A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine
Published on Fridays since January 2019
Writings/ Photographs/ Poetry/ Archives
NIGHT OWL SONATA (in one movement)
written by Holly Lee
Both Branson and Bezos migrated from planet Earth to land the Karman line, for a long three minutes they floated at the edge of space, experiencing weightlessness, God and the infinite black sky. A giant step in human exploration (which always precedes migration), the expedition offered a momentary stay in thermosphere, concluded just over ten minutes with the capsule touching down base. This brief, million-dollar voyage demonstrated wealth and power, securing the right to dream, and in this case, the absolute will to turn dreams into reality. As a child Bezos watched the moon landing with awe, fantasizing that one day he would go up there, to orbit around scorching hot Venus and icy cold Uranus. As a matured, successful entrepreneur he set up shop and prepared for twenty years to reach space. What he didn’t foresee is that not only he’s got the whole world in his one hand, but the immense space travel imperium in the other. Will that inspire him to a bigger move? He might have already been busy planning excursions to outer space, pinning down habitable planets, building more spacecrafts for his celestial real property empire. At the moment of zero gravity, there was not only lightness, but also weight. In the vast expanse and serene stillness, they looked at a blue planet brimming with movements and lives. And this world is ours! From a flat screen I join NASA astronauts to look at our world from outer space. It looks every bit like a realistic space movie except it is authentic, far more amazing and beautiful than man-made. I want to cry out to all people, leaders of all the nations, the most powerful, the super-rich and elite: it’s not too late, don’t abandon it, our world is not a dream, it is better than a dream, be optimistic be energetic, save it.
Photography works in dialogue with Leung Ping-kwan
From the year 1985 onward, for over forty years, I have been creating photography works in dialogue with Leung Ping-kwan (1949-2013), the most recent work being “CODA”, a 278 sequential photographs in the form of a book. It was produced as a response to Leung’s poem “Cloud Travel” (written in 1981), for the invitational exhibition organized by The House of Hong Kong Literature in 2020. In these several decades of dialogues and collaborations, Ping-kwan also witnessed my path of development in full scale, from the green days to the period with more unique perspective.
Most works published here were created at different times as individual pieces. I did not include the projects we collaborated after I moved to Toronto, such as FOODSCAPE (1997-2004) and《東西 De ci de là des choses》(2006).
(1985) for the cover of “Books and Cities” (critical writings). This was the earliest piece I collaborated with Leung Ping-kwan. The walking stick in the photograph was from Ping-kwan.
(1988), for the cover of “Three Fish” (fiction). This is a full-breed spread page picture covering from front to back. Chinese book opens from left to right, which means the slightly empty left side of the photograph is for the front cover, the full body of elements (on the right) is the back cover.
(1989), for Leung Ping-kwan’s poem “Papaya” published in the fashion magazine “妍”.
(1989), for Leung Ping-kwan’s poem “A Pair of Pears” published in the fashion magazine “妍”.
(1988), for Leung Ping-kwan’s fiction “The Eve Day in Los Angeles” published in “Esquire Magazine”.
(1986), for Leung Ping-kwan’s poem “A Bronze Pair” published in QIU YÍNG SHĪ KĀN 秋螢詩刊.
(1990), this photograph was created for a tour exhibition, the image was based on two lines of a poem from Leung Ping-kwan “In the grandest of plazas we’d set up fluttering tents, / our hearts as many and wavering as the avenue Headlights” (In the Great Square, translated by Leung Ping-kwan and Gordon T. Osing). This photograph was later reprinted (C-type photograph, 930mm x 930mm) and was included in my solo exhibition “Thirty-one Photographs” (1993), now in the collection of M+ Museum.
(1990), in April 1990, The Public Library in Hong Kong presented “Poetry and Photography” an exhibition of poems by Leung Ping-kwan and my photographs. I was also in charge of the design of a booklet (190mm x 190mm, 24 pages plus cover).
The exhibition included some new works as well as covered most of those we collaborated in the eighties such as “Papaya”, “A Pair of Pears”, “Images of Hong Kong”, “A Bronze Pair”, “In the Great Square”. This newly made photograph was a dialogue to the poem “At West Lake”.
(1990), “Poetry and Photography” exhibition, responded to Ping-kwan’s poem “Fruit Family”.
(1990), “Poetry and Photography” exhibition, responded to Ping-kwan’s poem “Bittermelon”.
(1993) for the cover of “Cities of Memories, Cities of Fabrication” (fiction).
(1992) for the cover of “City at the End of Time 形象香港” (poetry), a bilingual edition in English and Chinese co-edited and co-translated by Gordon T. Osing and Leung Ping-kwan, published by Department of Comparative Literature, the University of Hong Kong.
I keep the title of the book “City at the End of Time, 在時間盡頭的城市” as my title for this photograph (whereas Ping-kwan always referred it as 形象香港). Published here, is a c-type photograph (1016mm x 1524mm) with steel frame, was first shown at the HKIPP exhibition 1992, the vintage print is now in the collection of M+ Museum. In 1993, a larger photograph (1220mm x 1720mm) was made for “Thirty-one Photographs”. The print was later in the exhibition “Asian View” (1996) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, and became part of the museum collections. Currently there is an exhibition in the HKMoA (Hong Kong Museum of Art), on the development of art in Hong Kong in the Eighties and Nineties. To contribute to the show, I made a new print of this work, 762mm x 1016mm, mounted with Dibond.
(1988) "Hello, Hong Kong”, this photograph was originally a commissioned work I created for the Mandarin Hotel Magazine, for an article “When Worlds Collide” written by Lynn Pan and Ian Buruma, stories about some of the Hong Kong people facing their future of handover. Leung Ping-kwan used this photograph as ground work for his poem ”形象香港 Images of Hong Kong”. In my solo exhibition in 1993, I included this work in the show, a large photograph (730mm x 1220mm). I gave this work to Ping-kwan after exhibition, for many year, the photograph was on the wall at his apartment at Causeway Bay. The photograph, like a prediction, was deeper in colour and darker than I expected when I first saw the print. After almost thirty years, colour tone of the photograph must have faded and the darker area perhaps turns to charcoal grey. Anyway, it doesn’t mean that is helpful to pick up more details from the original.
(2002) for the cover of “Travelling with a Bitter Melon ” (poetry).
(1996) for the cover of “Letters across Borders” (prose).
(1996) for the cover of “Crazy Horse in a Mad City” (fiction).
A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays since January 2019. Published by OCEAN POUNDS and archived at oceanpounds.com
All rights Reserved.
Click here to subscribe
If you are a researcher or writer and want to use the material, please write us in advance. Some of the materials might have different level of copyrights involved.
DOUBLE DOUBLE archives
Holly and Ka-sing currently live in Toronto with their daughter Iris, and their cat Sukimoto. Contact with email at - email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org