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A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
The Darkness Growing from all Directions, a poem (with prelude)
黑暗從四面靠攏過來 （詩四段，並序）, 2019
2017年我開始了一項作品：「時間機」(Time Machine)，在兩年間大約做了百來件作品，部分曾在多倫多展出過。2019年香港的光影作坊搬新址開館，約我做一個展覽。展覽在該年6月舉行，我展出了兩組作品。其中一組是「時間機」，我𢹂了五十件照片回港作展出，每 7吋乘7吋見方。展場有四面白牆，是到了現場才決定擺放分佈及次序。這個序次輕重組合是即興的，也是創作過程的一部分。它揉合了我正處於一個城市，及於時空的相關感覺。這一回，作品擺放完成後，我依序次記下每件照片的題目。「時間機」其實沒有真正的題目，題目不外是描述照片的內容以作辨別。 這個文本並沒有作為展場使用。文本的詩，算是一件額外收獲。四道牆，是詩的四個片段。我事後給文本擬了一個題目：「黑暗從四面靠攏過來」。
故事 語言 雷達 光柱 上昇 翅膀 天眼 困境 收納 花潮 希望 祈祷 旋轉
有翼氏 將來 二人 石臉 氣球 書禁 金字塔 三角石 三倉 童話 日出 大書 漣漪
階梯 星際 枯木 死亡 疑問 驟然 夜色 靈魂 側臉 練習
魔鬼 火樹 羽毛 群組 頭飾 垂直浪紋 頭骨 大衣 木棉 群山 飛劍 欲望 天使
(李家昇依序次記下每件照片的題目 "Suddenly I had an impulse to note down all the descriptive captions I gave the photographs - exactly following their original order on the wall.")
"Time Machine” is a body of work I initiated in 2017, and within a little over two years a hundred plus pieces were created, some of which had been exhibited in Toronto. In 2019, LUMENVISM, an artist-run photo centre in Hong Kong just moved to a new venue and I was invited to contribute a solo exhibition for the inauguration of the new space. I had shown two pieces of work - a multi media work on monitor, as well as the “Time Machine" series, which included 50 pieces square photographs, each mounted on a 7" x 7" black-tinted wood block. To me sequencing is a major part of the creation process for this type of work. When I treat each photograph as an individual phrase (or vocabulary), putting them into order is similar to writing a new piece with words in situ. The gallery was a big square with four blank walls and I immediate noticed, after the installation, the work stood out like a poem with four stanzas. Suddenly I had an impulse to note down all the descriptive captions I gave to the photographs - following exactly their order on the wall. These “notes” appeared before me like a new life. The sequencing process was in fact, a reflection of my feeling to the city. I did not apply these texts as titles for the LUMENVISM exhibition. I kept it for future use - as a poem with a new title “The Darkness Growing from all Directions”.
(The Darkness Growing from all Directions, the prelude, with English translation by Holly)
The Darkness Growing from all Directions
story - language - radar - light beam - rising - wings - eye - dilemma - absorb - flower tide - hope - pray - spin
winged man - future - couple - stone face - balloon - book ban - pyramid - triangle stone - triptych - fairy tale - sunrise - large book - ripple
stair - constellation - dried wood - death - doubt - sudden - night - soul - profile - exercise
demon - fire tree - feather - social - hair dress - vertical wave - skull - overcoat - red cotton - mountains - flying sword - desire - angel
Sushi Grass in Paradise (A story)
written by Holly Lee
with photographs by Lee Ka-sing
August 2, cloudy sky, heavy rain at intervals. While staring at the gloomy sky outside her big window, Mrs. Bento gets lost for a moment. When she resumes her mind she’s already planning on how to spend the last 36 days of Summer - most likely, still cocooning in their low-risk nest. That doesn’t mean the Bentos haven’t broken their isolation yet. In July, they had already met several friends, one or two at a time, to dine and wine, or tea together, courteously giving each other gestural hugs, always prudent and respect the distance of two metres. What is this all about, will this ever end? Since when do we human become so scared of our own kind?
Mrs. Bento doesn’t remember the last time she visited Centre Island. It seemed like a long time ago. Well, maybe for the final Covid Summer activity, the island excursion should be considered. Is island a prison or paradise, or both? She is intrigued by recent news about the last Lighthouse keeper in Mosher Island, Nova Scotia. In 1981 Mr. Drew and his wife arrived at the Island to take up post as assistant lighthouse keeper. After almost ten years Mr. Drew lost his job, his duty was taken over by an automated lighthouse. Instead of leaving the Island the couple built a farm house with land acquired earlier near the lighthouse. Together, they have cultivated a little piece of heaven hemmed by apple trees, a garden bursts with vegetables and herbs. They are not alone, they share it with two dogs, eight goats, a dozen chickens, two cats and a few ducks. To Mr. and Mrs. Drew, who are now the only year-round residents on Mosher Island, it is here their paradise on earth and they would never leave it.
A garden can also be a paradise, so thinks Mrs. Bento. Picking up her smart phone she calls up pictures she snapped at the backyard of King and Kang’s home. Three weeks ago they were invited by the Ks for dinner. On the patio they sat around a small round table below a floral fabric sun screen. It was high Summer, but the weather pleasant, especially in the garden that the Ks have built and nurtured for thirty years. Fragrance of green vegetation and flowers filled the air. Mrs. Bento trod along the short stone path toward the small pond, where the Ks have kept a few fish, they’ve survived the Winter and came up to say hello. The garden was about two-third of the length of the house, and anchored by three, or four larger tress, an abundance of shrubs, and flowering plants exhibiting here and there yellow, red, white, pink and purple flowers that Mrs. Bento couldn’t even recall their names. However, she did know a few herbs from the pots planted around the deck area: basil, parsley, tarragon, sage, thyme and rosemary. She was also very delighted to find the Japanese Maple tree growing taller, the lucrative, lime green foliage on its branches proved it healthy, and happy as resident in this garden - a self-made paradise created by the Ks, and the Bentos felt so blessed to share, even a slight piece of Eden in that magical evening.
Could we simply forget about the paradise in heaven during this abnormal times and look back on earth, inside our very homes? Another couple who are also good friends of the Bentos, moved several years ago to live in Napanee, which is about two and a half hours drive from Toronto. They live in a gorgeous Victorian house built in 1860, with multiple rooms, many cats and a big backyard suitable to be regarded as a small park.
G and M, that’s what the Bentos call them, are living in a house of at least eight rooms, the largest being the library, almost the size of a small apartment in downtown Toronto. It has a piano sitting in the centre, surrounded by custom-built shelves filled with books on arts, lives of artists, and art histories and theories. Shelves are never enough and as a result many more books are piled on the floor. Then to the right of the kitchen is the TV room, where hundreds of film titles well organized on the shelves. Onward to the second floor through the ornate wooden victorian stairway, in between the landing area are books on mythologies of many countries of the world. On the second floor also situated G’s studio, where he paints and writes with fervent passion almost everyday. And still more rooms: the poetry room; the French Literature room; G’s room with his selected books and small artworks; M’s room with English literature and a large working desk for painting. The other family members, the eight cats are named either after writers, or things they love: Orlando (a cat they rescued and beautifully recovered), Emily (Dickinson), Teaport or Teepee, Grigio, Lew (Lewis Carroll), Melville (Herman), Vita (Sackville-West), and Amber. And not to forget Pinot, G’s beloved cat who died years ago, was named after the wine grape.
How many times did they tell us about the garden blooms, the trees, the birds and the bees in their backyard paradise? So far we had been there only in the Winters, but even with the blankets of snow covering all growths, tingeing the trees’ branches and the pointed roof tops snow white, still offered a look so pristine white and clean, without pollutants and dirts, a magnificent sight in its applaudable simple folds. M loves animals and plants. She is the tireless gardener, the faithful keeper of an earthly paradise. When Mrs. Bento saw her Ginko paintings and asked about the tree, she gave her an astoundingly poetic reply, “I planted a Ginko tree last autumn and was bewildered by the enormous presence it had among other trees. The tree was a dreamer, a dancer, a performer. It looked like a fantastic skirt in a frantic movement, the array of opened fans moving in the wind, peacocks reposing on the branches before an approaching dusk. It was the configuration of the Ginko leaves, the brilliant changes of their colours, that, when they started to fall, they resembled tumbling umbrellas or closed eyelids, each dreaming its own dream. I collected the leaves, spread them around me and painted them, not really looking at them but rather as a gesture in experience.” Recalling these romantic words, Mrs. Bento sinks deep in her thought, if this isn’t paradise, where else is.
"Sushi Grass in Paradise" is an on-going story. To read the full length version with previous chapters, please visit- https://oceanpounds.com/blogs/sushi-grass-in-paradise
A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
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Holly and Ka-sing currently live in Toronto with their daughter Iris, and their cat Sukimoto.