Archive for the 'london' Category

THE GREAT BRITISH ART DEBATE

什麼是 BRITISHNESS?什麼是 ENGLISHNESS?什麼是 BRITPOP?什麼是 BRITART?再回過頭來,反問自己,什麼是 CHINESENESS?什麼是 HONGKONGESENESS?對身份的問題還是一陣疑狐。以下是從 THE SAATCHI GALLERY MAGAZINE《ART & MUSIC》抽取出來的討論文章,可能會給我們一點啟示。

  

First came the Swinging ’60s, then the bile-splattered Union flags of punk’s No Future ’70s and, more recently, Cool Britannia. Will our new government signal a new direction for idea of Britishness, or incite hitherto unimagined reactions to the stereotype of This Sceptered Isle?

To coincide with the Newspeak show at the Saatchi Gallery, and the Great British Art Debate, we’re asking what it’s like to be a part of the British cultural scene now – and indeed, what being British actually means.

Here, Cedar Lewisohn puts a series of questions to a trio of cultural commentators including our own David Sheppard, to see if they can pinpoint what, if anything, makes Britain’s art and music Great today.

Cedar Lewisohn: Do we think there is such a thing as a national characteristic in British art?

David Sheppard: Marketing people would like that to be the case. When you examine catch-all groupings like Britpop and Britart, they are actually quite arbitrary. I think there’s a way you can group anything together under a heading and say these all relate to each other, but that’s very superficial.

In [British] music you could look at the folk tradition and find things that have evolved over so much time that they’re layered with mystique – a quality that you cannot articulate other than to say “it’s British”.

Katie Guggenheim: No, I don’t think there is. You can identify differences between cities, like Berlin and Paris, which are both important but very different. Wherever you have public spaces, commercial galleries, art schools – all the things that feed in and make a community where people work together and share ideas – characteristics will develop. It doesn’t seem to happen on a national level.

Niru Ratnam: There seemed to be a cycle where for years people were obsessed with the Britishness of British art, there was no such thing as a national characteristic within an art form (and in fact there’s no such things as a national characteristic). You had the influence of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, and everyone deconstructed the National identity.

We’ve got to a position academically where the Britishness of British art has been debunked. So, theoretically it should be a no; but I can’t help thinking that there is something odd that seems to link the art made in this country. The problem comes when you start to define it and it always gets over determined – this idea of national genius or Englishness. I’ve got a feeling there is something there, but, how do you define the Britishness of British art; what are the characteristics and what actually interlinks them?

CL: Can you be a British artist if you’re working in Berlin, for example?

DS: Well, famously, Frederick Delius, renowned composer of quintessential English pastoral music, never lived here. He wrote ‘An English Rhapsody’ while living in France. I think ‘Britishness’ is a state of mind; an approach to the world embodied by idiosyncratic things like Radio 4, along with a quality of reverence for some mythical Arcadian ideal that hasn’t ever really existed…

KG: I’m not sure what British art is. Is it art made by people born in Britain, wherever they live, or people living in Britain, wherever they were born? I must be engaged with British art because I have been consistently working in Britain for a long time but, and maybe because I’m here in the middle of it, I don’t particularly recognise it as a British.

NR: This debate always occurs around the Turner Prize; when Wolfgang Tilmans won [in 2000] everyone said, ‘hold on, he’s German!’ That year, three out of four of the nominees where not ethnically white British [Michael Raedecker originally from Amsterdam, Tomoko Takahashi, from Tokyo]. But all of those artists do make peculiarly British art even if it’s quite hard to theorise what that might be. Yes, of course we live in a global world but when people talk about the 1990s and how everyone feared cultural homogenization and every high street looking the same… I think it’s safe to say that hasn’t happened.

DS: I think every high street goes look the same!

CL: One of the overriding themes when looking at the national collections of art in the UK is class – in terms of the subjects depicted and the people commissioning. How do you think history will look back at the collections we’re building today?

NR: It seems to always have been the case that artists come from across the class spectrum (more working class than posh class), then you get curators, collectors and dealers who tend to be very posh, and you get this wonderful meeting in between…

DS: Isn’t it true that before the ’50s, all ‘high’ culture was middle class – because of the structure of education and the whole notion of who it was for?

NR: If you’re an artist going through quite a posh background people are very suspicious of you.

DS: That happens in music, too. Even Nick Drake, who was born in colonial Burma (very posh), wasn’t very successful in his own time, partly, because he didn’t quite fit the stereotypical early ’70s image of the outsider musician/rebel; he was too establishment.

CL: That seems a particularly British trait. That’s why I bring it up.

NR: We [British] see to want our artists to do quite well but not become too big for their boots, because that’s terribly un-British, Julian Schnabel couldn’t had existed in the way he did as a British artist – he needed to become a monster on the Upper West Side. Obviously Damien Hirst has become huge hut it’s always shot through with irony.

CL: So, the second part of the question is: will we look back and think all we did was support middle class culture? Even Radion 1 seems to be out of step with what’s happening – it’s always the pirates who pick up on trends first. Is it the people commissioning getting it wrong?

DS: The reason this country consistently produces globally successful music is that it goes its own way and, to some extent, works from the ground up, defining new styles and hybrids autonomously. The marketing people only get their hands on it after something takes place at street level. In terms of radio play, you’re right; the pirates often pick up on things first. We do have this uniquely British institution, the BBC, and although they be may slow and conservative in many regards, they continue to provide a vital cultural function with the potential to throw up someone like John Peel, even if it’s hard to imagine a new Peel, with a genuine taste for the cutting edge, emerging in the current climate. Still, the BBC does have 6Music and so on. With art, it seems to take five years or something for the institutions to pick up on what’s happened. Is that right?

NR: You can wait for five years and watch an artist and see if something’s there or is it a bit of hype? But, if they are good after five years the prices have gone through the roof. If you look at the Tate acquisitions, there were lots of artists who the Tate bought who at the time were very promising but have now disappeared into obscurity. So at that point the Tate were taking a punt – thinking this artist is really good and it’s a great time to buy their work (they were quite cheap), and then they languish in the collection somewhere because for whatever reason the artist’s career has failed to take off.

KG: Public collections don’t sell off work for profit so they don’t need it to appreciate value. If an artwork is good, surely it will be good in twenty years’ time?

NR: That would be great but presumably the national museums have a role to display what they think is representative at the time rather that “I just really like this artist”.

CL: There’s big difference as well between national museums who don’t de-accession work and private collectors who can sell; their aspirations for a work of art can be a lot shorter term.

NR: It gives private collectors a lot of manoeuverability – they can buy work and look back on it in retrospect and see if there is a pattern. Whereas museums have to work out the pattern and make the academic argument first, which is much more difficult. They seemingly have to go through endless committees so by the time they’ve made their case that something is of ‘the moment’ that moment is five years old.

CL: What is a British artist?

NR: My quintessential British Artist is Mark Lecky; he’s got a regional accent, wears dandy-esque clothes…

KG: Is it simply somebody who’s making their work in Britain?

NR: It’s something about going to art school in Britain, no matter where you were born. It’s not so much that the education system is run along certain lines and there are key lessons in citizenship, it’s more to do with being educated amongst your peers in Britain, and coming out in a certain way.

DS: The art school tradition in this country is very particular. You’re going into a crucible of creativity rather than going to study a straight curriculum.

KG: So what about the people that come and study here from around the world and then leave immediately afterwards… are they British artists too?

DS: Perhaps the ones who are infected with the spirit produce the work that we call British art? Others may go back and gain from the experience but not do something that is so strictly determined by that experience.

KG: But then you’d have a London artist, or a Glasgow artist rather than a British artist.

NR: There are those subsets that seem to all overlap and then merge. You’ve got London, Glasgow and ‘Britain’ overlapping quite a lot; then there’s a significant gap. Then you’ve got French artists doing relational aesthetics and German artists making bleak, Thomas Zipptype work (obviously that’s a generalization!)

CL: There are some artists who fit themselves into the global market; if you go to The Armory or Frieze you can see elements of a ‘globalised’ art fair.

NR: It’s a theoretical look, almost, that actually is globalised and that fits very well into the Biennale circuit.

KG: Are you talking about art that’s the same but that is made in different places or art that you see in different places but is the same art? It’s just been shipped around.

NR: You get a look iwth this post/ neo conceptualist art which is a look made by say, Raqs Media Collective from India or Liam Gillick here. There is a frequent flyer class of artist who just jet around and become international artists.

Of course, one thing that happens this year is the British Art Show. It’s this kind of round-up of what’s happening in British Art and then, wonderfully, is sent out to the regions. It’s as if the rest of the nation is being taught what British art is.

CL: I’m sure the curators and funders wouldn’t agree with that!

NR: I’ve always been intrigued that for the past couple of years the BAS has taken place outside of London. It’s a statement we gather from London what is good and what is British Art.

CL: They tour the country looking for art…

NR: They don’t really though, do they? Look at the British Art show and I would guess that ninety percent of the artists in it have a London-based commercial gallery, they might well have toured every artist’s studio but they might just as well have just flicked through the websites of eight commercial galleries and picked them.

KG: There are some parts of the country where you could look, but you’d be hard pressed to find an interesting artist. People tend to come together in certain towns and cities and that’s where interesting things are happening.

NR: I haven’t got a problem with it; I just thought it’s an interesting mechanism for constructing an idea of what is British Art. I don’t think there is a brilliant young painter squirreled away on a Welsh hillside who we don’t know about.

KG: It’s a really good thing that exhibitions tour to regional galleries. They should be used a lot more, even libraries and civic spaces. I think that the London-based artists I know would be really excited to show their work like that.

CL: Visual art more and more has the expectation to have a social function to educate in various ways and be ‘good’ for the audience music doesn’t have that same expectation, why do you think that is?

NR: I totally disagree with this question. I think this is outdated because I think Art had an expectation to have a social function under the previous Labour administrations but for good of ill one of the breaks for the Conservative policy on culture and the Labour policy on culture is in getting rid of the emphasis on the ‘social function’ of visual art. I’m not sure that’s a good or a bad thing but I think there’s been a definite shift away from ‘you’ve got to get the visitor figures and diversity’ which tended to be a bit solidified under Labour’s administration.

The Conservatives seems to be ideologically opposed to that but also financially committed to slashing the quangos that determine that. I’m thinking what you’ll see will be a return to a problematic, or welcome, depending on your viewpoint, return to the notion of quality.

KG: Well, all art is social, I don’t believe you can remove that function at all. As soon as you put a painting on a wall and put an audience in front of it, it becomes social. That’s where things slip up in terms of trying to measure the functions of art; you can’t justify art by administering it towards a really patronizing agenda… chasing ‘real people’ around and trying to put them in museums. That’s just silly. But I think it is really important to enable and encourage absolutely everyone to come to museums and galleries. The subsidising of admission charges has been really important for that. Museums, parks and the industrial exhibitions in the nineteenth century were the first places where different social classes mixed in public and that had a big impact on how society developed.

CL: Does this discussion apply to music?

DS: Yes. The old model of the music industry had been crumbling for years. I was talking about music being a mass industry has disintegrated before us thanks to digital culture. ‘The cuts’ have already happened, if you like…

CS: Perhaps the music industry wasn’t so reliant on subsidy?

DS: Well, musicians are, or were, subsidized by record labels.

CL: That’s different, isn’t it?

DS: Is it?

CL: I’m talking about public subsidy.

DS: Well, there were state run record labels in the Soviet Union and East Germany! But, no, obviously it’s an industry: it’s still about investment capitalism.

CL: But are the concerns the same?

DS: Well, they aren’t the same because they’ve never had to justify themselves to a government funding body, only to the market.

CL: That’s what I’m interested in, why has music never had to justify itself where visual art has?

DS: Because, until recently, it’s always paid its way.

NR: Music and commercial theatre…

DS: It’s the esoteric arts, the minority leftfield end of the spectrum, including, arguably, the most interesting areas of music, that require funding because they’re limited in audience by their nature.

CL: In music, public input into the selection process has had a big impact from MySpace to X Factor in terms of launching musicians’ careers. Do you see any possible similarities in visual art? My point is not about the reality TV aspect but the audience being involved in the selection process.

NR: If you look at the most popular reproductions sold in Britain, they’re by Jack Vettriano and Beryl Cook, so there’s split between what you might call populist art and the fact that’s the kind of art that never gets into the Tate. The Tate has never collected Jack Vettriano… So there is a problem. With music there seems to be a correlation with popularity and what critics think is quality. Whereas in art there is more of split between what the public as a whole vote for, so to speak, and what the critics think is good.

DS: I think there are very popular musical things which no critic would cross the read for, but they sell – in the Vettriano model. But what does that mean? Is it simply a lack of education, a lack of awareness of the other options?

NR: The fourth plinth [in Trafalgar Square] was an example where they tried to get the public wrong. There was a limited shortlist you could only choose between six options so there wasn’t a total free range.

KG: Well that’s great because it encourages people to really engage with a set of options rather than say this is what I want or don’t want without thinking about it.

NR: You’re talking more about democratization so you take critics out of the equation.

CL: Well, in a way that is what MySpace has done. Those bands who launched themselves through MySpace might not have done it if they’d waited for a record label to sign them up.

NR: With music and the internet you can listen to the product as it is. There have been very few internet start ups for visual art, partly because it only really works with 2D art; you can get film and video but it doesn’t really work with installation and sculpture and even with painting you still lose quite a lot.

CL: There is this project, YouTube Play, where the Guggenheim have invited people to upload their video art to YouTube and then a jury are going to select 20 videos for a show at the museum.

KG: But that’s the Guggenheim; so they’re not sidestepping that, they’re definitely still in the equation. I think these guys in the middle, the curators and administrators are really important, they spend a lot of time looking at art and thinking about it, and so of course their opinions are worth more than someone’s gut reaction.

CL: Back to the idea of democracy; is it just a buzzword? Everything currently is about the audience deciding. Have the institutions just jumped on the bandwagon? Where will we go after the audience-generated content – back to the garret?

DS: The e-garret… You might have new strata of filtration (critics/ editors) emerging from the digitally democratized masses. It’ll naturally happen because some people are more articulate, others have more to say, some people shout louder, etc…

KG: You just mentioned critics. There are professional critics and then there’s any old person who is able to be a critic. There are fewer and fewer people writing formal criticism and the role of the critic has been taken on by the curator, who increasingly build critical positions into exhibitions themselves.

NR: Yes, but over the next four years the rise of the curator in the public sector will be heavily affected because there’s going to be job losses and cutbacks. So taste-making will switch to private collectors who can afford to build collections and open the doors to it.

KG: We already have private collectors who employ curators in private museums, and the curators who work in public institutions have little freedom to act independently. So maybe we’ll see something come out of the middle which is related to the internet and the ability to get what you want to say out instantly.

CL: Does popular culture mean dumb culture?

DS: No, not necessarily.

NR: Something like Jeremy Deller’s parade in Manchester shows that it is the ‘popular’ that people are focusing on now. Like, rolling cheese down a hill is really interesting. There seems to be more authenticity in those subcultures than there was five years ago and the fact that Jeremy is everywhere is testament to that.

KG: Art that is good can be unpopular because it’s difficult, but if it’s challenging in a serious way, not just in a sensationalist way, then that’s really productive. A lot of the time, if something is good it’s popular… people aren’t stupid.

DS: It’s always been possible to be genuinely moved, and have a life-changing experience through works of culture which lots of people are being simultaneously stimulated by.

CL: So we think the new government will herald a new artistic ‘movement’?

NR: I think that under that last government there was a strange conflation which came together in some unholy mess where artists like Carsten Holler and Jeremy Deller would produce work that would involve people doing things; you got a spectacle kind of art. That idea of artists involving people, so you could tick your boxes for funding and you could tick your little theoretical box… I think that’s over.

KG: Well, if you get rid of all the people I don’t think there’s any point anymore.

DS: Is there a possibility we’ll now have a genuine protest art prompted by the full force of the Con-Dem cuts?

NR: You might get something which has similarities to the start of YBA; slightly punky, agitprop, DIY…. but with an entrepreneurial spirit because you’re not gonna get any money from the government.

DS: It really, really, really could happen!

Katie Guggenheim is an artist and curator. She is currently working on the second issue of Monaco Magazine which will be launched on 27 November 2010.

Cedar Lewisohn is an artist and writer based in London. He was co-curator of Rude Britiania: British Comic Art at Tate Britian (2010), and is author of the book Street Art (Tate Publishing, 2008). He works as a Programmer for Tate.

Niru Ratnam is the Director of Aicon Gallery and previously of STORE. He has worked as an art historian specialising in issues around globalisation and non-Western art, he is also a widely published art writer.

David Sheppard combines music journalism with composing and recording in Phelan/Sheppard and Ellis Island Sound, amongst others. He is author of On SOme Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno and co-founder of the record label, Second Language.

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DRASTIC LONDON

「倫敦與其他大城市不同的地方,
便是它獨有的 DRASTIC MOOD SWING。
這一刻倫敦可以又灰,又冷,又有文化;
那一刻它可以又濕,又 PUNK,又 POST-MODERN。」
——《號外》專欄作家謝慧玲

2010努力實踐中!

各位新年快樂!

不經不覺,我已經在倫敦度過了三個聖誕與新年,而今年更是最後在這裡經歷的寒冬了。2007年8月10日,第一次踏足歐洲,第一次來到倫敦,第一次離開香港到這麼遠的地方,很多第一次,有更多第一次在往後的日子發生,轉眼間,已經在這裡生活、讀書、工作兩年半了。一切也像昨天開始的一樣。

在倫敦的時間開始倒數,最後十個月。

我想,在未來這十個月,要發生的事情很多,除了自身的工作外,盡量 Feel & Explore 這個城市的更多,還應要完成一些構思中的設計藝術項目。腦裡飄浮著很多很多構想,希望能把它們續一創作實踐出來。留英三年回港,應該都沒有什麼遺憾了吧,「3」又永遠是我的 Lucky Number。只要珍惜時間,努力現在,盡情享受餘下的時日。

到了今年十月,我會正式回歸香港的。等我。

09快樂頌誕!

今年聖誕,確是三年來,最開心快樂的聖誕節!

飄雪、朋友、假期、金錢、工作、心情,無一或缺,真的很完滿。

因為工作的關係,好像今年慶祝聖誕的時間特別早,足足橫跨了三個星期。我們兩間學生會的同事,早在12月7日已經一起吃了 Christmas Meal,還有 Secret Santa 抽禮物。我覺得我公司好在,真的多幾分人情味,會大時大節請一下我們吃大餐,大家盡興一下。之後足足在公司聽了兩個多星期的聖誕歌,而這個12月又有下雪,我又要為 X’mas 做一些 Design,整個環境與空氣就是滿溢著聖誕氣氛。到上個星期一,21號,聖誕假期臨近的時候,全棟大樓,只有六個學生會的職員要工作,我們那天就很優閒地出去吃了一個豐富的 X’mas Lunch。

今年的其中一個完滿的地方,就是可以跟全部在這裡最好的朋友過,真的很幸運。

到23號晚,與韓國友人吃了個聖誕前夕的晚餐,大家還不約而同地送了對方禮物,真的沒有預先講明的,噢,這就是所謂的驚喜!收到的是冷頸巾,很溫暖啊!

24號平安夜晚,我與大陸、台灣友人去 Southbank 吃了我人生吃得最貴的聖誕大餐。那間餐廳說是「New European」菜,地點很好,就是 River Thames 河畔,美麗的景緻、幽暗的燈光、絕頂的服務,由南瓜湯到頭盤到主菜到甜品,五個 Main Course 逐一上,很編排、很正式的一頓美膳。台灣友人在前一天還跟我說要 Dress Up,但我說我不會穿西裝的,太那個了吧。當然,以表示對場合與聖誕餐的尊重,我也穿得醒目莊重的。哈!

25號聖誕正日,由於整個倫敦的公共交通也停駛的關係,只有留在家中靜靜的休息度過。原本我以為沒有得出街會很悶的,但原來優閒地過也是好好的一天。那天也一如以往很遲才起床,睡醒就食,看一下劇,睏了又再睡,睡醒又再煮晚餐。哈哈!真的是懶人的生活。

26號 Boxing Day,Shopping 血拼的大日子,減價減價再減價,每年也會出去感受一下熱鬧的氣氛,迫一迫人,掃一點點貨,今年也不例外。自己賺到錢 Shopping 是不同的!

27號,與友人去了離倫敦一句鐘火車的 Winchester,遠離倫敦,到一個英式小鎮呼吸一下新鮮空氣。其實沒有特別的玩什麼,只是參觀教堂閒逛一下,雖然是老人城市,但閒來從倫敦出來走走,也很舒爽!

28號,與好友去了參觀 V&A 的名為「DECODE」設計展,是一個 Digital & Interactive Design 的好玩展覽!其實好友每年聖誕也會返回香港的,難得他今年的冬天留下來,可以一敍。這個展覽絕對是一流的好玩!我想現在 Art & Design Exhibition 愈來愈難做了,因為除了 Artworks 要深邃漂亮之外,給觀眾參與其中也很重要的,亦是現今參觀展覽的主流思想。展品主要分三類,一是 Code、二是 Interactivity、三是 Network。當然,Interactivity 的是最合我們心意的,因為展品會因我們的舞動而舞動。最有趣的是,我與好友拍了一張「魔鏡合照」,哈!哈!好好玩!我之後或會詳談這次展覽的。

走到這一步,還要走下去嗎?

很久沒有 Update 這個 Blog 了,之前正在埋首寫的設計文章,亦尚未完成。因為工作的關係,實在寫得太慢了。

自從八月從香港回來倫敦到現在的這段時間,一直在倫敦政治經濟學院(London School of Economics and Political Science)與倫敦藝術大學(University of the Arts London)的學生會擔任平面設計工作。因為這兩校的學生會正式合伙,所以很多資源與員工也給 Shared,我這個職位也是其中之一。我一周在 LSE 工作四天,一天則在 ARTS。

我曾在《英倫書藝之旅》的後記中寫道:「在這兩年間,讀書、賞書、寫書、造書的經驗訓練了我的設計思維;面試、得獎、實習、勞動鍛鍊了我的成敗得失觀。還差的,仍是一份真正的設計工作。」終於,在2009年的夏天,我達到這個目標了。雖然不是自己找到,是人家找我的,但結果還是一樣吧。

在準備回去香港參加新書出版的活動之前,突然收到前 Less Common More Sense 學生會雜誌總編 Ronan 的電話,說他現在正為 LSE 學生會工作,他們要請一位 Short term 的設計師,問我有否興趣。嘩!嘩!我當然一口答應了。之後,我就約了學生會的 Head of Operations John 面談。其實,因為我與他們合作過,我也為 Less Common 得過 Guardian 的設計獎項,所以一開始,他們也沒有想過要面試,他們是真的想聘請我當他們三個月的平面設計師,還想我即時開始。

世事就是這樣,當中必有阻滯。我當時剛剛買了機票要回香港,還要回去三個星期,但我真心跟 John 說,我真的很想做,因為在這裡找真正我設計工作實在太難了,即使我回去,我也可以 Draft 一些 Project 吧。我亦給他說了我要回去三周,為了出書芸芸,他亦替我高興。但確實,他們有一本 Student Handbook 要在這兩星期完成,所以急於請我。一切也來得不太合時,那段時間,對我來說,也是非常 Critical Time,我正為《英倫書藝之旅》一書踏入最後的設計階段,不能榨出一點時間,亦不能分一點心,要確保一切順利完成。

然而,我很緊張這份工作的得失,因為是難得的機會。可是,我沒有辦法,書是一定要完成的,機票也買了,是一定要回去的。只可等他們決定吧。無論結果如何,我心中已感覺到一絲的開心了,當他們想起要請 Designer,第一個想起我,這並不是想像中那麼容易的。我與 Ronan 並不算很好很好的朋友,也不是那種很 Social 很懂交際的人,除了他與我共事過,知道我一點點的為人設計技藝得獎之外,就沒有了。這令我相信,凡是有因必有果,你在什麼時候種下什麼,必然在不知多久之後得到回報的。

最後,他們的決定是令我感到欣喜的,John 決定請另一個 Designer 專做那本 Student Handbook,而他們會等待我回去當那三個月的 Designer。

返港三個星期後,我正式回來倫敦,展來我在這邊的設計師工作。

整個 LSE 學生會,只有我一個設計師,我要負責所有的平面設計工作,少至為一些學會設計海報、到為一些新成立的組識設計 Logo 與 Branding、到學生會商店的廣告、到 Cafe 的餐牌、到學生抗爭運動的宣傳品、再到選舉的宣傳設計等等,通通一手包辦。由接 Brief、想 Concept、Draft、設計、Artwork Production、再到與 Printer quote 價、講價、接洽、最後由 Printer 印好送到,也是我一人負責。到這刻我才慶幸,我不是自己想像中的 Fresh,要 Pick up 這份工作,並沒有想像中難。當初最擔心的講價,也是有箇中規律與技巧的,並不是師奶在街市買餸搭棵蔥那般。而我身邊的同事亦很好很 Helpful,我從他們身上學到很多。

8月至10月很快地過去,10月尾的時候,John 跟我續約到11月尾,說大家要評估一下之後的狀況再說。到11月中,John 再一次給我續約到12月尾,還建議明年如能簽一份「 Longer Contract」,想我做「一周三天」。傾談中,他還讚我的 Design Variety 很高,知悉我很努力,很欣賞。給人稱許,固然之高興。下一步要想的,是否繼續留下工作呢?這是我要用心考慮決定的。

香港、倫敦、Part time、Full time、金錢、朋友、設計、藝術、捨得、不捨、思念、忘記,一一在腦海中浮現了一片。走到這一步,還要走下去嗎?

同步過冬03:刻劃煙火掉落的一剎



























岩井俊二在電影《花火》提出一個有趣的問題,究竟煙花在側面看是圓還是扁的呢?為了解決這個疑問,電影中的小伙子們決定於花火大會的晚上,到高聳的燈塔看個究竟。「花火」的意義大概跟「櫻花」一樣,代表日本式的審美觀念,著重的,不是那永恆的艷麗;反而是一剎那的美,在生命最絢爛的瞬霎消逝,步進死亡。

上回提到去年冬天開始在Pasty Shop工作,繁忙勞動的工作確實使人忘掉一些不必要的煩絮。與此同時,在接近聖誕的日子,一位大學朋友從英國另一小鎮過來探我,使我開心不已。

London Eye煙火大匯演
朋友這次的倫敦之行,購物、參觀、遊覽當然在行程內少不了,但這次的重點卻落於「食嘢」、「講嘢」、「HEE HEA」;當然,人生最開心也莫過於此!

這次相聚,最為難忘的是在除夕一起去London Eye看倒數煙花。其實,我已不是第一年在倫敦過年,也不是第一年看除夕煙花,但這次依然感覺絢爛非常。

除夕那天,我依舊要上兼職,下午六時提早關門,趕著回去與朋友吃飯。晚飯完畢,差不多九時多出到Waterloo,看看能否選擇到一個合適的位置看正面而漂亮的煙花。因為我有零七年看煙花的經驗,今年確實選了一個很好的企位,在Waterloo Bridge上,Thames River旁,面對三七面的London Eye,左面八點鐘方向是Big Ben,對我來說,簡直是完美的位置。站在這裡,我們可以一邊看著Big Ben倒數,一邊看著London Eye所發射的煙火,多棒!

在寒風刺骨的天氣下,我們在那位置站了兩個小時,在二零雲八年的最後兩個小時,時分秒好像走得特別的慢。很冷呀!很冷呀!很冷呀!為何會這麼冷?我真的不想凍死在這裡,求求時間快點過吧!救命!從未如此渴望時間流逝,在寒風中呆站等待的心情確是令人難以忍受。就連話也不想與友人多說一句,為的就是要保著體內的能量,要撐到子夜煙火爆發的時候。看著身邊的人一邊抽煙、一邊吃巧克力、一邊吃薯片;我們也很悔恨沒有帶零食過來。就這樣,我們默默呆等;滴答滴答,時分一秒一秒的過去,愈來愈接近子時。

五.四.三.二.一!Happy New Year!Happy 2009!煙火開始噴射爆發,伴隨著London Eye的五光十色,與身邊人的歡呼喧叫,構成一幅喜慶的圖像。呯呯嘭嘭呯呯嘭嘭嘭,看得我們如癡如醉,享受如此夢幻迷霧的一瞬間。雖然只是短短十五分鐘,但已足以令人回味,感動一生。霎時間,煙火散落,剩下的,只有體內還未消退的寒意。我們就帶著這寒意,漫步回家。

事後,朋友對我說:「在欣賞這英倫煙花過後,我才醒覺,這數年實在錯過太多美好的人與事了。」因為這樣,她決定開建Facebook,尋回錯失的時光。是的,如果不想遺憾再次於心靈散落,努力維繫某些情誼是需要的。

可是,有些感念,像煙花火屑一樣,只可記下那一剎的絢爛。

(待續)

這個寒冬還有:
*同步過冬01:記著那燦爛笑臉……{比廿五萬還驚喜的Guardian Student Media Awards}
*同步過冬02:看見不同人生軌跡……{教您分辨Latte與Cappuccino的Pasty Shop}
*同步過冬04:體驗設計立命……{在近二百年的The Guardian《衛報》所獲的設計體驗}

踏白

昨晚,倫敦城下了一場十八年一遇的大雪,一夜之間,把整個城市鋪上一層厚厚的雪霜,純白潔淨,就彷彿進了經典聖誕卡上的畫面。在這裡過了差不多一年半光陰,從未見過如此漂亮的雪景。雖然今天仍要上兼職,但完全無損我賞雪的心情;在輕軌的車廂向外望,看見雪花飄落,白雪覆蓋全城,心頭倒是一快,心想:「終於真正感覺自己身處異國冬日了!」

還記得日本設計大師原研哉曾經設計「讓人喚醒踏雪記憶」的長野奧林匹克節目小冊子。那設計意念是把節目冊營造一場「冬天的奧林匹克」的記憶,讓來賓留下深刻的印象。據原研哉在《設計中的設計》一書解釋:「一個能夠喚醒與冬天祭典相呼應的『雪與冰』印象的『紙』的設計。」具體來說,就是把文字加壓凹陷進(Deboss)如雪一般的柔軟紙面上。他特別委托製紙公司研製這「雪與冰紙」,而這紙質會使凹陷進去的文字部分,呈現如同冰一般的半透明效果。他的設計想做到的,就是讓人喚醒腳踩進那如棉花般的新雪上的那回憶。

幾年前看這設計時,因為沒有這樣的經驗回憶,只能想像,未能體會。直到今天,我才能感受腳踏陷進那鬆軟棉柔的白色地面的奇妙感覺;積雪太厚,一腳踏陷進去,好像被冰雪吮著,身體難以平衡,舉步維艱。當嘗過在雪地走動不易的一刻,我也終於明白,當年電視劇《金枝慾孽》為何會有孔武與安茜「雪印相隨」的浪漫情節。安茜跟著孔武在雪地上的腳印一步一步走,說道:「那你不要走那麼快,我盡量跟隨,起步時一起走,要停的時候你說一句說可以了。」這是頗為動人的一幕。

來,一起踏白吧!


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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