Archive for October, 2008

心靈枯燥

休謨書中引述法國外交家與歷史學家杜博的一段話:

一般說來,對於心靈最有害的,莫過於老是處在那種懶洋洋的毫無生氣的狀態裡了,它會毀掉一切熱情與事業。為了從這種使人厭倦的狀態中擺脫出來,人們就到處尋找能引起他興趣和值得追求的東西,如各種事實、遊戲、裝飾、成就等等,只要這些能喚起他的熱情,能轉移他的注意力,不論引起的激情是些甚麼,即使它是使人不快的,苦惱的,悲傷的,混亂的也罷,總比枯燥乏味有氣無力的狀態要好。

有一種朋友……林一峰

填詞:林一峰

一個平凡星期天下午
在街上沒目的遊遊蕩蕩
碰到你還是個老模樣
但少了稚氣添幾分滄桑

很多人事都已不一樣
現實不是我以往想像
三毛錢的道理不多講
我很高興又走在你身旁

世上有一種朋友
能讓你表現得自然
就算走在不同的路上
永遠不需解釋
也知道你心裡所想

談到你工作的地方
不想提的別笑得勉強
談到已經過去的感情
我總是欠了一點幽默感

世上有一種朋友
能讓你表現得自然
就算走往不同的方向
永遠不需解釋
也知道你心裡所想

相聚時間總是太短暫 再失去聯絡也是很平常
也許你永遠不會知道
你曾經讓我感到久違的溫暖

零七年買林一峰《思生活》專輯的時候,沒有覺得特別好聽。但當今次心情極度低落的時刻,再次重新細聽,竟然感動落淚。可能,朋友不需要多,只要有一個夠好的在身邊就已經足夠。

China in your hands _by Philip Dodd

這篇文章也是從 The London Design Festival Guide 抽出來,因為在這全球中國熱之下,我個人覺得極之有意思,所以放在這裡與大家分享的,其中作者探討了英倫設計業怎樣籍中國設計崛起尋求另一番的出路,而他認為最好最有效的方法是 Collaboration (協作)。

不單止是英國設計業,香港設計師們也要好好問一問自己究竟應該如何自處?在這「中國」設計崛起的情況下,我們作為香港設計師,總不能置身事外;香港設計正被「威尼斯化」、邊緣化,我們還有未來嗎?我們還白痴的以為自己高人一等嗎?還經常在緬懷昔日的好風光,發港英時代的舊夢嗎?清醒下啦!水浸眼眉仲唔識死!

英國人隔岸還懂得為自己設計工業的未來籌謀打算,那我們呢?自知一人之力單薄,但如果出動整個設計工業一同努力,希望我們還有一線生機、能在絕處逢生。因此,請借鏡這文章,重新再思考我們的方向,逆境自強!

Products and services are no longer just being made in China. Increasingly they’re being designed there too. So should London’s designers be fearful of the emerging powerhouse? Collaboration is the key, according to Philip Dodd.

Philip Dodd is chairman of Made in China

Let’s not begin with the mind-numbering facts and figures: that there are between 500,000 and one million mainland Chinese designers, mostly in their 20s and 30s; and that China already has a design-hungry middle of 7.5 million, estimated to rise to 600 million by 2020.

If signature buildings are now an essential ingredient of any global city, then Chaoyang has made a fair start

Instead, let’s begin with a specific place as an index of the rise of China’s creative economy. Not with strutting Shanghai, but with Chaoyang. Now if you haven’t yet heard of Chaoyang, you soon will. This eastern district of Beijing, with a population of 2.5 million, has more than a fair chance of being to the 21st century what Manhattan was to the 20th: the iconic global urban destination. If signature buildings are now an essential ingredient of any global city, then Chaoyang has made a fair start, with the Herzog & de Meuron ‘bird’s nest’ stadium recently on display at the Olympics, and OMA’s freshly opened and extraordinary building for China’s national broadcaster, CCTV, likely to be to Beijing what the Empire State Building once was to New York. Certainly the district has much of what made Manhattan such a compelling destination in the last century – shopping, a beautiful park, the city’s major business and financial district – and contemporary culture, all the way from the annual Chaoyang Music Festival which last year pulled in 300,000 visitors to thriving cultural quarters.

The best known Chaoyang quarter is 798, a very large 1950s Bauhaus-style electronics factory complex; 798 is to Beijing what Soho was to Manhattan. There are now nearly 150 cultural enterprises there, from contemporary art galleries to restaurants, from fashion boutiques to advertising companies, from design studios to a serious art bookshop, Timesone8. One of the world’s most powerful galleries, New York’s Pace Wildenstein, has just bought a space there. In the way that the success of London’s Hoxton has driven up rents, a similar fate has overtaken 798, however all that has happened is that another art and design district has been born, Caochang-di in (where else) Chaoyang.

This growth of cultural quarters in Beijing is not something Chaoyang – specific, of course. Between two of Beijing’s other districts Xi Chen and Hai Dian is a design quarter, the DRC Industrial Design District, with over 200 design businesses – and to mention 798 and DRC isn’t even to scratch the surface of ‘creative’ Beijing, never mind cities as diverse as Chengdu, Shenzhen and of course Shanghai. And if such ‘quarters’ smack too much of supply side economics, then as supply side economics, then as an example of the demand-side creative economy, take just one object: the mobile phone, of which there are 500 million in China, and rising.

In a quite serious way, mobile phones are to modern China what the cinema screen was to the last century – the source of cheap urban entertainment. Yet the demand for mobile content – everything from ring tones to music and games – far outstrips supply. It’s not an exaggeration to say that whoever designs the content for mobile phones may win the battle for China’s mind, hearts and money – hence the massive investment by the Chinese state in animation design and games fro handheld mobiles. The power of the mobile phone in China is that it is a defiantly private space – where political jokes can be read and dating agencies accessed.

If this seems unremarkable, it’s crucial to grasp just how recent is this ‘invention’ of private life. Until the late 1970s, one had to ask that Party whom one could marry. The rise of interest in design in China – the Klondike-like scramble by the world’s companies to access its market and the mushrooming of Chinese companies and agencies – is both cause and effect of this extension of private life. Everything from interior design to design magazines flourishes to meet and stimulate the hunger of those Chinese who can afford this new (private) life.

Now I often draw a blank when I ask London designers to name ten Chinese design companies. But Chinese consumers do know them, all the way from fashion design companies such as White Collar to digital technology design companies such as Crystal Digital Technology Company – and there does seem some evidence that the Chinese have a loyalty to local brands, which has more to it than mere price sensitivity. Of course such design companies, if they are to thrive, need to be promoted and the city governments of China as well as the national one are beginning to understand the need for events which ‘stage’ design to the domestic and international audiences. Events such as 100% Design, which opened in Shanghai in June of this year, or the Shanghai eArts festival, already the biggest digital arts festival in the world and this year showcasing young Chinese talents, or Shanghai Contemporary the annual art fair begun in 2007, are already in place. Compared to the West, such events are often not as slick, or as well marketed but the catch-up is only a matter of (a short) time.

There is also the impact of the ‘Olympics factor’ on China’s creative economy. There are now more than a few signs that design and brands from post-Olympics China are beginning to be globalised, in the same way that Japan’s design visibility rose after the 1964 Olympics – think Sony and Toyota – as did Korea’s after the 1988 Seoul Games – think Kia, Hyundai and Samsung.

The V&A’s China Design Now is just one straw in the wind; the global presence of Lenovo another; and the launch in London of Chinese lifestyle designed brands such as Sen yet another. So with the rise of Chinese art and design at home, within the region, and more widely, what are the opportunities for British and particularly London design companies in this ‘Chinese’ world, at a moment when power is moving eastwards and China is no longer willing to play ‘manual’ to the West’s ‘mental’ labour? Here are eigtht thoughts (eight because it’s a Chinese lucky number: hence the Olympics began on 08.08.08.):

  1. Don’t expect immediate results. Foreign designers charge on average around six/ eight times more than mainland designers. Find a Chinese design partner and offer to help them enter the UK market in exchange for help to enter the China market.
  2. Sustainable design is a major growth area – both in b-2-b and b-2-c terms: Shi Zhengrong is the seventh richest person in China through designing solar panels with his company Suntech. London has a serious opportunity in this area, not only because Britain’s eco-design is strong but because the Chinese view Britain as a ‘green and pleasant land’ (we are not seen as innovative in comparison with the Americans or Japanese). It’s possible to ‘work with’ this Chinese perception of Britain.
  3. According to the WTO, by 2020, China will be the biggest tourist destination in the world. This is a key growth area, especially in the areas of cultural tourism and eco-tourism and needs everything from design of contemporary souvenirs (the first serious souvenir shops have opened at the Summer Palace in Beijing) to service design. Service design is generally growing in importance, not only in the tourist arena, but also in health, education and transport, which are undergoing their own cultural revolutions. (It’s worth remembering that London’s Oyster card is modeled on Hong Kong’s long established Octopus card).

    Britain needs to imagine and then develop new kinds of collaborative strategies to engage with China – at an institutional level

  4. UK design education is dreadfully parochial. Is there a university which offers courses in the history of ‘eastern’ design (outside SOAS)? If London design companies are to succeed in China, they need to understand the role, look, feel and philosophy of design in a society 5000 years old. After a period of ‘imitation’, the Chinese are beginning to remember their own extraordinary heritage. London companies need to have some grasp of that heritage if they are to thrive there. By the way, don’t be complacent about China’s copying the West. In the mid-19th century, the US copied everything and did not respect patents or IP. The word Yankee comes from the Dutch word for ‘pirate’.
  5. There are 90,000 Chinese students at any one time in Britain – around 25,000 in the sphere of creative education. These are an invaluable resource, yet one that Britain largely ignores other than as a ‘cash cow’. Why are all China-sensitive London design companies not looking to employ the best of such students? In the autumn I’m setting up a club for Chinese creative students to network them in London.
  6. The design companies in China are mostly young and the level of professionalism and quality is not always predictable. London has an opportunity to offer to increase their skill base in exchange for help in understanding the China market. Be generous in China and the gift is returned with interest.
  7. Research what is actually on offer in China rather than assume that West is best. There is a Chinese Wikipedia on Baidu; UGC sites such as Wangyou.com; strong industrial designers such as LKK; film studios such as the Huayi Brothers and so on, and so on. Part of the problem is that the most creative companies in China are often private sector, not the kind often invited on the European tours offtered to their public sector peers.
  8. Don’t confuse Beijing and Shanghai with China. The opportunities in second and third tier cities such as Chengdu, Chongqing and Dalian are enormous. Don’t go with an official UK delegation but take a space in one of those cities – explore the quarter in Chengdu around the Wenshu Temple, with its tea shops, boutiques, design stutios and galleries. These quarters are inexpensive and residence there proves to the Chinese that you are not a carpet bagger just want to be ‘in and out’. Employ a couple of local – a designer and a business development person.

Several years ago I was sent a speech by a British minister to comment on. It was full of martial words about Darwinian competition between China and Britain’s creative economies. I suggested that references to ‘competition’ be deleted, replaced by ‘collaboration’. I still hold to that view.

Britain needs to imagine and then develop new kinds of collaborative strategies to engage with China – at an institutional level, but most importantly at the level of informal networks between companies with shared ambitions. It is not too late. But it is late.

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The Events I have been in the London Design Festival 2008

THE LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL
13-23 SEPT 2008

01_
The Arts Gallery
University of the Arts London

Spin – the art of record

65 Davies Street, London W1K 5DA
http://www.arts.ac.uk/gallery.htm

02_
Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Donat/Dubourg
Conversations in Bronze

3 Albemarle Street
London W1S 4HE
http://www.cwgdesign.com

03_
Central St. Martins College of Arts and Design
Up all night

Innovation Gallery, Central St Martins
Red Lion Square
London WC1
http://www.csm.arts.ac.uk

04
Designersblock
Designersblock London 2008

No 1 The Piazza
Covent Garden, London WC2E 8AA
http://www.designersblock.org.uk
http://www.verydesignersblock.com

05_
Mint
forget me not

70 Wigmore Street
London W1U 2SF
http://www.mintshop.co.uk

06_
The Cass, London Metropolitan University
The Cass MA Show

Sir John Cass Department of Art Media Design
Central House, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7PF
http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/jcamd

07_
Design Against Fur
Design Against Fur 2008 at dreamspace

Dreamspace Gallery
1-3 Dufferin Street
London EC1Y 8NA
http://www.respectforanimals.org

08_
EXHIBIT at Golden
Lane Estate

Desire of Impermanence

Barbican, 20 Goswell Road
London EC1M 7AA
http://www.exhibit-goldenlane.com

09_
Gallery Fumi
Materialism

87-89 Tabernacle Street
London EC2A 4BA
http://www.galleryfumi.com

10_
Goldsmiths, University of London
Prospect

http://www.goldsmith.ac.uk/events

11_
Sunday&Rex
Pop-Up Design Gallery

90 Redchurch St
London E1 6LA
http://www.sundayandrex.com

12_
Tent London
Tent London

Truman Brewery, Brick Lane
London E1 6QL
http://www.tentlondon.co.uk

13_
Conran Holdings
An Exhibition of the RCA’s Conran Foundation Prize Winners

Conran Building, 22 Shad Thames
London SE1 2YU
http://www.conran.com

14_
London Design Festival
Size + Matter

South Centre, Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX
http://www.londondesignfestival.com

15_
Chelsea College of Art and Design
MA Shows

16 John Islip Street
London SW1P 4JU
http://www.chelsea.arts.ac.uk

16_
D&AD
D&AD 1963-2008 – 45 years of creative excellence

Upper Gulbenkian Gallery, Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU
http://www.dandad.org
http://www.dandad.co.uk

17_
Heart & Design
River Island presents Heart & Design

Christies, 85 Old Brompton Road
South Kensington, London SW7 3LD
http://www.heartanddesign.org

報告近況

1_
在前個星期三寄出了四封自薦信連個人作品集去四間出版 art & design 書籍的出版社。在上星期,其中一間有回覆,上星期四去了面試見工,一切順利,最開心是見到:我每拿一本書出來展示,他們也為之嘩然。這算是一點點給書籍設計師/書籍藝術家的滿足與肯定。如果聘請的話,將於今個星期尾知結果。

2_
應徵了兩份網上有賣廣告請人的工作:一個是雜誌的 designer trainee;另一個是一間小型的造手工書的公司的 bookbinder 職位。我對第二個甚有興趣,因為是 craftsmanship,人手造書,bind 書。我想,當 designer 應該是我的 life-long career;所以,趁有機會,嘗試一下 craftsman 的工作,也未嘗不是一件好事,應該會令我對書籍會有更深一層的認識。這也是香港與中國大陸不會有的工作,試試也無妨。但到現時為止,這兩間也沒有是一點回音。

3_
正在申請那個 post-study working permit,應該在這個月(十月尾)有回覆的,四百磅已經交了,申請成功與否,還看他們,但照理應該不難的吧。

4_
參加了那一個名為「circle line」的藝術獎項,最後得獎的有兩位,各有一年免費的工作室,還有五千磅獎金(包括你幫他們辦工作坊的成本),正式讓你有機會成為全職藝術家。如果真的能得獎的話,一星期有三天是自由創作,兩天給學員辦 workshops, visits 等。如果通過第一關審核的話,面試將會在十月二十三日那在星期進行。我也說了,設計師應是我 life-long 的 career,有機會的話,也試一試作全職 artist 吧。

5_
好消息一則,我之前所設計的學生會雜誌 Less Common More Sense 獲提名/入圍今年Guardian Student Media Award 的 Best Publication Design of the Year。Guardian 是在英國比較著重藝術的報紙。我們因而獲邀出席在十一月二十六日舉行的頒獎禮,結果將於當天公佈。如果真的能贏的話,除了獎金外,我還能在Guardian工作一個星期。

6_
正在準備參加另一個在香港的寫作比賽,獎品是協助你出版書籍。主題為城市,正在著手籌策這書的計劃書。以下是一段未完成的草稿簡介:
《夢蝶英倫——尋找一個城市的書藝奧秘》把筆者在倫敦學藝的經驗作分享,反思書與人與城市之間的微妙關係。這書名曰「夢」,是一種 Fantasy,一種對事物無遠弗屆的幻想;也曰「蝶」,這是對書籍所作的隱喻,老子曾說:「美書如蝶,躺臥掌內,攝人心神穿飛蓓蕾,暢想天空。」,書藝動人之處,能超越時空,探訪思戀異想的國度。

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Contributor

Hei Shing
chanheishing@gmail.com

書就是… A Book is…


一片紙不但表現時間,也表現空間。而一片片的紙張組合起來的書就是一個高深的容器,盛滿文字,既能從中不斷汲取智慧,又能裝入無限的智慧。

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.

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