3/24/09

The Graphics of Finland II: The "Green" Sled Design 芬蘭的圖像之二


I love fashion design but I am not a fashionista. I am not here to talk about the season's must-have "green" fashion product out of a brand strategy. We have seen so many sustainable products from bag to shoes to clothes and on and on, emerging from fashion companies jumping on a savvy marketing opportunity. Here, I am just pleased to share a simply wonderful green (sustainable) design with you.

On an icy afternoon in March, I passed Cafe Regatta where I often take my afternoon break. I was heartened when I saw this salvational type of sled dutifully standing by for passengers on the snow. From an aesthetic point of view, this sled is far from a true design sensibility, and is too much
of hippie-ness and naive. We all know that no matter how "green" this red sled design is – will not really help combat global warming or reduce our collective carbon footprint. But it was delightful to see that the manner of the builder was paying attention to a simple design with the existing materials from the surrounding. Things with contrast messages always attract me. Take this sled as an example: The red color reveals a green concept; the not-so-cool design warms your heart and makes you smile. After all, a good design doesn't have to come from a big concept.

According to the report from New York Times: some 2,670 new green products were introduced in 2006; the number has almost doubled since then. But the reality is that – most people say they want to do the right thing when making purchasing decisions but not ALL people actually do.
However, I think the idea of simply creating more greener products is a good starting point. And the more of us out there doing, the better.


The Graphics of Finland I: Cherries On The Ice 芬蘭的圖像之一



In Alain de Botton's book, The Architecture of Happiness, he mentioned about the French abbot St. Bernard of Clairvaux traveled all the way around Lake Geneva without noticing the beautiful lake was even there. I still can remember how astonished I was when I first read it – Alas, St. Bernard.

As a graphic designer, I truly feel sorry for St. Bernard's determined efforts to scorn visual experience. Nature is divine, and I believe we always can find something more in nature than in books or galleries. Perhaps sensing that Nature is the best creative resource, and that walking has made me discover some significance about myself – I take a walk, rain or shine. Even under the harsh winter climate of Finland, I am bundled-up and march on the snow.

There is no shortage of ideas from Nature in any seasons. One day, while I was walking along the Baltic Sea under the weather of -7°C, my eye got caught by some delicious "cherries" sitting on the top of ice (in fact, they are buoys). I stopped and suddenly realized that I was exploring the discovery of visual analogy: "cherries on the ice" versus "buoys on the water".

Ideas come from anytime and anywhere. I was intrigued by the graphic landscape I saw that day and decided to work on a series of photography project to portrait Finland.

3/20/09

Are You At Home or Somewhere Else? 你在家還是在外頭?

"How Are You?" vs. "Where Are You?"

Since I have been known as a nomad in my circle of friends, I have noticed that most of the messages from my cell phone usually begin with "Where are you?" instead of "How are you?". Frankly, I have no problem with my dear friends being so getting-to-the-point with me, but I found it amusing that modern cell phones have affected our social exchanges. Just like what
the American scientist Steven Pinker claims: "We make tools, and as we evolved, our tools make us".

Giving a choice between ideology and cool design , I usually surrender to the first. The substantial, stocky form of home phones (especially from the 60s) exude a sense of mystery, and offer an unexpected experience. But the light, ever-smaller design of cell phones allow people to be connected when they do not wish to be.

Regardless of how "being connected" has become essential to our idea of lifestyle comfort, we all know that the future is not necessarily better. To me, life would be very dull indeed without mysterious, and what would be left to strive for if everything were known?



3/15/09

The Memories of Kyoto 京都的回憶


THE MEMORY OF THE CROWD ON SANJO-DORI

In the hot Kyoto afternoon,
the old puppeteer with his puppet
and the audience
reflected so much of the history and charm
of this thousand-year-old city.


三条通眾生像的記憶
京都夏日炎炎的午後
年邁的傀儡師傅與木偶
還有他的觀眾,
忠實地反映出
千年古都的歷史與魅力。

The Memories of Kyoto 京都的回憶


THE MEMORY OF THE KIMONO

Nothing was moving
but the scent of kimono
and the shutter of my Canon.

和服的記憶
闐靜無聲
除了
和服餘韻
以及
快門的咔嚓聲響。

3/9/09

The Memories of Kyoto 京都的回憶



町屋的記憶
古老的寺廟與遠近馳名的庭園
也許能為古都的純淨靈魂定下註解,
但木造町屋那經歲月渲染過的幽暗門面,
才是古都的精髓所在。

THE MEMORY OF MACHIYA
The ancient temples and famous garden
may define the rarefied soul of the old capital,
but the dark façades of machiya
are the marrow of its bones.

Scented Memory


芬芳的記憶
我喜歡他從花園摘了朵嫣紅山茶花給我的時候;喜歡他用老式唱機播放台語或日本歌謠的時候;喜歡他騎腳踏車帶我出去閒晃兜風的時候;喜歡他用芒果核為我做發條玩具的時候。看完醫生以後,我喜歡他買熱烘烘剛剛出爐的葡萄乾麵包給我,讓我不再嚎啕大哭。我喜歡坐在他的大腿上,聽著他與朋友的閒話家常。還是個小女孩的時候,我喜歡嚷著要他做馬給我騎,或是賴在他身邊,聞聞他身上的味道,碰碰他上了髮蠟的黑髮。

而我最最喜歡的,是在他拿著毛筆寫書法時坐在他旁邊,滿心崇拜的看著他。好幾次的午後黃昏,他盤腿坐在榻榻米上,靠著矮桌練習書法,我則正襟危坐地在旁磨墨,當一個恪盡職守的小書僮。每當他寫完一張宣紙,我就會立刻替他換上新的。我們是一對缺一無二、合作無間的好拍檔。跟他那麼親近,就連那獨特刺鼻的墨汁味也讓我舒暢開懷。

幾年後某個溫柔的夜晚,在京都某間餐廳的木板陽台上獨酌的我,欣賞著遙遠天邊那一輪明月和點點繁星。當我的目光冷不防地飄向清酒瓶上的標籤,那優美的毛筆書法讓我陡然間聞到一股渴望的味道。就在這味道潛入我的嗅覺記憶,緩緩綻放的那一剎那,父親毛筆字跡所散發的芬芳,立即瀰漫空中。

人生的前八年,我們一起度過許多美好的時光。我深愛著他,也唯有隱含著父親的芬芳記憶,才能重新喚起這些往日時光。

Scented Memory
I loved it when he picked a big red camellia for me from the garden, and when he played Taiwanese or Japanese folk songs from the old record player. I loved it when he took me out for a bicycle ride, and when he hand-made winding toys for me from mango seeds. I loved it when he bought me fresh resin buns to stop me crying after a doctor’s visit, and I loved to sit on his lap to listen to his conversation with his friends. When I was a little girl, I loved to ask for a horseback ride or to lie down next to him, to smell his smell, and to touch his waxed black hair.

But what I loved most was sitting by his side and watching with heartfelt admiration as he was writing Chinese calligraphy with a brush. On many a late afternoon, as he sat on the tatami and practiced calligraphy on a low desk, I would grind an ink stick on a grinding stone to prepare ink for him. Each time he filled one sheet of rice paper, I would move the sheet and place a new one in front of him right away. Together we made a good team, and being so close to him, even the peculiar smell of the ink made me happy.

Years later, on a balmy evening on the deck of a restaurant in Kyoto, I was having a drink and gazing at the full moon and the stars. The beautiful calligraphy on the label of the sake bottle caught my eye, and suddenly I smelled the longing. And that first stab of longing came with the scent of my father’s writing.

For the first eight years of my life, we shared many wonderful moments. I loved him dearly, and nothing brings back these moments like my scented memories of our happiness.