the text and images below are posted from beijing, berlin, hong kong, new york, sado island and zürich. there are a few of us, and this is the space in between.

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filled with initials and dotted with territories (for aka-chan)

Dearest aka-chan,

Has it been a big year for you, preceding and to come after the day yesterday which was indeed a day? i think about you often this year, you know, something like the distance of six months and the time of always. it makes me happy your daughter declares you are four years-old this time.

Actually, i celebrated your day in the city where we travelled, four years and 11 months ago. i wrote a message to z and we will meet after the 14th of this month. and probably i will meet mevrouw a at the beginning of next month. and f later in that month. but there are many more initials that have been lost, and sometimes this feels like the ocean, sometimes it feels sad. but i still don’t want to admit regret, so last week i visited an ocean filled with initials and dotted with territories, an ocean that knows very vast and very small at the same time.

At the bottom of a granite hill, there are many seafood restaurants which make this area a popular place to visit. you have to pass through small alleyways filled with creatures in glass tanks, and when you see a jade green postbox you can turn slightly to the right, then keep walking to get to the sea. this is one of the old postboxes from the colonial era, one of only seven left in the city bearing the cipher of King George V, but its freshly painted green-blue is really just a bad moustache.

when you emerge from the alley and arrive at the ocean, actually it looks not so much like the sea but a river. There is another bank with another hill on the opposite side, with granite that is identically uniform and equigranular (the average grain size is just over 2mm) to the granite on this side. There are some aunties and uncles playing cards on this side. Maybe there are on the other side, too. Although it is less than 500 metres across to the other side, it is wide enough not to see aunties and uncles over there. But my aunt used to live on that side, maybe only for about one or two years. Now she lives closer to this side, closer to where our family grew up, which maybe makes sense because here we are at the gateway for the Fujianese immigrants coming into the city. There were also many immigrants from Chiuchow, which is further east and further north from here as you keep heading along the coast. If you keep going further and further east and further and further north, you will arrive in Japan, and it is through this gateway that many Japanese merchants also passed, as well as Portuguese merchants on their way back from Japan.

The ocean is very vast. But here it is very small, less than 500 metres across, and there is a small temple for the goddess 天后 Tinhau. Actually, it is better luck to call her 媽祖 Matsu. She is the goddess of the seafarers, and you will find many temples in this region dedicated to her. Once i visited her island and sat on the cliff of her knees, looking over to China. I fell asleep at one point, and when I awoke, I was in China. Twice when people awoke here, they saw Matsu resting in the clouds——once in 1953, the year my mother was born, and once just last year, when I was halfway between here and Japan.

If you entered the harbour from the east, perhaps Chiuchow or Fujian or Japan, her presence at this gateway would have calmed you, and upon passing through the inlet the water would have indeed been calmer, and you would have rested easy only to be ransacked by the pirates watching from above on the granite hill. there have been gangs and clans and colonisers here, changing hands and moving around for longer than we know. there have been territories since the beginning of these beginnings… something is always east to somebody else. sometimes the view is long and vast, and sometimes it is less than 500 metres across.

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gnomic notes on a dialogue

gnomic_600x5600

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before and after the mooon, a process of reading and writing

xeroxknivesabout one month ago, these knives killed the photocopy machine. i was unsettled where they ignored and just kept on working. and then just a few days ago, the moon sliced my computer in two. in all of these aftermaths, yes——”keep working”, they said. though i was thinking of you.

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DINGHAIQIAOfashionistafashionista

happaratussports babble

INdependenceIndustrySelf-Organisation_ewh02your doctorate

INdependenceIndustrySelf-Organisation_ewh01irene

SADOisland_artworld2015septshe was this close to you

MAOchenyu_divinationlike divination

echigotsumari_schoolinggenerating,

boat_PSAthe one who lost interest

anotherGAOlingplease come over

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notes on Thirdspace, errant crepe

To enter a space from the critical position is a contradiction of sorts, both an opening and a closing. The body moves forward passively while the mind holds back actively. It is a splintering of awareness, perhaps not so dissimilar to a contemporary condition, bearing and baring a third position, more, wanting to be found, approaching words. I can affirm it again to you here now, as we read, there is something Aleph-like.

I said to myself that I would simply watch the movie. Doubts carrying forward, being ushered into, I followed the direction pointed to by the slightly hunched figure, down a dark parallelogram path towards the light of the screen, looking down once to see the 3 for row number, then back up to see Larger-Than-Life in conversation, a film already started. There were co-conspirators in the packed room, but I did not know where they were. I crossed the cold light reflected on subsumed faces towards the single empty seat in row 2, a quick thought that someone must have taken my seat one row above to be with a friend, then sank down low into the seat. Larger-Than-Life was still in conversation, it seemed to be something about making a film.

I turned halfway around, half afraid to really see my co-conspirators. Something kept me from the spirit of conspiracy, something personal, or perhaps a lack of solidarity. One week ago, they had reminded me of another meeting room from a few years before, with the same mischievous eyes lighting up over the details of planned public disturbance. Piss, shit, throw light in their eyes. But really it was not the boy band instigators as such that disturbed, it was the nomenclature. Co-conspirators were supposedly reading partners, we were told, and we had been reading from Soya, from Los Angeles to Amsterdam to Shanghai, from Thirdspace. The proposition to hold the meeting outside of its usual locale was perhaps an active form of reading, but in question was the lax literation of thirds into cinematic space, only debated in heat against the Space of a clothing store chain dressing room which had recently dominated newstainment chatter. In the latter case, a so-called private space had been tried on as cinematic Space, and a pair’s selfie sex on one square meter led to the further reaching destruction of a human flesh search in world wide web space. The publicness of this act and its consequences are marked by the ambiguity of it being a privately initiated endeavour along the lines of viral marketing. As a question of publicity, the dressing room thus warranted a reading, some argued, but in the end, a general passivity among the group met par with one person’s insistence to hold the next session of the reading group in a cinema.

Tickets, erguotou, mirrors and glowing wands used at concerts were purchased. A WeChat group serves as organizing device and reading medium, the giggling Thirdspace amidst the Firstspace of the screening room and the Secondspace of Tiny Times. There is an obvious condescendence which carries the absurdity to a high.

At the edge of row two’s uplifted faces, I slink down a bit lower, obediently guilty for continuously checking mobile phone activity. This radical opening feels predictably like grade school, and from the inadvertent margin of the second row, I choose to watch a film.

There is a scene in which the struggling director narrates a flashback to his deflated crew, and desaturated color effects drone out the cliché of the director as schoolboy, othered for his invention of a superhero fueled by the power of egg and coriander crepes. As audience, we laugh in a comedic Space created by effect and affects. It surrounds the actors playing actors like a gelatin, wiggling around their low-budget tears of outcast. We laugh while they cry, but everyone identifies. Solidarity is renewed. The film in the film must go on.

Someone in the chat group is counting the number of people leaving the Space. I must have been too absorbed in Secondspace to have noticed, and looking back again to the audience behind me, nothing looks out of place in the frame of vision——simply another imprint of Society of the Spectacle.

This movie has indeed a spectacular way of making us enjoy its cheapness, as it lays bare the superhero genre while keeping all the same tropes intact. I like seeing the texture of his badly crafted mask in high-resolution from the second row, the clumsy choreography of a fight scene traced by zip lines, sappy talk about dreams and ideals from the tops of skyscrapers. It was at that moment that someone in Thirdspace chimed up about his own endurance, that he was the only remaining conspirator among the group, the rest trying to arrange a meeting point somewhere around the nearest metro station after being ousted by security. I thought perhaps we were dreaming the same dream together from two sides of a peak, an unseen cohort and I, but perhaps doubt was my only audience. I romanced myself in the numbness of Secondspace before suddenly falling down a dream of Four, Five. Nobody gets to see the film in the film, and nobody saw me appear! Doubt opens elsewhere, I am overwhelmed counting Spaces. Real pop stars make cameo appearances playing themselves, and it is they, with the thrill of Firstspace, who promise that “the making of” (Five) will be even better than the film (Four). That is how it ends, the rock band walks away, fading into the fiery gases of promise. It is as stupidly bad as I had begun, ironically ushered into an opening and closing. Self-castaway from my co-conspirators in Tiny Times, this was Larger-Than-Life!

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that day of the year 就是那天

happy

birth

day

iwishicoulddescribethatbirthdaytoyoubetteritsbeentoolong.

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a two hour space of self-organisation, not-thinking

Dumpster FireMost of us acquiesce most of the time, because non-thought——though it is powerful——never arises. What should arouse non-thought towards thought, and not-thought not feeling, when does feeling try to be thought, thought through? When does non-thought jump place, to movement? A body of time ruptures at any moment, and in two hours, after so many months, something changes.

Thirteen Minutes Past the Hour.  Arrive late for meeting outside of exit A, Central Station. Have the thought: avoid thinking at all costs.

Twenty Minutes Later.  Ass barely touches the marble ledge when security guard gesticulates wildly: no sitting! Begin to reflect on previous events, not sure why still feeling so disturbed from the evening before.

Thirty-Five Minutes Earlier.  The obstructing woman you come too closely behind while walking up the left side of the escalator chastises you in a patronising voice: “講聲啊呀 You COULD just say something, you know…”

Victoria Park Car Park VIIV 2014

Four Hours and 43 Minutes Earlier.  The sleek-skinned young persona who once told you he has less than two percent body fat appears early before the legislative council to plead against the passing of a wide-sweeping injunction against deemed obstructions of public space. This would include the outdoor seating of cafés, bicycles chained to railings and chess games on the sidewalk. Though he has gone to bed earlier the night before to be ready to make his statement, persona is unsure of himself, knowing it is a difficult topic to debate.

Nineteen Hours Earlier.  A peaceful ferry ride across the harbour under an animated sky, where one enjoys sitting silently next to another, moving with the feel of wind instead of words. To feel what I thought was the lack of any assumption. Maybe this was a guise. But at least you knew already not to tell him you are glad to be back.

Approximately Every 8 Minutes.  Uniformed security personnel from two different companies make rounds with their long, presumptuous footsteps. They wave horribly loud squawking bird machines left and right, shooing away sunglass and watch hawkers and deafening the ears of south Asian women standing around what one would have thought to be public space. People scurry around authority like cockroaches and rats, perhaps exactly because that is how authority treats us.

Fifteen Hours Earlier, A Neighbourhood Meeting.  Sitting as per the usual observer’s role and hearing pending-career-change neighbour say that operating the photo developing machine is really a man’s task in that instinctive sort of way like driving an automobile. Hearing my own acquiescent laughter at his comment stirs a slow brew that has actually already begun long before, before his pending career change, even before your time.

DaDa Transportation Ltd

One-and-a-Half-Hour Later.  Lean against a marble-slabbed column, begin taking photos out of boredom. There is a movement of freight trucks playing an extended, illegal game of “Musical Parking Spaces”. The nostalgic looking, red “Da Da Transportation, Ltd.” truck has moved up two positions in the time since you’ve been waiting.

Fourteen Hours and Twenty Minutes Earlier, Neighboorhood Meeting.  The one formerly called boss pats my lips and says, “Don’t pout”. I brush him away and feel the annoyance twisting my face before being aware that I am annoyed. The first rising bubble is pricked, and some sort of accumulated non-thought begins to appear. Non-thought rises like a yeast of years, and recollection begins to fire into the night.

img alt=

One Hour and 41 minutes Later.  A young woman takes pouty-faced selfies with her oversized mobile phone while moving around different parts of the metro exit. This kind of activity doesn’t seem to be a problem in non-public, public-esque space. She takes a couple steps and adjusts the camera angle. She must be waiting, too. I imagine her sending her pouts to tantalise the person she’s waiting for.

Nine Hours and Forty Minutes Earlier.  Take the metro home, getting off several stops earlier to escape the one formerly called boss more quickly and pass by the legislative building. Peering over a ledge, one can see through the glass walls into the lobby, where reporters and protesters and police gather. It doesn’t look as much like Taipei as it did in the photos posted in their secret chat group earlier in the evening. You walk back to the station but take the bus the rest of the way home.

One Hour and Ten Minutes Later.  A woman with a cropped blouse printed with the giant words “SIMPLY SAY YES OR NO” passes from the escalator around the corner to the street.

Six Hours Earlier.  Ears ringing in bed, cannot sleep. All those instances from months before come brushing back across the lips, those loving little touches of his hand swiping my mouth, patting my head…it all becomes disgusting. Anger recalls in the form of misplaced laughter, a reprimand against the retarded, brewing animal I am. How much more efficient it would be to have deer’s tolerance, or maybe one of the government on crackdown. “Justice”, they say! I wish for blinded fists swift and made of shiny marble, rather than this mushy, marbled brew of sad self-rage that has been concocted instead. We identify marble by its streaks, and even mushy marbles are variegated, with cracks of guilt for the self-pity that collects like fat on its surface.

Quitte cappuccino

Two Hours After the Hour.  You think it’s fair to wait an extra thirteen minutes, since you were late before. You know we won’t make it to the island today after all, but at least you have cold marble to lean against while waiting in the not thoughtless, non-thought of brewing weather. Thirteen more minutes waiting at exit A could make a difference.

Two Hours and Thirteen Minutes After the Hour.  You watch the clock as it turns, without so much feeling anymore about the matter. Just silent relief, you can finally walk away.

 

ChinaRussiaGasThere, a coalition has been formed…

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writing oneself: the institute for spatial experiments

IfREX02jandn_kite

It could be said that these stammering movements begin egocentrically, not unexpected, as an awkward, unskilled dervish of thoughts, curiousities and flying trajectories (from me) of things trying to find their place. In other words, I am writing myself in this conversation, between you and me. What we do not know about one another has a context embedded in a structure known as art, or the institution, or the awkward banter of appointed meetings. I write myself in concentric circles that could fly through you or past you, and you may do the same, depending upon what could be put into words, where words may embody bodies and bodies circle around one another.

There is a book somewhere called Speech Matters, and in it an artist parenthesised as R.G. wrote this for his biography:

What is a biography, if not the markings of certain habits, born here, did that, a sentence or two about the ideas or questions one is concerned with, details, places of study, cities lived, a list of ‘accomplishments’. How to punctuate and elaborate a habit, until it breaks, cracks open, begins to stutter, bleed, set itself afire, and disappear into a crowd. She said, a word or two different, a small mark, to say, nothing more intimate in saying no, stopping, refusing. Why not have this book write a biography of itself. Why not a language give an account of its life. Here I said this. Here it did that. Here she died, at this date, at this time, at this place. Here she was, when everything came together and folded. Here she did this work which would never live up to anything but what an other would make of it. Where to find this other?

I have seen other versions written elsewhere. If we meet, of course it’s only one of any possible.

m_grossersternIfREX03

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from the 三行實驗室 three lines laboratory

uncleBIG_taitai大伯的太太

参加了三個艺术家舉辦的“三行實驗室”工作坊,每一個參與者寫了一個三行詩給另外一個不一定認識的人,在磁帶上朗讀錄音。每一個人錄完之後,組織者收集了又按照人名重新發給每一個人寫給他的三行朗讀。發完組織者說“好,那我們今天就這樣結束啦,你要自己回家後找方法播放你的磁帶”。當然家裡沒有,不知道要等多久才能聽到這首詩就拿著這個神秘的小磁帶走。

工作坊之後去找我姑姐一起吃飯,她告訴了我大伯過世了。第二天她和其他阿伯去收拾大伯的屋,要準備把他30年一個人住的房子還給政府。他們回來之後給我一個老行李箱,裡面放了一些大伯的東西。其中有一個小AIWA放音機, 外殼壞了但是還能用。聽了你給我寫的三行詩,聽到在那三行之間我和你之間的距離,也許也就是這個地球上的每一個人與另外一個人的距離。

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