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Catwalk Calligraphy

A Chinese upbringing in Malaysia is a lot of work. For Kedah-born illustrator Lihuà Wong, in addition to learning every subject in two languages and enrolling in a never-ending series of extracurricular classes, that meant calligraphy lessons. From the tender age of six all the way up through secondary school, Wong had to practice making Chinese characters with perfect brushstrokes. Despite her reluctance, what began as a laborious chore soon became a key element in her art. Her calligraphy-inspired illustrations have now attracted major fashion brands, such as Chanel, Prada, and Christian Dior.


对于在吉打州出生的插画家王莉桦(Lihuà Wong)来说,身为一个华裔,在马来西亚成长的经历是辛苦的。除了必须用两种语言学习每一门科目,她还得参加一系列永无止境的课外课程,其中包含书法课。从六岁到中学的年纪,王莉桦必须练习用完美的笔画写出汉字。尽管她不情愿,但早先的辛苦练习很快发展成她艺术的养分。现在,她的书法风格插图吸引了许多国际知名的时尚品牌如香奈儿、普拉达和迪奥的注意。

Wong currently juggles a job teaching fashion illustration at The One Academy while building her name as an artist. She brings her minimalist figures to life with bold brushstrokes, injecting them with the flair and expressive movement of calligraphy. Incorporating calligraphy in her work was never a conscious plan. “It just happened,” she says, since the brushwork carried over to her painting. The only real change was the medium, as she experimented with the combinations of various types of paints and paper.


王莉桦目前在立万国际美术学院(The One Academy)教授时装插画,同时以自己的名字发展艺术生涯。她通过大胆的笔触将她极简主义的人物变为现实,为他们注入了书法灵动的表现力。在她的作品中,融合书法并不是一开始就拟定好的计划。“它才刚刚发生。”她说,自从书法进入她的画作,唯一的改变是媒介,因为她开始尝试各类颜料和纸张的组合。

She describes her work as mixed media, since she doesn’t use just Chinese ink, but also works with watercolor, acrylics, and even digital software. Still, Wong prefers more traditional approaches, because she likes the organic feel of doing things old school. A true artist, she declines the convenience of brush presets and printing to pursue something more delicate and crafted.

“I start with a sketch. It’s quite spontaneous. I look for a picture, a composition, then put it together. I want to find something that makes the most impact,” she says. “That’s my concept, that’s how I work. It’s easy with things like Photoshop—you just need a laptop and a tablet and you can easily work anywhere. But that’s more for commercial art. If it’s just for myself, then I choose the traditional way.”

It’s not difficult for Wong to find inspiration, as she weaves through videos of fashion shows. She’s particularly drawn to the designs by two of the biggest fashion houses in the industry, Chanel and Dior, for their timeless and delicate designs. Aside from that, she also seeks visual counsel in artists from the past.


她常用混合媒材去创作,不仅使用中国传统的墨水,还会使用水彩、亚克力颜料、甚至是数字绘图软件。尽管如此,王莉桦更喜欢老派的做事方法,并很享受过程之中的有机感。作为一名真正的艺术家,她拒绝为了达成更细致精巧的成果,就使用软件中预设好的笔刷或印刷成品。

“我的创作从画草图开始,是很随兴的。我会思考如何去建构我的图像,我希望让作品的冲击力越大越好。“她说,“这就是我的概念,我的工作方式。用 Photoshop 这样的绘图软件创作很容易,你只需要一台笔记本电脑或平板电脑就可以轻松地在任何地方工作,但这更适合商业艺术。如果只是为了我自己,那么我选择传统的方式。”

王莉桦会从时装秀的视频中寻找灵感,她特别喜欢香奈儿、迪奥这两大时尚品牌的永恒而精致的设计。除此之外,她也会参考其他艺术家的创作。

Wong first began her fashion illustration journey by approaching local brands for small projects at events involving art and media entertainment. International outreach didn’t really happen until she was studying in the UK and had to find a way to make ends meet while pursuing her passion.

“I like fashion. That’s where I started out, doing events. I like drawing people. You get to see their personality, the way they dress, their silhouette, their character. It’s fun to watch. I can’t sit and draw, say, landscapes. I’ve tried it before. I find it boring. I need a more dynamic subject. If it’s just a tree, I find it difficult to tell a story.”


王莉桦首先借由参与当地品牌的小型项目开展她的时尚插画之旅。直到在英国留学时,她意识到追求热情同时必须找到一种维持生计的方法,才渐渐开启了国际间的合作。

“我喜欢时尚,这是我的起点。我也喜欢画人,你可以看到他们的个性、穿着方式、轮廓和风格,这些能让看的人也感到有趣。我不能坐下来画画,比如说风景画。我之前尝试过,但我觉得很无聊。我需要一个更有活力的主题,如果它只是一棵树,我发现很难讲故事。”

What’s inspiring about Wong is her thirst for a challenge. Whenever she’s asked about her style or subject matter, her response always has a common denominator: the challenge.

“I like doing events,” she says. “I like the challenge of live sketching. I get easily distracted working at home, but for this job you have to focus for four hours and observe people. In five minutes you have to observe your subject and observe their character, silhouette, personality, and features—and get it done. That’s why I like drawing figures. It’s dynamic and is always different.”

However, when it comes to sewing, Wong isn’t interested.

“Oh no, no, no,” is her immediate response when asked whether a career in fashion design is in the cards. “I don’t sew. I like to draw what designers already have. I interpret. I love to make things nicer. When I work with designers, they ask me ‘Can you draw this in this way, with this stitching, and this button?’ Then I’ll be their hands. They tell me what sort of artwork they want, and I act as a visual translator.”


对王莉桦来说,激动人心的是她对挑战的渴望。每当她被问及她的风格或主题时,她的回答总是有一个共同点:挑战。

“我喜欢参加活动。”她说,“我喜欢现场素描的挑战。我在家工作很容易分心,但是做现场素描你必须集中精力四个小时去观察人。然后在五分钟之内彻底观察你的对象,他们的风格、长相、个性和特征,并即时完成它。这是我喜欢绘画的原因。它是动态的,而且总是变化多端。”

然而,在谈到制作服装时,王莉桦并不感兴趣。

当被问及时装设计是否有在规划中,“哦不,不,不!”是她的直接反应。“我不做衣服。我喜欢画设计师已有的现成东西。我只是去诠释,我喜欢让东西变得更好看。当我和其他设计师合作时,他们会问我‘你能用这种方式画出这个缝边、或这个纽扣吗?’他们会告诉我他们想要什么样的艺术品,然后我会成为他们的手,我的角色是一个视觉翻译。”

As for the future, like any artist, Wong aspires to have her works showcased to the public. “I gave myself a target. I want to make 100 works of art, then approach galleries to set up a solo exhibition. Also, I haven’t worked with Louis Vuitton yet!”  


至于未来,像任何艺术家一样,王莉桦希望她的作品可以进入大众的视野。“我给自己订了一个目标。我想制作 100 件作品,然后在画廊办个展。而且,我还没有和 LV 合作过呢!”

Website: artoflihua.com
Instagram: @artoflihua

 

Contributor: Joanna Lee
Chinese Translation: Yang Yixuan


网站artoflihua.com
Instagram: @artoflihua

 

供稿人: Joanna Lee
英译中: Yang Yixuan

A Growing Streetwear Empire

This story is part of a content partnership and media exchange between Neocha and MAEKAN. To see more of MAEKAN’s content on Neocha, click here.

It’s no surprise that some of the most authentic and successful retail concepts begin with a simple desire to bring new exciting things to a local crowd. But short of simply importing and selling a shop full of goods because they’re popular abroad, it takes an eye for the timeless and the “classic” that ensures those items will resonate with the target market in a way no derivative products could.

For Kang Seunghyuk, founder of WORKSOUT, what started as a personal mission to make overseas streetwear items available—and accessible—to Seoul’s fashion scene has since exploded into an empire that encompasses over 10 stores throughout the country.

We sat down with him as he prepared to celebrate the next milestone in his streetwear empire, the opening of a new location inside RYSE hotel in Seoul’s up-and-coming Hongdae neighborhood. He shared with us how far he’s come, the intricacies of the Korean fashion scene, and what it takes for a brand to succeed there.


本篇文章来自新茶媒体合作伙伴 MAEKAN 的内容交换。在 Neocha 上阅读更多 MAEKAN 的文章,请 点击此处

毫不意外,一些真实的成功销售案例都从一个简单的愿望开始,即为当地人带来令人兴奋的新事物。但事情不是单纯引进一些在国外很受欢迎的商品如此简单,而是要具备精准的眼光,找到能与目标市场中的人产生共鸣、跨时代、并无可取代的“经典”之作。

对于 WORKSOUT 的创始人 Kang Seunghyuk 来说,最初的使命是为首尔时尚界提供多一些海外街头服饰的选择。但时至今日,此一念头已经发展成为一个全国拥有 10 多家连锁店的服装帝国。

当他正准备庆祝他的下一个里程碑——在首尔逐渐崭露头角的弘大街区里,位于 RYSE 酒店里的新店面——我们在开幕时和他见了面。他与我们分享了他至今走來的路程、韩国时尚界的复杂性以及品牌如何取得成功的故事。

MAEKAN: What was the inspiration behind WORKSOUT?

Kang: This might be hard to explain, but in Korea, there’s this idea of “oldness”—that it’s the older generations that manage companies. Fashion companies still operate under this concept: they keep wanting to work with department stores, and when their products enter these department stores, the prices skyrocket, which makes it hard for ordinary consumers to buy them.

Before, it was really common to see items that would cost only 30 dollars in the US but sell for 60 dollars in Korea. But, I wanted to deconstruct all of that. I wanted to show that it was possible to get the same price for something here as you would in America, Korea or Europe. My goal was to show Korean people that you didn’t have to purchase particular items in the States and that they could buy the same items here.


MAEKAN:创立 WORKSOUT 背后的灵感是什么?

Kang:这可能很难解释。但在韩国有一种“守旧”的观念,公司的管理者仍然是老一辈,时装公司也是在这种概念下运作:他们一直希望与百货商店合作,但一旦商品进驻百货商店,价格就会一路飙升,使得普通消费者买不下手。

在之前,美国售价30美元的商品在韩国要价60美元,这种情形真的很常见。但是我想打破这样的状况。我想让人们知道不管是在美国、韩国或欧洲,都可以享有相同的价格。我的目标是向韩国人展示你不必特地到美国,在这里也可以购买到想要的东西。

MAEKAN: How did the opportunity with RYSE come about?

Kang: They first asked us to join them about three or four years ago, but at the time we were preparing to open our Apgujeong Store, so we declined their offer. But a year later, when we were open and WORKSOUT was doing well, I was given the offer again. Actually, it was a lot of work getting the brand into the hotel. I turned it down initially because it seemed like too big a project or plan and I thought it was too much to take on, but they really wanted to bring street brands into the hotel, so I eventually agreed. The very same Andre Caputo that designed our Apgujeong-dong store is also working on this project.


MAEKAN: 和 RYSE 的合作是怎么开始的?

Kang: 首先他们在3、4年前要求我们加入他们,但当时我们正在准备狎鸥亭的新店,所以拒绝了。但在一年后,当 WORKSOUT 表现不错而我们的时间也允许,我们再次得到这个提议。将品牌带入酒店事实上需要付出非常多心力,最初我拒绝了,因为这像是一个太过庞大的项目,我认为太超过了。但他们真的很想要把街头品牌带进酒店,最终我还是同意了。当初帮助我们设计狎鸥亭店的Andre Caputo 也参与了这个项目。

MAEKAN: What is unique about the Korean perspective toward fashion?

Kang: I guess it’d be accurate to say Koreans have a strong sense of loyalty? Fandom is a huge concept in Korea. There’s a community for it. So if there’s any one type of style or one type of brand, people will follow it. People from overseas like to dress a certain way that expresses themselves, but Koreans have a tendency to base their style around the brands they’re loyal to. If you like a certain brand, you’ll always like it and never throw it away or abandon it. So I’d say brand loyalty is one unique part of Korea.


MAEKAN: 韩国人对时尚的看法有什么独特之处?

Kang: 我想,韩国人有一种强烈的忠诚感,这样的描述应该是准确的吧。粉丝在韩国是很有影响力的,这是一个巨大的群体。因此,如果出现了某种特定风格或类型的品牌,人们就会跟随它。国外的人也许喜欢穿着可以表达自己的衣服,但韩国人倾向于以他们忠诚的品牌为穿搭的基础。如果你喜欢某个品牌,你会永远喜欢它,不会扔掉它或抛弃它。所以我认为品牌忠诚度是韩国独一无二的一部分。


MAEKAN: You now have four WORKSOUT stores and eight CARHARTT stores. What does it take to succeed in different Korean cities?

Kang: For one, if a brand succeeds in Seoul, it can succeed in any region of Korea. That’s why I opened up five stores in Seoul first, which led to a contact from Busan asking if I wanted to open up stores there and then later on again in Daegu. The reason for this is if you succeed in Seoul, you can then expand to other provinces. And if you take advantage of those opportunities, you’ll succeed no matter what because people from other regions always follow Seoul. So because we already did so well in Seoul, things really took off after that.


MAEKAN: 你现在有四家 WORKSOUT 商店和八家 CARHARTT 商店。在不同的韩国城市中取得成功的因素是什么?

Kang: 首先,如果一个品牌在首尔成功,它就可以在韩国任何地区成功。这就是为什么我先在首尔开了五家店,之后就有釜山的人联系我,接着是大邱。原因是如果你在首尔先取得成功,你就有机会扩展到其他城市,如果你好好把握这些机会,事情无论如何都会水到渠成,因为其他地方的人总是跟着首尔的脚步走。因为我们在首尔已经做得很好,我们的品牌就从这里起飞了。

MAEKAN: What direction do you see fashion in Korea taking?

Kang: As I mentioned earlier, it’s still a bit difficult for Koreans to express themselves. We always like to think that Koreans are like Americans in that we like to be bold and outspoken, but the truth is that we find it really hard to create our own color. However, if we talk about the nature of contemporary fashion in Korea, there’s a bit of movement there. Korean idols are so influential and people follow their fashion, so they’re beginning to develop their own color and style. Plus, people are aware of overseas influencers through Instagram and Paris and New York fashion, so they’re starting to draw their own style from it, in my opinion.


MAEKAN: 你认为韩国时尚的走向是什么?

Kang: 正如我之前提到的,韩国人对于表达自己仍然有点困难。我们总是以为韩国人像美国人一样,大胆直言,但事实上是我们连创造自己的风格都有问题。然而,如果现在我们谈论到韩国当代时尚的本质,已经有一些动静了。韩国偶像是如此有影响力,人们开始追随他们的时尚,进而开始发展出自己的风格。 此外,人们通过 Instagram 发现巴黎和纽约的时尚,了解到海外有影响力的人,因此我认为人们会从中汲取并演变出自己的风格。


MAEKAN: What role do you think the Internet has played in all this?

Kang: Back in the day, you had to read books for fashion. Books were more important than the Internet. I used to have tons of books at home, but now I don’t even have a single one. That’s because magazines, unlike books, are updated every day now. But back then, because the magazine came out only once a month, you’d get the latest news only as often, so the trends would be a little late. I think that would be the main difference: the speed in which trends would disseminate.


MAEKAN: 你认为互联网在这一切中发挥了什么作用?

Kang: 以前书比互联网更重要,你必须阅读时尚书籍去了解时尚。我以前在家里有很多书,但现在我甚至连一本书都没有。那是因为杂志的出现,与书不同的是杂志更新的速度非常快。但因为杂志通常都是月刊,一个月你只会收到最新消息一次,所以这样的速度还是有点慢。我认为这是主要的区别:趋势传播的速度。

MAEKAN: I was personally amazed by your Apgujeong store. How should people feel when they have a good physical retail experience?

Kang: The most important thing, in my opinion, is to get people to come to the store by having items on display, preparing events or collaborating with different brands every month at our store. For example, last year we had Nike, Adidas, Puma in our store to collaborate with us and hold parties and events every season and month to introduce their brand. This is how consumers get introduced to the brands and how we bring customers to visit our stores a little bit more often—and not just look online, but actually come and check them out.

MAEKAN: When I went to Apgujeong, I saw a lot of different brands there. How do you pick them and position them together in the same space?

Kang: When I look for a brand, the first criteria is that it’s a brand I can’t find in a department store. In terms of levels, you can see the brands on the first floor are curated so that when people come in they’ll think, “oh, I know these brands.”

When they head upstairs to the second floor, they’ll notice more niche brands that they don’t know but will still appreciate. And on the third floor, they’ll think, “they’ve got a mix of brands here, but I know all of this”.


MAEKAN: 狎鸥亭店让我感到非常惊奇。你觉得人们在良好的消费实体体验当下应该感受到什么?

Kang: 在我看来,最重要的是让人们愿意每个月到我们的商店看看架上的商品、参加活动或和不同品牌的合作。例如,去年我们的店里有 Nike、Adidas、Puma 等品牌与我们合作,每季或每月举办派对和活动来介绍他们的品牌。这就是让顾客如何了解品牌以及吸引他们更频繁地造访我们商店的方法——不仅仅是在网上看,而是实际到店里来看。

MAEKAN:当我去狎鸥亭店时,我在那里看到了很多不同的品牌。你是如何挑选它们并将它们放在同一个空间中?

Kang:当我在寻找品牌时,第一个标准是它必须是我在百货商店里找不到的品牌。在名气方面,你可以看到放置在一楼的品牌都经过策划,以便当人们进来时他们会想“哦,我知道这些品牌。”

当他们上到二楼时,这里有更多不太知名但仍然有吸引力的小品牌。到了三楼,他们会想“这里有各种各样的品牌,但我都知道。”

MAEKAN: As a foreigner, I always hear the fashion discussion in Seoul gravitate towards Itaewon and Gangnam etc. How would you describe Hongdae?

Kang: I personally think Hongdae will be the biggest neighborhood in Korea in the next five or 10 years. We’re already starting from the RYSE  hotel and building all the new buildings on this street, and the hotels and department stores will keep coming in.

Especially in this business district, there are lots of young people living there, so a lot of people pass by all the time. It’s different from Gangnam where it’s hard for people to move around, but here, there are lots of young people, restaurants, bars, and clothing stores too. So business isn’t going anywhere but up here, and more people will come.


MAEKAN: 关于首尔的时尚讨论,作为一个外国人我总是听到大家在谈论梨泰院和江南等街区。你会怎么形容弘大?

Kang: 我个人认为弘大在未来五到十年内将成为韩国最大的社区。从 RYSE 酒店开始,这条街上多了很多新建筑,更多酒店和百货商店将继续进驻这里。

江南区的行动动线不太好,但在弘大这个商业街区,有很多年轻人住在这里,人流很多。也有很多餐馆、酒吧和服装店。因此,我想生意不会流到别的地方,而是会往这里聚集。

Website: www.worksout.co.kr
Instagram: @worksout_official

 

Media Partner: MAEKAN

Contributor: Nate Kan
Photographer: Chris da Canha
Korean to English Translation: Martin Bae
English to Chinese Translation: Yang Yixuan


网站: www.worksout.co.kr
Instagram: @worksout_official

 

媒体合作伙伴: MAEKAN

供稿人: Nate Kan
摄影师: Chris da Canha
韩译英: Martin Bae
英译中: Yang Yixuan

Sigh, Gone

 

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Sigh Gone is a new film by writer-director Jeannie Nguyen and cinematographer Andrew Yuyi Truong, the filmmakers behind First Generation. The duo’s latest storytelling effort takes them to their parents’ home country of Vietnam, where with help from local producers at BLAZE they’ve crafted a love story with a contemporary twist.


《Sigh Gone》是由导演 Jeannie Nguyen 和摄像师 Andrew Yuyi Truong 拍摄的一部新电影,他们也是《First Generation》的导演。这对拍档的新电影讲述了一个他们父母的祖国越南的故事,在那里,在 BLAZE 当地制作人的帮助下,他们创作了一个具有当代特色的爱情故事。

The short film centers on Thuy, a girl who’s desperately trying to get over a recent heartbreak. Alone at home and unable to quiet her restless mind, she decides to go for a ride on her scooter. But as she cruises through the bustling streets of Saigon, she discovers there’s no use hiding from her emotions. Her grief is even echoed by lyrics inscribed on the back of her motorcycle helmet. The quote, penned by Vietnamese musician Trinh Cong Son, translates to, “Not all that is lost is forgotten.”


这部短片以一个正在拼命试图从最近的心碎经历中走出来的女孩 Thuy 为中心,影片描述了她一个人在家,无法平静她的心绪不宁,于是决定骑上她的机车去兜风。但当她在西贡熙熙攘的街道上穿行时,她发现隐瞒自己的感情是没有用的。她的悲伤和印在摩托车头盔背面的歌词所呼应,那是越南音乐家 Trinh Cong Son 的原话:失而不忘。Not all that is lost is forgotten.

As her day drags on, the bereaved protagonist’s heartache goes from bad to worse—she can’t even make even simple decisions, like where to go and what to eat. To make matters worse, she realizes she’s completely forgotten about a friend’s birthday, and when she rushes over with a cake to make amends, the neighbors tell Thuy no one’s home, and chastise her for being a terrible friend.


随着时间的流逝,失去所爱的 Thuy 的心痛愈发加剧,她甚至不能做出简单的决定,比如去哪里、吃什么。更糟糕的是,她完全忘了朋友的生日。当她匆忙拿着一块蛋糕去赔罪时,邻居们跟她说根本没人在家,且指责她是个糟糕的朋友。

Thuy heads home feeling even more defeated than before. But as she pulls up to her apartment, she finds a welcomed surprise: her lost love is there waiting for her—an iPhone that she left at a friend’s place.


回家后的 Thuy 感觉比之前更沮丧了。但当她把车在公寓停好后,她发现了一个惊喜:她丢失的“挚爱”在那里等着她——她的 iPhone,曾留在了一个朋友家的 iPhone。

Sigh Gone turns out not to be a story of lost love after all, but a commentary on our obsession with smartphones. While it’s a lighthearted take on the subject, there is something bleakly familiar about this portrayal of our modern consumption habits. For many viewers, the anxiety and frustration of not having our smartphones within arm’s reach may hit a little too close to home.


Sigh Gone》原来说的并非一个关于失去爱人的故事,而是对我们对智能手机的痴迷现象。虽然这个话题令人轻松愉快得多,但在对我们现代消费习惯的描述中,的确存在着一些令人沮丧的事实。对许多观众来说,手机只要一离开就在我们几步之遥,我们就会感到焦虑和沮丧。

Alongside technology codependency, the film also touches on the double-edged nature of social media. “To be honest, it’s a little scary that today’s young people have never experienced life outside social media,” Nguyen says. “While these platforms can be great tools to make connections with and be exposed to art and culture from around the world, they’re more frequently highlight reels for people’s lives. It’s inauthentic, but young people don’t process that. It can be detrimental to their psyche.”

At one point in the film, Thuy asks herself, “What’s the point of creating memories if they’re not shared?” This question takes on a different meaning when it becomes clear that she’s referring to Facebook. What seems like a wistful question becomes a damning critique of our need to be constantly plugged into these digital feeds. With the ubiquity of smartphones and our ever-increasing screen time, Sigh Gone poses a tough question: are we living our own lives anymore, or are we too busy living vicariously through our devices?


除了科技与人的共生关系,这部电影还涉及了社交媒体的双刃性质。“老实说,现在的年轻人在社交媒体之外从来没有体验过生活,这有点吓人。” Nguyen 说,“尽管这些平台可以成为连接世界各地的艺术文化,并成为与之接触的绝佳工具,但它们通常只是起了强调人们生活的作用。这不是真实的,但是年轻人不会接受。这对他们的精神是有害的。”

在电影中,Thuy 问自己,如果不能分享,那么创造记忆有什么意义呢?当明确了她所指的是 Facebook 时,这个问题就有了不同的含义。似乎从一个伤感的问题变成了对现代人们捆绑于数媒信息之上的一种严厉批评。随着智能手机的普及、人们屏幕时间的日益增加,《Sigh Gone》提出了一个严峻的问题:我们是在过自己的生活,还是我们忙于通过设备,以间接的方式生活?

Websites:
www.jeanguyen.com
www.andrewyuyitruong.com

Instagrams@jea.nguyen/ | @a.y.truong

 

Contributor: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Chen Yuan


网站:
www.jeanguyen.com
www.andrewyuyitruong.com

Instagrams@jea.nguyen/ | @a.y.truong

 

供稿人: David Yen
英译中: Chen Yuan

Theatrical Flair

Born and raised in northeastern China, Song Wanjie (a.k.a Julian Song) is a photographer who jokingly describes himself as a “folk artist with dreams of opening a dumpling restaurant.” After tasting his homemade jiaozi first-hand, I’d say his restaurateur ambitions aren’t that farfetched.

Song has taken an unorthodox career path. In college, he originally majored in economics before switching over to advertising, and was only inspired to learn the basics of photography when he was handed a camera and asked to help out on a commercial video shoot. Then love stepped in: a significant other gave him a film camera and opened the door to a new world. He took to it like a fish in water, snapping as many shots as he could. Conscious of his amateur background, he mostly stuck to imitating others—until one day someone asked him, “How come your work looks so much like so-and-so’s?” Only then did he realize he needed to find his own style.


生长在东北,Julian 的简介是“民间艺人宋万杰,梦想是开一家饺子馆”。吃人嘴短,我绝对可以证明,他这个梦想不是空穴来风。

自称为“野路子”,非摄影科班出身的 Julian 最初学习的是经济学,辗转到广告学专业之后,一次广告视频的拍摄需要,他得到了自己的第一个相机,经历一点点的自学摸索的过程后,场景切换到一个浪漫的爱情故事,热恋期对象送他的一个胶片相机打开了他的新世界大门,对摄影这件事,他开始变得如鱼得水。但同样由于“野路子”的自我认知,他大量地去拍摄、积累甚至模仿,直到有一天发现有人对他说“你拍的东西怎么特别像那谁……”,他才突然发现得要找找自己了。

“Most people see you using similar colors and think you’re copying. But I think the colors can be similar—the content just has to be different,” says Song. “I want to get away from what people have seen before, do something different. Who’d have thought that a scene like this, with a jumble of everyday objects against a backdrop of clouds and sky, would work?”

Song is especially excited to tell me about his most recent series, Paradise Drama Club. “When the photos came out I was practically moved to tears. You know how when you’re so happy you want to jump off a building?” The inspiration for this shoot came from the music video for “Stubborn” (倔强), a song from 2004 by the Taiwanese pop band Mayday. Sensitive to visuals, Song must have unconsciously filed away the song and the video in some corner of his brain and suddenly reactivated it now.


“一般人就会觉得颜色相似,你就是在抄袭,但我觉得颜色或许可以相像,但内容一定完全不同,我想摆脱他们见过的一切,做不一样的东西。谁能想象这样一个场景,一些看起来无序的生活事件在同一个天空背景下却可以和谐共生。”Julian特别兴奋地跟我讲述他最近一次拍摄的作品《Paradise Drama Club》,“片子出来自己快被感动哭,你知道那种开心到想跳楼的感觉吗!”而这个拍摄的灵感起点是五月天的《倔强》的 MV,凭借一直以来对画面的敏感,这个 MV 场景跟整首歌一起被他长久无意识地储存在了大脑的某个房间里,在当下的某一刻被突然启动。

In person, he’s as bubbly and uninhibited as in his photos. He told me that much of his inspiration comes from S.H.E, the Taiwanese girl band he loved as a kid. (In fact, most of our interview took place with the SHE 17th anniversary concert album playing in the background). At the peak of S.H.E’s popularity, Song was just a teenager. Little did he know, memories of his idol would inspire his art as an adult.


就像作品里的那种乐观坦诚一样,他跟我大方地分享了承包他大半个童年并作为当下创作灵感来源的 SHE(整个采访对话发生的白噪音也是 SHE17 纪念演唱会),当年这个台湾女子组合红透半边天时,Julian 还是个少年,他自己也完全没想到,那个黄金时代的偶像记忆会成为他现在的摄影创作支撑。

In every shot you can probably find touches of real life: a model staring at a bottle of skin creme; a boy taking a selfie in a fitting room; a TV host striking a crazy pose in what looks like a live studio broadcast. To get images that seem to tell a story, Song spends a long time before every shoot getting prepared, reviewing the material, and listening to music for inspiration. “I refuse to do things mechanically. I don’t want to repeat myself, and I don’t want people to think an object or color in my work can be replaced,” he says. “So I put my story and what I understand of culture into every piece, and I make sure each one challenges me.”


你大概能在他的每张照片里都找到一个真实的生活元素: 处在模特直视中的一瓶大宝 SOD 蜜;试衣间里的自拍男孩儿;一个演播室里似乎正在直播进行时的疯狂女主播….而为了营造这种独特的的叙事感,每一次创作前 Julian 都会花大量时间查资料听音乐去做充足的前期准备,“我很拒绝机械化生产,不想一再去重复,让别人觉得我的东西可以被某个物件某种颜色代替,所以我把我理解的文化跟我的故事注入每次创作里,并确保每一次都是在挑战自己。”

If there’s one thing people notice about him, says Song, it’s that he’s down-to-earth. I might add that he’s got an eye for making things look just right. And after seeing his photos, you can’t help but admit, this photographer will definitely wrap a beautiful dumpling.


接地气,是 Julian 觉得自己能被记住的原因,而看完所有这些照片你也不得不承认,这个摄影师一定能把每只饺子都包得很好看。

 

Weibo~/Julian521
Instagram: @juliannn_song

 

Contributor: Shou Xing
English Translation: Allen Young


微博~/Julian521
Instagram: @juliannn_song

 

供稿人: Shou Xing
中译英: Allen Young

Pixel Perfect

A close-up of Corporations

Pixel art was never exactly meant to be a style of its own. It originated as a byproduct of technological limitations, a way for game developers to create believable graphics within the constraints of available computing resources in the ’80s and ’90s. As processing power became faster and cheaper, the style fell out of favor.

In recent years, however, pixel art has made a comeback, becoming a stylistic choice for many indie game publishers and giving rise to gems like CelesteEnter the Gungeon, and Hyper Light Drifter.

The last of which in particular has been a major source of inspiration for 19-year-old Singaporean pixel art enthusiast Kenze Wee Hon Ming. Aside from being impressed by the game’s immaculate art direction, its dialogue-free approach to storytelling opened the young artist’s eyes to the different ways a narrative can be shown.


像素艺术并不是从一开始就自成一格,它是一种因应技术限制而生的副产品,是游戏开发者在 80、90 年代资源的约束下,创建图像的一种应变方式。随着电脑处理能力变得更快速、便宜,这种风格便被淘汰了。

然而,近年来像素艺术卷土重来,成为许多独立游戏发行商的选择,产生了许多顺应此潮流的杰作,例如《蔚蓝》(Celeste)、《挺进地牢》(Enter the Gungeon)和《光明旅者》(Hyper Light Drifter)。

上述提到的光明旅者,特别是来自新加坡的像素艺术爱好者 Kenze Wee Hon Ming 的主要灵感来源。这位年仅 19 岁的艺术家除了受这款游戏无懈可击的艺术表现吸引之外,其零对话的故事推进方式,也大大革新了他的叙事思维。

Sentinel
Tranquility

Today, Wee creates pixel art creations with a similar approach, often relying on color and motion to convey mood and information. His clever use of movement on otherwise static images—often showing elements like clouds, trains, and spacecrafts exiting and returning into the looped GIF—seems to tease at a breathing, sprawling universe that exists beyond the frame.

His pixel animations depict visions of a utopian or dystopian future: a world with neon-lit skylines plastered in undecipherable holographic ads, lone protagonists traversing vast and mysterious landscapes, and arachnoid mechas outfitted with state-of-the-art weaponry. Much like well-designed video games, Wee’s sci-fi animations have an immersive quality to them.


如今, Kenze 以类似的方式来创作。他通常仰赖颜色和动态图像来传达情绪和信息,巧妙地利用 GIF 和充斥其中的元素,比如说云、火车或太空船不断离开又重回画面中,仿佛在景框之外也存在着另一个庞大的宇宙。

而他的像素动画描绘的是充满乌托邦/反乌托邦色彩的未来愿景:一个霓虹灯点亮的天际线被难以辨认的全息广告所占满的世界、孤独的主角只身穿越广阔的神秘风景、装备着最先进武器的节肢动物。就像精心设计的视频游戏一样,Kenze 的动画为这些科幻角色创造了一个让人身历其境的世界。

Neon
Pilgrimage
Scavengers

While the resurgence of pixel art in modern games reaffirmed Wee’s love for its aesthetics, that’s not what drew him to the medium.

A few years earlier, while searching for creative inspiration, Wee discovered Gerardo Quiroz and Valeriya Sanchillo, artists whose intricate pixel art creations instilled in him a sense of awe and wonder. He was amazed by how such a dated, bare-bones form of digital art could produce images that were, paradoxically, “so simple yet detailed at the same time.”

Even though simplicity is a large part of pixel art’s appeal, creating an engaging piece of pixel art is anything but easy. Each of Wee’s creations requires hours of focus and precision. Every pixel is placed with purpose; even minor misplacements of a few pixels can have a drastic effect on the final image.


虽然说 Kenze 正好见证了像素艺术的复兴,但是此种美学的再次流行并不是吸引他的原因。

几年前在寻找创作灵感的同时,Kenze 发现了 Gerardo Quiroz 和 Valeriya Sanchillo,这些艺术家的复杂像素作品让他为之惊叹。这种过时、简陋的数字艺术形式竟然能同时涵盖两种极端的特质——创造出既简单又丰富的图像。

尽管简单是像素艺术的一大亮点,但要创造出引人入胜的像素艺术作品绝非易事。Kenze 的每一件作品都需要数小时的全神专注和精细工作。每一个像素都是有目的地放置,即使是少量的轻微错位也会对最终图像产生巨大的影响。

Ramen
The making of Ramen
Corporations
The making of Corporations

Despite Wee’s meticulous efforts, there’s only so much definition that can be rendered with pixels. This isn’t exactly a disadvantage, though—in fact, it’s exactly these limitations that have kept the retro aesthetic so captivating even after all these years. These constraints are also what lends Wee’s work its je ne sais quoi. This art style asks the audience to look past the medium’s shortcomings and apply a bit of their own creativity. In doing so, the viewers become more than just spectators—they become participants whose own imaginations are tasked with filling in the remaining details.


尽管 Kenze 在像素艺术中投注大量心力,但它的发挥之处毕竟有限。这并不是一个缺点,事实上正是这些限制,使得这种复古的美学在多年之后依然如此迷人,也赋予了 Kenze 的艺术一种难以言喻的魅力。这种艺术风格希望观众超越媒介的局限和发挥一点创造力。观众不再只是观众,而是参与者,必须善用自己的想像来填补剩余的细节。

Behance: ~/KenzeWeeHonMing
Instagram: @emperor_wee
Twitter: @seppuku_doge
Dribbble~/Kenze_Wee

 

Contributor: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Yang Yixuan


Behance: ~/KenzeWeeHonMing
Instagram: @emperor_wee
Twitter: @seppuku_doge
Dribbble~/Kenze_Wee

 

供稿人: David Yen
英译中: Yang Yixuan

Using White Balance

This story is part of a content partnership and media exchange between Neocha and VSCO. Their membership program, VSCO X, is designed to help you reach your creative potential. Take the next step in your creative journey by starting your free 7-day VSCO X trial today and gain access to the complete VSCO preset library, the newest editing tools, and inspiring educational content.

 

The White Balance tool is best used for making broad color adjustments. If you use a preset that creates a strong color cast, or if you just captured an image where the colors feel a bit off, you can use the White Balance tool to create a more accurate feeling tone.


本篇文章来自新茶媒体合作伙伴 VSCO 的内容交换。VSCO X 是一个专门帮助摄影爱好者发挥创造潜力的会员项目。现在就开启你的 7 天免费 VSCO X 试用创意之旅,即可获得的 130+ 预设滤镜,以及新的编辑工具、视频编辑和教程内容。

 

白平衡工具最适用于进行整体的颜色调整。如果您使用的预设偏向某种特定颜色,或者你所拍摄的照片色彩感觉不太对时,你可以通过白平衡工具调整出更准确的色调。

Looking at Color / 观察色彩

The White Balance tool gets its name for its ability to make sure the white hues in an image display without any off tints or casts. By balancing for known white or light gray tones, other colors will often fall into place. With this in mind, look for a reference point in your image that you can confidently ‘match’ by making adjustments with the White Balance tool.


顾名思义,白平衡工具就是用来调整图像中的白色调,使其不带有任何其它色调。通过调整白色调或浅灰色调, 其它的颜色也会获得相应的调整。因此,不妨先在图片中找一个参考点,然后就可以更有把握地使用白平衡工具进行相应的调整。

Finding Balance / 寻找平衡

Once you find your reference point, try to identify what might be making it feel off or how you may want to intentionally shift the color.

Is it too warm and yellow, or too cool and blue?

Use the Temperature slider.


一旦你找到参考点, 试着找出色调感觉不合适的原因,想想你应该如何有目的地调整色彩。

颜色太暖、偏黄色调,或是太冷、偏蓝色调呢?

使用色温滑块。

Is there a green tint, or does everything feel a little too pink?

Use the Tint slider。


整体色调是不是偏绿,还是有点太粉了?

使用色调滑块。

By working with these four colors, you can use the White Balance tool to correct almost any kind of light. Working in small increments, use the sliders to gradually shift the color to a point that matches what you had in mind. By practicing this process, you’ll soon be able to spot easy adjustments and quickly eliminate color casts, especially in tricky lighting conditions.


通过调整这四种色彩,你可以通过白平衡工具校正各种类型的光线。使用滑块进行细微调整,直至色彩符合你的预想。不断练习这个过程,很快你就会发现,很容易就能知道该如何进行调整,快速校正在复杂光线条件下拍摄的图片色偏问题。

Wasabia Japonica

Wasabi in its natural state / 野生山葵

This story is part of a content partnership and media exchange between Neocha and MAEKAN. To see more of MAEKAN’s content on Neocha, click here.

Around 90 minutes outside of the Tokyo metropolis, nestled deep within the mountains near Kawai, Okutama, are the wasabi plantations cared for by David Hulme. Hulme, an Australian who now permanently resides in Japan, is an avid mountaineer who discovered abandoned wasabi fields while hiking in the area. His curiosity led him to conduct further research into the culture of wasabi, and he was eventually drawn to the local forest, which was once home to a prominent sugi (Japanese cedar) and hinoki (Japanese cypress) timber industry. The timber industry intentionally introduced the non-native sugi and hinoki for their wood, but this spelled ecological disaster for local species, which were decimated in making way for them.


本篇文章来自新茶媒体合作伙伴 MAEKAN 的内容交换。在 Neocha 上阅读更多 MAEKAN 的文章,请 点击此处

离东京都约 90 分钟车程,在奥多摩町附近的深山之中,盘踞着 David Hulme 悉心照料的山葵种植园。定居日本 David 其实是澳大利亚人,他是一个狂热登山爱好者,在附近地区的一次徒步旅行时,David 发现这处荒废的山葵田。好奇心促使他进一步研究起了山葵植物文化,并且为当地林区而吸引常驻——这片森林曾是日本雪松和日本柏木的伐木场。虽然非本地物种的柳杉和丝柏才是伐木对象,但这依然是场生态灾难,当地的物种在为其他树木开路让位的过程中,也遭到了破坏。

Forest in Okutama / 奥多摩町的森林
Wasabi plantation / 山葵种植地
Protective fences around the wasabi plants / 山葵植株旁的保护栅栏

Wasabi (Wasabia Japonica) is a plant in the same family as horseradish and mustard. Real wasabi grows naturally along freshwater streams in Japanese mountain valleys and is rarely found outside of Japan. Notorious for needing very specific growing conditions—a constant stream of fresh water, indirect sunlight only, cool air temperatures (8°C – 20°C), and high humidity in the summer—it’s not exaggerating to say that wasabi is a plant that needs pampering.


山葵(又叫山嵛菜)是一种与辣根和芥末同科的植物。山葵自然生长在日本山谷的淡水溪流中,很少生长在日本以外的地方。它以需要非常特殊的生长条件而著称——持续不断的泉水、间接照射的太阳光、较为阴凉的气温(8°C– 20°C)和夏季的高湿度环境。山葵是一种需要呵护的植物,这毫不夸张。

Wasabi takes close to two years to reach maturity. The slow growth and restrictive requirements means that the supply of wasabi almost never satisfies commercial demand. In addition, the distribution system keeps consumer costs high and producer returns very low, with middlemen taking all the profit. Purchased directly from the grower, a 50-gram wasabi stem should cost around ¥500. But at high-end restaurants, a 50-gram wasabi stem costs up to ¥1000.


山葵需要经过近两年生长期才能完全成熟。它们的成长速度和所需的生长环境意味着它在市场上完全供不应求。除此之外,产业链上还存在着一种分配制度,它让消费者需要花费很高的价格,但生产种植者的回报却很低,中间商则从中获取所有的利润。比如,从种植者直接面向消费者的山葵干价格,应为 50g/500 日元。但是在特殊的餐馆和高档餐馆,50g 的价格可能高达 1000 日元。

Natural irrigation / 自然的浇灌
Forest road in Okutama / 奥多摩町的森林小径

Because of its prohibitive cost, the “wasabi” typically encountered outside of Japan is a substitute mixture of mustard, horseradish, traces of powdered wasabi, and green food coloring, a combination commonly referred to as seiyo wasabi (Western wasabi). The recipe leads to that signature fiery feeling in the nose that is almost sinus-clearing. True wasabi is aromatic with a gentle heat and is widely believed to have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects.


由于价格高得令人望而却步,在日本以外的国家,人们常见的蘸料是芥末、辣根、山葵粉和食用色素的替代品——这种组合通常被称为芥末(西芥末)。这个配方意味着,它会让你的鼻腔充满辛辣感,提神醒脑。但真正的山葵酱是芳香的,性温热,具有抗菌和消炎作用。

Fresh wasabi leaves / 新鲜的山葵叶
Washing the wasabi / 清洗山葵叶

Hulme now leads tours for those curious to learn about the cultivation of the prized plant. He hopes that through his wasabi growing efforts, he can bring awareness of the local area to help his true cause—repairing the forest and reversing the damage caused by the collapse of the timber industry, which left the forest in a sorry state, covered with sugi, hinoki, and other species that have crowded out the native trees and bushes.


现在,David 会带领游客去了解这种珍贵植物的栽培和价值所在。他希望通过他的山葵种植,可以提高当地人民的意识,以帮助他修复森林的大业,来扭转木材业崩溃所造成的破坏。因为木材业的崩溃,森林变得杂乱无章,非本地物种蔓延,比如刚才提到的柳杉和丝柏,这些物种造成了环境和经济上的破坏。

Making wasabi paste with an oroshigane grater / 用研磨板制作山葵酱

Hulme’s vision is to create a new, modern forestry industry based on native timbers. In caring for his wasabi plantations and teaching anyone eager to learn about the well-known condiment, he encourages a deeper understanding of nature and Japanese culinary culture. And along the way, he’s saving a forest.


David 的愿景是创建一个源于当地物种的现代林业。在他照料山葵种植园、给那些渴望了解山葵酱的人以讲解的过程中,他鼓励大家加深对自然和日本烹饪文化的了解,并以此,拯救整片森林。

Media Partner: MAEKAN

Contributor & Photographer: Ross Adrian Yip
Chinese Translation: Chen Yuan


媒体合作伙伴: MAEKAN

供稿人与摄影师: Ross Adrian Yip
英译中: Chen Yuan

Future Fashion

Sci-fi is about more than dreaming up fictional worlds—it’s about creating a visual universe, a futuristic aesthetic for everything from sunglasses to satchels. And in an era of video-game marathons and binge-watching sessions, elements of these sci-fi-inspired styles are bound to bleed into the real world. Fashion inspired by the genre might even, like the best speculative fiction, offer subtle commentary on our technology-saturated society.

These are the roots of Guerrilla Group, a Taiwanese brand that draws inspiration from classic sci-fi games and films like Metal Gear Solid, Alien, and Akira, and then translates it into apparel for everyday use. Although some of the pieces might look more suitable for future-themed fashion editorials, most are functional for the street.   


所谓科幻世界,不仅仅是在杜撰一些虚无的幻想。它是在创造一个视觉化的世界观,一个涵盖所有——从你脸上的太阳眼镜到肩上的背包——的未来主义美学。在这一个充斥电玩游戏和追剧马拉松的时代,荧幕上的科幻元素必然会渗入现实世界。而受到此种风格启发的时尚,甚至可以说是科幻美学在现实中最理想的诠释,为科技无所不在的现代社会,提供了它细致又敏锐的见解。

这些都是吉丰重工(Guerrilla Group)的根源。这个来自台湾的时尚品牌从经典的科幻电影和电玩游戏如《合金装备》(Metal Gear Solid)、《异形》(Alien)、《阿基拉》(Akira)中汲取灵感,再转化成日常服饰。虽然部分作品看起来比较像是未来风格的装扮,但大多都是适用于现代的机能性街头穿着。

The brainchild of Andrew Chen and Anthony Bui, Guerrilla Group creates everything from detailed jackets and layered pants to form-fitting tees and cross-body satchels. The brand emphasizes distinctive but practical materials, such as high-modulus polyethylene, lyocell, and transparent leather. The last of these is so new, in fact, that the producers won’t even tell them how it’s made. It’s stuff you rarely see but want to see more of.


吉丰重工的创办人 Andrew Chen 和 Anthony Bui 将创意发挥在几乎所有穿得到的用品上,从富含细节的夹克、分层裤、到合身 T 恤和斜背包。该品牌强调使用有特点但实用的材料,如高模量聚乙烯、Lyocell 纤维,或是透明皮革——一种太过新兴的材料,以至于制造商甚至不愿意告诉他们制作方法。这是一个你几乎看不到、但渴望看到更多的东西。

Beyond their affinity for unusual materials, Guerrilla Group sets itself apart from other brands through its “storytelling” approach to fashion. Every new collection starts with a concept that’s then fleshed out with a story and visualized in a lookbook.


除了常用不寻常的材料,吉丰重工的特别之处还有通过“讲故事”的方式,将自己与其他时尚品牌区分开来。每一个系列都会从一个概念出发,然后用故事去充实其内容,最终视觉化呈现在品牌书中。

The stories crafted by Chen and Bui are rooted in fiction but take cues from the real world, and more often than not, they contain implicit social critique that confronts issues such as military fetishization and invasive authority. “A lot of our collections are actually trying to send a message of warning,” Chen says. “Like our End Of Secrecy line, which is based on PRISM, the American internet surveillance program. We’re addressing how governments control your information.”


Andrew 和 Anthony 创造的故事通常是虚构的,但之中隐含着他们从现实中获取的线索,并悄悄植入批判社会的暗喻,比如说军事狂热化、或威权体制的入侵等问题。 “事实上我们有很多作品是在试图发出警告。” Andrew 说。“像是《End of Secrecy》系列是发想自美国互联网监控计划‘棱镜门’(PRISM)。我们想诉求的对象是正在控制你的信息的政府。”

As of late, the brand is starting to move away from the sci-fi aesthetics that defined its early years. One of its recently released satchels was based on Buddhist monk sling bags—though since it’s made of an experimental transparent material made by Ecco Leather, it still resembles something extraterrestrial.


最近,吉丰重工的设计风格开始驶离早期的科幻美学。品牌最近发布的一个背包的原型是僧侣的吊带包——并由 Ecco Leather 生产的实验性透明皮革材料所制成,外观容易让人联想到异星世界的产物。

A more significant departure from the brand’s sci-fi and techwear roots is a new line based on street racing. Inspired by old auto magazines, Japanese car mods, and manga comics, this collection revolves around a fictional auto body shop called Silent Works. Their campaign even includes three real-life customized cars, including a Nissan 240SX.


一个基于街头赛车的新系列,更让该品牌远离了其科幻与机能的设计根源。灵感来自于旧的汽车杂志、日本汽车改装和漫画,此系列围绕着一个名为 Silent Works 的虚构汽车车身店。他们甚至还设计了三款真实定制车型,包括一辆 Nissan 240SX。

Guerrilla Group’s elaborate concepts and graphics-heavy designs hint at Chen and Bui’s ambitions beyond fashion. “Neither of us studied fashion design,” Chen notes. “Anthony was a graphic designer and I studied Art Design. This brand was actually my graduate thesis topic.” The duo ultimately hopes to operate a full-fledged creative agency under the banner Guerrilla Foundation for International Recon Media Group, or GFIRMG. They plan on expanding into film, product design, and visual design, and no matter the medium, they want to tell stories that meaningfully engage with a changing world.


吉丰重工精心设计的概念和图像暗示着 Andrew 和 Anthony 超越时尚的野心。 “我们都没有学过时装设计。”Andrew 说。 “Anthony 是一名平面设计师,而我学的是艺术设计。这个品牌实际上是我的毕业论文题目。”二人最终希望在吉丰重工(Guerrilla Foundation for International Recon Media Group, 简称 GFIRMG)的旗帜下运营一个成熟的创意机构。他们还计划扩展到电影、产品和视觉设计。无论媒介为何,他们都想继续讲述有意义的、与这个不断变化的世界互动的故事。

Website: www.guerrilla-group.co
Facebook: ~/guerrilla-group.co
Instagram: @guerrillagroup_co

 

Contributor: Mike Steyels
Chinese Translation: Yang Yixuan


网站: www.guerrilla-group.co
脸书: ~/guerrilla-group.co
Instagram: @guerrillagroup_co

 

供稿人: Mike Steyels
英译中: Yang Yixuan

Tokyo Blockparty

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。

我想在一个人人都能参与的空间里打碟。他解释说,有些人不喜欢夜店,但他们仍然喜欢音乐。我想说我的一些忠实粉丝是无家可归的流浪汉。

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。

真正的嘻哈态度,是这个城市肮脏的腹地的同义词。真正的嘻哈并非你脖子上的金链,也不是你那些昂贵的限量版乔丹球鞋。

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

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, 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.


满洲里,这是一座迷失的城市。它位处中俄两国交界之地——也正是在这块区域,现代性、民族认同与传统文化,奇妙地交相融合。

第一次到达满洲里,你会看到许多欧式建筑从无垠的蒙古草原上拔地而起,与其说像是置身另一时空,莫如说更近似天马行空的想象。在满洲里的市郊,多彩的洋葱顶教堂和巨型俄罗斯套娃散落在草原上,整座城市宛如再造的俄罗斯游乐场。但这究竟是为什么呢?

满洲里可被视作为中国崛起的缩影。它为快速发展和经济增长所迷惑,而对其后果却思之甚少。一种“不完整”的感觉,即对期望的未满足感,依然悬而未尽。虽说这座城市充满了对外来文化的热情,但它却似乎是被困在了俄罗斯的幻想和中国的现实之间。

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。

这种游离感,会随着你跨越边境来到更小一些的俄罗斯城扎拜卡尔斯克(Zabaikalsk)而增强。这里,过去的印记徘徊至今。这个小镇上古老的木屋、安静的林荫道,与缤纷艳俗的满洲里,相映成趣。

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.


尽管几个世纪以来,两地不同种族间一直保持联系,但双方依然存在隔离。一个俄罗斯咖啡馆老板,中蒙混血,并且和她的俄罗斯顾客关系很融洽,但她始终认为,这两个种群的人们通婚是不明智的:俄罗斯人耽于酒色,更容易不忠,但中国人却很务实且忠贞。一个中国店主声称,人们对俄罗斯人酗酒的成见是有根据的,这些俄罗斯人只在夜间酒吧里才出现,简直就像一群夜间出没的外来生物。而一群俄罗斯商人却抱怨说,和中国人交朋友是不可能的,因为任何关系都完全建立在经济基础上。其他俄罗斯人则说,他们的欧洲文化传统和意识与亚洲文化本质上是不相容的。

即使有这些看法,双方之间的态度普遍是好奇。在附近的克拉斯诺卡门斯克,中国旅游大巴沿着空荡的街道疾驰而下,导游向车上的中年游客解释为什么这个小镇看起来与邻近的中国城市如此不同;与此同时,当地人惊讶地看着这群声势浩大的旅游团,奇怪他们为什么会来这个以铀矿开采、以及作为前俄罗斯亿万富翁流亡地而闻名的小城镇。

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