husband were among them.

Mei Fen’s husband used to talk big. Like many in his generation, he heeded the government’s call to marry late and have a child late, and when layoffs came he was one of the first to be out of work. He didn’t marry until his late twenties, and he was barely forty when he lost his job. Some people figure out a way to get by in a situation like that. Some squander the rest of their days and never find a new purpose. Mei Fen’s husband was a likable guy, and he quickly got promoted to the head of his security team, and was later transferred to a leadership job. Mei Fen still worked at the supermarket, stocking goods and running checkout. Both worked irregular hours, and there were at least a few nights each week they didn’t even see each other. One summer night in 2006, right after the typhoon, while Mei Fen dozed at the cash register, her phone suddenly rang, jolting her awake. Within an hour she was a widow. Her husband had been coming home from work on his scooter when a motorbike hurtled by. The sky was too dark, the bike got too close, and Mei Fen’s husband was knocked off. When they picked up off the side of the highway, his body had been ripped to pieces. Mei Fen received a condolence payment from the government.

At the time, ten years ago, the money was a huge sum. People said he’d given his life to support his wife and daughter. Mei Fen’s wiser friends told by wise friends to invest it or buy a house, but her relatives were adamant. Don’t you touch it—that money cost your husband his life, and if people see you laughing or living it up, they’ll talk behind your back. Mei Fen didn’t dare spend it. She just deposited it in the bank, as though it were some sort of organ dug out of her husband’s body to keep in cold storage. Your father had nothing, she told her daughter, he just left this little sum so you could get married. But as the years went by, the amount grew less and less impressive.




Click here to go back to the original article or visit the Neocha Shop to purchase a copy of Air Cannon.


Copyright Wang Zhanhei. For any reproduction requests please contact the author.

点击此处返回原文,或进入 Neocha 商店 购买《空响炮》。



What Does Your Body Sound Like? 当身体唱起歌来

December 21, 2018 2018年12月21日



It’s a show the audience itself can’t help being a part of: in a dark, silent room, performers in tights lie down on a sort of bed and flail their limbs in an improvised way. Gradually a series of fluctuating, billowing images appear on a screen behind them as a dream-like music begins to sound. Everyone is drawn into a surreal ceremony until the performers leave the stage, and viewers turn around and look at the corporeal landscape evolving before their eyes.

This is Soundscape of Body. Transforming bodies’ shapes into image and sound, it seeks to let us see the body’s music, to hear the body’s terrain.



The Chinese name of the performance, Da Yin Xi Sheng, comes from chapter 41 of the Dao De Jing. It literally means “great sound, soft voice” but might be interpreted to mean the louder a sound is, the harder it is to hear.

“Your body is like a mystery. You can see it, but you never hear it. Through this work, I want you to hear the sound of your own body,” says Keith Lam, whose creative team, Dimension Plus, is behind Soundscape of Body. Lam is a Hong Kong-based new media artist who Neocha has written about before. This time he collaborated with his group’s coder, Seth Hon, to create this piece, which won a special honor at the 2018 Golden Pin Awards for the Best Designs of the Year.


“身体像是一道谜。你看得见,却从没有听过它。通过这件作品,我想让你听见它的声音。”Keith Lam 说。Keith 和他的团队 Dimension Plus 是《大音希声》的幕后创作者。在我们过去的报导中,曾介绍过这位来自香港的新媒体艺术家。这一次,他协同团队中的编码师 Seth Hon(韩家俊)完成的此件创新作品,获得了 2018金点设计奖“年度最佳设计奖”的殊荣。

“It’s a completely new and innovative way to create original music from our body,” said the judges. “It uses science to communicate how our body can contribute to society even after our passing.” Among the over 5000 works in this year’s competition, 37 took home awards. Others include Mist Encounter, a water-themed art installation made out of recyclable materials, and The Affairs, a new print newspaper.

This year’s awards were full of works that showed humanitarian concerns and an awareness of environmental sustainability. Each year the selection shows that design means more than just creating beautiful things. We live in an age where the objects around us become obsolete too quickly. Good design should do more than show creative thought—equally important is whether it can curb the waste of resources and remain “future-proof” as time passes.

“这是一个完全创新的手法让我们的身体创造出音乐。它运用了科学,来传达我们的身体即使在死后也能为社会做出贡献。”评审说。在今年参奖的五千多件作品之中,最终有 37 件获得年度最佳设计奖。同样得奖的还有运用可回收建材打造的《供雾所》(Mist Encounter)、以及献给新世代的报刊《周刊编集》(The Affairs)


Can people’s bodies become obsolete?

That’s a question that Lam, as he was conceiving this piece, wanted audiences to think about. He took up the project on commission for the Body Donation Programme at the Hong Kong University Medical School, which every year works with artists to create art. It aims to increase the public’s awareness of body donation and get them to think about the nature of bodies and the meaning of life—and the possibility that even after death, a body’s value can be extended.

When taking on this project, Lam did a lot of homework. One sentence he heard from Chan Lap Ki, an anatomy professor at the medical school, stuck with him: “the organs of the human body are as beautiful as any landscape.” He kept thinking about what it meant. A landscape isn’t necessarily just something you see, it can also be something you hear. What if you could make everyone’s body become a tune?


这是当 Keith 受到香港大学医学院的遗体捐赠计划“大体老师”的委托,在构想作品的同时,希望带给观众思考的问题。每一年,大体老师计划都会委托艺术家去创作,希望能借此提升大众对于捐赠遗体的认知,以及激发观众思考何谓生命的本质与身体的意义——即使在死后,身体的价值是否有延续下去的可能。

在接到这个项目之后,Keith 做了许多功课。当他从医学院的解剖学教授陈立基先生的访谈中,听到了这一句话“人体器官就好像风景一样漂亮。”时,便心心念念着这话里的含义。风景不一定是通过观看,也可以通过聆听来欣赏。如果让每个人的身体,都成为一章乐曲呢?

Soundscape of Body uses a parallel motion scanner that detects the distance from the performer’s body and uses a special coding technology to turn these data into images and music. The closer one gets to the sensor, the lower the sound gets. “All the performers are improvising, and we can’t tell them ahead of time what to do,” Lam explains. “So each performance is unique.”

After the performance ends, the audience can also get up on stage and scan their own bodies, and the results are anonymously uploaded to a website. “The interactive part got more popular than I expected. Audiences would wait to get on stage and have their own body scanned, for that may be the first time they listen to music from their own body.”

“The up-and-down motion of our body is naturally beautiful—it has rhythm and pitch,” says Lam. “Listening to our body as a musical score, we can rediscover it from a totally different perspective, and even rethink life and death.”



“身体的高低起伏本身就是一种自然的美,是节奏和音调。”Keith说,“当我们的身体作为乐谱,在听的同时,就能从一个完全不同的视角去重新发现我们的身体,进而,想到生与死。” |
Instagram: @keithlyk | @dimensionplus


Contributor: Yang Yixuan

网站: |
Instagram: @keithlyk | @dimensionplus


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

A City Lost in Translation 一座迷失之城:满洲里

December 19, 2018 2018年12月19日

Manzhouli is a city lost in translation. It’s a city where two countries—China and Russia—share a border but don’t quite meet, and where notions of modernity, identity, and tradition jostle together in surprising ways.

When you first arrive in Manzhouli, you’re greeted by European-style buildings rising incongruously from the endless Mongolian steppes, more like products of an overactive imagination than buildings that exist in space and time. On the outskirts of town, colorful replicas of onion-domed cathedrals and colossal matryoshka dolls sprout from the grasslands. The city has reinvented itself as a Russian playground, but why?

Manzhouli might be seen as an encapsulation of China’s rise. Entranced by the idea of growth, the city has pursued development with little thought to its consequences. A feeling of incompleteness, of unmet expectations, hangs in the air. For all its enthusiasm for a foreign culture, the city seems stranded, stuck between a Russian fantasy and a Chinese reality.




Since the 1980s, following a thaw in Sino-Russian relations, Manzhouli has thrived as an important trading town. Accordingly, it shows the influence of its closest neighbors. Storefronts in the city center display Cyrillic and Mongolian script alongside Chinese characters, and shopkeepers draw you in with pidgin Russian. Restaurants with names like Café Dryzhba and Restaurant Maksim advertise genuine Russian waitstaff and play Russian hip-hop while Chinese families feast on shashlik and take selfies.

从 1980 年代开始,随着中俄关系的缓和,满洲里一跃成为重要的贸易城市。因此,相邻的外国城市也给当地带来了一定的影响。市中心的店面往往同时写着中文、西里尔语和蒙古语。店主会讲着一口中国口音的“洋泾浜俄语”来吸引你的注意;饭店会以俄语命名为“友谊咖啡厅”(Café Dryzhba)或“格言餐厅”(Restaurant Maksim);甚至雇佣俄罗斯服务员。在中国家庭聚餐、享用烤羊肉串和自拍的同时,店里也会演奏着俄罗斯 hip-hop 音乐。

Only a few decades ago, before it was retrofitted with European buildings, Manzhouli was a provincial backwater on the edge of China. First settled in 1901 as a stop on Russia’s Chinese Eastern Railway, it never achieved the growth or prosperity enjoyed by its southern neighbors.

就在几十年前,在满洲里被欧洲风格的建筑改造之前,它还是被中国遗忘的边缘之城。尽管早在 1901 年,俄罗斯的“东清铁路”就在这里设立了车站,但满洲里和周边地区却并未像中国南方城市那样繁荣和富裕起来。

Until 1992, Manzhouli was largely closed to outsiders. But when the state recognized its potential as a hub for trade and tourism, it proposed to reinvent the city through fantastical architecture. One resident named Zhou, who moved to the city in 2001, recalled that back then the journey from Beijing took over 40 hours. The airports and giant matryoshka dolls had yet to be built, and the city felt more rural than urban: dirt roads were dotted with low-rise brick homes that had only communal lavatories. Today Manzhouli boasts apartment towers and shopping complexes, and Matryoshka Square, a pseudo-Russian fantasyland, brims with painted mass-produced Fabergé eggs, Soviet memorabilia, and larger-than-life Russian dolls, including the world’s biggest.

1992 年前,这座城市一直不对外界开放。直到当局看到了它作为贸易和旅游城市的潜力,提议通过建造宏伟的建筑来重塑满洲里。Zhou 于 2001 年从安徽搬到这里定居,他说当时从北京出发的话,到满洲里要花超过 40 多个小时。那时满洲里的机场和巨型俄罗斯套娃都还没建成,所谓的城市感觉更像是农村:黄泥马路两边遍布低层砖房,只有公共卫生间可供人使用。

而如今,满洲里以公寓楼和购物中心著称;而在套娃广场,这个仿造的俄罗斯游乐园里,充斥着大量的法贝热彩蛋(Fabergé egg)和苏联时代的纪念品,还有比真人大小更大的俄罗斯套娃——甚至还有世界最大的套娃。

Tourist advertisements portray Manzhouli as a lively, cosmopolitan trading city. Yet step outside the center with its pseudo-European architecture and you find yourself in the old Manzhouli, the city of Zhou’s memories. Here the market stalls serve wonton soup instead of pelmeni, and old homes still line unpaved roads. Apartment complexes sit half-empty and perpetually under construction, as though a town destined for great heights had somehow been left behind.

旅游广告里,满洲里被描绘成一个欣欣向荣的、国际化的贸易都市。然而走出中心城区的伪欧式建筑群,你就会发现自己置身老满洲里,也就是 Zhou 记忆中那个满洲里的模样。在这市场里还能吃到真正的馄饨汤,而不是俄国饺子(pelmeni);老房子们仍然沿着土路排成一行。四周正在建设和半空置的高楼,就像一个等候发展崛起的小镇,却被人们遗忘在半路。

Despite the grandiose architecture, a quiet stagnation is setting in. Russia’s economy slumped after 2014, and with it so did Manzhouli’s tourism. Only a handful of small-time Russian traders and Chinese tourists wander through the downtown. To be sure, the city offers all the modern amenities, but the people are missing. The Wanda shopping complex feels likes a ghost mall, its newly opened restaurants already closed. Low-end shopping centers with fluorescent lighting and tightly packed stalls attract a little more foot traffic, but they also have a lot of shuttered storefronts. The Diplomat Hotel, its sprawling, manicured lawns originally designed to accommodate large groups of Russian visitors, sits elegantly and eerily empty; the only luxury hotel in town, the Shangri-La, is likewise quiet, and is a dire reflection of the general economic atmosphere. Locals say that many people have left the city in search of better opportunities, sending apartment prices plunging and developers scrambling.

尽管这是一座神话般的宏伟城市,但滞空感依然存在。2014 年后俄罗斯经济滑坡,满洲里的旅游业也遭受连带影响,只有屈指可数的俄罗斯小商贩和中国游客会途径满洲里市区。毫无疑问,这座城市提供了各种现代化设施,但却毫无人影。万达购物中心仿佛是个鬼城,就连刚开的饭店也关门歇业了。低端一些的购物中心闪着荧光灯,小店铺挤挤挨挨排在一起,这里来的人可能多一点,但还是有不少店面大门紧闭。满洲里外交会馆(Diplomat Hotel)门前修剪整齐的大草坪,原先是为了容纳大批俄罗斯游客而设计的,如今却空荡得出奇;而香格里拉大饭店,全城唯一的一个豪华酒店,也一样静得令人可怕。而这恰恰反应出满洲里的整体经济环境。当地人说,已经有不少人离开这座城市,去寻找更好的机会,导致房价大跌,开发商陷入混战。

In a study of trust between Chinese and Russian communities in Manzhouli, anthropologist Ivan Peshkov notes that the town engenders a distinct feeling of ahistorical and atemporal emptiness. Architecture and other cultural symbols lack any meaningful connection to the past, and consequently, the past becomes “a hostage not only to the present, but also to the economic expectations of the future.” With its bright lights, Manzhouli makes a show of excitement, modernity, and prosperity, according to the state’s vision of a globalized border town. Yet one can’t escape the feeling that something is out of place.

Feelings of displacement are amplified across the border in the much smaller Russian town of Zabaykalsk. Here the past lingers in the present. The town’s timeworn wooden houses and quiet, leafy streets contrast with the garish artificial lights of Manzhouli.

在研究满洲里中俄社区的人际问题时,人类学家 Ivan Peshkov 指出,该城镇产生了一种独特的脱离历史和时间的空虚感。建筑和其他文化象征,缺乏对过往任何有意义的联结,其后果就是,过去“不仅是现在的筹码,更成为未来经济预期的筹码”。灯火通明的满洲里,伪装出活力、现代化和繁荣的景象,它按着国家对全球化边境城市的愿景而生。但人们却无法避免那种游离之外的不适感。


Even after centuries of contact, the Russian and Chinese retain a feeling of separateness. One Mongolian-Chinese owner of a Russian café has an easy rapport with her Russian customers, yet she maintains that marriages between the two groups are ill-advised: Russians are sensualists prone to infidelity, while the Chinese are pragmatic and faithful. A Chinese shopkeeper claims that the stereotype that Russians like to drink is well-founded, and that they can only be seen at night at bars, like an exotic nocturnal species. A group of Russian traders complain it’s impossible to genuinely befriend the Chinese, since any relationship is based solely on economics. Other Russians say their European heritage and consciousness are fundamentally incompatible with Asian culture.

Still, both sides share a widespread curiosity about the other. In Krasnokamensk, a town a little ways in from Zabaykalsk, Chinese tourists gape at the city that looks so different from those in China, while locals marvel that tour groups would come to see their small city, best known for its uranium mine and its labor camp, which once held Mikhail Khodorovsky a prominent oligarch-turned-dissident.



Manzhouli appears to still be trying to find its place in the 21st century. It’s chased modernity by building a fantasy version of its neighbor’s culture. Yet this adaptation doesn’t necessarily lead to comprehension, and in this far-flung Chinese outpost, identity often gets lost in translation.

在这个 21 世纪,满洲里显然还在寻找自己的定位。它通过建造幻想版的邻国文化,以追求自身的现代性。但这种对异国文化的改编,并不会让人们全面理解这座城市本身。并且满洲里身处遥远的中俄边疆,滞留在两种文化的夹缝中,它也往往容易迷失了自身的文化认同。

Contributor & Photographer: Yvonne Lau

供稿人与摄影师: Yvonne Lau

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Shin Morae’s Rosy World 站在霓虹灯下

December 17, 2018 2018年12月17日

Korean illustrator Shin Morae‘s work has dazzling gentleness. She takes slices of life from the young generation and places her characters in everyday settings: at home by the window, out in the street, and under the glow of neon lights.

韩国插画师 Shin Morae 的作品,温柔得很耀眼。她很擅长截取当下年轻一代的生活片段,把画中人搬到寻常的生活场景:家中窗前、街头路边、霓虹灯下。

Shin’s drawings often use backdrops of pink, powder blue, or violet. “I don’t like pink, I just think it’s a good ‘material,'” she explains. “My drawings are a little depressing, so I need to tone that down through color. And pink is the best color for conveying a sort of funky mood. “

在粉红、粉蓝、粉紫构建出的色调背后,Morae 却说,“我不喜欢粉色。我只是认为它是个很好的‘材料’。因为我的画有些太忧郁,我需要用颜色来中和一些。而粉色是最能表达这种奇怪心境的颜色。”

She wants her work to resonate with others, so she cleverly combines color and urban youth culture with a highly interactive observational style. “Usually I start by writing in my notebook, then do the drawing with digital software,” she says. “The writing stage puts the emotions in. I want people to read my drawings the way they read an article.”


Instagram: @shinmorae_


Contributor: Chen Yuan

Instagram: @shinmorae_


供稿人: Chen Yuan

The Night We Never Met 一个夜总会最后的夜晚

December 14, 2018 2018年12月14日

Cities change at a rapid clip. Blink and your favorite spot is gone. You’re lucky if you even get a chance to say goodbye. When you do get a fair warning, you’ve got to make the best of the time you have left. Club Hawaii has weathered the constant upheaval of Singapore’s development frenzy for so long that some claim it’s the oldest remaining nightclub on the island. But time is creeping up on it too. While it’s not closing its doors, it will get a significant renovation.


夏威夷夜总会(Club Hawaii)长期下来随着新加坡狂潮般的发展,经历了许多改变。这一间有人说是当地历史最悠久的夜总会,正日渐月染地受到时间侵蚀,虽然没有关闭营业,但一场重大的改造正在计划中。

That news caught the attention of AikBeng Chia, a photographer who first experienced the venue back in 2000 but didn’t return for over a decade when he started shooting then. Hawaii had remained in a sort of stasis, and the impending change triggered a sense of nostalgia for him. With the owner’s permission, he set out to immortalize its unique vibe before the old made way for the new.

这个消息引起了 AikBeng Chia 的注意。当时已经是一位摄影师的他,在 2000 年第一次来到夏威夷夜总会,自此已经十多年没有来过。这座俱乐部一直处于停滞的状态,迫近的改造计划引发了他的怀旧感。在获得老板同意的情况下,他想要在一切被翻新之前,把这里旧有的独特氛围转化为永恒。

Worn orange booths, red cushioned walls, rainbow LEDs: he captured all of it, this whole familiar space that envelops a cast of characters he’d grown to consider friends. A largely elderly clientele listens to a collection of female singers on stage, many of whom immigrated from China. Some customers busy themselves at the pool table or huddle up at the bar. Others lounge in the booths. “It’s filled with characters,” Chia says. “From loan sharks, bookies, and gangsters to retirees, uncles, and aunties. It’s an interesting mix.” He shoots them in various ways, either with their permission after sharing a beer (or two) , or sneaking shots without their knowledge. “Obviously, I can’t photograph the gangsters,” he laughs.

破旧的橙色摊位、红色软垫墙、彩虹 LED 灯——他捕捉到了这一切。这整个熟悉的空间充满一群朋友般的角色:一批听众主要是老年人的女歌手在舞台上演唱,台下大多是来自中国的移民。有些顾客在台球桌上忙碌着,或者挤在吧台。有些人就在位子上小歇一会。“它充满了各种角色。” Chia 说,“从放高利贷的人、赌博公司的人、流氓、到退休人员,叔叔和阿姨。这是一个再有趣不过的组合。”他会用不同的方式拍摄他们,在分享一两杯啤酒后获得许可,或是就在他们不知情的情况下偷偷拍摄。 “当然,我没办法拍到流氓。”他笑着说。

The series is entirely digital, and he adds grains and color grade to give it the feel of film. Since film is a dated medium, it immediately evokes a sense of the past. Maybe that’s why people often refer to film as “warm.” It may be heretical to shoot digital that looks like film in some circles, but Chia is unconcerned with purist nitpicking. Photography is a form of therapy for him.

该系列全是通过数码处理,他加上更多颗粒感和后期调色,赋予了胶片的感觉。由于胶片本身就是一种过时的媒介,它能立刻唤起了一种怀旧的气氛。也许这就是为什么人们经常感觉胶片拍出来的照片“温暖”的原因。用数码相机拍摄却去模拟胶片,这对于一些在摄影圈的人来说可能是异端,但 Chia 并不关心这种太矫枉过正的挑剔。摄影纯粹是他的一种治愈自我的方式。

As a professional illustrator, Chia felt stuck creatively, so he decided to pick up photography in 2008, at age 40 using an early model iPhone. And he got hooked. Today he uses a Leica Q digital camera, but he’s still fond of shooting with his iPhone (now an XS Max). “Photography is a way for me to manage my depression,” he says. “Sometimes it works, sometimes not.”

2008 年,当时40岁的 Chia 作为一名专业的插画家,他觉得自己在创作上遇到瓶颈了。于是他开始使用早期的 iPhone 去拍摄,从此他就迷上摄影。今天他使用的是 Leica Q 数码相机,但他仍然喜欢用 iPhone 拍摄(现在他用的型号是 XS Max)。“摄影是我控制抑郁症的一种方式。”他说,“有时有效,有时不行。”

He shot the Club Hawaii series in collaboration with filmmaker Nicky Loh. They call it The Night We Never Met, because each started the same project without the other’s knowledge until they coincidentally bumped into each other in the street.

他与电影制作人 Nicky Loh 合作拍摄了夏威夷夜总会系列。 他们称之为《我们从未见过的夜晚》(The Night We Never Met),因为两人都在双方不知道的情况下开始了这个项目,直到他们在街上巧遇彼此。

Although it’s about a single nightclub, it speaks to the city at large: “Singapore is constantly changing. Recently a 100-year-old flea market closed down to make way for commercial buildings. So this is Singapore.”

Instagram: @aikbengchia


Contributor: Mike Steyels

Instagram: @aikbengchia


供稿人: Mike Steyels

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