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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nusantao and a trans-pacific dialogue with Chris Kraus

dirty south.

In a hypothesis developed by Wilhelm Solheim, the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) is a trade and communication network that first appeared in the Asia-Pacific region during its Neolithic age, or beginning roughly around 5000 BC. “Nusantao” is an artificial term coined by Solheim, derived from the Austronesian root words nusa “south” and tao “man, people”.

the spread in many directions as “a kind of excuse to party, right“, T. commented, and W. agreed, even though she was disappointed that nobody was listening, and even though she wanted to find some theoretical right to party, like a Brechtian sausage.

There would not have been a French Revolution, as Marx stated, without the heroic illusions that natural law engendered. Of course, they did not become real, and what did become real of them, the free market of the bourgeoisie, is not at all that which was dreamed of, though wished for, hoped, demanded, as utopia. Thus now, if a world were to emerge that is hindered for apparent reasons, but that is entirely possible, one could say, it is astonishing that it is not——if such a world, in which hunger and immediate wants were eliminated, entirely in contrast to death, if this world would finally just “be allowed to breathe” and were set free, there would not only be platitudes that would come out at the end and gray prose and a complete lack of prospects and perspectives in regard to existence here and over there, but there would also be freedom from earning instead of freedom to earn, and this would provide some space for such richly prospective doubt and the decisive incentive toward utopia that is the meaning of Brecht’s short sentence, “Something’s missing.” This sentence, which is in Mahagonny, is one of the most profound sentences that Brecht ever wrote, and it is in two words. What is this “something”? If it is not allowed to be cast in a picture, then I shall portray it as in the process of being (seiend). But one should not be allowed to eliminate it as if it really did not exist so that one could say the following about it: “It’s about the sausage.” Therefore, if all this is correct, I believe utopia cannot be removed from the world in spite of everything, and even the technological, which must definitely emerge and will be in the great realm of the utopian, will form only small sectors. That is a geometrical picture, which does not have any place here, but another picture can be found in the old peasant saying, there is no dance before the meal. People must first fill their stomachs, and then they can dance.

W.’s trauma of not being heard was a structural problem as much as a genetic defect, more recently amplified by contemporary notions of #fomo, post-maturity and the simple fear of being lost and forgotten and useful to no one.

S. was then of an age where she thought about age at least eight times a day. Having spent parts of her life in New York and LA, she knew where she was “from” didn’t much matter. When she was a student at Wellington High School, S. recalled being told by the head English teacher, a salt-and-pepper-haired man in baggy black-and-white tweeds who’d published critical essays on D.H. Lawrence, that because of her emigration from the US at such a formative age, she had no nationality and therefore, despite her interest in literature, could not be a writer [see further at 版本 version 3.0]. Which is to say, S. had lived through various eras including the demise of nationalism.

Unfortunately nationalisms have not really died if we are still looking for these genealogies of belonging, southern girl, and you empathised with O.’s alienation even though he talked about love and hate in a way that made you hate him. later, W. made a transnational gift of O.’s art object produced by W.’s semi-anonymous collective, her shy prefaces leading T. to make fun of W. because of her need to make a “finished product”. These are all various forms of trade and transaction, not so dissimilar from the way that cultures and identities and forms of belonging happen over time, across oceans. so while W. becomes a businesswoman she finally realises that her roots are not merely ethnic as much as gender-specific and class-based, contaminated, kind of like ‘dirty south’.


“Southern Girl” by Rahzel feat. Erykah Badu, from the 1999 album Make the Music 2000

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seven days for désiré[e] (don’t pull away)

she called it a challenge in black and white, the days numbered incorrectly, but the rules repeated. seven seven seven seven seven seven seven days, seven seven seven seven seven seven seven photos of your everyday life. no explanation, no people.  supposed to challenge a friend to join, so 點, a?

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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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不过几十年,玩儿个游戏(for wendy and tangerine)

umountingGLOCALtangerine攝影 photo:  Toto LOK

i still come across you from time to time. that smoke that made you blink two times consecutively––it’s digital. at the time, it felt like a border between us, an inability to approach you, regal. an observer limited by a border of mutual non-recognition, perhaps, that was our uncanny solidarity. now, i am touched in your absence. Touch physical, vectors of you, plastic tangerine, plush toy mother, there’s no comparison to what is felt, and those inabilities to withstand it. The world is regal as you are. Perhaps we see it better in absence, digitally. Like a once a year push-button interactive greeting, we could do without it, but doing as non-being won’t exist anymore, tangerine, and that kind of posterity doesn’t say much for the solidarities of the world, now does it?

by the third day of a new year, we emerge into aloneness again. he eats sticky rice cakes and asks, ‘What else other than border is produced during and after a project of solidarity?’ that border is a pixel archive that was accumulating all the while——even in your absence——like toxins seeping deep into the earth underneath pasts past. ‘Happy Holiday’ felt like apocalypse this time, and even that was digital, just another mailing list. Let us understand our being together via our common inclusion within the press release (a release, a notice…an obituary?). It’s all good news, it’s been a very good show, we’re all well-intended and each one can return to hurt alone——all theories, outside within, without inside. Your identities have been crushed, Wendy Tangerine, already lumped into another long list of women defeated, those precious creatures who feel too much (those that stand out, on the contrary, get knocked down for not feeling enough). Was it really that you felt more than the rest of us, or can we blame you for thresholds?

Maybe there are no projects worthwhile beyond our being united in death. Maybe there will be no more than a press release. Maybe there will be no more words to last longer than any of us, words just so untainted because they take to the form and reversal of each one who ‘finds’ them. this is not about selfishness anymore. such particularities, as she said, have been more terrifyingly replaced by the banal. words, words… these words, and the great collaborative achievement of collective misunderstanding. solidarity, as such. the fallacy is precisely that ‘our findings’ set apart, could never be so generalized—oh, value… like meaning, like etymologies for words long forgotten. we remember you totally and not at all.

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wong kar wai summer








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16 July was supposed to be a lucky day





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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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from the 三行實驗室 three lines laboratory



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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