Loneliness in the West

Last Monday, Helen started the 3-day workshop with asking us to write two pieces of writings at the very first.

The first writing is about Helen asked us to write the book you want to make at that moment. This is something called “creative writing”. Helen said, “You can just let your mind goes wherever it wants and you can just write what you think. If your mind is thinking about the book, then you write about the book. If then your mind changes to think about your lunch last night, just also write them down.” What we need to do is just keep on writing. My first piece of writing is about my main MA project, which is about the cultural difference and mixture and make a book about this.

The second piece of writing is about a place. Helen just asked us to write about a place we remember in these several days. What I remember is the “bus stop”. On the Saturday before, I went to the Artist book Bookshop. After that, I was waiting for a bus at the bus stop there. Suddenly, when I’m waiting, I felt lonely. That is this small piece of writing is all about.

Then, we have to underline the words in these two pieces of writings. After that, we have to read the writings to your partner. Your partners did not need to jog notes and just speak out the words they remember from your passages. It is a reinterpretation of a story from a reader point of view. Book is like this. It is a container of something. The writer writes something and put it inside and closes it. Then, the reader open it and put another things inside, no matter what that is, and close it and then pass to others. It is just a cycle and the book will become richer and richer. Different people have different interpretation of story and books.

The whole workshop is about this. Helen asked us to use these 2 pieces of writings to make a book in this one and a half day. We have to present it in the coming Wednesday. She asked us to collect a variety of materials and papers in the following of the day. And we have tutorial on Tuesday.

After that, I was thinking that I could use the theme of loneliness to be my theme to make a book. This is a book about “lonely”. To me, if I have to use a color to symbolize “Loneliness”, I would use the color “black”. It is just like the dancer in the dark. You have no help. You are standing or sitting there without any help. No one can enter into your circle. You even can’t see your own finger. Black also owns that kind of feeling of heaviness. That is like the heavy stone in your heart.

Therefore, after the workshop, I just go to the college art shop and other art shops to buy different kinds of “black” papers (different luminosity of black and different texture of paper) and a black cloth directly. I also bought the tracing papers, which I want to test the images and effects on them. All the concept and imagination of making a book were in my mind. Then, I have to go to the bus stop to take the photos there. I sat on the opposite road in front of the bus stop. I sat there for about 20 minutes and took lots of photos of the bus stop which present the time and sequence of “waiting”.

Last Tuesday, I brought several testing of images and sketches to the tutorial with Helen. Helen is very helpful to give suggestions and her eyes are very sharp. And she can feel the mood immediately and then told me what is better and what is not. She suggested the things I could do to improve the works.

The whole concept of this book:

Explaining the transparent booklet in the front, it is expressing the time sequence when you are waiting the bus. It may just spend 10 or 20 minutes for waiting the bus, but the time is very slow when you are waiting alone. The time expands when it is in your mind. You can just sit there and think about yourself or talk with yourself. In contrast, the environment surrounding you moves very quickly. The cars, buses, motor cycles are moving very quickly. The time for the transportation is running very fast. I would like to make this contrast and process. The layering effect of the tracing paper can give a feeling and mood of changing, passing, and moving very slowly to very fast. I need that this mood. The photos are from clear and quite to blur and fast. I would like to combine all these images to express the feeling of time and loneliness. I also used a scanned book pages to wrap these small booklet because I think, “Waiting is lonely. Maybe reading and writing is lonely as well.” I like the blurred part in the middle of the pages as a transition to the images and also present that moody feeling.

Behind the small booklet, I used the silver paper as the cover because I think you can just think about yourself, talk to yourself and reflect yourself when you are waiting alone. This is just like holding this book and look at you inside the book.

Moreover, the whole book behind is in black. I’ve said before I consider “black” as the color of lonely. You are like the dancer in the dark. You can’t even see your fingers. You are standing or sitting there without any help. Black also owns that kind of feeling of heaviness. That is like the heavy stone in your heart. You can never throw it away.

But later, if you have that feeling of loneliness, you can hide it. The feeling will spread out from your mind to the other part of the body and even start affect others. Your feeling will influence others and they will also feel uncomfortable with this. Therefore, the black cloth is spreading out from the body of the book, from inside of the heart to outside of the body. It is what the black cloth’s function. Can you feel the black cloth?

{It’s amazing that I spent just 1.5 days to make this book. I really think that it’s a challenge for me. I only slept for 2 hours yesterday but I really enjoy making it.}



6 Responses to “Loneliness in the West”

  1. 1 Ling October 19, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    you finally got sth exciting!!! and the mood was quite different from your previous work…great!!

  2. 2 hei shing October 19, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Ling, you are the one who always has response to my works. haha! according to you, that means i have a kind of breakthrough…
    i’m really glad to hear that!

  3. 3 Ling October 21, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    sometimes i told myself: why didn’t i leave a msg if i had sth to say in mind? no matter a critique or encouragement, it’s good as an exchange of ideas. no discussion, no improvement. blog was set up for people to share, so why don’t i make good use of it? =)
    to be honest, your works often looked too “calm” to me…kind of difficult to feel the rhythm…or say, not much “feeling”…but this time, i could really feel strongly about the “loneliness” you want to express through this book! dear friend, keep up with your good work!!

  4. 4 hei shing October 21, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    i know what you mean.

    it’s because i’m the one who is too “rational” in some aspects. i’m always designing something which is based on research or logic but not “intuition”. i really have to learn how to express my own feeling in my works!

  5. 5 shing October 26, 2007 at 10:09 am

    heishing, good work, i agree with what ling said, you made a breakthrough to what you used to do. I like the topic of the book and the mood and feel are also good.

    being a rational person, i know how hard it takes to express what you feel inside. it takes time to dig out the sentimental part deeply hidden in your heart before you express it. and one of the reason i like reading is that reading somehow help me to develop my sentimental side and let me feel what i was lacked of before.

    add oil! i will add oil to find a job too !

  6. 6 Ling October 28, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    ha~ you finally come up to take a look! it’s nice to hear two “rational” men sharing their deepest feelings in heart…all, pls keep up with your spirit! we still got long way to run!!! =)

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Hei Shing

書就是… A Book is…


A piece of paper reflects not only time but also space. Books are formed by binding papers together to become containers of words that serve as a reservoir as well as a spring of wisdom.

October 2007
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