All posts by Chen Yuan

Memes, Refashioned

There’s no obstacle in life that can’t be overcome with a genuine smile. But even in the hardest of times, a polite, insincere grin (even an awkward one) can still make do. On this premise, a meme was born.

If you have any investments in the meme economy, then you’ve probably heard the name Gavin Thomas. Best known as the “boy with the fake smile,” the eight-year-old American has gone viral worldwide. His hilariously insincere expression has garnered him huge followings on Instagram and Weibo alike. Just six short months after joining the latter, he’s already won over millions of followers, and many Chinese netizens are even hailing him as “world-class meme material.”

Recently, Chinese fashion label BIZZCUT released a line of products with the boy (or rather the meme) himself. It includes hoodies, iPhone cases, blankets, and even mousepads. Named auspiciously with the upcoming Chinese New Year in mind, the Peace and Prosperity collection pairs Thomas’s iconic fake smile with vibrant colors and bold Chinese characters, showing that memes can live beyond our device screens and find a place in the real world.

BIZZCUT was launched in 2014 and is run by a small but dedicated team made up of two fashion designers, a design assistant, a graphic designer, and a three-man operations department. We recently interviewed Da Yao, a graduate of Italy’s Istituto Marangoni and the founder of BIZZCUT, about her newly released designs and the challenges of running an independent brand in China.


世上没什么困难,是一个微笑不能克服的。如果有,那就抱以一个尴尬而不失礼貌的假笑——此处应有表情包。

如果你是关注网络文化的潮流青年,那么你一定知道这个红遍大江南北的假笑男孩Gavin Thomas。从 Instagram 火到微博,他的粉丝量在注册短短半年内就突破百万大军,堪称世界级的网红表情包。

最近,国潮品牌 BIZZCUT别闹联手腔调假笑男孩本人联名合作,出了包括卫衣、手机壳、毛毯和鼠标垫等等一系列周边,并为了呼应即将到来的中国新年,这个系列取了个非常讨喜的名字:平安富贵Gavin 标志性的假笑,配上大量鲜艳的色彩和硕大醒目的中文字,让原来活在手机里的假笑表情包,比起不正经来,更多了点酷。

我们采访了 BIZZCUT 的主理人大妖,毕业于意大利马戈兰尼设计学院(Istituto Marangoni)服装设计系的她,于 2014 年创立了这个品牌。现在的团队已经有另一个服装设计师、一个设计助理和一个平面设计师,和三人的运营团队。

Neocha: BIZZCUT’s Gavin Thomas collection draws on the aesthetics of memes; it’s a large departure from the approach of other domestic fashion brands. How did this idea come about? What was it like working with him?

Da Yao: When someone from Taobao Kongdiao (a fashion-focused platform run by the Chinese e-commerce behemoth) approached us about doing a collection with the “fake smile boy,” I was on board immediately. I’m a fan of Gavin myself, and I often use his sticker memes on WeChat. It felt like something in tune with the spirit of our brand, so everything just happened quite organically. It was a smooth process overall. Gavin and his mom approved our initial drafts right off the bat. It felt like we were on the same wavelength, so it was quite enjoyable working together.


Neocha: BIZZCUT “假笑男孩系列的产品有着浓浓的表情包风格,和一般国潮牌不太一样。是什么促成了这个系列的诞生?和假笑男孩的合作过程是怎样的?

大妖: 当时淘宝腔调的小二来问我们愿不愿意做一个合作款,得知是和假笑男孩合作我们毫不犹豫就答应了。因为我自己也是 Gavin 的粉丝,平时聊天也常会用他的表情。同时他的气质和我们品牌调性挺契合的,所以合作自然达成了。过程也非常顺利,我们提交初稿的时候就得到了 Gavin 和他妈妈的认可,可以说是一拍即合,非常愉快。

Neocha: What do you think are the primary reasons young people are drawn to your brand?

Da Yao: Maybe it’s our design philosophy. Compared to other brands, we don’t take ourselves that seriously. We enjoy making designs around self-deprecating humor. People are under a lot of stress nowadays, so a dose of quirky, offbeat humor resonates with them. Another thing is our perspective of what’s “cool”: Every brand wants to talk about being cool. To us, being cool is about exuding confidence. In other words, being “cool” in your own eyes is what’s most important. We hope that our products can help give people this type of self-confidence.


Neocha: 你觉得 BIZZCUT 能够吸引这些年轻人最重要的原因是什么?

大妖: 可能是我们的设计态度吧。相比较很多品牌我们可能显得没那么严肃和正经。就是说我们会用比较自嘲的方式去做设计,现在人生活工作压力都很大,所以一些出其不意、搞怪幽默的设计就会让很多人有共鸣。还有就是我们对酷的看法:每个品牌都在谈论酷,而事实上真正的酷首先是一种由内而外的自信,也就是自以为酷很重要。我们希望自己的产品能给大家这样的自信。

Neocha: What are some of the brand’s underpinning design philosophies and inspirations?

Da Yao: It all starts with me thinking about whether it’s something I personally like—otherwise it’ll never hit the shelves. Secondly, it needs to fall in line with the brand of humor we’re known for. I like design that makes use of pop art; mainstream culture is also something that needs to be considered. After all, being a designer means staying open-minded. It’s about finding a balance between your own aesthetic preferences and what speaks to the masses.


Neocha: 在做设计的时候,你们的态度和出发点是什么?

大妖: 出发点是我首先自己很喜欢的单品才会上架售卖。其次就是符合我们品牌幽默有趣的定位,一些波普感的设计是我比较喜欢感兴趣的,至于大众文化潮流我觉得也很有参考的必要,毕竟作为设计师还是要有一个开放的姿态去做设计,从个人审美趣味和大众喜好之间寻求平衡吧。

Neocha: It’s been a few years since BIZZCUT was founded, and the brand has built a large following of dedicated fans. During this time, what are some the most difficult struggles and challenges you’ve faced?

Da Yao: The biggest risks we took thus far were our releases for the second half of 2018. We tried out some more serious designs, but the reception was lukewarm. It helped us realize that our audience still enjoys how we bring happiness with simple, unsullied humor. But we’re now back on track. This process provided us with a lot of clarity.


Neocha: BIZZCUT 从诞生到现在也有好几个年头了,目前也吸引了一大批忠实粉丝。但这个过程中你们有碰到过独立品牌好险差点没活过来这样的情况吗?

大妖: 最险的基本就是 2018 后半年吧,做了一些比较严肃正经的尝试,结果不是很理想,后来发现大家还是喜欢简单和纯粹的快乐,现在基本回到正轨了,这个过程中自我认知也清晰了许多。

Neocha: Once a brand becomes overly commercialized, it can leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. How do you strike a balance between an authentic independent spirit and being profit-oriented?

Da Yao: Commercialization isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Good business practice means getting more than what you’ve invested, and I think having an entrepreneur mindset is important for designers. We’re not artists. Design is intrinsically linked with marketing. That said, we still strive to strike a balance between mass appeal and our independent spirit. I consider this to be the most interesting part of being a designer—it requires an equilibrium between business acumen and artistic sensibilities.


Neocha: 很多品牌一旦走上商业化,年轻用户就会显得抗拒。你们在独立设计和商业化两者之间,是怎么权衡的?

大妖: 商业化不是一件坏事,商业规则要求一个基本的水平线以上的投资回报率。我觉得商业规则对设计师来说很重要,我们不是艺术家,设计的根本也是为了销售,在这个过程中我们一直在努力平衡独立设计和大众趣味的关系,我觉得这也是设计师这个职业比较有趣的一点——它需要商业嗅觉和艺术品味相结合。

Neocha: What do you think the most important qualities are for an independent brand?

Da Yao: The most important thing is the “independent” aspect of it naturally. Something we constantly remind ourselves comes from a quote by Hu Shih: “What is independence? Independence is following your heart. If you’re free but not independent, then you’re a slave. Independence means not being blind, not being duped, not imitating others, and not relying on others. It means not trusting what you hear second-hand, not trusting thoughts that aren’t your own, and not trusting vicarious experiences relayed by someone else. This the spirit of independence.”

In other words, it’s important to not blindly follow trends.


Neocha: 你觉得对一个独立设计品牌来说,最重要的特点或品质应该是什么?

大妖: 最重要的特点当然是独立啦。引用一段我一直用来提醒自己的话吧,胡适先生讲的:什么是独立呢?‘独立是你们自己的事,给你自由而不独立这是奴隶,独立要不盲从,不受欺骗,不依傍门户,不依赖别人,不用别人耳朵为耳朵,不以别人的脑子为脑子,不用别人的眼睛为眼睛,这就是独立的精神。

不跟风,不盲从这个就是最重要的。


Neocha: How would you describe the BIZZCUT attitude in one single word?

Da Yao: Humorous.


Neocha: 用一个词总结形容“别闹”的调性,你会用?

大妖: 幽默。

Neocha: Aside from your online shop and brick-and-mortar retail location, you’ve recently opened a space for hosting events and exhibitions. Why this expansion?

Da Yao: This space is something new for us. There aren’t long-term goals for it. It’s just a place where we can meet and chat with guests, a place where we can share our design philosophy with people. At the same time, we do plan on hosting events catered to people looking for fun things to do.


Neocha: 除了线上线下店之外,你们最近还开了一个空间,可以举办各种艺术活动之类的。为什么想要开拓线下活动空间?

大妖: 那个空间也是一个新的尝试吧,也不算一个长期的规划,就是想找个地方招待一下一直以来想和我们见面聊天的顾客,然后让他们更加了解我们的设计态度,同时伴随一些有趣的活动,让大家找到一个好玩的去处。

Neocha: What can we expect from BIZZCUT in the future?

Da Yao: Surviving is high on our list of priorities. Refining our products and coming up with more thoughtful designs is also very important. We’d also like to work with some shopping centers and media platforms to do a pop-up store. Aside from these things, we’ll be putting out a premium collaborative projects once every year.


Neocha: 对未来别闹的发展,你有什么计划?

大妖: 未来发展的话,先是活下去吧。然后把产品的品质更优,设计更成熟一点吧。也会和一些媒体和商场合作做一些 Pop-up Store,还有就是每年做一次优质的联名款。

Taobao: bizzcut.taobao.com
Instagram: @bizzcut_official

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan
English Translation: David Yen


淘宝: bizzcut.taobao.com
Instagram: @bizzcut_official

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan
中译英: David Yen

Fighting Evil with Evil

“Ye Zhong and You Guang are evil spirits who appear in the dead of night and strike fear in other devils. Fighting evil with evil, men came to evoke their names to ward off war and plague, calling them the Gods of Night.”

 

This is the description that opens the photo series Historical Photographs of the Gods of Night Vanquishing Demons, by Chinese digital artist Zhao Guodong. The series was inspired by folktales that date back to the Han dynasty—in the tales, Ye Zhong and You Guang were menacing deities believed to be powerful and evil enough to fend off wounds and plague.


“野仲、游光厉鬼也,三更出而百鬼惧之。后人以恶制恶,题其名可避刀兵瘟疫,谓之夜游神。 ”

 

这是赵国栋夜游神降妖旧影系列所撰的开篇描述。作者本人是一位原画设计师,这原本是他自己的一个故事创作,灵感来自于汉代的民间传说:野仲、游光实为传说中的厉鬼,当时人们以其之名来辟兵辟疫(指避免受兵器伤害、免遭瘟疫)。

“The night deities are beings whose unparalleled malevolence is believed to counteract lesser evils,” Zhao explains. “I think the main reason people put their belief in these wicked deities as opposed to good spirits wasn’t that they wanted evil beings to destroy one another but that they considered the compassionate deities unreliable. Even today, the world is paralyzed with similar fears: for the common people, law and justice aren’t enough to shake off the uncertainty and fear of falling prey to evil-doers. People cheer on vigilantes who operate outside of the law. This observation, combined with my interpretation of the demons and gods of ancient lore, is what inspired this series.”


 “这里的夜游神,就是以恶制恶的凶神。”国栋说,“我觉得人们之所以寄希望于凶神而非善神,其根本原因不是希望恶鬼自相残杀,而是对于善神的手段并无信心。时至今日,全世界都依然会充满这样的恐惧,即法律和正义无法使普通人摆脱对恶人的恐惧和忧虑,我们越来越寄希望于个人英雄的非法制裁。正是基于这样的创作初衷,结合古代的神魔怪志,就有了这个系列的插图创作。”

While undeniably nightmarish, the demons and beasts of Zhao’s work are a marked departure from the over-the-top character designs of Hollywood blockbusters. He explains he didn’t want to overdo their features, and against the ramshackle, overgrown backdrops, they look even more realistic. The spirits he’s conjured—from a chimerical beast with a lion’s head and a dragon’s body to a humanoid creature with jagged horns—are all culled from Chinese mythology. I love animals, especially the legendary creatures depicted in traditional Chinese sculptures,” he notes. “It was from studying their forms that I learned about how art can be powerful and humorous at the same time.” 

Zhou, leveraging Chinese mythology and modern fears, has managed to restore one of China’s oldest folktales in spine-chilling fashion. Don’t stare too long at these images after dark, or you just might find yourself inside one of these haunting dreamscapes the next time you close your eyes.


这些宛如梦魇中的奇禽异兽,和好莱坞大片中的设计形象不一样,国栋说他“并没有给予过分夸张的造型设计”,龙首狮身、牛头人面,都从中国神话传说中而来,再加上荒草萋萋的布景,看上去就更真实。“我非常喜欢动物,更喜欢中国雕塑里的动物和神兽。它们都非常的有趣。我从这些传统的石兽形象中学到了一种艺术的拙劲,一种很内敛的幽默感。”

昏暗的光景下,看着图中的奇兽,仿佛令人置身幻境一般,而中国历代还有多少神话传说,也实在是巧绘难描。

Weibo: ~/sandaosi
 


Contributor: Chen Yuan
English Translation: David Yen


微博: ~/sandaosi
 


供稿人: Chen Yuan
中译英: David Yen

The Secret Life of Plants & Fungi

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

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


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

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

Behance: ~/cecilam
Instagram: @ceciilam

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan


Behance: ~/cecilam
Instagram: @ceciilam

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan

Neighborhood Stories

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

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

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


我和王占黑的采访,相约在“定海桥”。

地铁下来,沿着一条马路菜场曲折地走,最先迎接我的是铺了满街的蔬菜、水果,和一条冷不丁从水盆里跳出来的鲫鱼。两个路口之后,再拐进一条一人窄的小路走几百米,就是“定海桥互助社”了。这是一个关注工人群体和移居人口的自发性组织,身为半个作家半个教师的王占黑,会不定时在这里出没。

再往里探一探头,王占黑已经在和好友坐着聊天了。

1 / Unsung Heroes

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

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

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

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


1/发现英雄

在定海桥互助社进门处的一排小书柜上,摆着王占黑的新书《街道江湖》和《空响炮》,后者让她刚刚荣获首届宝珀·理想国文学奖。翻开简介看:

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

简洁,平面,寥寥几句事实性的陈述,这是书上对她的全部介绍。

事实上,从复旦研究生毕业后,王占黑现在是一所高中的老师,教国际班的高三。作家这个身份,她自己觉得,只有在写作的时候是,其他时候,她也会用“社畜”来形容自己。相约采访前,恰巧赶上了调休,王占黑没忘记发一个“sad”的表情,“接下去又要连上六天班了。”

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

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

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


那天我们真正的采访,是在对周遭老公房的闲逛途中开始的。

这是典型的“工人新村”,和王占黑从小的生长环境很像,邻里间闹忙的招呼声,形形色色的儿童和老叟,甚至还有一色一样的长方形晾衣架。

“我现在还住在这样的老公房呀。”她的语调漫不经心,眼神却总在到处张望,指给我看正在舔毛的猫咪、大门牙的兔子、攀缘蔓生的丝瓜藤,还有户高楼的人家种了好多盆花草。

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

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

“Is this your dog? What a good boy!”

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

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

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


“街道英雄”这个系列的小说,“街道”,指的就是老公房、老小区、上世纪末建的工人新村;“英雄”就大不同了,看门的、卖水果的、捡垃圾的,在王占黑的笔下,这些人物用吴语作对白,摇身一变,成为登台亮相的主角。

王占黑是善于和这些人打交道的。我们一路走一路拍,碰到好奇的街坊来问,王占黑会自然地搭话:

“爷叔这只狗是你养的哦?噶乖。”

“是的,伊十几岁咯!老早还上过电视的。”人家答。

“哇岁数老大啦!那爷叔你住这里多久啦?”

老爷爷讲着上海话,占黑讲着嘉兴方言,两个人开开心心聊起天来。外面的天光渐渐变暗,却显得她的眼睛特别亮。

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

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


王占黑给小说里的人物取名很有意思。小官、阿金、春光……很多人名是她从医院或银行的叫号板上东拼西凑来的,加上日常见闻的琐事,拾掇一下,加上不断修改,构建出一个个生活在街道里老英雄。

“其实两本书(《街道江湖》和《空响炮》)最开始我都起了‘街道英雄’这个名字,但最后过审的时候改了。”她说,“可能是大家对‘英雄’的理解不一样吧。对有些人来说,英雄是很伟大的,是那种领军人物。但我的理解不一样。”

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

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

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


早在高三毕业的时候,王占黑就开始写了这系列的第一篇,那时候她看到的看门人小官充满着江湖气。但是到大学以后停一停,再回过头来看,故事和人物就多了几个立面——因为她发现,英雄是会老的,英雄也是平凡人。

在不久前“一席”的讲座上,王占黑是这么说的:“在那个世界里面有很多可爱的人,也有可爱又可恨的人,有人会觉得他们是小的,但我愿意把他们看大了;有人会觉得他们是平凡的,我愿意叫他们英雄;有人会说他们是历史上一批走到穷途末路的人,但我愿意写他们的生龙活虎。”

正式出书的时候,“街道英雄”这个书名改了,但对那些人的称谓没改,还是叫英雄。

2 / A Little Kid in Momentous Era

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

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

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

But Wang writes about them.

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


2/大时代,小朋友

阿明老太太,也是王占黑笔下众多街道英雄中的一个。

“有一天中午,捉垃圾的人捉到最后这栋楼,从垃圾桶里捉出了一个老人。她一头栽进去睡着了。拖出来的时候,浑身酸臭,汤水浸透头发,胸前揣着一块变形的橡胶板。人们翻过身来一看,呀,是住在最靠西边车库里的阿明老太太。”
(点击可阅读更多《阿明的故事》节选)

好巧不巧,这样的故事大概在江南一带并不罕见,在上海也有。因为下岗或种种缘故,有些人会为了减轻家庭负担出来捡垃圾,捡来的垃圾很多又卖不掉,囤积如山。这样的人事,大多数会出现在新闻报道里,众人看一看,啧啧议论两声,忘了。

但王占黑写下来。

小说的结尾,阿明被人从垃圾桶里捞出来,医院里呆呆,不久又继续过上了捡垃圾的生活。她没有给她悲惨的结局,但看完让人久久沉默。

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

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

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

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

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


还有做木匠生活的春光,给家家户户送牛奶的赵光明,等女出嫁等到心焦的中年妇女美芬,这些小老百姓的家长里短之事,王占黑把他们当成“人物志”来写。

人物越来越多,渐成一个系列,王占黑也慢慢意识到自己的风格。“发现自己特点之后,会更明确自己希望写什么样的,能够写什么样的,还可以尝试写什么样的——比如有些人是那种很戏谑的形象,就是我们常说的‘嘲叽叽’的;还有些是怀旧的,有些严肃的。会希望包括很多不同人,用不同的方式。”

当然了,她不会刻意美化这些人物,也不会给他们附加宏大的主题。她用四个字,专门概括这些在老小区里老区的人。

“下岗工人里有一句话叫作‘男保女超’。男的当保安,女的当超市店员,十个下岗双职工家庭里,七八个是这种搭配。美芬夫妻随大流。”
(点击可阅读更多《美芬的小世界》节选)

“男保女超”,细民琐事,也可能就是些陈芝麻烂谷子,但怎么不能说成是“英雄传奇”呢?

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

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

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

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


我们走去菜场,在一家卖蛋的小铺前,王占黑走了进去。

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

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

就在要走到马路菜场的路上,王占黑和我说,我们就不要去那里拍照了吧。“和熟悉的空间沟通的方式有很多,但这样‘摆拍’的话,我不知道,我有点难过。”她说。

3 / A Pen in My Father’s Hand

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

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


3/“老王的一支笔”

新书《街道江湖》的卷首,印着“献给嘉涛大王”。嘉涛大王就是占黑的爸爸。虽然,爸爸本来不会看她的小说。“我爸爸以前会拿起来看看标题,‘哦,写阿明啊!写得不错!’就这样。反而是我妈妈,会经常看,也喜欢拿给别人看。”

王占黑喜欢小动物。小区里碰到人家屋里的小狗,冲她汪汪叫,她举起手指向它示意:“嘘!勿好叫了噢,要被骂了。”

占黑的爸爸也喜欢。以前父女两个会凑一起商量,家里要是养狗的话要叫什么名字。但可惜的是她妈妈不让。“现在我也想养,但是我男朋友不让……”说着,很无奈的样子。

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


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

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

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

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


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


文学史上称颂作家,会说其人其作品“代表了一个时代”,或者把某种风格特质“提高到一个新的高度”,但王占黑不是这一类,也没有这样的野心。她发现了被时代浪涛拍到岸边的那些人,一个个,像一颗颗谨小慎微的沙石,不当心被卷走了,不当心留下了,更多细碎的沙砾聚成了滩。王占黑是会好奇地蹲下身、拿着放大镜、叫爸爸快来看的那个人。

其实无论再多的街道,再多的故事,大概在她心里,爸爸才是那个永远当之无愧的“英雄”吧。

文章写到这里,我点进她豆瓣找书目链接。在评论区瞥了一眼,忽然发现在她“占黑”的名字边上,有个小括号,静默地写着“嘉涛大王”。


王占黑的两本著作《街道江湖》和《空响炮》都在 Neocha 商店中有售。

Douban: ~/WangZhanhei

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan
Photographer: Chan Qu


豆瓣~/WangZhanhei

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan
摄影师: 
Chan Qu

The Story of Ah Ming (excerpt)

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

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

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

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

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


阿明老太太每天在垃圾桶里投入的时间比捉垃圾的人还要多。天黑了翻,隔一夜再翻,捉垃圾的人天不亮就上工,附近却早被她翻过一遍了。如果有什么能卖钱的物什,也统统都被掠走了。剩下的垃圾则被弄得满地都是,难以打扫,因此他恨极了阿明。有时老太太手脚慢了,两人恰好撞上,捉垃圾的人叫骂着挥起扫帚赶她,手重了直接推倒在地上。

老太婆,滚远点!捉垃圾的人喉咙响梆梆,好像要让大家都晓得他抓了个现形。抓多了,甚至连小狗也对阿明产生了敌意,老远就开始狂吠,一见到就穷追,把老太太吓得赶紧跑路。

最厌弃阿明的还是她的邻居,她身上的味道太重了。三十八度的中午,路上不见几个人,却见一排垃圾桶里有一只微微倾斜,便晓得阿明吃过饭又钻进去寻宝了。弓着背,不见头,只露出一个下半身和一只米袋子,两只手边翻边往里头塞东西。翻到底部,整个人几乎要沿着桶对折过去。钻久了,身上黏着一股酸臭味儿,路过的人都捏着鼻子躲开。脾气差的男人出来倒垃圾,碰到阿明在里面,翻一个白眼,索性直接把垃圾扔上去了。

碎布头,破玩具,易拉罐,塑料板,没有什么是阿明不要的,人们也不晓得老太太要这些来做什么。只见她七十好几的人,提着麻袋上楼,倒空,再提下楼,一天跑进跑出好几趟,留下屋里面臭气熏天,自己仍蜗居在底楼的小车库里。邻居敲门叫她清理,她勉强扔出去一些,可是那股腐烂的气味,恐怕是怎么也驱不走了。

人们想不通,一个老太太好好地拿着退休金,厢里厢邻的都认识,都要面孔,做点什么不好,偏偏要去钻臭翻天的垃圾桶。他们解释不清,只能讲,真真是变死啊,变死。

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

 

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

English Translation: Allen Young


点击此处返回原文,或进入 Neocha 商店 购买《街道江湖》。

 

版权归作者所有,任何形式转载请联系作者王占黑

英文翻译: Allen Young

Mei Fen’s World (excerpt)

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

Mei Fen’s husband liked to shoot the breeze. Like many in his generation, he heeded the government’s call to marry late and have a child late, and when layoffs came he was among the first the lose his job. He didn’t marry until his late twenties, and he lost his job when he was barely forty. Some people like that figure out a way to get by, some squander the rest of their days without new purpose. Mei Fen’s husband was an affable fellow, and he quickly got promoted to the head of his security team, and was later transferred to a leadership job. Mei Fen still worked at the supermarket, stocking goods and running checkout. Both worked irregular hours, and there were at least a few nights each week they didn’t even see each other. One night in the summer of 2006, right after the typhoon, Mei Fen’s husband was at his shift, while Mei Fen was dozing off at the cash register. Suddenly she was jolted awake by her phone. Less than an hour after she got that call, she was a widow. Her husband was on his scooter on the way home from work when a deadly motorbike hurtled by. The sky was too dark, the bike was tailing too close, and he was knocked off. When he was picked up from the side of the highway, his body had been torn to pieces. Mei Fen received government compensation.

Ten years ago, the money was a huge sum. Everyone said Mei Fen’s husband gave his life to support his wife and daughter. With the money burning a hole in her pocket, Mei Fen was told by wise people to invest it or buy a house. But her relatives said don’t you touch it—that money cost your husband his life, and if people see you laughing or living it up, they’ll talk behind your back. Mei Fen didn’t dare spend it, she just deposited it in the bank, as if it were some sort of organ dug out of her husband’s body to be kept in cold storage. Mei Fen told her daughter, your father had nothing, he just left this little sum so you could get married. But as the years went by, that dowry seemed less and less substantial.


下岗工人里有一句话叫作“男保女超”。男的当保安,女的当超市店员,十个下岗双职工家庭里,七八个是这种搭配。美芬夫妻随大流。

美芬老公从前常常调侃,同他一辈的人,响应号召晚婚晚育,下岗倒是迎面乘上了头班车。三十不到结婚,四十出头下岗,自谋生路的大有人在,混吃等死的也不少。美芬老公会做人,很快升了领队,再后来就调到保卫科去当小领导了。美芬还在超市里做,点点货,收收钱。两个人都是三班制,倒来倒去,每周有好几个晚上是见不到的。零六年夏天,台风刚过,美芬老公轮岗值班,美芬正在收银台打瞌睡,被手机吵醒。接通以后不到一个钟头,美芬就成了寡妇了。美芬老公的电瓶车开在下班路上,一部杀头摩托车从后面抄上来,天色太暗,贴得太紧,直接把美芬老公甩出去了。人从环城绿化带被捡起来的时候,浑身都散架了。美芬拿到一笔赔偿金。

放在十年前也算是一笔巨款了。人家都讲,美芬老公是拿命给母女俩买了一笔生活费。捧在手里滚烫,精明的人劝美芬去投资,买个房也好。亲密的人却同美芬讲,这钱万万用不得,性命抵来的,人家见你想得开,过得潇洒,要在背后戳手指头的。美芬不敢,只好存定期,像是从老公的遗体上挖出了一个器官,放到银行冰冻起来。美芬对女儿讲,阿爸什么都没有,就留这点给你当嫁妆。只是一年年过去,这嫁妆越来越显不出分量了。

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

 

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

English Translator: Allen Young


点击此处返回原文,或进入 Neocha 商店 购买《空响炮》。

 

版权归作者所有,任何形式转载请联系作者王占黑

英文翻译: Allen Young

Shin Morae’s Rosy World

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


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

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


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

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


她希望能够通过自己的插画唤起他人的共鸣感,所以巧妙地将颜色和都市青年文化穿插到作品之中,再用一种观感互动性极强的方式表达出来。“通常我会先写笔记,然后再用数码软件来画画。写的过程也是让情绪带入的过程。我希望人们会像读文章句子那样,去读我的画。”

Website: shinmorae.com
Instagram: @shinmorae_

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan


网站: shinmorae.com
Instagram: @shinmorae_

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan

Naphu School For The Elderly

 

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With the sun shining down and the ceiling fans whirring quietly overhead, a sense of tropical warmth radiates through the film’s introduction. The video could be easily mistaken for an indie art film—that is, up until the moment when an elderly lady saunters off the bus, steadying herself with a walking cane. Tidily dressed in a uniform, the old woman looks a schoolgirl on her way to class.

Created by Thai director Bee Supavara, a recent graduate of London’s Central St. Martins, Naphu School for the Elderly is a short film focused on the issue of loneliness and social isolation of senior citizens.


阳光耀眼,风扇呼呼地吹,热带地区的暖风透过镜头扑面而来。不当回事地看,会以为这是一部独立文艺片。直到从公车上走下来一位老婆婆,拄着拐杖、颤颤巍巍,却着装整齐,宛如正要去上学的少女。

这是来自泰国导演 Bee Supavara 拍摄的当地老年学校,刚刚从伦敦中央圣马丁斯大学毕业不久的她,以“老年人的孤独和社会隔离感”为项目主题拍摄的纪录短片。

“My grandma faces these problems with loneliness,” Supavara sighs. “Her days mostly consist of watching T.V. and playing with the dogs. With limited ability to move and see, her social life visit relies on people visiting her. My grandpa used to be a photographer and now he’s losing his sight.”

Visits to her grandparents are what ultimately inspired the idea for the film. “I decided that I wanted to do everything I could to not only make grandparents happy but also other seniors in the world,” she explains.


我的祖母就是一个孤独的老人。” Bee 说,她一天的生活内容,主要就是看电视、和狗一起玩。由于她视力受限,而且移动范围也有限,她的社交范围很小,基本上都是靠别人来造访她的。” Bee 说,这也是促使她关注老年群体、并以此为纪录对象的关键原因。

“而我的祖父曾是个摄影师,擅长捕捉美丽的瞬间,而现在他却渐渐丧失了视力。这让我很揪心。从那时起我就想,只要让他们晚年的生活快乐一点,我做什么事都愿意。”

As a proverb from Chinese philosopher Mencius goes, “Honor your neighbor’s elders as you honor your own.”

Supavara, recognizing the realities of how many of today’s seniors live, hopes for more of them to find happiness in their golden years. To spread this message, she contacted the Tambon Administrative Organization, which runs the Naphu School for the Elderly, for permission to film a documentary at their school. With their support, the film looks to bring about more awareness on this social issue but do it through a lens of joy and happiness


老吾老以及人之老。看到了祖辈的生活,Bee 也想让更多老年人能安度晚年。于是她联系了在和当地的分区管理组织(TAO)及 Naphu 老年学校,在他们的支持和欢迎之下,拍摄了这样一部短片,希望在触发老龄化社会的关注时,也能够让观众感受到镜头内的欢笑。

The Naphu School for the Elderly was established in 2016, and all of the enrolled students are sexagenarians or older.

Thonghom Boonruam, the executive director of Naphu Senior School, offered sobering statistics of Thai’s aging population: “In 2021, 20% of the Thai population will be older individuals,” he says. “One in every five people will be considered as a senior citizen. By 2025, it’ll be one in four. As this number ramps up, what do we do? How can we make their old age enjoyable?”

The answer he ultimately found was to bring senior citizens together and get them laughing and smiling.


片中的 Naphu 老年学校于 2016 年开设,目前已经运营两年有余。而这里所有招收的学生,统统都年逾花甲。

Naphu 老年学校的校长 Thonghom Boonruam 列出了惊人的数据比:“在 2021 年,泰国将要有 20% 的老年人口,也就是每五个人中就有一个老年人。而到 2025 年,就会变成每四个人中有一个老年人。” Thonghom Boonruam 说道,“这个数值不断增长,我们怎么办?有什么办法能让老人们过好晚年生活呢?”

他最后想的办法,是让老年人聚起来,一齐欢声笑语。

Naphu doesn’t teach reading, writing, or arithmetic. The most important thing the “students” do is socialize and engage in activities such as singing, dancing, and exercising. Thonghom has even involved the student body in helping run the actual school, encouraging them to make tea, cook, and tidy up the classroom.

The school is similar to a traditional university in that it’s structured around different tiers of degrees: undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. But education is hardly the emphasis—the goal is to bring joy to the attending students. “No one is forced to do anything here,” Boonruam says. “They all come here happy.”


Naphu 不教 1+1,也不学 ABC,“学生”们在这里最重要的是社交和活动,比如唱歌、跳舞、锻炼等等,甚至,校长 Thonghom 也把后勤管理的事宜让渡给老人们,让他们自己做茶、烧饭、整理桌椅。

学校和一般大学一样,有本科、硕士、博士,但对这个学校的管理员来说,他们在乎的不是学历,而是“幸福”。“在这里,我们从不强迫任何人。每个人来学校都快快乐乐的。”校长如是说。

For Supavara, this documentary is just the beginning. “The aging population is a global problem,” she notes. “I want this project to be an inspiration of what our society can move towards in the future. By the end of the film, I want viewers to feel exactly how I felt when I visited the school, to experience the overwhelming happiness of the students, and see how the founders are doing everything with their heart. I want my audience to feel it all.”


对导演 Bee 来说,这部纪录片只是刚刚开始。“老龄化已经是个全球性的问题,我希望这个项目能启发我们对未来老龄化社会的发展方向。就我个人而言,我也想让他们感受到我参观学校的感受,也就是他们结束电影的时候我的感受是怎样的。在这里,创始人全心全意地投入这项事业,老年人的幸福需求大过一切。我想让我的观众感受到这所有。”

Websitebeesupavara.com
Vimeo
: ~/beesupavara

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan


网站: beesupavara.com
Vimeo
: ~/beesupavara

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan

Interior Landscapes

Zeng Linshu defines herself as a “realistic idealist.” Her paintings are mostly inspired by her active inner world and the society around her. Inspiration can alight on any piece of space or scenery, people or things, actions or forms.

There’s a world at the heart of her work, but she doesn’t try to advertise it. Instead she hopes people on the outside can softly come in. Through warm, muted, reserved tones, Zeng gives voice to her inner feelings and her stubborn pursuit of beauty. “The world in my paintings is free and unbound, brimming with the limitless possibilities of art,” she says. “And it’s these endless possibilities that lead the public deep in thought—an exploration of humanity, life, and philosophy.”


Linshu 琳姝定义自己,是“一个现实的理想主义者”。她的绘画,多数的灵感来源都是活跃的内心世界或者现实的社会,一切的空间与景、人与物、行为与形态都有被灵感恩赐的可能。

画的内心有一个世界,但琳姝并不渴望对外宣扬,而是希望外面的人能够悄然走进。在内敛、含蓄的温柔色彩背后,琳姝在表达着自己的内心所感和对“美”的执着追求。“绘画里的世界,自由且奔放,充斥着艺术领域的无限可能;也正是这种‘无休止’的可能引领大众走进了意识的空间深层——对人性、生活及其哲学的探讨。”

Website: linshu.strikingly.com
Behance
: ~/Linshu Zeng


Contributor: Chen Yuan


网站: linshu.strikingly.com
Behance
: ~/Linshu Zeng


供稿人: Chen Yuan

Light Up Bashu

Thijs Biersteker / Voice of Nature 泰斯·比斯克/自然之声
Lumen Prize Winner 2017 /2017 年英国流明数码艺术奖冠军

What happens when “intangible cultural heritage” meets contemporary art, when digital installations enter the urban landscape? The results are nothing short of magical.

Known for its rich history, Chengdu, the “city of flowers and brocade” and capital of Sichuan province, is holding an exhibition of public art centered on cultural heritage. Light Up Bashu Lumen Prize featured exhibition puts paper cutting, embroidery, Chinese opera, traditional handicrafts and other aspects of “intangible” culture into contact with digital art. (“Bashu” is another name for Sichuan.) With rare ambition, the show aims to create a unique “artistic dialogue across space and time” and bring the public to the intersection of tradition and contemporary art. The exhibit will also introduce international artists to China’s heritage and bring the essence of “Bashu culture” to the world stage.

We recently interviewed four of the exhibitors, along with the Guan Huijun, co-founder of the curatorial team Here Your Art, Asia exhibition manager of Lumen Art Project, to get a look at the convention-busting works that these international artists with their culturally diverse backgrounds have created.


当“非遗”传统撞上当代艺术,当数码装置搬进城市景观,会造就出怎样的一番奇景?

以“花重锦官城”闻名的四川省首府成都,基于其悠久的文化历史打造的非遗主题公共艺术展览:巴蜀之光”暨英国流明数码艺术大奖中国成都特展,就将剪纸、刺绣、戏剧、传统制造技艺等 非遗” 文化与当代数码艺术结合,以空前之势形成一场独特的 超时空” 艺术对话,既把普罗大众纳入到半传统半当代的语境中去,也让国际艺术家了解中国非遗,并向世界传递 蜀地文化” 的精髓。

最近,我们采访了本次参展的 4 位艺术家及其策展团队 Here Your Art 的联合创始人即英国流明数码艺术奖项亚洲展览总监管蕙珺,来看看这些来自不同的国度、拥有不同的文化背景的他们,在此次为中国“非遗”传统文化为母题展览中,所创作出的超越惯常经验的作品,和其所表达的丰富而灵活的形式及内涵。

Thijs Biersteker / Voice of Nature 泰斯·比斯克/自然之声
Lumen Prize Winner 2017 /2017 年英国流明数码艺术奖冠军
Thijs Biersteker / Voice of Nature 泰斯·比斯克/自然之声
Lumen Prize Winner 2017/2017 年英国流明数码艺术奖冠军
Why did you choose to showcase this aspect of China’s intangible culture?


Guan Huijun: China’s cultural heritage, and Sichuan’s in particular, has a distinctive charm and a rich historical significance. In today’s rapidly developing cities, it’s a challenge to get the public, especially young people, interested in understanding, studying, and passing on traditional forms of culture, and that’s why we chose intangible heritage as our theme. Digital art, meanwhile, is emblematic of the internet age—it’s a new force that lets us keep pace with the times. We were thinking: can we use an up-to-date means of expression, something that has a certain uniqueness and memorability, to increase local connections so that everyone can better understand and participate?

Thijs Biersteker: My piece is centered on trees. Nature has always been a very important theme in Chinese art. From Li Cheng to Fan Kuan, trees have been central. As an artist I use technology as my paint to weave together art, data and nature.

Stefan Reiss & Alexander Janke: We chose to focus on kite making. The kite was invented by two of China’s great minds, the philosopher Mozi (470-391 BCE) and the engineer Lu Ban (444-507 BCE). Mozi lived a century later than Confucius and wrote about the use of kites in China during his lifetime. At first kites were mainly, though not only, used for military purposes, e.g., for measuring distances, calculating wind power and direction, and lifting fireworks or observers.

Our main interest in the kite comes from the fact that it’s Chinese in origin and was a philosophical invention put to military uses. Over the centuries it spread out over the globe and was used for different activities, from sports and leisure to religion.

Lien-cheng WangI wanted the elements I chose to relate to people’s lives and to cut across time and space. So I chose four themes that could do that: “Nature,” “Humanity,” “Food,” and “Animals.”


为什么会选择(这一项)非遗文化作为母题?

 

管蕙珺: 中国的非遗文化,特别是四川的非遗文化,是特别有韵味和历史传承厚重感的文化标杆。在急速发展的城市里,如何让大众、年轻人更愿意了解学习和传承,是我们选择这个文化母题的初衷。而数码艺术,则是在互联网时代标志性的产物,是与时俱进快速迭代的新力量。我们一直在思考,是否能用紧跟时代的表达方式,带着一定的独特性和记忆度,增加本地链接,让大家更好地理解和参与进来。

泰斯·比斯克: 我的作品是“自然之声”,以树为主题。大自然一直是中国艺术中一个非常重要的主题。从中国画家李成(晚唐)到范宽(宋朝),树木在他们的作品中都有举足轻重的地位。而我则用数码技术把艺术、数据和大自然交互起来。

斯蒂芬·瑞斯和亚历山大·扬克: 我们选择的是“风筝”这项非遗文化作为创作的母题。风筝是中国哲学家墨子和鲁班的发明。墨子比孔子晚出生一个世纪,他一生都在宣扬风筝的用途。在发明风筝之后,它们不仅用于军事目的,例如测量距离、计算风力和方向以及举起烟火或观察员。这是一种哲学上的发明,几个世纪以来,它遍布全球,用于不同的活动,从体育、休闲到宗教意义。

王连晟: 我希望所选择的元素是更贴近人们的生活,是具有超越时间性的。所以我选择四个”自然”、”人文”、”食物”、”动物” 贴近人们的元素做为发展。

Stefan Reiss & Alexander Janke / O.T. 981: Transformation of the Kite 斯蒂芬·瑞斯与亚历山大·扬克/O.T. 981风筝的转换
Stefan Reiss is Lumen Prize Finalist 2016 2016 年英国流明数码艺术奖艺术家
What do you think is most interesting about your piece?


Thijs Biersteker
: Just as a tree creates a tree ring every year, with Voice of Nature we create a tree ring every second. We do this using sensors and data points, showing people the tree’s state of being in real time. This immersive audio-visual installation is also interactive: it responds to the people surrounding and touching it, creating a connection between the art piece, people, and nature.

Stefan Reiss & Alexander Janke: In our eyes, the combination of haptic materials (a sculpture with made of steel, gauze, and strings) and projection and light is very unique. What we try to achieve is a fusion of sculptural installations—with a strong connection to the tradition of Russian, French and German constructivism and minimalism—and contemporary digital interventions with 3D and 2D programming and animations. And we even added LEDs to this advanced art piece.

Lien-cheng WangMy work is a moving light sculpture titled Four Scenes of Shu Dao. (Shu Dao can roughly be translated as the “dao” or “way” of Sichuan.) It has four parts. The first, “Nature,” is an image of a bamboo grove, the sun and the moon; the second sculpture, “Humanity,” showcases Chinese totemic symbols and the art of bian lian, or face-changing, an important part of Sichuan opera; the sections on “Food” and “Animals” are developed around images of hot pot, spicy peppers, and pandas. What these four images echo are the four seasons in Chinese ink painting. The theme also echoes the Daoist idea of the growth of all things.


对你来讲,这次作品最有趣的部分是什么?


泰斯·比斯克
: 树每年都长出一圈年轮。通过“自然之声”这个作品,我们每秒创造出一个树的年轮。我们使用传感器和数据点,向人们展示树的实时存在状态。这种沉浸式的视听装置也是交互式的,它响应周围的人并触摸树。这样,它就在艺术品、人和自然之间建立了一种联系。

斯蒂芬·瑞斯和亚历山大·扬克: 在我们眼里,用钢、纱布和绳子制成的雕塑,其投影和光线都很独特。我们试图实现的是雕塑装置的融合——与俄罗斯、法国和德国的建构主义和极简主义的传统紧密结合——以及 3D 和 2D 编程和动画的当代数字介入。我们甚至也把发光二极管加入到这件作品里了。

王连晟: 我的作品名称叫做 “蜀道四象” 为一动力灯光雕塑,而雕塑中的主题总共分成四个面向。在自然的面向中,是竹林、日月为主题的图像;以人文为主题的雕塑中,可以看到四川变脸与图腾;在食物以及动物为主题的部分,是以四川火锅、辣椒、熊猫等图像做为发展,四象呼应的是中国水墨画中的四时,在画面的主题上也呼应了百物生焉的状态。

Stefan Reiss & Alexander Janke / O.T. 981: Transformation of the Kite 斯蒂芬·瑞斯与亚历山大·扬克/O.T. 981风筝的转换
Stefan Reiss is Lumen Prize Finalist 2016 /2016 年英国流明数码艺术奖艺术家
Stefan Reiss & Alexander Janke / O.T. 981: Transformation of the Kite 斯蒂芬·瑞斯与亚历山大·扬克/O.T. 981风筝的转换
Stefan Reiss is Lumen Prize Finalist 2016 /2016 年英国流明数码艺术奖艺术家
Stefan Reiss & Alexander Janke / O.T. 981: Transformation of the Kite 斯蒂芬·瑞斯与亚历山大·扬克/O.T. 981风筝的转换
Stefan Reiss is Lumen Prize Finalist 2016 /2016 年英国流明数码艺术奖艺术家
What message are you looking to convey?


Thijs Biersteker
: I hope this public artwork will re-connect people in cities to the voice of nature, putting us more in balance and interweaving us with what surrounds us and is part of us.

Stefan Reiss & Alexander Janke: In the first place, we created a work that can be experienced with the whole body and all the senses. The sculpture invites everybody to step inside and feel the dimensions of the kite. Next, we provide a link from traditional Chinese kite making to our Western interpretation of the kite. We also emphasize the development of the kite from a military invention to a civil use today.

Lien-cheng WangI want the public to see several paper-cutting styles. The lights, which seem to breathe, symbolize Bashu’s energy. And by wandering back and forth through the giant sculpture, the audience can experience anew the beauty of Sichuan’s intangible culture.

Guan Huijun: As curator, not only do we try our best to be good “narrators,” we also help international artists “interpret” Chinese culture, grafting together Chinese and foreign creative languages. This also reflects the founding mission of Here Your Art: to create groundbreaking, innovative digital exhibits and artworks, to try to break through the boundaries of conventional exhibits, works, and audiences, and to tear down the barrier between the audience and the art.


这次展览,你希望通过作品向社会和公众传递什么信息?


泰斯·比斯克
: 我希望这个公共艺术作品能把城市里的人们和来自大自然的声音重新联系起来,使我们更加平衡,并与周围的事物交织在一起,成为我们的一部分。

斯蒂芬·瑞斯和亚历山大·扬克: 首先,我们创作了一部艺术作品,它能够体验整个身体和所有的感官——它邀请每个人走进去,与动画一起,从各个维度感受风筝;第二,我们建立了一个从中国传统风筝制作到西方对风筝的解释的关系;且还强调了风筝从军事发明到民用的发展。

王连晟: 我希望观众可以看到许多镂空剪纸风格的雕塑中,像是呼吸的灯光象征着巴蜀的活力。而透过观众在巨大的雕塑中穿梭、游走的方式,使大众再次注意到四川非物质文化遗产之美。

管蕙珺: 作为一个“策展人”,我们不仅仅力争做一个好的“叙述者”,也在本次展览中协助国际艺术家能够更好地“读懂”中国文化,嫁接中外不同的创作语言。这也体现了 Here Your Art 创立的使命——尽我们所能输出具有突破性和创新性的数码艺术展览及作品,试图打破常规展览、艺术品与观众的边界,破除艺术与大众的隔阂。

Lien-Cheng Wang / Four Scenes of Shu Dao 王连晟/蜀道四象
Lumen Prize Finalist 2017/2017 年英国流明数码艺术奖艺术家
What does this show mean for you?


Thijs Biersteker
: I hope to work more in the Chinese market and together with Chinese artists and companies to create work that bridges the boundaries between people, nature, and innovative technologies.

Stefan Reiss & Alexander Janke: We think that Light Up Bashu has been a great opportunity to explore new fields of art and experiment with new technologies. O.T. 981 is an artistic milestone for us because we fused art history with modern technology in Chengdu. It’s also the first time we created a piece as an artistic duo.

Lien-cheng Wang: Intangible heritage is an important part of history. I think it’s the embodiment of modern culture and the legacy of the past. Tangible cultural heritage focuses more on the masterpieces of the past, and what I’m more interested in here are the early stages of a project. I’ve used several images of intangible culture to develop the art visually, and added modern technology.

Guan Huijun: What does this show mean to us? Our previous answers have made this clear. On a more concrete level, when residents wander over at dusk to see the works, the light in their eyes and the smiles on their faces mean a tremendous amount to us.


对你而言,你认为此次展览具有怎样的意义?


泰斯·比斯克
: 我希望能在中国市场上创作更多作品,与中国的艺术家和公司一起创造出超越人、自然和科技界限的作品。

斯蒂芬·瑞斯和亚历山大·扬克: 我们认为,“巴蜀之光”是一个,要么探索新领域的艺术创作和实验的新技术。而《O.T. 981》这个作品是我们里程碑式的作品,我们把艺术史和现代技术融合起来;这也是我们第一次以二人合作形式创作的一件作品。

王连晟: 非物质文化遗产在历史中是一个重要的元素,我认为它是一种现代文化与过去传承的体现,与有形文化遗产不同,有形文化遗产更注重的是过去的人类辉煌的状态。而这次的作品我更在意的是前期的调研,我取用了许多非遗的形象来做为艺术品的视觉发展,并加入现代的科技去呈现。

管蕙珺: 对于这次展览的意义,我想前面两点应该说明的很清楚。一个更直观的表现就是,当周边居民黄昏时分散步闲逛到作品面前,眼睛中闪过的光亮与嘴角的笑容。

Studio Gibson/Martelli / Star Gods, Moon Rabbits 英国电子艺术团队吉布森/马尔泰利/星神,月兔
Lumen Prize Winner 2015/2015 年英国流明数码艺术奖冠军
Studio Gibson/Martelli / Star Gods, Moon Rabbits 英国电子艺术团队吉布森/马尔泰利/星神,月兔
Lumen Prize Winner 2015/2015 年英国流明数码艺术奖冠军
Studio Gibson/Martelli / Star Gods, Moon Rabbits 英国电子艺术团队吉布森/马尔泰利/星神,月兔
Lumen Prize Winner 2015/2015 年英国流明数码艺术奖冠军

Four short questions on new topics, new media, new work. Artists and curatorial teams may have different interpretations, but these artworks spanning media and fields all explore, in broad strokes or with minute precision, the interactive relationship between contemporary art and traditional culture.

Light Up Bashu Lumen Prize featured exhibition will run until December 3rd at Chengdu’s International Intangible Culture Heritage Park.


短短 4 个问题,涉及新话题、新媒介、新创作……虽然艺术家们和策展团队对主题和作品有着不同的阐释,但这些跨媒介、跨领域的艺术作品,都在或写意或细腻地表达着当代艺术与传统文化之间互通互激的关系。

本次展览在中国成都国际非物质文化遗产博览园举办,展期将持续至 2018 年 12 月 3 日。

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供稿人: Chen Yuan


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供稿人: Chen Yuan