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Chipping away the Layers 被印在墙上的你我

June 12, 2019 2019年6月12日



Ever since he first visited in 2012, Portuguese sculptor Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, has felt a fondness for Shanghai, and the city forms the backdrop for many of his trademark chiseled portraits. On empty lots, construction sites, buildings slated for destruction, and out-of-the-way walls, he’s chipped away concrete and plaster to depict the faces of local residents. Vhils maintains strong ties to China, and in collaboration with the creative group Solid Dogma, he recently made a video in Shanghainese that commemorates his time in the city and pays homage to the people of who make it their home. It’s also a moody meditation on solitude and the difficulty of finding one’s place in the world.

自从 2012 年首次到访上海,葡萄牙雕塑家 Alexandre Farto(又名 Vhils)就对这座城市产生了浓厚的兴趣,并在这里下了多幅标志性的肖像作品。他在空地、建筑工地、围起来的待拆建筑物,到城市各个角落的墙壁上,在混凝土和灰泥上刻凿出一幅幅当地居民的面孔。Vhils 始终和这个国家有着千丝万缕的连接,最近,他携手创意团体 Solid Dogma,合力打造了一部短片,以纪念他在上海的时光,同时向那些以此为家的人致敬。另外,这部短片其实也是对孤独、对人苦苦寻求立命安身之所的深沉思考。

The portraits he creates occupy entire walls, like oversized monochrome photographs, and they call to mind the larger-than-life images of celebrities or political leaders. Yet unlike billboards or propaganda posters, these images show anonymous, everyday people, and by portraying them so prominently and at such a scale, the artist gives them a certain heroic dignity. He also leaves them in the open, where, almost like human faces, they change as they age and erode.

他所创作的肖像作品往往占据整幅墙壁,就像巨幅的单色照片一样,令人联想起那些名人或政治领袖的大幅照片。但不同于广告牌或宣传海报的是,Vhils 的肖像作品都是一些无名的平凡人物,通过如此大规模的肖像画,这位艺术家让这些平民呈现出一种英雄式的威严感。Vhils 让这些画裸露在外,因而它们也像人的脸庞一样,会被岁月慢慢侵蚀,留下印记。

Many of the public artworks that Vhils created were intended to be temporary, and some fell long ago to the wrecking ball. Yet he’s created a series of portraits at a similar scale for display in a museum setting that are now on display at Danysz Gallery in Shanghai. This show, Realm, an expanded version of one previously shown at CAFA in Beijing, allows viewers in Shanghai to experience for themselves these portraits in concrete, wood, and plaster, and to see with fresh eyes the faces of the city around them.

Vhils 创作的许多公共艺术作品都是暂时性的,其中一些作品很久以前就已经被拆掉了。然而,他专门为博物馆展览创作了一系列相似规模的肖像画,最近将于上海的 Danysz Gallery 展出。展览原在北京中央美术学院美术馆展出过,但本次以《境域》(Realm)为名,将呈现更丰富的作品和内容,让上海的观众可以亲自体验这些以混凝土、木材和灰泥创作的肖像作品,以全新的角度审视这座城市里的平凡面孔。

Realm is on display until June 19, 2019, at Danysz Gallery.

256 East Beijing Road
Huangpu District, Shanghai

Monday to Saturday, 10 am ~ 6 pm
Sunday, 12 pm ~ 6 pm


Like our stories? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


Instagram: @vhils


Contributor: Allen Young
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li

《境域》(Realm)在 Danysz Gallery 展出至 2019 年 6 月 19 日。

北京东路 256 号

周一至周六 早上十点至晚上六点
周日 中午至晚上六点




Instagram: @vhils


供稿人: Allen Young
英译中: Olivia Li

Arriving in London 进入伦敦

May 22, 2019 2019年5月22日

Arriving in London

by Wu Qi


This essay originally appeared in Chinese as the introduction to One-Way Street Magazine no. 18, “The Empty Metropolis: Special Issue on Contemporary British Literature.” Neocha is pleased to present this English translation.

My first time in London, I seem to have gone by train. Of course I flew into Gatwick first, catching a train to Liverpool Street Station and changing there for a line to the suburbs, without getting out in London or seeing what it looked like. Only on the second day, now more relaxed, with my luggage and the more obvious indications that I was a traveler back at a friend’s place, did I officially set foot in the city. Such an experience is entirely different from getting off a plane and hurrying straight into town, lugging a suitcase and looking for your hotel, still reeling from the shock and the unfamiliarity.

So different, in fact, that the first thing I noticed about London were the chimneys. On the outskirts, each and every residential building, large and small, is crowned with a brick-red or pale-yellow stack, darkened to a coal black by years of smoke—a silent relic of the Industrial Revolution. As the train pulled into Liverpool Street Station, the tangle of tracks, taut wires, and cellular equipment converged onto a single path, and my ignorance of the place was lulled by a strange physical familiarity: if, on the outside, the station was an airy structure of brick and iron that set the tone for London’s past, on the inside it was just a dark tunnel lying at the end of some quiet country scenery. We entered, the sun disappeared for a moment, and the light in the car cast everything in a dimmer light, blurring and thickening the colors. Then daylight streamed through the glass ceiling again, and almost as if on command, everything returned to normal. The train slowed to a halt, the tunnel retreated out of sight, and a din of voices began to rise. Everything took on a hallucinatory quality, and only then did I understand the shadowy, mysterious train in that painting by J.M.W. Turner, or the terrifying trains of the films of D.W. Griffith. I could even imagine myself as a Dickensian apprentice from Northern England who had set out on a long journey to London to seek his fortune.

Sometimes how you arrive in a city matters more than your stay there. After that trip, I didn’t have much interest in describing London’s grandeur or desolation, which are all too evident. Endless pages have been written on the subject: nearly every angle has been covered ad nauseam, and usually exaggerated.

As the birthplace of urban modernity, London can of course easily satisfy your every need. It has the world’s most international language, a cultural life that never rests, politeness and reserve, antiquated buses still diligently making the rounds, people of diverse ethnicities living in their own class-marked districts—it seems to embrace and connect everything. Well-trained vegetation in parks and public spaces appears in moments of fatigue or heartbreak, while graffiti here and there flashes out like a dagger amid the order, faithfully striking a discordant note. . . .  All this is urban life we’re familiar with today. From Europe and America to Asia and Africa, streams of people are entering these orders and structures, as if on an assembly line. London is no longer unique—or rather, London simply preceded other cities.

In my trip I also arrived long after many others, and the surfeit of writing and attention given to the country may have subconsciously influenced me. In many modern countries and regions that bloomed late—including the relative laggard Spain, within Europe’s borders—travelers from afar have played a role, even a leading role, in the discovery of the local culture. Yet London’s story has been written mainly by its own people. One of them was Henry James (1843-1916), an American who settled in Britain and once described the capital as “the spoiled child of the world.” Keenly aware of the strict hierarchy, the extreme division between rich and poor, the bleakness of scraping by in the metropolis, he nevertheless stood by its side:

all England is in a suburban relation to [London] . . . It is the spoiling perhaps of the country, but it is the making of the insatiable town, and if one is a helpless and shameless cockney that is all one is obliged to look at. Anything is excusable which enlarges one’s civic consciousness. It ministers immensely to that of the London-lover that, thanks to the tremendous system of coming and going, to the active, hospitable habits of the people, to the elaboration of the railway-service, the frequency and rapidity of trains, and last, though not least, to the fact that much of the loveliest scenery in England lies within a radius of fifty miles—thanks to all this he has the rural picturesque at his door and may cultivate unlimited vagueness as to the line of division between centre and circumference. It is perfectly open to him to consider the remainder of the United Kingdom, or the British empire in general, or even, if he be an American, the total of the English-speaking territories of the globe, as the mere margin, the fitted girdle.

This haughty, exclusive veneration of cities runs through the entire nineteenth century—runs through continental Europe, and continues to influence us today. Yet this historical stage is hard to prolong, and in the city center there are crises everywhere you look: dreams of the countryside have never really come to the rescue, and empire’s boundaries are gradually vanishing. We twenty-first-century latecomers to London should learn to skirt around these illusions. After all, James also said the city was “as indifferent as nature herself to the single life.”

So it felt as though my detour around London, my unplanned commuter trip, opened up a sort of alternate space and time and whisked me down a different, accidental branch of road. On that road you can see how several small, belly-like mounds rise from the horizon at the border of town and country, how the light is refracted through the air in different ways on brick and glass, how road barriers, sandbags, fences, and debris alongside the tracks create a scene of utter desolation, how rows of warehouses, parking lots, and Lidl discount stores stand  guard on the city’s fringe, with trademarks and logos as their banners. You can see how, on the highways in the distance, shipping trucks outnumber cars, and near the villages people take leisurely rides on bicycles. You can see how every little stop on the way is almost identical, like a miniature version of the central station, with just two empty platforms. The British television series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams has an episode that takes place in a station like this: when people reach a dead-end in their lives, they hop off the train there and just walk out toward the little villages in the open countryside. In this place, which appears on no map, time stops the moment before the tragedy occurs, offering a fresh beginning.

This story may not be so fictional: history really always does return. The new center and periphery are being hashed out even now, an issue our current generation needs to start to face. London, like any other large metropolis, no longer means a fixed location, and even if we persist in calling such places “centers,” they’re simply convenient transit points to somewhere else. They extend in countless directions, and even they themselves are in flight. This issue of One-Way Street has been a circuitous journey. We passed through London, entered Britain, and brought back five writers who had never been translated to Chinese. Their works are scattered like light in the open country: some are pressing toward the city center, some are wandering on the unglamorous edges of Europe, some of them are flying to the islands, and some have returned to Asia, where they were born.

Language and writing today, while cutting one path after another through modern life, have also reached a sort of impasse. We easily slip into talking just about love, loneliness, the lost meaning in our lives, ultimately repeating the same themes with only minor variations. Through the work of our British contemporaries, we can once again ask what the city center ultimately holds, and beyond the city, what broader, more distant spaces are possible. The “empty metropolis” of our title does not of course refer to a material emptiness, nor even a spiritual void, but rather to the fact that “urban consciousness” is no longer so ready-made, can no longer be summed up in such offhand Jamesian hindsight. We naturally assume these things are all close at hand, but the closer something is, the harder it is to describe.

Of the writers who have written about London, I’m particularly partial to Charles Lamb (1775-1834). Lamb spent his whole life in London, and his intimate familiarity with the city shows through in his words, though he often traveled farther afield, too, and was a sort of eternal outsider. He writes, “I had long been used not to rest in things of sense, had endeavored after a comprehension of mind, unsatisfied with the ‘ignorant present time,’ and this kept me up.” This spirit kept him up as he shouldered his small family’s heavy burden—his mentally ill sister murdered his mother—and the petty bourgeois life of a sensitive spirit seeking fame in London. “Endeavoring after a comprehension of mind” may also help buoy us as we find our own way.

London itself has countless byways, side streets that lie as far off the beaten path as the suburbs. For example, heading east from Whitechapel Gallery, in the eastern part of the city, through a largely South Asian and Middle Eastern area—historically this has always been an area of immigrants, and the earliest European migrants also settled here, giving a boost to the textile industry—you cross several parks, canals where boat dwellers moor, and cheap, modern residential areas . . . and scattered along the way you find several modern art galleries, where you sometimes can’t even find the door, and where no one pays you any attention anyway. Displayed inside are a series of self-regarding works of art about the status of women, the issue of refugees, lighting in prisons, car mechanics in Palestine, the rise and fall of the highbrow US journal The Partisan Review . . .

Incidentally, I finished writing this piece on yet another trip to London, and the experience of constantly arriving and departing has shown me that repetition, circulation, and movement can be also be a stimulus, a challenge, a creative process. Every departure is the origin of countless other departures. For One-Way Street, this is especially true: we’ve read Beijing, London, Australia—next we’ll travel to Latin America, to Scotland, to Ireland, to Africa.




吴琦 著



以至于我最先注意到的,是伦敦的烟囱,郊外大大小小的民居无一例外地顶着砖红、鹅黄的帽子,经年累月,它们大多泛出烟熏过的煤黑色,是往昔工业革命留在今天生活里的一种沉默的事物。然后火车再次驶入利物浦中央车站,许多条铁轨交错,和撕扯的电线、基站一起,逐渐汇成唯一的路,此时,一种奇妙的物理性的熟悉镇定着我其实对它的一无所知——如果从外面看,这座火车站是一个砖铁结构支撑的透明大棚,过去的伦敦从这里开始起搏,从里面看,它不过是一条暗黄色的隧道,埋伏在平静的田园风光的尽头。进站之后,自然光线先消失了一阵子,车里的灯把周围事物的颜色照得暗沉、混杂、滞重,然后天光再次透过玻璃屋顶照下来,突然就规矩许多,像接受了指令似的,速度停止,隧道退却不见,人声突然鼎沸起来,一切恍如幻觉。这时候我才理解特纳(J.M.W. Turner)画的氤氲神秘的火车,格里菲斯(D.W. Griffith)电影里令人惊惧的火车,或者回到狄更斯的小说,把自己想象成一个 19 世纪从英国北方赶了漫长的路来伦敦谋生的学徒。



我的旅程也落后于很多人,关于这个国家的“过度”书写和关注,可能潜意识里影响了我。不同于许多后发的现代国家和地区,包括欧洲境内相对滞后的西班牙,外来的旅行者都介入甚至主导了本土文化的发现,而伦敦的故事主要是由它的自己人书写的。亨利·詹姆斯(Henry James),这个移居英国的美国佬,也是其中之一,他形容伦敦是一个“世界宠坏了的孩子”,在清楚地意识到这里等级之森严、贫富分化之严重、都市生存之贫乏之后,他依然站在它那边:


这些霸道的、单一的对城市的崇拜,穿过了整个 19 世纪,穿过了欧洲大陆,至今主导着我们。但这个历史阶段在今天也难以为继了,城市的中心危机四伏,田园梦想从未真正为它解围,帝国的疆界也逐渐消,。我们这些 21 世纪迟迟赶到伦敦的人,应该学会绕开这些幻觉。毕竟这话也是詹姆斯说的,“它就像大自然本身一样对单个的生命漠不关心”。

于是我在伦敦绕道、通勤的无心之举,仿佛打开了另一个时空,进入了一条偶然的岔路。在这条路上,你会看到地平线是如何像不平坦的小腹一样在城乡之间形成不同形状的隆起,砖瓦和玻璃如何在空气中造成不同的光线折射,路障、沙袋、栅栏和废弃的杂物如何在铁路两边筑成断壁残垣,和联排的仓库、停车场、廉价的 Lidl 超市一起,护卫城市的边缘,各种商标和公司 logo,成为它们的旗帜。你会看到在远处的公路上,货车永远比汽车多,而乡间的近处,只有悠悠骑着自行车的人。你会看到沿途每个小的火车站几乎都一模一样,是中央车站的微缩版,只有两排空空的站台,英剧《菲利普·狄克的电子梦》(Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams)有一集就设定在这样的车站,许多人遇到生命的难关,都在这一站跳下火车,走向原野和原野之中的小镇,在这个地图上找不到的地方,时间会在悲剧发生前的那一刻停止,让一切重新来过。



在写过伦敦的作家中,我更偏爱查尔斯·兰姆(Charles Lamb)。他毕生生活在伦敦城中,对这座城市的亲近溢于言表,但他又时常游离在这一切之外,像是个永远的异乡人。他说,“长期以来,我习惯于不倚靠感性中的事物而追求内心的理解,从不满足于‘愚昧的现今’——正是这一点支持了我。”这种精神支持着他承担起自己小家庭的重担——患了精神病的姐姐杀死了自己的母亲,以及一个敏感的心灵在伦敦汲汲营营的小市民生活。“追求内心的理解”,也该可以支持我们自己独立去走一段路。

伦敦市内就有许多无数的“小路”,和郊区一样人迹罕至。比如从东区的白教堂画廊出发,一路往东,走过一段南亚、中东人聚集的地方——这里在历史上一直是移民区,欧洲其他国家的移民最早也住在这里,从而刺激了伦敦的纺织业,走过几座小公园、停着船家的河道、现代而廉价的住宅区,会发现许多现代画廊错落其间,有些甚至连门都找不到,进去了也没人理你,一些自言自语的艺术作品陈列在那里,讨论女性的地位、难民问题、监狱里光线的构造、巴勒斯坦的汽车修理工、美国知识分子杂志《Partisan Review》的兴衰……


Click here to go back to the original article on One-Way Street Magazine.


Author: Wu Qi
English Translation: Allen Young




Reading the World 阅读世界

May 22, 2019 2019年5月22日

Four times a year, a compact paperback with a simple cover hits Chinese bookstores, its pages filled with essays, notes, interviews, long-form nonfiction, book reviews, poetry and short stories by some of the most spirited voices from China and abroad. One-Way Street Magazine, as the quarterly is known in English—the Chinese name Dandu name might be translated as “independent reading” or “reading alone”—is a journal that thinks books and ideas are worth arguing about, and for the past ten years it’s created a small but vital space for intellectual debate. Highbrow but unpretentious, it’s a platform for opinions, articles of faith, and moments of doubt—in short, a public conversation about cultural life.

Printed on the cover of every issue is the journal’s English motto, “We read the world,” while underneath a line in Chinese adds: “A source for worldwide youth thought.” One-Way Street aims to put writers from around the globe in dialogue with their Chinese counterparts. “We’re a journal that grew out of a bookstore, and reading has always been our primary vehicle for knowledge,” says Wu Qi, the editor-in-chief. “And in a globalized age, we want the object of that knowledge to be the entire world.” Each issue ends with a handful of capsule reviews of new and noteworthy titles that haven’t yet appeared in Chinese. Recently they’ve covered books by Martha Nussbaum, Rachel Cusk, Timothy Snyder, and Teju Cole, among many others, and though there’s a distinct Anglophone bias, this section epitomizes the journal’s mission: to read deep and wide and to respond in a reflective, critical spirit.


印在每一期的封面是杂志的英文口号:“We read the world”(我们阅读世界),下方又用中文补充了一句“全球青年思想策源地” 。《单读》旨在为来自中国和世界各个地方的作家创造对话。主编吴琦解释道,“我们是在一家书店诞生的杂志,所以阅读始终是我们最重要的认知方式,而在一个全球化的年代里,我们希望我们认知的对象是整个世界。” 一如其名,每一期的结尾部分都有一系列短短的书评,评价一些国外惹人注目但还没翻译成中文的书籍,最近评价对象当中有玛莎·努斯鲍姆(Martha Nussbaum)、蕾切尔·卡斯克(Rachel Cusk)、蒂莫西·斯奈德(Timothy Snyder)和泰茹·科尔(Teju Cole )等著名作家。虽然略显侧重英文作家,但这个《全球书情》代表了杂志的宗旨:有广泛而深刻的阅读,以审慎而严谨的精神回应。

Wu Qi, the editor-in-chief of One-Way Street Magazine 吴琦,《单读》主编
Wu Qi, the editor-in-chief of One-Way Street Magazine 吴琦,《单读》主编

Before it was a journal, One-Way Street was a bookstore. In 2005, a group of journalists living in Beijing opened “Danxiangjie Tushuguan,” or One-Way Street Library, named after Walter Benjamin’s idiosyncratic collection of observations on early-twentieth-century life. The shop began hosting lectures and panel discussions, and it quickly made a name for itself as a meeting place for Chinese intellectuals. Four years later, in 2009, when the founders launched a publication—initially also called Danxiangjie—their events gave them a ready list of contributors.

“The bookstore made a point of inviting prominent people from every field to talk about cultural and social issues,” says Wu. “We wanted to create a space that was truly shared, and we very organically gathered people from the worlds of social thought and literature. They became the journal’s first contributors, and many of them, like Yan Geling, Liu Yu, Zhang Chengzhi, Li Yinhe, and Xiang Biao, went on to have a big impact on contemporary Chinese thought. From the very start, the journal was an attempt to create that shared space on paper.”

在成为杂志之前,“单读”原来是家书店。2005 年,北京一群记者创办了“单向街图书馆”,名字源自德国思想家瓦尔特·本雅明(Walter Benjamin以对二十世纪早期生活的观察写成的独特著作《单向街》。书店很早开始举办各种讲座和小组讨论,并迅速成为中国知识分子的聚会之地。四年后,在 2009 年,创始人推出了杂志,最初名为《单向街》,而曾经举办的这些活动也让他们积累了众多投稿作者。


After five issues released more or less once a year, in 2014 the journal began publishing on a quarterly basis and changed its name to Dandu, while the bookstore expanded to other locations in Beijing and changed its name to Danxiang Kongjian, or One-Way Space. Newer issues feature pull-quotes on the cover in both Chinese and English—a nod to the editors’ aspiration to engage the outside world beyond China’s borders. In fact, they now include a table of contents in English along with a short summary of each piece. “We want to introduce Chinese writers abroad, as well as to bring foreign writers in, and language is a barrier,” says Wu. “Hopefully one day we can publish a special issue in English.” To that end, the journal has begun collaborating with the Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel and Paper Republic to make some articles available in translation. Neocha is likewise pleased to include an exclusive English edition of Wu’s recent essay “Arriving in London” below.

直到 2014 年,前五期杂志(约一年一期)已经问世后,杂志便开始按季度发行,并更名为《单读》。与此同时,原来的书店也扩散到北京的其他地点,更名为“单向空间”。现在杂志封面上印上了双语引文,点明编辑促进中外交流的理念,里面也配上英文目录和英文摘要。“我们希望把中国作者介绍出去,也想把国外作者翻译进来,所以语言是一个很大的壁垒。希望有一天我们能出版英文特辑。”为此,杂志已经开始与《洛杉矶书评中华频道》(Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel)和线上文学翻译组织“纸托邦”(Paper Republic)合作,进行一些文章的翻译。在本文结尾,Neocha 也荣幸地刊登了吴琦的近期文章《进入伦敦》独家英文版本

“We want each issue’s theme to address current topics of discussion in contemporary Chinese society, and at the same time to have a deeper theoretical or intellectual background,” explains Wu. “Escape to the Future,” the most recent issue (no. 19), includes an interview with Yuval Noah Harari, along with essays by Jia Hangjia on the future of language, Lu Ye on technology, and Yu Wei on personal autonomy. Not every article or story takes up the topic; the themes don’t draw a border so much as give each issue a center of gravity. Others include “The Empty Metropolis (no. 18, special issue on British literature), “The Age of Anxiety” (no. 9), and “Is the Avant-Garde Dead?” (no. 2). They try to strike a difficult balance—timely but not ephemeral.

“每期主题我们都希望能够贴近当代中国社会正在发生的议题,同时又具有比较深渊的理论或者思想背景。”吴琦解释道。最新一期(第 19 期)“到未来去”,包括了与尤瓦尔·赫拉利(Yuval Noah Harari)的采访、贾行家谈论语言的未来、陆晔讲述科技以及于威有关个人自主权的文章。不是每一篇文章都必须符合杂志主题;主题不是要划定界限,而是成为每期杂志的重心。往期杂志还包括“都市一无所有”(第 18 期,英国文学专刊),“焦虑的年代”(第 10 期),和“先锋已死?”(第 2 期),他们在试图达到一种微妙平衡——主题要贴合时势,但不能转瞬即逝。

One-Way Street has a website, an app, podcasts, and WeChat and Weibo accounts, yet its heart is in print. In fact, the editors seem to regard the online world with a certain suspicion. “We’re children of Gutenberg,” wrote Xu Zhiyuan, one of the journal’s founders, and still its most widely known figure, in the introduction to the inaugural issue, back in 2009. “What we fell in love with was the stillness of reading alone under faint light, the logic that strings one sentence to another, the surprises between the lines. And staring at a computer screen, constantly interrupted by an MSN chat window, with messages coming one at a time, is hard to take.” This dedication to print is less an eccentric or nostalgic whim than an attempt to resist the distraction of online media. To read their stories, you can’t always go online—you have to get your hands on a paper copy, or at least an ebook. In an age when every smartphone is refreshed with trivial, mindlessly scrollable “content,” One-Way Street insists on a format that requires patience and attention.

《单读》有网站、手机 APP、音频,还开设了微信公众号和微博账号,但它心心念念的始终是平面印刷的杂志。事实上,编辑们是带着质疑来看待网络世界的。早在 2009 年,许知远(杂志创始人之一,也是最著名的公知人物)曾写道:“我们都是古登堡的孩子,我们钟情的是在昏黄的光线下,独自阅读的静谧,句子与句子的逻辑感,字里行间的意外。而对着电脑屏幕,不断被 MSN 对话框中断,从一个文本接到另一个文本的方式,实在令人难以忍受。”这种对平面印刷的执着不是一种古怪或怀旧的想法,而是在试图抵制令人无法专注的网络媒体。要阅读他们的文章,不能总是上网去浏览,而要时不时手握一份纸质的杂志,或至少一本电子书。在这个时代,当每个人的智能手机都充斥着可以无限滚屏但并无实质的碎片“内容”,《单读》坚守了一种要求人注入耐心和专注的方式。

With its slightly contrarian posture, the journal is what in China is called xiaozhong: it appeals to the “small crowd” because it deliberately goes against the mainstream. Its critical spirit offers an alternative both to the reigning consumerism and to the bland official values touted on posters across the country. It’s an insistent, bracing reminder that the world doesn’t have to be the way it is.

Yet in recent years the space for such independent voices in the public sphere has begun to shrink rapidly. “I never thought the changes would come so quickly and abruptly,” Wu admits, describing the shifting media environment. “Not just in the past 10 years, in the past five years, the atmosphere for publishing and for cultural critique has drastically changed. In general the space for speech has contracted, while materialism is on the rise.” Hemmed in by censorship and corroded by distraction, the public sphere itself is unrecognizably changed. This gives the early issues a certain poignance—and makes them seem unsettlingly prescient.



Looking back now, essays from those early years read like dispatches from a bygone world. In a piece from 2010 titled “A Slip of the Tongue,” which opens the second issue, Xu Zhiyuan laments how the advent of the digital age seems to have left intellectuals in China in a daze:

Over the past ten years, people have witnessed a technical revolution sweeping across the whole of society, bringing unprecedented public involvement and reshaping the social mood. Yet intellectuals have lost the ability to respond—there’s not so much as a single impassioned debate. A more powerful system has taken shape, and even though it seems free-wheeling and rowdy, firm control and anarchy can exist side by side. Most of the time people enjoy  the system, and they can no longer clearly tell whether it benefits, implicates, or harms them, or all three at once.

How can I put these vague impressions into clearer words? A heavy shower has just fallen, the air is fragrant with grass and earth, and I have no clue where to begin.

It’s a lament and a call to arms: Xu urges intellectuals to make themselves heard on the public stage. And despite his professed impotence, his words here are themselves a beginning, as are his many other essays, along with the whole collective endeavor of the journal. One-Way Street is an attempt to reclaim a space for the intellectual in the Chinese public sphere.

As for Wu, the current editor, he’s far from pessimistic. “If you want to complain about something, that’s easy,” he says. “Yet if you’re really interested in publishing, in the media, in the culture of knowledge, then you just have to keep working no matter what. I see a lot of barren land that needs cultivating, so we have plenty of possibilities. You can’t give up on yourself too soon.”


Click here to read Neocha’s exclusive English translation of Wu Qi’s essay “Arriving in London,” from issue 18 of One-Way Street Magazine. Click here to visit the bookstore’s page on Taobao.

回过头来看,早年的文章读起来就像来自过去的一份份讯报。在 2010 年的第 2 期杂志一篇名为《失语》的文章,许知远感叹数码时代的来临令中国的知识分子陷入迷茫:

在过去的 10 年中,人们则又目睹了一场技术革命席卷全社会,它带来了前所未有的公众参与,也重塑了社会情绪。但知识分子已经失去了回应的能力,连一场热烈地争论都没有。一个更加强大的系统形成了,而且它看起来又是如此自由和喧嚣,牢固控制和无政府状态,可以并行不悖,  更多的时刻,人们乐在其中,人们也已经分不清楚自己是这个系统的受益者、参与者还是受害者,或者三者都是。




你还可以阅读吴琦撰写的《单读》18 期卷首语《进入伦敦》或者 Neocha 独家刊登的英文版点击这里前往单向空间的淘宝。

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WeChat: dandureading
Weibo: ~/onewaystreet


Contributor: Allen Young
Photographer: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li & Chen Yuan



微信: dandureading
微博: ~/onewaystreet


供稿人: Allen Young
摄影师: David Yen
英译中: Olivia Li & Chen Yuan

Bizarre World 给你的脸穿上比基尼

May 17, 2019 2019年5月17日
A Bizarre World: Tea Shop Sensation (2018) 30 x 40 in / Acrylic on canvas 《A Bizarre World: Tea Shop Sensation》(2018) 76 x 102 厘米 / 布面丙烯

Horror, despair—and facekinis. Welcome to the mind of Du Qiurui, a painter and illustrator who has been offering an unusual perspective on the fast-changing landscape of China. Du uses bright colors and thick lines to portray ordinary people in overcrowded scenes, together with disturbing objects and terrifying demons. His paintings represent the underlying tensions of modern Chinese society in a convoluted way, with aspects of dark humor.

Du was born in Beijing in the early 1990s to a single mother, the CEO of a design firm who worked around the clock. She’d occasionally travel abroad for work, bringing him along to see new places. Mostly, though, Du was raised by his grandmother, listening to her extraordinary stories. As an introverted child, he relied on these stories, as well as comic books and movies, to keep him company. “My childhood was a combination of reality and fantasy,” he recalls, “I built an imaginary world for myself.”


杜秋锐出生于 20 世纪 90 年代初北京的一个单亲家庭,他妈妈是一家设计公司的首席执行官,总是夜以继日地工作,也偶尔会去国外出差,带他一起去看看新的地方。不过杜秋锐基本上是由他外婆抚养,听外婆讲许多奇妙非凡的故事。作为一个内向的孩子,他依赖这些故事、漫画书和电影作为陪伴。“我的童年是现实与幻想的结合体,”他回忆道,“我为自己建立了一个想象的世界。”

Spring Festival: Scenario 4 (2019) 24 x 36 in / Acrylic on canvas 《Spring Festival: Scenario 4》(2019) 61 x 92 厘米 / 布面丙烯
Spring Festival: Scenario 2 (2019) 24 x 36 in / Acrylic on canvas 《Spring Festival: Scenario 2》(2019) 61 x 92 厘米 / 布面丙烯
Spring Festival: Scenario 3 (2019) 24 x 36 in / Acrylic on canvas 《Spring Festival: Scenario 3》(2019) 61 x 92 厘米 / 布面丙烯
The Adventure of Dama Wang: Bus (2019) 20 x 20 in / Acrylic on canvas 《The Adventure of Dama Wang: Bus》(2019) 51 x 51 厘米 / 布面丙烯
Can You Hear Me Now? (2019) 20 x 20 in / Acrylic on canvas 《Can You Hear Me Now?》(2019) 51 x 51 厘米 / 布面丙烯

As a young adult, Du moved to New York City, motivated by his artistic aspirations and by mainstream media. He went there to experience the local art scene and to study at The Parsons School of Design. While there, his style became heavily influenced by Western comics and noir, until one of his professors, the acclaimed Taiwanese painter Mu Pan, encouraged him to turn his attention inward. Du then started to view his childhood and his hometown in a new light.

Du has lived his whole life against the backdrop of China’s dizzying economic development. His hometown, Beijing, has been thoroughly transformed, and each time he returns he finds a new skyscraper going up or another hutong torn down. Landmarks from his childhood now exist only in memory, while new technology has opened up new views of the world. Yet, some things have remained the same: society is still very controlled, hierarchical, and conservative. “As a kid born in the ’90s, I want people from my generation to see my works and think: I know that, I experienced that, I understand that,” says Du. His work became a way for him to connect to his generation.


杜秋锐一生都生活在中国经济高速发展的背景下。他的家乡北京早已日新月异,每次他回来,都会发现一座新的摩天大楼正拔地而起,又或者看见另一座胡同正被拆毁。他童年时代的地标现在只存在于记忆中,崭新的技术开启了对世界的新视野。然而,有些东西仍然是一样的:社会仍然是饱受控制,且依旧保守、等级森严。“作为一个 90 年代出生的孩子,我希望我们这一代人能看到我的作品,并思考:我知道,我经历,我理解,我明白。”杜秋锐说。他的作品成了他和他那一代人联系的方式。

The Adventure of Dama Wang: Peng-Ci (2019) 36 x 48 in / Acrylic on canvas 《The Adventure of Dama Wang: Peng-Ci》(2019) 92 x 122 厘米 / 布面丙烯
The Adventure of Dama Wang: Wandering Around (2019) 36 x 48 in / Acrylic on canvas 《The Adventure of Dama Wang: Wandering Around》(2019) 92 x 122 厘米 / 布面丙烯

In his latest series of paintings, A Bizarre World, Du depicts busy urban scenes with ordinary people expressing strong emotions: anger, fear, boredom, joy. Some of them are fixated on mobile phones; others are using disturbing accessories, such as facekinis (basically swimsuit balaclavas). “In the West, people think facekinis are really creepy, but Chinese women wear them because they don’t want to get tanned. I think that’s hilarious!” Du likes to explore the contrasts between east and west, and tradition and modernity, to create striking juxtapositions in his work.

在他的最新系列画作《A Bizarre World》(《奇异的世界》)中,杜秋锐描绘了繁忙的城市场景,普通人表达了强烈的情感:愤怒、恐惧、无聊、喜悦。他们中的一些人专注于手机;另一些人则用着令人观感不适的配饰,如脸基尼。“在西方,人们认为‘脸基尼’很恐怖,但中国女性因为不想被晒黑而穿着它们,我觉得这很好笑!”他喜欢探索东西方、传统与现代之间的差异,在作品中创造出鲜明的对比。

A Bizarre World: Scenario 3 (2019) 60 x 72 in / Acrylic on canvas 《A Bizarre World: Scenario 3》(2019) 152 x 183 厘米 / 布面丙烯

The most bizarre elements, such as green goblins and people-eating monsters, are oblique metaphors for the anxieties and fears of China’s twenty-somethings. Growing up in a confusing, contradictory world, this generation sometimes feels a stronger connection to people from elsewhere than to their own country. China can seem like a weird and nonsensical land. Du is also confused, and he often wonders: “Is it China that’s changed, or just me?”


A Bizarre World: Scenario 1 (2017) 60 x 72 in / Acrylic on canvas 《A Bizarre World: Scenario 1》(2017) 152 x 183 厘米 / 布面丙烯
A Bizarre World: Scenario 2 (2017) 60 x 72 in / Acrylic on canvas 《A Bizarre World: Scenario 2》(2017) 152 x 183 厘米 / 布面丙烯

Du now divides his time between Beijing and New York City, where he’s pursuing his Masters in Painting and Drawing at the Pratt Institute. He’s doing research on the LGBT community and intends to explore this topic through his artwork. This is another latent issue for young Chinese people. Viewers should expect the usual dose of horror and dark humor.

杜秋锐现在在北京和纽约两地工作,在普瑞特艺术学院攻读绘画硕士学位。他正在做关于 LGBT 群体的研究,并打算通过他的作品探索这个话题。这是中国年轻人面临的另一个隐藏的问题。观众将会看到杜秋锐往常作品中惯有的恐怖和黑色幽默。

Spring Festival: Scenario 1 (2019) 24 x 36 in / Acrylic on canvas 《Spring Festival: Scenario 1》(2019) 61 x 92 厘米 / 布面丙烯

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Instagram: @qiuruidu

Contributor: Tomás Pinheiro
Chinese Translation: Chen Yuan

Instagram: @qiuruidu

Contributor: Tomás Pinheiro
Chinese Translation: Chen Yuan

God in the Flesh 兔儿神

May 10, 2019 2019年5月10日



Bodies loom large in the work of experimental artist and filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang. Spanning video, animation, and VR, his work is full of strange subjects that equally evoke ancient myths and the latex costumes of contemporary BDSM enthusiasts, inviting viewers to touch, and in turn be touched by, inhuman skins. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that Huang’s latest work, a short film titled Kiss of the Rabbit God, which just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, centers on an erotic encounter with an otherworldly stranger. 

In the film, Matt, a Chinese-American restaurant worker (played by Teddy Lee), finds himself seduced by a mischievous Daoist god (Jeff Chen)­­ known as Tu’er Shen, the rabbit god of the title. Though unknown to many, the eponymous deity is celebrated by devotees today on both sides of the Taiwan Strait as a symbol of homoerotic affection. (A temple in New Taipei City built in his honor in 2006 has become a popular destination for gay pilgrims.)

在实验艺术家兼电影导演 Andrew Thomas Huang 的作品中,肉体是引人注目的元素。从视频、动画到虚拟现实,他的作品充满各种怪异的题材,令人联想到神秘的古代神话、或是现代 BDSM(皮绳愉虐)的乳胶衣,仿佛在邀请观众去感受这种非人类肌肤的亲密触碰。而他的最新作品,近日在纽约翠贝卡电影节上映的《兔儿神》,再次通过镜头向我们讲述了一个充满神秘情欲的风流韵事。

影片中,美籍华裔餐厅服务生 Matt(Teddy Lee 饰)遇上了民间传说中的淘气神祇“兔儿神”(陈剑风饰),并受到了来自后者的诱惑。虽然并非所有人都认识兔儿神,但在海岸两峡,有许多人将兔儿神视为同性恋的象征。(2006 年,新北市建造了一座纪念兔儿神的寺庙,成为同性恋者朝圣的热门目的地。)

Huang first discovered the tale of the deity’s origins while traveling. “On a trip to Mexico City, I encountered an exhibition on Xōchipilli, the Aztec god of flowers and patron of gay love. The story of Xōchipilli inspired me to redirect my lens toward my own Chinese heritage, through which I found the Qing dynasty story of Tu’er Shen (兔儿神), known as the Rabbit God,” he says. “Written by the eighteenth-century poet Yuan Mei,” and based on folk religions in Fujian province, “this story tells of a Fujianese soldier sentenced to death for professing his love to another man. In death, the soldier was ordained the Rabbit God and became the patron deity of gay love.”

Andrew 是在一次旅行时得知兔儿神的故事。“有一次去墨西哥城旅游时,我碰上了一场休奇皮里(Xōchipilli)主题的展览。休奇皮里是阿兹特克人的花神和同性恋守护神,他的故事启发了我,让我想把镜头再次聚焦于我自己的中国文化根源上,也因此想去了解清朝兔儿神的故事。”他说。“这个故事是中国诗人袁枚,根据福建的民间传说在 18 世纪所写的。故事讲述了一位福建战士因为爱上了另一位男性而判处死刑。死后,这名战士被封为‘兔儿神’,进而成为同性恋的守护神。”

In the film, Matt toils away day after day in his restaurant, lugging enormous sacks of food to and fro, sweating from the heat of the kitchen, scraping uneaten morsels from plates, and taking orders over the phone. When a mysterious customer sporting blood-red hair and Chinese seal-script tattoos appears, Matt is instantly, obviously intrigued—though he’s oblivious to the stranger’s origins, hinted at by the presence of a small shrine in the restaurant. The pair chat; Matt stumbles over his words. “I’m Shen,” the stranger says. But he disappears as quickly as he appeared, only to return later that night as Matt is busy locking up alone. Their first frenzied encounter is ultimately abortive, however, as Matt hesitates and the god departs, only to reappear the following night. Half-visions portend Shen’s eventual revelation of his divine identity. An accidental cut gives way to ritual bloodletting, with the thick, red liquid flowing into a suggestively placed talisman bearing Chinese characters suggesting spiritual bliss and union.

在影片中,餐厅服务生 Matt 每天要推着大堆食物来回走动,在溽热的厨房里大汗淋漓,整日忙于清理剩菜,接电话下单。有一天,一位顶着红发、有着篆文纹身的神秘顾客,引起了 Matt 的好奇和兴趣。他并不知道这位陌生人来自哪里,在餐厅一个神龛的隐约暗示下,两人聊了起来。

Matt 结结巴巴地说着话,神秘顾客自我介绍道“我叫 Shen。”然而一转身,他消失了。直至深夜 Matt 一个人在关店时,他又再次出现。两人的会面被 Matt 的犹豫打断,Shen 离开后又于隔天晚上再次现身,他模糊不清的形体预示着他不同于常人的神圣身份。一道偶然的划伤,演变成一次血祭仪式,浓稠的红色液体流入一个护身符中,上面刻着的是代表幸福和团聚的“囍”字。

Full of rich imagery of Chinese-American life and labor, Kiss of the Rabbit God might be understood as what media theorist Laura Marks calls “intercultural cinema,” a genre or movement that draws from various cultural and symbolic reservoirs to challenge dominant, monocultural assumptions. Intercultural films “evoke memories both individual and cultural, through an appeal to nonvisual knowledge, embodied knowledge, and experiences of the senses, such as touch, smell, and taste.” In Kiss of the Rabbit God, Huang orchestrates these ordinarily invisible bodies, locales, and labor into an audiovisual rhythm that steadily builds to the erotic climax, a sort of sexual theophany in which Matt and Shen consummate their bond on a spiritual plane. “Will it hurt?” Matt, knife in hand, asks nervously. “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” replies Shen, as Matt finally yields to the stranger, penetrates his skin with the blade, and carves the character for “immortal” into his chest. In Huang’s telling, gods don’t take on flesh. It’s flesh itself that’s already divine.

《兔儿神》里有许多美国华裔生活和工作的意象,可以被理解为媒体学者 Laura Marks 所说的 “跨文化电影”,一种从另一文化中取材,去挑战单一主流文化背景的流派或运动。跨文化电影能“通过非视觉知识、身体潜意识里的感官体验,如触觉、嗅觉和味觉,唤起个人或大众的集体回忆。”在《兔儿神》中,Andrew 将这些通常被隐藏起来的身体、场所和劳动,精心安排成一场节奏层层推进的视听盛宴,一步一步达到充满情色意味的高潮。

如同一场神性诠释下的性爱,Matt 和 Shen 在精神上完成了二人的结合。“会痛吗?”Matt 手中握着刀,紧张地问。“没有什么好害怕的。”Shen 回答。最终,Matt 屈服于 Shen,用手里的刀在胸前刻写下“仙”字的篆文。在 Andrew 的倾述下,众神无需道成肉身,因为肉体本身已成圣。

The artist’s work is consistently sensuous and surreal. And in Kiss of the Rabbit God he balances this imagery with more conventional narrative storytelling, but his deep-red palette and forays into other realms reveal his artistic inclinations. “I’m a visual director first and foremost, and this has aided me in telling stories about inner lives—in this case, a fantasy movie in which much of the protagonist’s experience is highly psychological and symbolic,” he says.  “I knew, for instance, that I wanted this film to climax with a sex scene. But from the beginning I set out to visually portray gay sex in a heightened, spiritual, and symbolic way, rather than a literal, carnal way.”

Andrew 的作品始终充满感官刺激和超现实风格,然而在《兔儿神》中,他采用了较为传统的叙述方式来弥补这一点,不过,电影的暗红色调和对于神秘灵界的探索,依然透露了他原本的艺术偏好。“我是一名擅长视觉的导演,这有助于我去讲述人内心的故事。这是一部奇幻电影,主角大部分的体验都是心理上的和通过象征去表现出来的。”他说。“例如,我知道自己想用性爱的场面来推进电影的高潮。但是从一开始我就选择用更超脱、精神化和象征性的方式来表现同性之间的性爱,而不是一种很直接、充满肉欲的方式。”

For all its esoteric gods, cults, and scripts, the film’s transgression of cultural and sexual norms is ultimately a means of exploring new bodily possibilities. “I grew up in a really Christian environment where my queerness wasn’t able to thrive, and in a very white environment where my Chinese identity felt marginalized,” Huang explains. “So, naturally my work pushes the norm so that I can make more space for people like me, where my community and other queer people of color can exist and thrive.” Plumbing the depths of Chinese myths and symbols, he has crafted an unconventional story that, by foregrounding the body, its senses, and unspoken longings, urges viewers to take control of their destinies—by yielding to their desires. In the words of the red-haired Rabbit God: “You can be the master of your skin.” After all, in desire as in religion, sometimes mastery means surrender.

Kiss of the Rabbit God will premiere on Nowness on May 31st and will be shown at the Shanghai Pride Film Festival in June.

不论是深奥的神灵、祭仪或是影片对白,归根到底,这些打破文化的性意象都只是这部影片探索肉体新可能的一种手段。Andrew 解释道:“我在一个非常传统的基督教环境中长大,从小我就没办法表现出自己的性取向;同时我又是生活在一个白人为主的社会中,身为华人,我总是感到自己被边缘化。所以,很自然地,我希望通过作品去撼动这些俗常的社会规范,这样我就可以为像我这样的人们发声,让华裔酷儿和其他有色人种酷儿可以共好共存,自由地生活。”通过对中国神话和象征符号的深入探索,强调身体、感官和未说出口的欲望,Andrew 讲述了一个不落俗套的故事,鼓励观众去掌握自己的命运——借由顺从你的欲望。用影片中红发兔儿神的话来说:“你可以成为自己身体的主人。”无论是从宗教或是欲望看来,主宰,同时都意味着屈从。

《兔儿神》将于5月31日在 Nowness 上线,并且于六月底在上海骄傲电影节放映。

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Instagram: @andrewthomashuang


Contributor: Brandon Kemp
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li

Instagram: @andrewthomashuang


供稿人: Brandon Kemp
英译中: Olivia Li

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Personal Textures 灰色地带的万种可能

May 6, 2019 2019年5月6日

Reo Ma’s clothing frequently evokes feelings of comfort and urbanity, something like a cool autumn breeze on a clean city street. Soft textures and relaxed fits run through many of the collections. The pieces are perfect for quiet weekends lounging about at home, but wouldn’t be out of place at a nightclub or a museum.  Sleekness and practicality make up a large portion of Ma’s design output, but he’s also got an adventurous side, with pieces that look more like artworks than functioning parts of a wardrobe.

While most of his collections deal mainly in grayscale—with only occasional appearances of bright reds or yellows—Ma has an uninhibited approach to design, partly evidenced by his versatility in making both menswear and womenswear. Wherever his creativity wants to go, Ma obliges: “I enjoy working in the moment—there’s no right or wrong for me. I work on whatever I love.”

香港服装设计师马浚傲(Reo Ma)的设计,透露着一种舒适和优雅的都市风格,给人的感觉就像是在干净的城市街道,迎面吹来的一股凉爽秋风。在他的大部分作品中,都能看到柔和的纹理和舒适的剪裁。他的服装不仅适合周末闲在家里时穿,即便穿着去夜店或博物馆,也丝毫不会显得出格。虽然马浚傲的大部分作品都采用流畅剪裁和实用设计,但有时,他也会展露大胆冒险的一面,打造前卫的、不主打实用性的服装作品。


Embracing the Hong Kong creative’s hustle lifestyle, Ma operates on his own schedule: his day typically starts at 5 pm and ends at 6 am. Most of that time is spent in his new studio alongside assistant Hunter Tongin. Situated in an old factory from the ’60s in the New Territories region, the expansive workshop features a room specifically for dyeing and treating fabric, a personal design space with four different sewing machines and a motorcycle parked in one corner, and finally a room where his girlfriend produces music.

Music is a big part of his creative life. When the sound of his girlfriend’s music isn’t drifting through the space, Ma usually has Pink Floyd or Radiohead on repeat. A revolving door of guests includes musician friends as well, who like to drop by to make music and hang out. “We create new stuff here and mess around with ideas all the time,” he says.

马浚傲习惯了香港快节奏又充满创意氛围的生活方式,他有着自己的时间表:通常来说,他从下午 5 点开始起居工作,到早上 6 点结束。大部分的时间,他都是和助手 Hunter Tongin 在他的新工作室里工作。工作室位于新界,是一幢上世纪 60 年代的旧厂房,开阔的工作室内设有一间专用于染色和处理面料的房间,一个摆放着四台不同的缝纫机的个人设计空间,还有一架停放在角落里的摩托车,最后还有一间房给他的女友创作音乐。

对于马浚傲来说,音乐是创作非常重要的一部分。当他女朋友没有在做音乐时,他通常就会循环播放 Pink Floyd 或 Radiohead 的音乐。他的朋友-包括很多音乐家朋友,都喜欢造访这里,一起创作音乐和聊天。“在这里,我们会一起创作新的事物,有各种各样好玩的想法。”他说。

Ma first got into designing clothes while attending boarding school in the UK. “I was making denim pieces during my time there because everyone except me could afford a pair of Dior Homme pants,” he recalls. “So I was creating my own in order to wear something interesting.” He spent nine years in the UK total, studying visual and performing arts in college.

第一次接触服装设计,马浚傲还是在英国的寄宿学校的学生。“我是唯一一个买不起 Dior Homme 裤子的人,我就自己亲手做牛仔裤。因为我想做一些比较有意思的服装来穿。”他回忆道。他一共在英国生活了九年,在大学修读视觉和表演艺术。

His unlikely path into the world of fashion shows in his unorthodox design process. Ma typically starts with a quick, rough sketch that no one else can understand. Once he decides on the direction he’ll take, he chooses a fabric and makes the first prototype. He looks for fabrics with interesting textures, such as his staples of linen, denim, and leather. For the hand-waxed pieces, he even makes his own beeswax—while it creates a thoroughly unique feel, it’s easily damaged, so he recommends not washing them. “I actually never wash my denim,” he laughs. “Some of my denim has gone like ten years without a wash. I turn them inside out to let the sun do his job.” His releases are all limited, with only 30 to 90 pieces available in each run.

马浚傲进入时尚行业更像是误打误撞,这体现在他另类的设计方式上。设计时,他会先快速勾画一幅别人看不懂的草图。一旦他决定好作品方向,他就会开始选择面料,打造第一件样衣。他喜欢用质地比较有趣的面料,如他常用的麻布、牛仔布(单宁)、皮革等。对于手工打蜡的面料,他甚至会自己制作蜂蜡,这样能让面料有非常独特的感觉。但如此一来,衣服也很容易洗坏,所以马浚傲的建议是不要清洗。他笑着说:“我其实从来都不会洗我的牛仔衣。我的一些牛仔服已经穿了快 10 年,但一次也没洗过。我只会把衣服翻过来,在太阳底下晾晒一下。”他的作品都是限量版,每次仅推出 30 至 90 件。

Ma reveals that he only began taking fashion design more seriously after moving back to Hong Kong to be closer to his family. Returning as an adult was a very different experience for him. As a child in Hong Kong, he spent most of his time in and out of hospitals due to a heart condition. But his childhood illness informs a lot of his creative output as a designer today, such as the pieces with inside-out stitching that are inspired by a surgery he underwent at age six. “It left a huge scar on my chest,” he recalls. “Classmates were often afraid of me because of that—I felt like it turned me into a monster.”

Today, instead of hiding scars, he spotlights them. He understands flaws are what makes us unique as humans, and through his unconventional designs, he hopes people can learn to embrace imperfection.

大学毕业后,为了离家人更近,他搬回了香港,然后才开始真正深入服装设计。成年后回到香港,对他来说是非常不同的体验。小时候在香港生活时,因为心脏问题,他经常要出入医院。小时候的那场病对他今天的创作有很大的影响,譬如他的一些采用外露缝线的作品,就是以他 6 岁时的一次手术为灵感设计的。“那次手术在我胸口留下了一道很大的伤疤。”他回忆道,“就因为这道疤痕,我的同学都很怕我——我感觉这让我变成了一个怪物。”


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Facebook: ~/AtelierReoMa


Contributor: Mike Steyels
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li



Instagram: | @atelier.reoma
脸书: ~/AtelierReoMa


供稿人: Mike Steyels
英译中: Olivia Li

Gallery Graffiti 画框中的涂鸦墙

May 3, 2019 2019年5月3日

Sometimes artists’ own stories show through in their art. Chen Xuanrong is a Beijing-based artist who uses acrylic paint to create graffiti-like works on huge canvases. The result is a vigorous fusion of styles and techniques that tells the story of an artist who, though raised in the art world, struggled for years to find his place there.

Born in 1991 to a family of artists, Chen faced an unusual kind of parental pressure for success. His mother was a dance teacher, while his father, Chen Zhiguang, was a prominent sculptor who exhibited at notable galleries around the world and became known as the “King of Ants” for his gigantic sculptures of these insects.



Growing up in this environment, Chen started studying art in high school. He admits that it took a few years for him to actually enjoy it. “I didn’t really like art at first, but as I painted and made some progress, it started to grow on me,” he recalls. At first, his motivation was merely to pass his exams to get into a good art school, which he did: he earned a spot studying printmaking at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. While there, he won several art prizes, which pleased his parents immensely.

After graduation, Chen traveled to New York City to immerse himself in the art world. He wanted to see the works of great masters that hang on the walls of the city’s museums, particularly Velázquez and Rubens. All throughout his school years, his books, teachers, and classmates held up these painters as paragons of artistic expression. Xuanrong repeatedly visited the same institutions, studying the masterpieces intently and taking photos to continue to analyze them back in his hotel room. “After two weeks I felt sick of all these masters,” he recalls. Something wasn’t quite right.



G1.0.3.9 (2018) 55 ⅒ x 82 ⁷/₁₀ in / Acrylic on canvas 《G1.0.3.9》(2018) 140 x 210 厘米 / 布面丙烯
G1.0.4.9 (2018) 55 ⅒ x 82 ⁷/₁₀ in / Acrylic on canvas 《G1.0.4.9》(2018) 140 x 210 厘米 / 布面丙烯
G2.0.0.6 (2018) 94 ½ x 118 ⅒ in / Acrylic on canvas 《G2.0.0.6》(2018) 240 x 300 厘米 / 布面丙烯
G1.0.4.6 (2018) 59 ⅒ x 78 ⁷/₁₀ in / Acrylic on canvas 《G1.0.4.6》(2018) 150 x 200 厘米 / 布面丙烯
G1.0.3.6 (2018) 59 ⅒ x 78 ⁷/₁₀ in / Acrylic on canvas 《G1.0.3.6》(2018) 150 x 200 厘米 / 布面丙烯

As it turned out, Chen’s hotel was located in Queens, a district with a rich tradition of street art. On his commute, he’d take the 7 train, which runs above ground for much of the way, revealing different views of the city. Bit by bit, he started noticing how several buildings were covered with stunning graffiti, creating striking urban compositions. While exploring Queens, he visited 5 Pointz, an abandoned factory complex that, until its demolition in 2014, was a graffiti Mecca. “When I first got there I was shocked. The colors, the lines . . . none of the old masters used simple lines and pure colors like that.” It was a defining moment, and his attention began to drift away from the walls of the museums to the walls on the streets around him.

陈轩荣的酒店位在皇后区,这是一个富含街头艺术文化的街区。他通勤时经常乘坐地铁7号线,运行路线大部分都在地上,可以看到城市中各种不同的样貌。他开始注意到那些被涂鸦覆盖的建筑物,是如何勾勒出令人惊奇的都市景色。在探索皇后区时,他参观了被称为“涂鸦圣地”的 5 Pointz,这是一个废弃的工厂集合地,直到2014年被拆除。“当我第一次到那里时,我感到好震惊。这些颜色、线条… 没有一个大师画家使用过这样简单的线条和纯粹的颜色。”这是一个决定性的时刻,他的注意力开始从博物馆的展示墙,转移到他周围街道的涂鸦墙上。

Chen started to absorb street elements and combine them with what he’d learned in school. He began making paintings of the urban environment: walls, alleys, public toilets, abandoned train wagons, and empty pools, all covered in graffiti. Taking works created with spray cans and markers and reproducing them in acrylic on canvas on a large scale—his works are up to three meters wide—became his signature. He now has over 50 pieces that relate to each other as if they came from different sites in the same“graffiti town,” though they’re taken from locations all around the globe.

When he travels, Chen rides the metro and gets out at random stations to explore, hoping to find graffiti art. He constantly takes pictures to have enough material to work with when he gets back to his studio in Beijing. He also looks for interesting locations online, particularly on Instagram. When he reaches a location he’s only seen online, it often look completely different. Yet it’s never a disappointment. “I like how graffiti art changes frequently, how it gets dirty—these are the effects of time,” he says. In his own paintings, he also uses multiple layers, showing old graffiti covered by new. “One of my paintings was shown in an exhibition in Shanghai, and when it was returned to me, I felt the urge to cover it with another layer.”


当他旅行时,他会乘坐地铁,在随机一站下车去探索城市,希望能找到涂鸦艺术。他会拍摄许多照片,确保回到北京的工作室时手上会有足够的素材。他也会在网上寻找有趣的地点,特别是在 Instagram 上。当他真正去到当地,现实往往看起来不太一样,但这种落差并不会让他感到失望。“我喜欢涂鸦艺术的变幻无常,它如何变脏,如何受到时间的影响。”他说。他的画作通常是多层次的,展示了旧的涂鸦被新的覆盖。“有一次,我的一幅画作在上海的展览中展出,当它被归还给我时,我马上感觉到一股冲动想用另一层画盖掉它。”

Chen likes to explore areas with graffiti when nobody is there, so that he can observe them properly. “I enjoy the feeling of having the entire place for myself. There’s a strange feeling of mystery,” he explains. He never portrays people in his works: the canvases are populated exclusively by the remains of the scribblings, stickers, and tags left there over time by different people, culminating in a grand chaotic montage.

Human figures would distort what he seeks to portray: an urban landscape of concrete and brick and spray paint. Chen’s works hang on the walls of museums, just like the works of the masters he was compelled to study. Bridging the gap between graffiti and galleries, he’s staked out a place in the art world that’s distinctively his.


To keep up to date with upcoming exhibitions or works from Chen Xuanrong, visit Art+ Shanghai Gallery.





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Contributor: Tomas Pinheiro
Photographer: Irina Kovalchuk
Translation: Yang Yixuan
Additional Images Courtesy of Chen Xuanrong



供稿人: Tomas Pinheiro
摄影师: Irina Kovalchuk
英译中: Yang Yixuan

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Gabber Modus Operandi 我们是危险的年轻人

May 1, 2019 2019年5月1日

Warning: do not click play on Gabber Modus Operandi’s music until you’ve had at least one cup of coffee. This Bali-based electronic duo is proudly abrasive, pummeling audiences with a sound that’s like something drained from the sewers of death metal or the gutters of rave music. GMO’s music doesn’t fit into any category, and there’s nothing quite like their style. They constantly veer into new territories, and listeners who brave the onslaught are rewarded with fresh sound pallets and surprisingly intricate textures. There are even drums and melodies pulled from local Indonesian traditions, and the combination is seamless.

Ican Harem and Kasimyn, the duo behind Gabber Modus Operandi, are deeply engaged in Indonesia’s wealth of musical traditions. They’re inspired by everything from traditional gamelan to newer genres like penceng, a sound driven by endless solos played on cheap keyboards at frantic speeds. Harem handles the vocals, while Kasimyn takes care of production.

警告:点击播放 Gabber Modus Operandi 的音乐前,请确保你已至少喝了一杯咖啡。巴厘岛电音二人组我行我素的音乐风格,似是脱胎于地下死亡金属或锐舞(rave)音乐,为观众的耳鼓带来震撼冲击。GMO 的音乐不属任何流派分类,也很难找到与之类似的音乐风格。他们不断探索新的音乐领域,只有勇于接受他们音乐洗礼的听众,才能领略到前所未有的新颖音乐风格和出人意料的复杂层次。他们甚至糅合了印尼当地的传统音乐中的鼓乐和旋律,无缝融入到音乐创作中。

Gabber Modus Operandi 的两位成员 Ican Harem 和 Kasimyn 都对印尼大量的传统音乐有着深深的着迷。他们的创作灵感丰富多样,从传统甘美兰(gamelan)音乐到新兴音乐流派,如 penceng ——无数疯狂快节奏的键盘音乐独奏。二人中,Harem 处理人声,而 Kasimyn 则负责后期制作。

Listen to to some of our favorite tracks from Gabber Modus Operandi below:

点击即可试听 Gabber Modus Operandi 的几首歌曲:

When they’re not composing or performing, the two scour the internet looking for sounds and subcultures that are both intensely local and globally informed. “There’s a suburban culture called Alay, where they love traditional music but also street racing on motorcycles,” they explain excitedly. “They have their own language. They’re trying to be Western, but it’s mistranslated and as a result thoroughly Indonesian. So instead of customized motorcycles, we get these maximalist, improvised scooters, because that’s what’s available here.” GMO’s Instagram is full of pics showing expressions of Indonesian identity that are equal parts ingenious and absurd.

没有创作或表演的时候,二人就会在网上搜索各种有着本地和全球特色的音乐和亚文化。“有一种郊区文化叫 Alay (印尼语,意为“浮夸”),这群人既热爱传统音乐,也喜欢摩托车街头赛车。”他们兴奋地解释道,“他们有自己的语言,想模仿西方的文化,但又因为错误的理解,最终变成印尼特色的文化。他们并没有改装重型机车,只有浮夸、凑合用的踏板摩托车,因为在这里你只能找到这些了。”GMO 的 Instagram 帐号上发布了很多有印尼亚文化的代表性照片,这些照片既充满创意又有着一丝荒谬感。

GMO’s music draws on this blend of subcultures. They mix the unrelenting drums of gabber, a style of electronic dance music popularized in the 1990s in Holland, with the mutilated vocals of heavy metal and the droning screeches of experimental noise, and to that they add the traditional melodies of gamelan, sampled from the radio or from their neighbors, and touches of a local dance music called funkot. There’s a beautiful give-and-take of roving styles, one that’s particularly suited for Indonesia, a country with a rich and diverse musical history. The result is a sound that’s all its own.

The pair stresses that there are probably other people mixing these traditions, given the thousands of islands in Indonesia, even if they’re unaware of them. Uwalmassa, a group from Jakarta, also blends gamelan with modern club music, but in a much sleeker way and with a deeper sound. Back in the 1990s, Barakatak fused West Javan music with house, while the ketipung rhythm of koplo (a regional version of live pop) introduced 4/4 time to local styles of music. And more recently, in 2010, Senyawa released rhythmic experimental music rooted in the Indonesian experience. “Senyawa really opened our minds to the idea that it’s okay to be Indonesian. It’s okay to speak our languages, it’s okay to present the dark side of things here,” they say. “We’re really only in the beta phase of DIY Indonesian music right now.”

他们的音乐借鉴了这种混合的亚文化,融合了 20 世纪 90 年代在荷兰普及的电子舞曲 gabber、重金属音乐的人声部分、实验性噪音的尖锐声音,然后再加入他们从收音机或邻居处采样的甘美兰传统旋律,以及当地的舞蹈音乐 funkot。他们的音乐充满着令人着迷的多元融合风格,也特别适合印尼,因为这是一个拥有丰富多元的音乐历史的国家。这种融合的最终成果是一种独一无二的音乐。

两人强调,可能在印尼,也有其他人在结合传统音乐创作,只是他们不知道罢了,毕竟这是一个“万岛之国”。来自雅加达的组合 Uwalmassa 在他们的音乐中同样融合了现代的俱乐部音乐和传统甘美兰音乐,但是风格更流畅、更深沉。而早在上世纪 90 年代,另一支乐队 Barakatak 就曾经混合西爪哇音乐和 House 音乐,此外,koplo 音乐也进一步推广了 4/4 拍节奏。在 2010 年,印尼实验组合 Senyawa 就曾推出充满印尼音乐特色的节奏感实验音乐。“Senyawa 的音乐让我们真正明白到,印尼风的音乐也可以很棒,印尼语也创作出好的音乐,我们是可以通过音乐来展现出印尼这个国家不那么光彩的一面的。我们现在还只能算是在 DIY 印尼音乐的试验阶段。”他们说。

“Underground music here is all basically imported,” they explain. “When we do play out, we play to crowds that are maybe all punk rockers or mainly familiar with noise music. But these locals experimenting in the other scenes are quite different, and we’re a bit jealous. They don’t really have the funds to travel or experiment with a bunch of electronic gear, but they push the tools they have as far as they can go and have fun with it, creating something brand new. That’s what really inspires us.”

As for traditional music, they see three different attitudes in Indonesia: “One is really sacred, and it relates to the kingdom family and celebrates the idea of religion. It’s a strict set of rules. Then there’s the stuff they play for tourists, like at the airport. Elevator gamelan, basically. Then there’s a third one, the hybrid. Kids who listen to death metal but also gamelan. The last one is our favorite. The contrast makes us really happy. It’s a political identity, they’re comfortable with what they have.”



The duo manages to fit all these disparate influences into a sound that expresses their personal identity, an identity that’s angry and sarcastic, but also thoughtful and refined. Everything they write is microtuned into the pentatonic scale. And while some of their lyrics sound sacred, in one case they’re actually mimicking local street vendors who peddle snake oil. “We want to break stereotypes,” they announce proudly. “We’re dangerous and young.”


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Instagram: @gabbermodusoperandi


Contributor: Mike Steyels
Photographer: Oktavian Adhiek Putra
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li



Instagram: @gabbermodusoperandi


供稿人: Mike Steyels
摄影师: Oktavian Adhiek Putra
英译中: Olivia Li

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Room for Debate 我有话要说

April 22, 2019 2019年4月22日

Click here to read the uncut international version of this article.

Not just a bookstore, not quite a library, more than a restaurant or bar: what exactly is the Beijing Bookworm? Its motto, “Eat, Drink, Read,” offers a straightforward set of principles, but even a quick stop by this legendary institution makes clear that it’s more than just a place to—in either sense—get lit. The Bookworm buzzes with intellectual energy, attracting novelists, academics, foreign correspondents, and book lovers of all stripes who come by to meet friends or hear a talk by a scholar passing through. It’s the center, or one of the centers, of English-language cultural life in China’s capital, and throughout the year, its lectures, concerts, and children’s story hours draw expats and locals alike.

Without a doubt, the highlight of all this activity is the annual Bookworm Literary Festival, which this March wrapped up its twelfth year. Every spring, speakers come from around the world to talk about literature, politics, current affairs, technology, business, art, and anything else people write books about. Highlights from this edition included Kai-Fu Lee on AI, Leta Hong-Fincher on gender equality, and Helen Zia on Shanghai on the eve of the Communist revolution. Spittoon, a literary collective, organized a series of sessions on Chinese literature, featuring poets and fiction writers reading excerpts of their work while their translators discussed the challenges of bringing the texts into English.


不是纯粹的书店,也称不上是图书馆,更不只是餐厅或酒吧:究竟要怎样定义北京老书虫这个略带传奇色彩的地方?它的座右铭“吃、喝 、读”直截了当地表明了这个空间的原则。但只要一踏入老书虫你就能发现,这里不只是一个让你寻乐酣饮、或单纯埋首书堆的地方。北京老书虫充满着蓬勃的知识氛围,吸引着小说家、学者、外国记者、各种书籍爱好者前来与好友相聚、或是听某位学者举办的一场演讲。这里曾是北京英语文化生活的中心之一,常年举办的各种讲座、音乐会和儿童故事活动都深受外国人和当地人的欢迎。

而在这些所有活动中,最大的亮点是一年一度的老书虫文学节(Bookworm Literary Festival)。在今年三月,北京老书虫刚刚结束第十二届的文学节。每逢春季,来自世界各地的学者来到这里,一起谈论文学、政治、时事、科技、商业、艺术等话题。今年的亮点包括李开复讲述人工智能的讲座,Leta Hong Fincher(洪理达)谈论性别平等、作家谢汉兰讲述解放前夕的上海。北京的文学杂志《Spittoon》还在此组织了一系列中国本地文学的活动,邀请诗人和小说家阅读他们作品的节选,而这些作品的译者也前来分享翻译途中所遇到的挑战。

The Bookworm first opened its doors in 2005, but its origins go back a few years further, to a sort of informal lending library that Alexandra Pearson, a British woman living in Beijing, slowly amassed as departing friends from abroad gave her the books they couldn’t ship home. Pearson also organized talks by experts on various topics at Le Petit Gourmand, the French restaurant she helped run in Sanlitun, Beijing’s embassy and nightlife district. But when her library outgrew her apartment, and the restaurant had to close to make way for the Taikoo Li mall, some of her friends suggested she give her titles a permanent home—a place for eating, drinking, reading, and above all for talking about anything and everything related to China.

北京老书虫从 2005 年开始营业,它的真正起源可以再往前几年追溯到一个私人借阅图书馆。当时,来自英国的 Alexandra Pearson 来到北京生活,有许多外国朋友在离开北京时常常将一些无法寄回家的书留给她,慢慢地她积累了越来越多的藏书。与此同时,Alexandra 还在一家她参与运营的法国餐厅 Le Petit Gourmand 组织各类主题的专家讲座。这家餐厅位于北京三里屯,是外国大使馆和夜生活中心所在。但是,随着藏书逐渐超出了她的公寓所能容纳的数量,加上新建的太古里商场令餐厅被迫关闭营业,她的一些朋友建议她给自己的藏书一个永久的家,一个可以“吃、喝、读”,更重要的是,一个可以供人们谈天论地、讨论一切有关中国话题的地方。

That home, in a second-story space amid a clutch of international bars and restaurants in Sanlitun, consists of a café area with a full menu and eight beers on tap, an event space off to the side, and a small bookstore in the back, with a rooftop terrace up above overlooking the neighboring buildings. The walls are lined in books, but most of them aren’t for sale: the Bookworm still runs a library, with over 20,000 titles for a few hundred members. “A lot of storytellers, a lot of intellectuals, a lot of people who have a relationship to books, and to Beijing, come here looking for a place to call home,” says Karen Tong, who manages the Bookworm’s events. “It’s fun, it’s chill, and it’s a bit retro.” Pearson moved away several years ago, and now two of the other original investors, Peter Goff and David Cantalupo, run the space and the festival.

而这个“家”,最终落脚在一幢二层建筑楼里,藏匿于三里屯林立的国际酒吧和餐馆中。店内包含了一个拥有完整菜单和 8 种桶装啤酒的餐饮空间,一个活动展演空间,还有在后方的一个小书店,以及一个可以俯瞰邻近建筑的屋顶露台。店内的墙壁一字排开摆满书籍,但其中大部分都是非卖品:北京老书虫仍然管理着一家图书馆,拥有超过两万多本藏书,数百名会员。北京老书虫的经理 Karen Tong 说:“很多小说家、知识分子、爱好读书和喜欢北京的人都喜欢到这里来,在这里他们能获得归属感。这是一间很有趣、很酷的店,还有点复古气息。”几年前在 Alexandra 搬走后,就由另外两位原始投资者 Peter Goff 和 David Cantalupo 管理着这个空间和组织文学节。

Karen Tong
David Cantalupo
Peter Goff

Since 2007, the Bookworm has put on a festival every year except one: in 2017 the sponsorship fell through, and the organizers decided to take a much-needed break. It fluctuates in size, and they chose to keep the 2019 edition manageable—and even so, it spanned two weeks. “The festival remains extremely influential and popular,” says Cantalupo. “We’ve never had a big corporate sponsor, so we’ve always run it on a shoestring.”

How does a handful of people manage to put on such an exceptional event? “We’ve been an important part of the international cultural scene here,” says Cantalupo. That helps them get sponsorship from embassies and other international institutions: Ireland, Australia, and France supported this year’s event, while the main financial backing came from international schools. Another factor is the tenacity of the owners, Goff in particular, who, in the face of financial and other pressures, continues to invite high-profile speakers.

从 2007 年以来,北京老书虫每年都会举办文学节。除了 2017 年之外,因为当时赞助告吹,加上主办方急需休息调整。文学节的规模时大时小,浮动很大, 2019 年他们决定将规模控制在可以应付的范围内。即便如此,这次的文学节也整整跨越了两周时间。“这个文学节一直非常有影响力,也很受欢迎。” David 说:“我们从来没有过大型的商业赞助商,所以在运营上一直都比较节制。”

如何依靠这么少的工作人员,就成功组织出如此精彩的活动?David 说:“我们可以说是本地国际文化氛围的重要组成分子。”因此,他们获得了大使馆和其他国际机构的赞助,今年有来自爱尔兰、澳大利亚和法国的赞助商,但主要的经济支持来自于国际学校。另一个成功的重要因素是老板们,尤其是 Peter。尽管面临着财务和其他方面的压力,他仍然坚持邀请各种著名的演讲家来参加文学节。

In the decade and a half since the Bookworm opened its doors, the surrounding Sanlitun area has been torn down and rebuilt. Shops and apartment blocks have given way to sprawling retail complexes, and now the area feels less like a neighborhood than a collection of international malls. Just a few yards away from the Bookworm, the Intercontinental Hotel towers above, a purple light show dancing across its honeycomb façade like a screensaver.

China has changed, too: in 15 years the economy has quintupled in size, and the country has become more tightly linked to the rest of the world. As a space for discussion and exchange, the Bookworm plays an ever more vital role. It’s one of the places where China meets the world—to eat, drink, read, and talk.  That’s something to raise a glass to.

从北京老书虫 15 年前开业至今,三里屯周边地区已被拆迁重建。商店和公寓楼已让位给庞大的购物中心。现在,这里已经不再是充满生活气息的街区,而更像是各种国际商场的集中地。距离北京老书虫不远处是高耸的洲际酒店,紫色的灯光秀像一个屏幕保护程序,在它的蜂窝状外墙上跳动着。


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WeChat: BeijingBookworm


Contributor: Allen Young
Photographer: David Yen



微信: BeijingBookworm


供稿人: Allen Young
摄影师: David Yen

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Shy Spirits 请将他的“害羞”小心轻放

April 19, 2019 2019年4月19日

Nadhir Nor’s characters in his watercolor series Segan (‘Shy’) and Masih Segan (‘Still Shy’) look like magical sprites that could have appeared in a Studio Ghibli film or a vintage Walt Disney feature. The Malaysian illustrator brings his anthropomorphic plants gently to life with magic and wonder.

Nor’s interest in art has humble roots. He dabbled in drawing as a child, but it wasn’t until secondary school, when he discovered the online art community Deviantart, that art became a passion. Seeing all the various beautiful and wonderful works made by everyday people like him sparked Nor’s creativity, prompting him to pick up a tablet and experiment.

The mythical stories and the fantastical worlds ubiquitous in video games and animated films had always fascinated him, and that eventually brought on an epiphany. “We don’t have to only consume these interesting stories and worlds,” he says. “We could also create them ourselves.”

马来西亚插画家 Nadhir Nor 在其水彩画系列《Segan》(《害羞》)和《Masih Segan》(《依然害羞》)中,将各种植物拟人化,描绘成各式各样的精灵角色,看上去就像是吉卜力动画片或老式迪斯尼动画片里的角色,充满魔法和奇妙的魅力。

Nadhir 从小就开始绘画,但并非涉猎深入。一直到中学在他发现了在线艺术网站 Deviantart 后,艺术才真正演变成一种热情。当他看到那么多美丽而精彩的作品都出自像他这样的平凡人之手,这大大激发了他的创造力,促使他开始尝试创作。


Segan grew out of Nor’s time in the residency program at Rimbun Dahan, a Malaysian center for the development of traditional and contemporary art forms. Before he began the program, he worked full-time as an animation concept artist and could only explore his personal projects on nights and weekends. He decided to take up the residency to rediscover himself as both an artist and storyteller, and to have the chance to immerse himself fully in his watercolors without having to worry about catching up on work and sleep the next day.

《Segan》系列诞生于 Nadhir 参加 Rimbun Dahan 驻地项目的期间。那里是马来西亚发展传统和当代艺术文化的中心。在加入这个计划之前,他是一名全职的动画概念设计师,只能在晚上下班和周末时创作自己的个人项目。后来,他决定参加这个驻地计划,重新找回自己作为艺术家和故事讲述者的身份,并乘此机会全心沉浸于水彩画创作中,不必再担心为了赶工作,第二天上班还昏昏欲睡。

Like many happy accidents, the series didn’t start off with a concrete plan. It began with Nor’s “segan-ness” both in his exploration of watercolors and in his presence at the well-known art center. The idea stemmed from an emotional source rather than tangible inspirations, coupled with the influence of being surrounded by the pristine nature that surrounds Rimbun Dahan. Segan also stems from his culture—namely his interest in the belief of bunians and jins, spirits that quietly live among humans going about their everyday life.

“I want to remind people of the beauty in being sensitive, in being vulnerable, and how we can use it to help us,” he says. Of course, he’s aware of the irony of his title: had he truly been “segan” and not done anything with his works, he would have missed out on many opportunities. By recognizing his own insecurity, he managed to turn it on its head and use it to his advantage, instead of allowing it to overshadow him.

如同许多惊喜的意外,《Segan》系列并不是诞生于一个具体的创作计划。而是源自于 Nadhir 身处在这个著名的艺术中心,以及自己才刚刚开始对水彩画展开探索的“羞怯之情”。这个想法更多是受到情感方面的形塑,而不是单纯地被灵感光顾。Rimbun Dahan 四周的原始自然风光,以及他自身的文化背景都对他的创作产生了一定的影响。他深信着关于 bunians 和 jins(马来西亚民间传说中的超自然生物)的传说。据说,这些精灵一直安静地生活在人类四周。


Nor considers himself vulnerable, but he’s in touch with his own vulnerability. “I think the beauty in being vulnerable is that it’s a good reminder that at the end of the day, as worried as we might be about things affecting us, it also means that we are allowing ourselves to grow. It’s about opening our door to possibilities, instead of shutting things down just because we’re afraid.”

He presents his stories through plants for their timelessness and omnipresence. They lack “any tinge of period or context” that would otherwise occur if he had used modern or prehistoric objects. “Vulnerability will probably be with us until the end of time, and I hope plants will too,” he says.

Nadhir 认为自己是脆弱的,但他也接纳自己的脆弱。“我认为脆弱的美妙之处在于它提醒了我们,尽管我们担心很多会影响自己的事情,但这也意味着我们允许自己去成长。只有这样我们才能开怀拥抱各种可能性,而不是因为害怕,就把自己封闭起来。”

Nadhir 选择植物来创作,是因为植物的永恒性和无所不在。如果他使用现代或史前的物品,就会带上“特定时期或背景”的标签。“脆弱大概永远会伴随我们而存在,我希望植物也会如此。”他说。

After the successful release of Segan, Nor followed up with Masih Segan. This second series took three months to complete, and it serves not just as a continuation of the first series, but also as a sort of commentary—on the good that came out of pushing himself to release his work, and the beauty of the uncertainty and possibilities that followed.

Nor is now basking in the sunlight, and there’s still plenty of time for him to bloom. Though he hopes to move on to other mediums, he believes there’s still much more to discover in the softness and unpredictability of watercolors. He’s also keen to go back and explore his lifelong fascination with the art of fantasy role-playing games and possibly collaborate with other Malaysian artists.

“A big part of my shyness—my ‘segan’-ness—with the series came from the fact that I am not from the fine arts scene. I focused heavily during college and worked on entertainment art, which is more commercial. So it’s definitely daunting to be dipping my feet into this scene. But it’s been exciting, and people have been supportive.”

在成功发表《Segan》后,Nadhir 又创作了后续系列《Masih Segan》,后者历时三个月完成,不仅是第一个系列的延续,更是一种注释——表达因为推动自己发表作品所带来的好处,以及随之而来的那些美妙的不确定性和可能性。

现在的 Nadhir 像是沐浴在阳光下,并有足够的时间让他绽放。虽然他希望转向其它媒介创作,但他相信,柔淡而不可预测的水彩画还有更多值得发掘的东西。同时,他也热切地回归探索他对角色扮演游戏(RPG)艺术的迷恋,并可能与其他马来西亚艺术家合作。


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Instagram: @snadhir


Contributor: Joanna Lee
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li

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Instagram: @snadhir


供稿人: Joanna Lee
英译中: Olivia Li

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