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A City Lost in Translation

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, 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 ……………….



This is a story about Manzhouli, a city lost in translation. It is also a story about reconciliation in contemporary China—reconciliation with notions of modernity, identity, and the future.

When you first arrive in Manzhouli, you’ll be greeted by endless Mongolian steppes intertwined with aberrant, ahistorical buildings that seem to belong in someone’s imagination rather than in this time and space. There is a feeling of unfulfilled expectations in a place that is not quite whole or complete. In Manzhouli, as with many things in modern China, change and development came fast. Driving in and out of the city, colorful replicas of Russian cathedrals, larger-than-life matryoshka dolls, and other colossal structures are interposed onto idyllic grasslands. These strange designs at first glance, seem to be aesthetically satisfactory, if not arbitrary, but why has Manzhouli been reinvented as such? The region embodies China’s brave new world—where the modern Chinese dream has focused on grand possibilities and potential, with unintended consequences as an afterthought. That to achieve extraordinary growth, sacrifices are a given.



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.

Though the region of Manzhouli is landlocked and sits at the periphery of the PRC, this frontier territory serves as an important port for China-Russia trade, both concurrently and historically. In the 1980s, Manzhouli was revitalized through the renewal of cross-border trade and cooperation following years of complex Sino-Soviet ties; accordingly, the city came to appropriate influences from its closest neighbors. Storefronts in the city center display Cyrillic and Mongolian script alongside Chinese, and shopkeepers draw you in with Chinese-accented pidgin Russian. Restaurants are named Café Dryzhba and Restaurant Maksim; they advertise genuine Russian waitstaff and play Russian hip-hop while Chinese families feast on shashlik and take selfies.

尽管满洲里地处内陆,位于中国边境,但在今日乃及历史上,这里都是中俄贸易的重要港口。20 世纪 80 年代,在经历了多年复杂的中苏关系后,通过恢复跨境贸易与合作,满洲里重获振兴;因此,相邻的外国城市也给当地带来了一定的影响。在市中心的店面往往同时写着中文、西里尔语和蒙古语。店主操着一口中国口音的“洋泾浜俄语”来吸引你的注意。餐厅被命名 Dryzhba 咖啡厅和 Maksim 餐厅,甚至雇用俄罗斯服务员来吸引顾客。当中国家庭在享用烤羊肉串(shashlik)、自拍时,旁边就在表演俄罗斯嘻哈音乐。

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.

Only a couple of decades ago, before the city was refitted with European-style architecture, Manzhouli was largely a provincial backwater in a China rapidly rising to power and prominence. The settlement was developed in 1901 as the first station of the Chinese Eastern Railway in China, but despite its early strategic location, Manzhouli and its surrounding regions never exploded in wondrous growth and wealth like the PRC’s southern hubs.

就在几十年前,在满洲里被欧洲风格的建筑改造之前,这座城市还只是中国迅速崛起这个进程中被人们所遗忘的遥远之地。1901 年,随着中国东部铁路在这里建设第一个车站,才开始有越来越多的居住人口。尽管在早期有着战略位置的优势,满洲里及其周边地区并未能经历像中国南方城市那样令人讶异的发展和富裕速度。

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.

The city was closed to the outside world until 1992. This was a frontier region gradually opening and marked with great potential—the state pronounced to reinvent Manzhouli through fantastical structures and cultures. Back in 2001, a man named Zhou moved to the city from Anhui and recalled his journey from Beijing took over 40 hours. The region’s airports and matryoshka dolls were not yet constructed and the city felt more rural than urban: low-rise brick homes were dotted along dirt roads, along with pay-for-use communal washrooms to share amongst a community of homes. Today in Manzhouli, you can find new apartment and shopping complexes and the world’s largest matryoshka doll in Taowa Square, a pseudo-Russian fantasyland filled with hastily painted life-sized dolls and shops overflowing with mass-produced fabergé eggs and Soviet-era souvenirs.

直到 1992 年前,这座城市一直不对外界开放。这是一个逐渐开放并具有巨大潜力的边疆地区。中国宣布要通过宏伟的建筑和文化重塑满洲里。2011 年,Zhou 从安徽搬到这座城市,从北京出发,花了 40 多个小时。当时,这里的机场和俄罗斯娃娃都尚未建成,所谓的城市感觉更像是农村:泥路两边是低层砖房,住宅小区里还用着付费使用的公共卫生间。而如今,在满洲里,你可以看到崭新的公寓和购物中心,在套娃广场上,你还能看到世界上最大的俄罗斯套娃,俄罗斯风格的梦幻乐园,里面有许多粗糙绘画、真人大小的套娃,琳琅满目的商店里出售着大批量生产的法贝热(Fabergé)彩蛋和苏联时代的纪念品。

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.


Outside of the new city of European sentiments and symbolism, the old city of Zhou’s memories still exists. Official accounts and advertisements of Manzhouli portray a lively, cultural and international trade town; but beyond the tourist sites sits the old Manzhouli. This is a city strewn with familiar local markets, wonton soup instead of pelmeni, and old homes still standing on unpaved roads—now dwarfed by new complexes that remain perpetually under-construction and half-empty—like a town slated for great heights, but left behind.

在充满欧洲风情和象征主义的新城区之外,老城区依然保留着 Zhou 记忆中的老样子。在满洲里的官方帐户和广告里,展现的都是一座繁华、充满文化底蕴的国际商贸城;但在旅游景点以外还有满洲里的老城区。这里有人们熟悉的本地市场,能吃到真正的馄饨汤,而不是俄国饺子(pelmeni),老房子仍然矗立在未铺设的泥路上,四周是正在建设和半空置的高楼,就像一个等候发展成为新高楼的小镇,却被人们所遗忘了。

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 in a dire reflection of the general economic atmosphere, its Russian restaurant has closed. Locals say that many people have left the city in search of better opportunities, sending apartment prices plunging and developers scrambling.


Locals tell me that many people have left the city in search of opportunities elsewhere—in turn, apartment prices have plunged and developers, some tied to the state, have met with losses.

Despite the construction of a grand, mythical city on the steppes, there is a quiet stagnation emerging. In accordance with Russia’s recent economic woes, business and tourism in Manzhouli has parallelly weakened since 2014, due to the town’s reliance on Russian traders and shoppers. The city center of Yi, Er and San Dao streets now only see a handful of low-level Russian traders and mainland visitors. To be sure, the city offers modern amenities – but a visit to the Wanda shopping complex feels like another ghost mall, with newly built restaurants already closed down. In the city center, the lower-level shopping malls of dim, fluorescent lighting and dense rows of shops packed together, had slightly better foot traffic but also displayed many shuttered storefronts. The Diplomat Hotel, originally designed to accommodate large groups of Russian visitors, spreads across manicured lawns and panoramic city views and sits elegantly and eerily empty; the only luxury hotel in town, Shangri-La, is unnervingly quiet for China and its lack of amenities such as the closure of their only Russian restaurant reflects on the general economic situation. Locals tell me that many people have left the city in search of opportunities elsewhere—in turn, apartment prices have plunged and developers, some tied to the state, have met with losses.

尽管在草原上建造了一座神话般的宏伟城市,但一种停滞感仍然悄然而生。由于满洲里对俄罗斯商人和购物者的依赖,近年来俄罗斯的经济困境也导致了当地商业和旅游自 2014 年以来遭到削弱。在一道街、二道街和三道街形成的市中心,现在只看到廖廖无几的俄罗斯小商贩和中国大陆游客。诚然,这座城市拥有现代化的设施,但踏入这里的万达购物中心,却感觉像进了个废弃的商场,新建的餐馆已经相继关闭。在市中心,低层的购物中心灯光昏暗,密集的商店成排挤在一起,这里的人流可能稍微好一点,但依然能看到许多关闭了的店面。满洲里外交会馆(Diplomat Hotel)最初是为容纳大批俄罗斯游客而设计的,这里有着修剪整齐的草坪,能俯瞰城市全景,外观雅致的酒店如今却空荡荡得令人毛骨悚然;至于镇上唯一的豪华酒店香格里拉酒店,在中国来说,实在安静得怪异。就连酒店内唯一的一家俄罗斯餐厅也已经停止营业,设施的缺乏也反映了整个经济形势。当地人告诉我,很多人已经离开满洲里,去其它地方寻找机会。反过来,房地产价格大跌,即使是有政府背景的开发商也遭遇损失。

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 ahistorical 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.


As the academic Ivan Peshkov notes in his study of trust between Chinese and Russian communities in Manzhouli, the town engenders a distinct feeling of ahistorical and atemporal emptiness. Cultural symbolism and architecture has been utilized but without any meaningful representation to the past – with the “past becoming hostage of not only the present, but also of the economic expectations of the future.” The brightly lit city of Manzhouli feigns excitement, modernity, and prosperity—synthetically created and carefully curated spaces according to a state’s vision of how a far-flung region should exist in the contemporary world. Is this a globalized and modern city or a place lost in translation and history?

Feelings of disconnect are amplified as you cross the land border to the nearest Russian town of Zabaikalsk, a town only eight kilometers away from Manzhouli but with a population of 11,000 compared to Manzhouli’s 300,000. Zabaikalsk and its neighboring town Krasnokamensk symbolize the discrepancies in development across these modern borders. Chinese spaces have been reinvented and reimagined for economic benefits, while in the Russian towns, the past lingers in the present. The timeworn wooden homes of Zabaikalsk and the leafy, quiet streets surrounded by uranium mines in Krasnokamensk contrast with the colorful, new city of Manzhouli, drowned in artificial lights every evening.

正如学者 Ivan Peshkov 在研究满洲里的中俄社区之间的信任时所指出的,这个小镇产生了一种明显的脱离历史和时间的空虚感。文化象征意义和建筑得到了利用,却缺乏了对过去任何有意义的代表,“过去不仅成为现在的人质,也成为未来经济预期的人质”。灯火通明的满洲里城市伪装出活力、现代化和繁荣的景象。它是按照着国家对遥远地区在当代世界中应该如何存在的愿景,精心创造和规划出的空间。它到底是一座全球化现代城市,抑或只是在变迁和历史中迷失方向的城市?

当你越过陆地边界,来到距离满洲里仅 8 公里的俄罗斯城镇扎拜卡尔斯克(Zabaikalsk)时,这种断联的感觉愈加强烈。虽然两个城镇紧紧相邻,但这里的人口仅为 1.1 万人,而满洲里的人口为 30 万。扎拜卡尔斯克及其邻近城镇克拉斯诺卡门斯克(Krasnokamensk)象征着跨越这些现代边界的发展差异。位于中国国境的那个城市已经被改造和重新想象,以获得经济效益,而在这个俄罗斯城镇,过去痕迹至今挥之不去。扎拜卡尔斯克古老的木屋、克拉斯诺卡门斯克那被铀矿包围的、安静的绿荫街道,与充溢人造灯光、五彩缤纷的满洲里新城形成鲜明对比。

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.


Though interethnic ties have prevailed for centuries, sentiments of separateness persist on both sides. One Mongolian-Chinese owner of a Russian café has an easy intimacy with her Russian customers; she maintains that marriages between Russians and Chinese are prohibitive as Russians enjoy life and lovers on the side, while Chinese are more pragmatic and less inclined to do so. A Chinese shopkeeper told me that the myth of Russians drinking every day is true, and they can only be seen at night at bars, like a nocturnal, exotic species. A group of Russian traders declared that it is impossible to genuinely befriend a Chinese individual and that relations stem only from economics; others told me that Russian and Asian cultures are inherently incompatible, a historical national anxiety of too much intermixing with Asia rather than what they perceive as their true European consciousness.

Though these perceptions exist, the general response on both sides was one of curiosity along with unfamiliarity – and the sense that more can happen with cross-border cooperation. In Krasnokamensk, Chinese tour buses speed down sparse streets while tour guides try to explain to a bus full of middle-aged tourists why the town looks so different from the one across the border; meanwhile, locals in town marvel at the loud, large tour groups marvelling at their small city best known for its uranium mining and being the site of exile for a former Russian billionaire. It’s a town where visitors take photos with Russians for a few roubles and Chinese business owners navigate around town in luxury cars.



Manzhouli is trying to find its place in the twenty-first century. It’s chased modernity by building a fantasy version of its neighbor’s culture. Yet for all its churches and matryoshkas, it remains puzzled by the actual Russians who visit or live nearby. It’s easy to think that in a globalized world people will forge bonds across borders, yet coexistence doesn’t necessarily lead to comprehension, and in this far-flung Chinese outpost, identity often gets lost in translation.


Manzhouli, since its conception, has attempted to reconcile with disparate visions of development, identity and the future. This town that appeared out of nowhere allows for a deeper look at how border towns in contemporary China and Russia are finding their place in today’s world, tracing their historical intertwinement and concurrent legacies. Fundamentally, a visit to Manzhouli is a deeper look at China and Russia, of two cultures that are largely viewed as disparate and distinct; and of two nations and peoples that are often discussed but not so often, understood.


Contributor & Photographer: Yvonne Lau

供稿人与摄影师: Yvonne Lau

Building Connections

Aqua Aqua (2018) by Tsherin Sherpa
Gouache, acrylic, and ink on cotton
53.3 x 76.2cm

Art is a universal language. It’s able to express emotions and ideas words can’t effectively convey. It distills and synthesizes the human experience into something novel and thrilling. Art, when properly used as a means of communication, serves as a bridge between the cultural and temporal divides that separate us.


For Fabio Rossi, the director of Rossi & Rossi gallery, these transcendent powers of art are what’s kept him passionate in his decades-long career as an art dealer. “It’s wonderful to do something you love and enjoy,” he says. “But when you’re able to contribute to its growth and evolution, that’s a blessing.”

对于 Rossi & Rossi 画廊主理人 Fabio Rossi 而言,正是艺术这超凡的力量,使他在数十年的艺术商生涯中始终充满热情。“能够从事自己热爱和享受的事情很棒。但如果你能够为它的发展出一份力,那就变成了一种幸福。”他说。

Fabio & Anna Maria Rossi
Fabio Rossi

Rossi & Rossi was founded in 1985 in London by Fabio’s mother, Anna Maria Rossi, a 40-year veteran in the field of Asian art. Her fascination carried over to her son, who at the age of 11 accompanied her through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India on a trip that planted the seeds for his lifelong love of art and fascination with Asia. 

After graduating from the School of Oriental and African Studies and apprenticing at the auction house Spink & Son, Fabio officially joined forces with his mother at Rossi & Rossi in 1988. The mother-and-son duo quickly began making a name for themselves in the international art scene with groundbreaking exhibitions that showcased rare classical art from Mongolia, China, India, Nepal, and more. These works ranged from Mongolian bronze-gilt sculptures to Tibetan thangkas, from Chinese handwoven robes to Nepalese stone carvings, all accompanied by scholarly catalogs that provided comprehensive information and historical context. Over time, the gallery’s unparalleled collection of rare art, detailed exhibitions, and ever-expanding coverage cemented their reputation as the leading name in the world of traditional Asian art.

早在 1985 年,Fabio 母亲 Anna Maria Rossi 在伦敦创立 Rossi & Rossi 画廊。她研究亚洲艺术已经有四十年,这股热情也感染了她的儿子。在 Fabio 11 岁时,跟着她穿越了阿富汗、巴基斯坦和印度。这趟旅程之后,Fabio 心中对艺术的热爱、对亚洲地区的钟情开始萌芽了。

在他从东方和非洲研究学院(School of Oriental and African Studies)毕业后,Fabio 在斯宾克拍卖行(Spink & Son)当学徒。1988 年,Fabio 与母亲在 Rossi & Rossi 正式联手,推出了一系列突破性展览,展示自蒙古、中国、印度、尼泊尔等地罕见的古典艺术。很快,母子两人就在国际艺术界名声大噪。这些作品包括蒙古青铜雕塑、藏族唐卡、中国的手工编织长袍、尼泊尔的石雕等等,所有作品都附有学术目录,提供了全面的信息和历史背景介绍。随着时间的推移,画廊无与伦比的珍稀艺术品收藏、详细的展览、不断扩大的艺术覆盖面巩固了他们作为亚洲传统艺术世界领军人物的地位。

While Rossi & Rossi earned accolades for their contributions to classical Asian art, Fabio—always ambitious—decided to take the gallery into a new direction with the addition of contemporary Asian art in 2005. This decision was inspired by a trip to Lhasa, where he met a group of local artists and discovered a thriving contemporary art scene that had been around since the 80s. Even though Fabio had been spending time in Tibet for over a decade, this came as a complete surprise.

“In the end, it’s all about discovery and sharing,” he explains of his motivations. “I felt there were a lot of underrepresented Asian artists, so I wanted to help bring them in front of a larger audience. Secondly, by having both classical and contemporary art alongside one another in our gallery, people can see the similarities and differences between the two. They can better see how art has evolved and also see how these similarities and differences come together to make art so exciting.”

Today, Rossi & Rossi represents a growing roster of talented contemporary artists from around Asia, including Tsherin Sherpa, a Tibetan artist creating contemporary thangkas; Lee Mingwei, a Taiwanese mixed-media artist known for his interactive installations; Naiza Khan, a leading-edge Pakistani painter; and many more.

虽然 Rossi & Rossi 因其对亚洲古典艺术的贡献而获得赞誉,但雄心勃勃的 Fabio 决定在 2005 年增加当代亚洲艺术,为画廊开创一个新的发展方向。

而这,是他在去了拉萨后作出的决定。在拉萨,他遇到了当地一群艺术家,也正是在那里,他发现自从上世纪八十年代以后,当地的当代艺术开始了蓬勃发展的劲头。尽管 Fabio 曾在西藏生活过十几年,但这依然是让他十分意外的发现。


今天,Rossi & Rossi 展示了越来越多来自亚洲各地才华横溢的当代艺术家,其中包括创作当代唐卡作品的西藏艺术家 Tsherin Sherpa、以互动装置著称的台湾混合媒体艺术家李明伟、巴基斯坦先锋画家 Naiza Khan 等等。

Tsherin Sherpa on display at Rossi & Rossi Hong Kong
Tsherin Sherpa on display at Rossi & Rossi Hong Kong
Madmandu Blues 1 (2018) by Tsherin Sherpa
Gouache, acrylic, and ink on cotton
53 .3 x 76.2 cm
Tsherin Sherpa on display at Rossi & Rossi Hong Kong
Tsherin Sherpa on display at Rossi & Rossi Hong Kong

In 2013, Fabio established a new branch of Rossi & Rossi in Hong Kong, a city both he and his mother now call home. In the years following, the gallery has further expanded its focus with the inclusion of Western artists. Partnering with art dealer Giovanni Martino in 2017, Rossi & Rossi debuted a series of exhibitions around Asia that highlighted the works of modern and contemporary European artist—just as it promoted Asian art for Western audiences in its earlier years, the gallery now looks to bring the works of underrepresented Western artists to audiences in Asia and beyond.

Western artists represented by Rossi & Rossi today include Christopher Doyle, an Australian photographer best known as Wong Kar-wai’s cinematographer; Giorgio Vigna, a gifted Italian sculptor best known for his glasswork and jewelry design; and Italian artist duo Bertozzi & Casoni, whose thought-provoking ceramic assemblages were showcased by the gallery in Shanghai at the 2018 West Bund Art & Design fair.

2013 年,Fabio 在香港成立了 Rossi & Rossi 画廊分馆,现在他和母亲就定居在香港。在随后的几年里,画廊又增加西方艺术家作品,进一步扩大了画廊的艺术领域。2017 年,Rossi & Rossi 与艺术经销商乔瓦尼·马蒂诺(Giovanni Martino)合作,首次在亚洲各地举办了一系列展览,重点展示了现代和当代欧洲艺术家的作品——也正如它在前几年为西方观众推广亚洲艺术一样,画廊现在希望能将被忽略的西方艺术家的作品带给亚洲和其它地区的观众。

Rossi & Rossi 所推广的西方艺术家包括杜可风(Christopher Doyle),这名澳大利亚摄影师最为人熟知的是担任王家卫的电影摄影师;Giorgio Vigna,一位充满天赋的意大利雕塑家,以他的玻璃和珠宝设计而闻名;还有意大利艺术家组合 Bertozzi & Casoni,他们所创作的陶瓷雕塑作品在 2018 年上海西岸艺术与设计博览会上展出。

Cuccia Brillo (2003) by Bertozzi & Casoni
Polychrome ceramic
61 x 163 x 95cm
Yes Wat (2015) by Christopher Doyle
Mixed media collage on paper
41 x 27.5 cm
Shimane SHINTO Land.11 (2013) by Christopher Doyle
Mixed media
29.7 x 21 cm
Flamingo (2012) by Bertozzi & Casoni
Polychrome ceramic
68 x 75 x 75 cm

Despite Rossi & Rossi’s success over the years, Fabio remains mindful of how wired life is affecting the art world: many people no longer feel the need to visit galleries to discover new artists and works. Younger generations may even feel intimidated going to a fine art gallery in person. Fabio admits that running a gallery is more challenging than before, but he believes there’s no replacement for viewing art in person. In fact, in his view, art galleries are more important than ever for facilitating such physical encounters. “There’s nothing like the physicality of a work,” he stresses. “Even if it’s a painting or a photograph. When you’re face to face in front of an artist’s work, your reaction will be different.”

尽管画廊已小有成就,但 Fabio 也留心到数字生活对艺术界的影响:许多人觉得没有必要亲自去画廊去挖掘新的艺术家和作品。年轻一代甚至可能会感到不好意思走进艺术画廊。Fabio 坦言画廊的运营比以前更具挑战性了,但他相信,亲眼去欣赏艺术是一种不可替代的方式,所以艺术画廊更比以往任何时候都要重要。他强调道:“没有什么比作品实物更重要的了,即使是一幅画或一张照片。当你与艺术家的作品面对面时,你会有截然不同的感受。”

Rasheed Araeen at Rossi & Rossi
Siah Armajani at Rossi & Rossi

Rossi & Rossi has undergone many changes since it first opened its doors. But throughout it all, the gallery has held fast to one core tenet: art should be approachable and accessible to all.

“Some people look at art and see it only as a commodity,” Fabio says. “I implore people to not do that. Commodities are something else entirely. Art is a journey of discovery. That kind of journey is priceless. It’s way more valuable than the actual price someone might pay for a piece of artwork. In the end, our gallery comes from a desire to share knowledge, and we approach that mission with the utmost integrity and sincerity.”

Rossi & Rossi 自创立以来,经历了许多变化。但是,画廊的核心理念始终未变:艺术应该是平易近人的,对所有人开放。

Fabio 说:“我恳请有些人千万不要把艺术看作是一种商品。艺术与商品完全是两码事。艺术是一次发现的旅程,一趟无价的旅程。它的价值远远超过人们实际支付某件艺术品的价格。毕竟,我们的画廊成立的初衷是一种分享知识的渴望,我们也一直以最大的诚意来实现这一使命。”

Facebook: ~/rossiandrossi
Instagram: @rossiandrossi


Contributor: David Yen
Additional Images Courtesy of Rossi & Rossi

脸书: ~/rossiandrossi
Instagram: @rossiandrossi


供稿人: David Yen
附加图片由 Rossi & Rossi 提供

The New & Improved Neocha Shop

The Neocha Shop presents a curated selection of art and design products from all over Asia. We’re excited to announce a fresh redesign that simplifies navigation and checkout, making it easier to browse our diverse selection of creative goodies.

Click here to check out the revamped shop, and keep your eyes peeled over the next few months as we add even more publications, prints, and other products we love.

If there are products you’d like to see in our shop, reach out let us know at

Neocha Shop 展示了来自亚洲各地的艺术和设计商品。 我们很高兴地推出商店的全新改版设计, 简化了网页的浏览方式和结账流程,让你能更容易探索 Neocha 精选的各种创意商品。

点击此处查看改头换面后的线上商店。 并在接下来的几个月里持续关注,我们将添加更多有趣的出版物、 印刷品、和其他我们喜欢的商品内容。


Shaving in the Dark

A short essay on the first page of Shaving in the Dark’s inaugural issue satirizes the comics quarterly’s own central ethos: “Why did I agree to write for this magazine?!!” it starts, and ends with the answer: “Because I said ‘no way, this is where I draw the line’ and these morons actually gave me some paper to do so!!!!”

SITD started as an indie comics art collective in Shanghai, planning a single thin publication so the founders would have a platform on which to publish their own comics. Their objective was to encourage themselves to create more, with no pressure to create something “good,” at least not by any standard other than that creating anything at all is good.

漫画季刊《胡子拉碴》(Shaving in the Dark,简称SITD)创刊号首页的一篇短文就以杂志的创刊理念为梗进行自嘲,开篇提出“为什么我要答应给这本杂志写稿!?”,在结尾奉上答案:“就因为我说‘不可能,这就是我的底线’,这些白痴竟然真的给我纸,让我画出来!!”


The publication borrows part of its aesthetic from “zines,” informal publications often made on photocopiers for a gritty or amateurish visual aesthetic. Outwardly sleek and colorful, the interior of each issue is an organized mess of black-and-white comics, sometimes one page, sometimes many, by artists of all levels, backgrounds, and interests.

In the words of Jay Mark Caplan, one of the original founders, “It’s about having a beginner’s mindset. To not be afraid of not knowing what you’re doing, to not let that keep you from doing it, and to create.” The very name of the publication comes from another co-founder’s grandfather’s expression: “shaving in the dark” describes a situation where you don’t really know what you’re doing.

这本刊物借用了部分独立杂志 Zine 的美学。作为一种非正式出版物,Zine 通常用复印机制作,以营造一种噪点颗粒感或业余的视觉审美。《胡子拉碴》的封面设计色彩缤纷,内部却是一系列乱中有序的黑白色漫画作品,既有单页也有多页的作品,由不同水平、背景和风格兴趣的艺术家创作。

用创始人之一 Jay Mark Caplan 的话来说:“关键是保持初学者的心态。不要担心不知道自己在做什么,不要让这种想法阻止你去行动、创作。”杂志名字来自其中一位创始人的祖父的话:“胡子拉碴”,乱七八糟,指的是完全不知道自己在做什么的情况。

Though Shaving in the Dark only started in 2017, they quickly grew into a quarterly, and perhaps even more quickly, grew an attached community. “There were a lot of people out there who felt the same as us, who wanted art and comics to play a bigger role in their lives.” Now it operates more like an organization, hosting monthly drink-and-draw events, collaborating with other Shanghai arts organizations such as the Shanghai Literary Review and Unravel, and recently, even working with brands.

虽然“胡子拉碴”成立于 2017 年,但已经迅速发展成一本季刊,甚至很早就已经是一个关系紧密的社区。“其实有很多和我们一样的人,他们都希望让艺术和漫画在他们的生活中能占据更多的份量。”现在,他们更像是一个组织,每月举办喝酒画画的活动,还与《上海文艺评论》和故事分享组织 Unravel 等其它上海艺术组织合作,最近甚至开始与品牌合作。

They’re also starting to see themselves more as publishers. Besides the quarterly, SITD has also released Peach Fuzz—”the teenage zine for zine-age teens”—which features only art by local high school students. They also produce “shaving kits,” which are smaller cartoon booklets featuring art by individual underground artists, which they hope will make it easier for more Chinese artists to collaborate with them.

This last in particular is a way to engage more with a local Chinese audience. To this end, besides the shaving kits, issues have included a smattering of bilingual comics, recently shifting in the direction of leaving Chinese works untranslated so as not to privilege an English-speaking audience.

Also part of this drive is the most recent issue, Mute. Each issue has had a different theme on which contributing artists base their work; past themes have been (in order of release) Shave, Pets, Apocalypse, Metamorphosis, and Trip. Zovi Weng, another co-founder, notes, “The themes are there to be interpreted, misinterpreted, overinterpreted, whatever. It’s very loose.” The sixth issue, Mute, was slightly stricter—as another effort at inclusion, it experiments solely with textless comics.

他们也开始更多地把自己看作出版商。除了季刊外,“胡子拉碴”还出版了《小桃子》(Peach Fuzz),一本青少年独立漫画杂志,专门展示当地高中生的艺术作品。他们还推出“胡子别册”(shaving kits)——由个别地下艺术家创作的卡通小册子,希望这能让更多的中国艺术家与他们合作。


此外,最新一期的杂志“静音”(Mute)也是以此为理念。每期的杂志都会有不同的主题,投稿艺术家根据主题来创作。之前的主题(按发布顺序)分别为“刮胡”(Shave)、“宠物”(Pets)、“启示录”(Apocalypse)、“变形”(Metamorphosis)和“旅行”(Trip)。另一位创始人 Zovi Weng 指出:“主题可以用来解释、曲解、过分解释等等,反正就非常随意。”《胡子拉碴》的第六期,“静音”的要求可能稍微严格一点,因为它要求全部为无文本漫画,旨在提倡包容的精神。

“I think the themes that we pick usually come from an inspiration we had at that moment,” says Zovi. “I want it to be something that resonates with what you were thinking at the moment, or seeing around.” She attributes this to the French satirical political magazines she grew up with, which reacted very specifically to events on the average person’s mind. Notably, both Jay and Zovi mentioned comics publishers that encouraged artists to move away from larger publishers. Jay brought up Image Comics, a company formed in 1992 by disgruntled artists leaving Marvel and DC in order to retain ownership of their ideas; Zovi referenced L’Association, founded by seven cartoonists struggling to find a mainstream outlet for their work. But both admitted being drawn specifically to publishers that aged with their audience; both agreed that a lot of comics they grew up with “didn’t go through puberty, thematically.”

Zovi 说: “我们选择的主题通常来自于自己当时的灵感。我希望主题能与自己当下的想法或周围的情况产生共鸣。”她说这种理念主要受到了她从小看的法国讽刺政治杂志的影响,即各人对个体事件的观点和看法,会鲜明地在作品里反映出来。

值得注意的是,Jay 和 Zovi 都提到了鼓励艺术家远离大型出版商的漫画出版商。Jay 提及了 Image Comics 公司,这家公司最初由一些不满漫威(Marvel)和 DC 的艺术家于 1992 年成立,他们为了坚持自己的想法而离开这两家公司;Zovi 提到了法国的 L’association,这家出版商由七位努力为自己的作品寻找主流出路的漫画家创立。但两人都承认,他们对与观众一起成长的出版商尤其感兴趣。他们都觉得,自己小时候看的很多漫画“在主题上像是从未有过青春期”。

This certainly can’t be said of the content of Shaving in the Dark. There is a wide range of themes, plenty of mature language, occasional nudity, and references to drugs and alcohol. “We don’t want to censor our artists,” Jay shrugged. In fact, Shaving in the Dark has only turned away a couple of pieces in their whole history; one for being 22 pages long and a couple for containing racist elements. Besides that, their harshest editorial work (starting with Issue 5) has been asking artists to redraw sections or cutting pages out of a submission.

“On one level, it has this amateur quality because we want to encourage people to contribute,” says Jay. But along with the growing community comes higher-quality art. “Even very professional artists have the same desire as us for an outlet without pressure, to do whatever they want.”

当然,《胡子拉碴》的内容也并非仅限于此。里面有各种各样的主题,有成人用语,偶尔会有裸露的画面,也会提到毒品和酒精。Jay 耸耸肩说:“我们不想去审查我们的艺术家。”事实上,《胡子拉碴》成立至今只拒绝过几份作品,一次是因为作品有22页太长,有几次是因为内容有种族歧视的内容。除此之外, 他们最严厉的编辑要求(从第 5 期开始)也不过是让艺术家重绘作品的部分片段,或是从提交的作品中减少一些画面。


Moving forward, they admit they’ll have to start being a little pickier as more submissions come in. I asked if they saw any conflict between this possibility and the magazine’s drive for inclusivity and encouraging amateurs. Zovi immediately replied in the negative. “’Do it anyways’ is a thing you can do all the time–I think the drink-and-draw events really reflect that—but then at some point, critique will make you better. So for me, those things aren’t in conflict . . . I think it’s essential to that spirit of ‘go out and do it,’ but be ready to get it back in your face.”

但是,展望未来,他们也承认,选稿的标准会变得“挑剔”一点点,毕竟投稿越来越多。我问他们,这种做法会不会与杂志包容和鼓励业余爱好者的初衷产生矛盾。Zovi 马上否定,说道:“没有限制的创作是随时都可以做的,我们的喝酒画画活动就是很好的例子,但到了一定时候,一些批评的声音会让你变得更好。所以对我来说,这些事情并不矛盾……我认为这种‘放胆去做’的精神是至关重要的,但也要准备好接受批评。”

Shaving in the Dark still seems to be looking for its place in the world. The team is expanding the business side of things, selling more products like mugs, postcards, bags, and t-shirts, and recently locking down a more permanent space for everything at Subland Quarter (51 Runan Jie, near Jumen Lu). With furious energy, they paint murals, host comics workshops, coordinate classes for everything from screen printing to live drawing and much more. They’re still in their early days yet, and the organization’s expansive nature belies its actual youth. If this is what they’re doing in the dark, we can surely look forward to the things they’ll accomplish once they turn on the lights.

Shaving in the Dark‘s sixth issue, Mute, and a limited-edition risograph print are now available in the Neocha Shop.

《胡子拉碴》似乎还在摸索自己的定位,团队也正在扩大业务方面,推出更多商品,譬如杯子、明信片、手袋和 T 恤,并且最近在 Subland Quarter(汝南街 51 号,近局门路)落定了一个更永久的空间。这是一支充满蓬勃能量的团队,除了办杂志,他们还创作涂鸦墙绘、主持漫画研讨会、提供丝网印刷到现场绘画等课程。


目前《胡子拉碴》第六期“静音”(Mute)及限量复印版海报,已经在 Neocha Shop 上线。

Instagram: @shavinginthedark
Facebook: ~/shavinginthedark
WeChat: shavinginthedark


Contributor: Kiril Bolotnikov

Instagram: @shavinginthedark
脸书: ~/shavinginthedark
微信: shavinginthedark


供稿人: Kiril Bolotnikov

Floating Field



Taiwanese designer Wu Yi-Hsien understands that uncertainty is the only certainty in life. While initially troubled by this realization, her apprehension soon gave way to a newfound clarity: we’re all in the same boat. Or, as her animated short Floating Field has it, we’re all in our own fish boats. Her unconventional video, selected as a Design Mark winner in the Golden Pin Concept Design Awards, explores how each of us floats through life in search of meaning and purpose.

台湾设计师吴怡娴深信着 “不确定性是生命中唯一的确定性” 。虽然最初受到这种认知的困扰,但很快地,她的担忧即被一种全新的见解取代:我们的处境都是一样的,我们都在自己的船上。或者说,如她的动画短片《浮田》所表达,我们都在自己的 “鱼型船” 上。她极具创意的视频入围了 “2018 金点概念设计奖” 年度最佳设计奖,探讨了我们每个人如何漂流在人生里寻找着意义和目的。

The animation takes place in a mysterious world where a series of amorphous blob characters each live inside or atop a floating fish. The story’s main character is a humble farmer who’s diligently at work planting seeds in hopes of a better tomorrow. As he drifts from scene to scene, he encounters characters of different backgrounds, all of whom are pursuing their own fulfillment. From a rich fish whose inhabitant is bathing in gold coins to a busy fish whose resident is running in place on a hamster wheel, every character is self-absorbed with their own interests and goals.

动画的故事发生在一个神秘的世界。在这个世界里,一些不定形的团状小人居住在 “飘浮鱼” 的内部或上方。故事的主角是一位谦逊的农民,他正在努力耕作,种下种子,期许一个更美好的明天。当他穿梭在不同的场景,来来去去,他也遇到了来自不同背景的人物,这些人的共同点是他们都在汲汲营营于追求自己的成就。从坐拥无数财富的人、到在仓鼠轮子上没日没夜行走的人,每一个角色都有自己的兴趣和目标。

As time passes, the protagonist’s fish starts to age. His work seems to be all for naught as he descends beneath the clouds and is eventually swallowed by a murky black sea in what seems like the film’s ending. But a quote from Lord of the Rings reframes the context of the grim conclusion, reminding viewers that death isn’t necessarily the end. Through death—the death of our old selves, death of our fears, and the death of our insecurities—a new life begins. Moments later, the fish’s inhabitant re-emerges from the currents and steps ashore. He treads onwards, into new, uncharted lands that await exploration. As terrifying as it might be to face the unknown, only when we accept that it’s an inevitable part of existence, can we truly begin to experience all that life has to offer.


Contributor: David Yen

供稿人: David Yen

Sediments & Sentiments

After working as a graphic designer for two years, Justine Wong made the bold decision to quit her job in Toronto to move to Tokyo. The trip became a year-long sabbatical for cultivating her own voice as an artist. “I decided if I was going to try anything, then now was the time,” she recalls. “So much of the illustration work in North America is limited to magazines, but in Asia opportunities for illustration are endless.”

在做了两年的平面设计师之后,Justine Wong 做出了一个大胆的决定:辞去多伦多的工作,搬到东京。


Before moving to Tokyo, Wong took a three-week solo journey through Japan and created a series of watercolors entitled 21 Days in Japan. In this series, Wong painted her meals, as well as scenes of restaurant stalls, vending machines, and yakitori food trucks. Wong funded the project on Kickstarter, where it found massive success.

在搬到东京之前,Justine Wong 花了三周的时间在日本独自旅行,并创作了一系列水彩作品,名为《21天在日本》(《21 Days in Japan》)。在这个系列中,Justine Wong 画下了她每天的伙食、餐厅的摊位、自动售货机,和 Yakitori 美食卡车的画面。Justine Wong 把这个项目放到 Kickstarter 上进行众筹,最终取得了巨大的成功。

“In Toronto we get a lot of ramen, sushi, and sashimi, but I had so many other food experiences during my trip that were precious, from eating the home cooking of someone at my hostel to eating at a place that just sells to locals,” she says. “I wanted to select foods that people don’t normally experience in the West.”


What did she like best? “Tsukemen, which are like ramen noodles but dipped in a thick broth with all the toppings. Also basashi, which is horse sashimi, which would never exist or be presented in such a respectful way in the West. It’s the cleanest meat I’ve ever had.” Wong adds she also loved ginnan, or gingko nuts.

Justine Wong 本人最喜欢吃什么呢?日本拉面(Tsukemen),就像普通的拉面一样,但它浸在浓浓的肉汤里,上面撒上配料马西生鱼片(Basashi),在西方国家没有,有也不会以如此隆重的方式呈现。这是我吃过的最干净的肉。她还说,她也喜欢白果,也就是银杏果。

When she later moved to Tokyo, Wong found it more difficult than she expected. “It was a big challenge, especially in the first six months, because I felt homesick and lonely. Tokyo can feel overwhelming, even if you know a lot of people.”

To assuage these feelings, Wong began taking weekend trips to the coast. “I started off in Kamakura, which was my introduction to Japan’s coastline,” she explains. “It changed everything about my relationship with the country. I went so often that it became a second home for me.” From there, Wong ventured further down the coast to the Izu Peninsula, drawn by its majestic rock formations.

当她随后搬到东京时,Justine Wong 发现这比她原先预想的要困难得多。“这是个很大的挑战,尤其是在前六个月,我的思乡情结前所未有地严重,觉得很孤独。即便在东京认识很多朋友,这感觉也让人很难承受。”

为了缓和这些情绪,Justine Wong 开始在周末去海边旅行。我从镰仓出发,这这是我对日本海岸线了解的第一步。她解释道,这改变了我和国家之间的一切关系。因为常常去,结果那里就成了我的第二个家。从那开始,Justine Wong 沿着海岸继续向伊豆半岛进发,而那边,有雄伟的岩石群在等着她。

Wong’s art evolved as she experienced more of Japan’s striking beauty: she began exploring the connection between nature and her own emotional identity. Toward the end of her year in Tokyo, Wong presented No Hard Feelings, a solo exhibition showcasing paintings inspired by nature. “I wanted viewers to become aware of their feelings for a place, while also seeing that the place itself is bigger than what they feel about it,” she explains. “Most of the paintings are freehand, and I just painted as I felt.”

The freedom she felt in Japan allowed Wong to reflect on her identity as a Chinese Canadian. Through the paintings, I was able to explore my feelings freely and express them in a visual language,” she explains. “In one, called Too Much, Too Much, there’s a pile or rocks and shells and leaves, and a little woman trying to add the last piece to the painting. For me, it’s all these emotions that build up over your life that you don’t have the language to express. A lot of these feelings are so attached to my Chinese heritage that English doesn’t have words to define them, and giving it a visual form was very empowering.”

随着 Justine Wong 体验到日本更多异乎寻常的美丽面貌,她的艺术也因而进化。她开始探索自己的情感认同与当地自然之间的连结。在即将离开东京的那一年,她展出了《别放在心上》(《No Hard Feelings》),在此一个展之中,所有画作的灵感皆来自于大自然。 “我希望观众能够知道他们对一个地方的想法或感受,同时意识到这个地方,远比他们自身的感受还要宽阔、浩大,” 她解释道。 “大多数的画都是徒手画的,我按照自己的感觉去画画。”

在日本自由自在的生活,让 Justine Wong 开始反思她作为一个华裔加拿大人的身份认同。 “通过绘画,我能够自由地探索自己的感受,并用视觉语言表达出来,” 她解释道。 “在一个名为《太多,太多》(《Too Much, Too Much》)的作品里,有一堆岩石、贝壳和树叶,还有一个小女人试图将最后一块线索添加到画作中。对我来说,正是这些你无法用言语具体表达出来的情绪,点点积累成你的生活。然而,这些感受很多都与我的中国背景相关,我没办法用英语去定义它们,只能以视觉方法来诉说。正是这一点让我感到自己充满力量。”

Wong moved back to Toronto in 2017, but her time in Japan has had a lasting impact on her work. She’s realized she can tackle questions about her past the same way she learned how to live in Tokyo. “If I couldn’t speak my parents’ language very well, I’d just have to study it the way I studied Japanese. If I didn’t know much about Chinese food, I’d just have to experience it as I experienced Japanese food for 21 Days in Japan.”

Wong also wants to build a lasting connection with Japan through collaborations with Japanese writers and artists and cross-cultural exchanges between the people of Toronto and Tokyo. “I hope to keep creating work that can provide a new visual language to bring people closer to themselves and others.”  

Justine Wong 于2017年搬回多伦多,但她在日本的经历对她产生了持久的影响。以前她常常疑惑关于过去的那些问题,她现在意识到可以解决它们,就像解决如何在东京生活一样。 “如果我不能很好地说出父母的语言,我只需要按照我学习日语的方式来学习。 如果我对中国菜不太了解,我只需尝试一下,就像我在《21天在日本》里品尝了日本料理。”

Justine Wong 还希望通过与日本作家和艺术家的合作、以及多伦多和东京人民之间的跨文化交流,能让她与日本建立更持久的联系。 “我希望继续创作更多作品,提供新的视觉语言,让人们更贴近自己和他人。”

Taipei after Dark with U.TA



Perhaps better known for its diverse food and its New Wave cinema, Taiwan has been quietly establishing its indie music cred in recent years. As the island’s cultural center, pluralistic, polymorphous Taipei has been awash in a range of aural delights, from post-rock, psychedelia and punk, to hip hop, folk, and jazz. Reverb-laden shoegaze and breathy dream pop bands in particular seem to sprout, blossom, and thrive in the capital’s languid, subtropical heat, with native species Manic Sheep, I Mean Us, DoZzz, and TuT offering a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors.

One Taiwanese dream-pop band in particular, U.TA, revels in cross-pollinating styles and genres to produce striking musical hybrids. Formed in 2013, the band includes vocalist Urayn and bassist Garry Lu, along with Garry’s brother John on guitars and their friend Tao on drums. Urayn and Garry started an embryonic version of the band back in 2006 but felt the need to expand their sonic horizons. “Although we started in Taichung when we released our EP as a duo,” Urayn recalls, “we thought that we’d be more complete if we had a full band.”

近年来,在一向以美食和新浪潮电影著称的台湾,一股独立音乐力量正悄然崛起。作为台湾的文化中心,多元化的台北奉上了一场精彩的听觉盛宴,从后摇、迷幻乐和朋克到嘻哈、民谣和爵士乐,包罗万象。其中,Shoegaze(自赏)派音乐和梦幻流行乐队大放异彩,在台湾慵懒温热的亚热带气候中萌芽、开花。Manic Sheep、I Mean Us、DoZzz 和 TuT 等本土乐队带来万花筒般的音乐。

其中令人瞩目的梦幻流行乐队 U.TA 擅长将各式风格与流派的完美融合,打造出令人惊喜的混血音乐。乐队成立于 2013 年,包括主唱 Urayn、贝斯手 Garry Lu,吉他手则是他的兄弟 John,鼓手则为其好友 Tao。2006 年,Urayn 和 Garry 组成最初的双人组合,后来又觉得有必要扩大乐队的音乐视野。“当初在台中一开始推出 EP 时我们只是双人组合。” Urayn 回忆道,“但我们觉得,如果可以有一支完整的乐队,我们的音乐也会更完整。”

While all four share arrangement duties, Urayn writes all the songs herself. She also sees each one visually: “Each time I sing a song, I have a video script in mind. When I have more time and energy in the future, I’d like to transform each song into a video to reveal the conceptual basis behind it.” With such a cinematic outlook, it’s no surprise that the band is drawn to the emotional richness of Hong Kong cinema, and in particular the films of Wong Kar-wai.

Urayn 负责写歌,四位成员各司其职。Urayn 喜欢将每一首歌都视觉化,她说:“每次我唱歌,脑海里都会在构想一些画面。将来如果我有更多的时间和精力,我想把每首歌都做成视频,表达出其背后的概念。”既然有这种对影片创作的向往,也就不难理解,为什么乐队都喜欢情感细腻的香港电影,特别是王家卫的作品。

Their musical DNA includes dream pop pioneers Cocteau Twins, Chinese musical icon Faye Wong (who starred in Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express and 2046), and the dark hues of American band Mazzy Star. “Our music is like a constellation. Just as there are twelve types of people [in the Chinese zodiac], shoegaze, for example, is one type of music, but we can mix it with other types like punk or hip-hop to create something unique.” Anyone who’s listened to the band’s 2015 release “Highway Cruising” will recognize its unique combination of styles and influences.

他们的音乐灵感包括梦幻流行音乐的先锋 Cocteau Twins、王菲以及风格阴柔凄美的美国乐队 Mazzy Star。“我们的音乐就像一个星座,或是中国的十二生肖,例如 Shoegaze 就是一种类型,但我们可以将它和其它类型的音乐混合,譬如朋克或嘻哈,创造出独特的音乐。”如果你听过他们在 2015 推出的《缓飙公路》,你一定能从他们独特的音乐中听出各种不同流派与风格的融合。

Unlike many bands, U.TA is equally at home on stage and in the studio, which they see as two sides of the same coin. “If you don’t create complex lyrical arrangements in the studio, then the live performance won’t be solid either,” they say. Studio work allows them to refine their sound until it matches their emotional register, while live performances offer a more immediate connection with their audiences. Fans in Taiwan, Japan, mainland China, or Hong Kong might respond in slightly different ways, and concerts offer instant feedback that can’t be replicated in the studio.

与许多乐队不同的是,对 U.TA 来说,他们喜欢舞台上的现场演奏,也喜欢在录音室的工作。这两种不同的形式犹如一枚硬币的两面——“如果你不能够在工作室里创作出复杂的歌曲编排,那么你的现场表演也不会很好。”录音室可以让他们不断地调整音乐,直到它符合他们想要的感觉;而现场表演又为他们提供了一个与观众更直接联系的平台。虽然由于文化倾向的不同,台湾、日本、中国大陆或香港的粉丝可能会有不同的反应,但现场表演能让他们获得即时的反馈,那种自发性是无法在录音室中获得的。

What do they think about Taipei itself? “We live in a city brimming with inspiration,” says Urayn. “From the beauty of traditional Chinese characters, to the ways people connect with each other, to the flavors of the city, it all deeply influences our work.” The energy of Taiwan’s capital has spawned various musical events along with a growing roster of clubs and record labels to support them. “Taipei is absolutely heading towards becoming a city of music, and I’m so excited about it.”

而他们对台北本身,看法又如何呢?Urayn 的评价是:“这是一个充满灵感的城市。无论是美丽的传统汉字,人们之间的互动,或是城市的风味。所有这一切都深深地影响我们的创作。”作为台湾首府,这座城市的蓬勃生命力催生了丰富的音乐活动,同时还有越来越多的俱乐部和唱片公司作为后盾。“台北正朝着音乐之都的方向发展,这一点让我很期待。”

Currently at work on a new album, the band reveals they’re exploring urban elements such as “fog” and “fragrance” but will maintain their trademark shoegaze sound. As Urayn enthuses, “What I’m most looking forward to this time is that we’ve invited many musicians from different countries to create new songs together.” Global in outlook, defined by the sights and sounds of Taipei streets, U.TA represents the best of Taiwan’s musical cosmopolitanism. Their openness to experimentation is helping to put their city on the indie music map.

目前,乐队正在筹备一张新专辑,他们透露,乐队正在探索与城市相关的元素,譬如“雾霾”和 “香水”,但乐队的标志性 Shoegaze 风格不会改变。Urayn 兴奋地说道:“这张专辑最让我期待的是,这一次我们邀请了来自不同国家的音乐家一起创作新歌。”立足全球的视野,又始终坚守源于台北街道的风景与声音,U.TA(屋塔)代表了台湾最具创意的音乐世界主义,他们开放性的实验态度正推动着台北独立音乐力量的发展。
Facebook: ~/uta25
Instagram: @utaband_tw


Contributor: Brian Haman
Photographer & Videographer: Anaïs Siab
Audio Courtesy of U.TA
脸书: ~/uta25
Instagram: @utaband_tw


供稿人: Brian Haman
图片与视频摄影师: Anaïs Siab
音频由 U.TA 提供

What If?

"What if rainbows sprouted from the ground?"

If you could make the “what ifs” in your life come true, what would you wish for?

That’s the question posed by Chinese illustrator Zhai Yanjun, better known by his pen name, Xiaomin Lao’er. In his What If comics, which he draws late each night, a bald, bearded man with thick-framed glasses and an anxious look on his face explores every conceivable situation, making up for the shortcomings of real life.

如果你的人生有 “如果”,你最想要哪种结果?


"What if you could breathe underwater?"
"What if you had amnesia?"

As a child, Zhai often accompanied his parents to work, where he’d draw to help pass the time. Little did he know, art would become a life calling.

Nowadays, much of his time is spent drawing, reading, and taking quiet walks. While he enjoys socializing and mingling with others, his attitude is more that of an observer than a participant. “For everyday scenes, I just need an idea, an impression, and my mind will naturally react. My imagination does the rest, and it might end up becoming a drawing.”

从小跟着大人上班的经历 ,让小民老二为了打发时间而拿起画笔,从此便一发不可收拾。日常的他会静静画画、看书,没事的时候出去散散步。他乐于参与那些街巷烟火,不刻意与人群保持距离,但他的生活态度更倾向是一个观察者,而非参与者,“对于这些世俗景象,有了概念和印象就够了,内心自然会有反应。剩下的交给想像力,最后有可能会变成画。”

"What if you could turn invisible?"
"What if you didn't need sleep?"
"What if you had a USB slot for your brain?"
"What if you could start your life over?"

Zhai has spent much of his life in Kunming, the City of Eternal Spring. People there are seldom busy, know how to enjoy themselves, and always seem to have time and money to spare. “It’s a good place to retire,” he laughs. Even though he’s in his 30s, the slow pace makes him feel more like he belongs to his parents’ generation. Maybe the source of his gentle style lies in the fact that he has no illusions and accepts the world as it is. “The What If comics are like a series of hypotheticals for myself,” he explains. “Mostly I draw things I wish I could change, things that float above my everyday life. It’s an outlet for impossible fantasies, like being invisible or flying. Everyone has those.”

长期生活在昆明这个四季如春的城市里,人们不是很忙,喜欢吃喝玩乐,而且总有闲工夫和闲钱,他笑称这是一个 “适合养老的地方”,这种慢节奏的生活状态也常常让 80 后的小民老二觉得自己属于爸妈那一辈,更像一个 60 年代的人。 也许他作品中的那份平和正来自这里,对现实了然于心、却也坦然接受。“《如果》就像我对自己的假设,很多都是遗憾,它们浮在日常生活之上,是个胡思乱想的出口。就好像现实中我不可能隐身,也不会飞,每个人都是这样。”

What if you had supernatural powers?
"What if you were in the triad?"
"What if you were serving a life sentence?"
"What if you met an alien?"

Weibo: ~/小民老二


Contributor: Shou Xing

微博: ~/小民老二


供稿人: Shou Xing

Picturing Loneliness in Japan

Even though everyone experiences it in their lives, loneliness remains stigmatized. Acknowledging it can feel shameful, like an admission of weakness or vulnerability. But thinking about loneliness in a different light, and fully embracing it, can be liberating. Photographer Gili Benita recently traveled to Japan, where a glimpse into the country’s solitary life transformed his negative outlook: he realized he wasn’t alone in his loneliness—and he could even grow to enjoy it.

所有人都曾经历过孤独。可人们却觉得孤独是可耻的,承认孤独,就等同于承认自己的弱点或缺陷。不如,换一种角度来思考孤独呢?拥抱孤独,也是在解放自己。摄影师 Gili Benita 最近前往日本,在那里,他所瞥见的各种孤独生活,改变了他对孤独的负面想法:他意识到,孤独者并非他一个,他甚至学会去享受孤独。

Benita’s newfound understanding inspired his photo series Kodoku (Japanese for “loneliness”).  While the series is filled with snapshots of strangers, the project was a way for Benita to look inward and understand himself. Each passerby represents Benita’s own solitude: a single figure in the distance strolling along sandy dunes with the vast ocean spreading out before him; a man enjoying the pleasant weather, reading and lounging in the park by himself; a single beam of light illuminating the face of a woman with her eyes closed, as if savoring the shadows that seem to be swallowing her. In each image, Benita removes the melancholy associations of being alone, substituting a sense of freedom, serenity, and empowerment.

Gili 的新发现激发了他创作《Kodoku》(日语意为“孤独”)摄影系列。虽说系列中他所拍摄的都是陌生人,但这个项目也是 Gili 自我反思与了解自己的一种方式。照片中的每位陌生人都折射出 Gili 自己内心的孤独:一抹剪影,在远处沙丘上漫步,他面前是无垠大海;一个男子,独自在公园里读书和闲逛,享受着宜人天气;黑暗中的一束光,照在一名女子的脸上,而她正闭着眼,像是在细细品味这即将把她吞没的阴影。在这些照片中,Gili 抛弃掉孤独一贯所伴随的忧郁情绪,取而代之呈现出自由、安祥和静默的能量。

“This project is really important for me, because it allowed me to reconcile one of my biggest issues in life,” Benita shares. “These photos allowed me to finally have an honest conversation with myself.”

Rather than avoiding solitude, Benita now welcomes it. He now understands loneliness to be a natural part of human existence and believes that once a person accepts this, they can begin to appreciate its beauty.

“这个项目对我来说非常重要,因为它帮我克服了在生活中面临的一个最大的问题。” Gili 说,“这些照片让我终于能和自己进行了一次坦诚的交谈。”

现在,Gili 不再逃避孤独,转而去拥抱它。他明白,孤独是人类存在的一部分,如果你能坦然接受它,就可以开始欣赏到它的美。

Instagram: @gilibenita


Contributor: David Yen

Instagram: @gilibenita


供稿人: David Yen