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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anything fun going on

20170120_C17hearing

Is ‘Anything fun going on?’ a funny or weird question? I thought it was quite quotidian——’怎么样?’、’What’s up’——but if it all sounds too rhetorically polite and this context of digital correspondence should eliminate inquiries into some IRL, please accept my sincerest apologies.

unwarranted aside into anecdote. i was in a shopping mall the other day and while browsing a selection of a proud to be Texas-born international company’s fine wristwatches, the perky shop assistant asked, ‘So what have you been up to today?’, the unfortunate response being my fleeing the store. What should be reported of my day to a pouncing stranger tracking my eyeball movements to see which watch i’m attracted to——or as if now the policing and surveying has become so diffuse that everyone, even the shopgirl, is a viable check and measure on the status update of each and every consumer. Because yes we are all consumers now, taking precedent over ‘citizenry’, no more obviously felt than by way of those worldly practices people are able to maintain relatively easily in every place (latte, hamburger, uber ride). Of course, this is an observation of privilege coming from an (un)fortunate frequent traveler of ‘destinations’ that bear Starbucks logos as opposed to those other greater parts of the world still lacking decent infrastructure and education for its inhabitants, parts of the world that are still war-torn or ‘uncivilised’, parts of the world where the imperatives for freedom are not yet measured by the variety of packaged goods. And even if you don’t frequent Starbucks, or McDonald’s, or hitch uber, the fact that there are equally plentiful ‘organic’ and ‘artisanal’ backups is another minima moralia.

That is the fun going on, actually. We’re having so much fucking fun everyday we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Asking ‘anything fun going on’ is offensive, maybe, you’re right. Like swiping feeds, goddamit, information bloodsucking, ‘consumers are always right’.

‘Anything fun going on’ is like the airline attendant at the check-in counter who, since I’ve told her my profession is ‘artist’, asks where my most recent favourite exhibition has been. She is curious to know not only the city but the name of the institution, and for a moment i imagine her honestly believable sincerity. She proceeds to ask me which show was my favourite. A show that I have participated in or any show in general? Yours. Okay, hmmm… trying to be quick and effortless (speed and style as truth), I tick off a show that took place at a gallery in a different city. What is the name of the gallery? And as I name a name, I wonder about her interest in the institutions of culture, about the casual sophistication of big brothering these days, at this makeshift tin terminal that appears to have been built specifically for flights to the United States and Israel. This is perhaps due to the extra demands for security, both from the increased chance of malicious attacks and from the U.S. imposition of preemptive security measures abroad to prevent such attacks. So when a young Italian woman in uniform asks me about the fun details of my life, a subjective displacement has already taken place, and cynicism says it’s not a person talking to me, but the mechanisms of a system which have already striated us into one of a few alternating roles: policing agent, perpetrator, victim or just another piece of data. Friendliness as an appropriation for smoother extraction. Consumer interaction as marketing as profiling as social control as endless production.

You always put the state and the spy as counterforces, but I am afraid ‘the gravitational force of what is bourgeois’ within us entertains the story in its complexities of rendering forces ambiguous. Spy works for state. What is the name of the state? And how do you do today?

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the .3 percent

norberthofer_graz06 norberthofer_graz02 norberthofer_graz07 norberthofer_graz08
norberthofer_graz09 norberthofer_graz04 norberthofer_graz01 norberthofer_graz17
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norberthofer_graz14 norberthofer_graz13 norberthofer_graz15
norberthofer_graz11 norberthofer_graz12 norberthofer_graz05 norberthofer_graz10

he said, “our progress is not inevitable“.

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truly, and related

KL01_malaysiatrulyasia

KL06_aseanandrelated

KL07_senimandunia

KL05_caiquefungselfie

KL06_concrete

KL02_bookshelfYEOH

KL04_precipitations

KL15_tailorspace

KL03_actionairplanes

KL16_tailorplant

KL14_blindwalk

KL20_rivergombak

KL21_tshirtmisako

KL19_rivergombak

KL22_wildpapaya

KL08_birthdaygirl

KL12_cafe

KL11_sweat

KL09_zikri

KL10_paikyin

KL18_silatgayang

KL17_silatgayang

KL01_paikyincut

KL23_escape

KL13_tree

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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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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

2014aug10_wkwsummer

2014jul22_wkwsummer

2014aug8_wkwsummer

2014aug7_wkwsummer

2014jul15_wkwsummer

2014aug2_wkwsummer

2014aug5_wkwsummer

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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

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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