A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine
Published on Fridays since January 2019
Writings/ Photographs/ Poetry/ Archives
Since the Fall of 2018, we ceased running our gallery. A major renovation took place and the space was transformed into our living quarter, as well as a work space. The narrower, inner gallery space is turned into a small private library, while we leave the larger gallery space with wide corner windows as a casual exhibition area; maintaining three plain walls with a large six by six feet table in the middle. We use the space as a salon for friend gatherings, a spot to generate energy. This issue contains contents in two parts, they represented fragments related to two exhibitions we organized recently. Part one is a prose “60 Wonders” Holly contributed to Tomio Nitto’s exhibition catalogue, the show is still on view from October 16 to 30. In part two, a selection of photographs Ka-sing took during Kai Chan’s exhibition “Twenty Twenty” held from September 18 to October 2. Some of these photographs are included in his newly published book “Eighty Two Photographs”.
The space at 50 Gladstone photographed on October 12, 2021
THE DIARY OF WONDERS
a prose written by Holly Lee
for the exhibition catalogue of "The Diary of Wonders" (October 16-30, 2021, Tomio Nitto)
Tomio Nitto doesn’t remember when he began hiking in Leslie Street Spit, the five-kilometre concrete peninsula formed by construction waste dumped into Lake Ontario since seventy years ago. He does notice, by walking from where he lives it’ll take him an hour and a half to reach there, and by the time he arrives, it would be almost noon.
Walking pass the baselands, he can smell a mixture of scents, musty whilst musky, noticeably sent from the thicket of bushes, shrubs and trees. As he walks further, OHM, the Outer Harbour Marina appears on his right. It is a weekday and most of the boats are parked there and few slips are left open. It takes him another twenty minutes to get to the Bird Research Station, a point where he can find a spot to sit down and observe Aquatic Park in quietude; for monitoring avian activity has been his greatest pleasure. When he goes hiking, he always prepares his own lunch, often consists of rice balls stuffed with umeboshi (a Japanese pickled plum) he lightly presses and shapes into triangles balls, and wrapping them with nori. Sometimes he would bring a boiled egg or two. For a side dish he would take a few pieces of pickled ginger, mixed with some small dried fish to complete a sumptuous and healthy meal. He enjoys the picnic and gladly shares the space of other animals; birds, fish and sometimes, coyotes.
Notably the Spit is home to large numbers of land, water and sky habitants. One report said that there are more than 300 species of birds and over 55 species of butterflies that have been identified at the Park, let alone the many reptiles, invertebrates, amphibians, small mammals, rodents, fish, and yes, his favourite animal: beavers. Leslie Street Spit, also known as Tommy Thompson Park, is indeed “an accidental urban wilderness”, a paradise within the city’s easy reach. More and more people have grown fond of this remarkable wild landscape and its habitat. He, for one, is a frequent visitor to this 7.7 mile trafficked loop trail. What a fine day for walking, the air is sweet and dry, the sun high and the wind is willing and whistling with a gentle smile. While sitting there chewing rice ball he notices nearby a colony of cormorant perching on the tall tree branches, making grunting sounds as if they are debating over whether they should build their next nests on the ground. In his heart he is not a cormorant defender, but it is increasingly sad to see the trees go leafless and die. Still steep in these helpless thoughts he suddenly detects a sound close by that resembles the flight of a mosquito. He tilts his head upward and looks, and what a surprise - thousand times bigger than a mosquito, it is a mechanical bird flying overhead. A man in staff uniform with controller in hands staring at the monitor to direct the drone’s route and movement. Without asking the man, he knows he’s a staff of the conservation team of the park, and he’s doing a research and study of the food chain in the wetland areas. This is where science and nature meet with the aim to replenish the latter, without inducing further damage to earth’s habitat. However the noise the drone makes is a bit loud and annoying so he gets up and continues hiking through grassy and wooded fields, across the red floating bridge, stoping here and there to greet a frog, a turtle and other aquatic life in the ponds.
For another forty minutes, he reaches the tip of Leslie Spit, and uphill stands a lighthouse built in the seventies. Here he is rewarded a clear view of the city. The lighthouse is a hexagonal white concrete tower with one-third of its top painted red, though the lower part is now covered with graffiti, it is not deserted. Powered by a solar panel, it produces a red flash every ten seconds, guiding ship traffic along at the eastern channel into the Toronto Harbour. The sun has moved slightly west and nearly another half day has gone by. From the lighthouse he will loop back to the park’s entrance by taking the asphalt trail along the eastern shore, which is roughly 5 kilometres, or one and a half hours walk back to the point where he started earlier in the day. He likes to walk down to the beaches, which are literally garbage dumps full of construction debris, weathered, broken bricks, cement blocks, rebar, wood pieces and scrape metal. These are refuse en masse and the choice for his rescue mission would be bountiful.
He has been picking up different wreckages since the Pandemic began; his days get lonelier and time spent longer on the shorelines, picking up remnants and studying their physique in a careful manner. Not one is similar, but he has infinite time to select and salvage the ones that speak to his heart. These blessed pieces, who has ever given you so much time and attention, so much touch and caress with tenderness? Who are you. Now, this is your colour, this is my colour, let’s share it half and half. Above and beyond he has injected life into each piece of flotsam and jetsam, recreating it into alpha and omega.
Humming a tune from his childhood, on the way back he runs into a spectacular sunset of the city skyline and Lake Ontario. He pauses for a while, feeling utterly peaceful, listens with eyes close to the calming rhythm of the water. If he keeps walking with the same casual pace it would take him another one and a half hours to reach home. By simple calculation the day trip there and back on foot is six hours. Now his thoughts is taken by the face of a clock, tick-tock tick-tock. For every 60 minutes equals to an hour. Now his head is swamped with six and zero, every minute equals to 60 seconds, tick-tock tick-tock. 6 hours 60 minutes 60 wonders.
(a photograph taken by Lee Ka-sing, for the exhibition catalogue of "The Diary of Wonders")
Photographs taken during Kai Chan's exhibition "Twenty Twenty" (September 16 to October 2, 2021)
A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays since January 2019. Published by OCEAN POUNDS and archived at oceanpounds.com
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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