On what I walk to see...

"Objects do not have any intrinsic meaning- that meaning is conferred on them by us- and that different people, and the same person at different times, may confer different meanings on the same object." (Hammersley, 1989, p. 135)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Great Gatsby

After I attended the event "Taipei Sounds, Taipei Stories: Reflections of a Sound Artist" at the Taiwan Music Institute (臺灣音樂館), I had to take a bit more walk... insufficient quota for the day.

I walked across the Hangzhou North Road from Taiwan Music Institute (臺灣音樂館) and found myself already in the Huashang Creative Park (華山1914創意文化園區)... an area I walked by gazzilion and a time these past two years or so but never made it in there because whenever I passed it, it was either at the beginning or the end of my walk.

Somehow I thought the two places were at least a huge block away... not realizing all it takes was the crossing over of the Hangzhou North Road.... and it reminds me of what happened when I asked this NYPD lady where ground zero was back in 2011.

I was all excited by the discovery (including the discovery of my blatant ignorance)... and I walked through them buildings till I saw this promo event for the new film "The Great Gatsby"-- a book I have never read but listened to in my younger and, hopefully, more vulnerable years...

The heat and humidity surely reminded me of the trip they, the great Gatsby et al., took to New York and chilled out at the Plaza Hotel... possibly in attires alike worn by the models in the picture below...

I was so excited to be given the opportunity to test out the costumes and to take a picture with Leo like what this gentleman did...
Pay attention to the fashionable piece of red thing on his head.
Then, I thought... "I had intended to come in here earlier today... maybe there is a reason for it... Having hangout for 3 days this week, maybe the almighty universe is telling me... 'Yo, enough life of the Great Gatsby!  Make sure you shuffle your behind and do some work.'" lol (No magic thinking allowed.  Stop here.)

Regardless, somehow I was and am still so thrilled to walk into this event... reliving the life of the Great Gatsby...


Saturday, May 18, 2013

From Kurt Stallmann's senses and beyond--Taipei Sounds, Taipei Stories

I went to an event called "Taipei Sounds, Taipei Stories: Reflections of a Sound Artist" albeit the fact that I am really short in the department of art... if not culture in general.

I have met Dr. Kurt Stallmann (just realized that... wow... he has a wiki page) a few times before because I happened to go hang out with my former adviser when they were hanging out.  I know that he is a composer and a sound artist.  So, I heard the other day that he was going to have an event about the sounds of Taipei.  I was all excited and would like to go because... it's exceptionally nice to attend events performed by people you know.

Although I was told that the seating was very restricted... something like only 50 people allowed... it was not until when I was there today was I informed that they had to decline people's RSVP since yesterday because too many people had wanted to come.  Lucky me... an appendix to my former adviser's family... 8-X lol

The event took place at the Taiwan Music Institute (臺灣音樂館)... shamefully... though I have walked around the block so many a time, I didn't know of its existence until today... speaking of you don't see what you don't know.

The performance contained a combination of in-person auditory narration, recorded sounds, images and live-performance of traditional Chinese instruments (i.e., Pipa, Erhu, Yangqin).

One story I like the best is the story of a barking doggie outside of this Rido Cafe.  As we were sitting there listening to Dr. Stallmann retelling the story of that annoying loud dog barking outside of the cafe... there was the recording of the barking doggie and the other sounds in the background... whatever dasein a digital recording devise is capable of capturing... What a semi-in-situ experience... reminding me of them astronomy pictures like the one 3.6 billion light-years from Earth or in the eyes of the Hubble: Galaxies Across Space and Time.

In between Dr. Stallmann's presentation were the live performances... musicians playing traditional instruments like Pipa, Erhu and Yangqin... It might be the first time for me to listen to the playing of these instruments  live... not in the form of an orchestra... (at least 1/3 of the chance I think...)

猶抱琵琶半遮面 梁家寧... the performance of Pipa by musician 梁家寧
葉維仁on erhu (二胡) and 吳姿俞 on Yangqin (揚琴). Apparently, the musician 葉維仁is Dr. Stallmann's erhu teacher.
While the presentation itself incorporated the use of digital media, at some point, I found within the audience someone who took the notion to a different level... A form of the presentation unseen by the majority of the audience... sound waves themselves... in a presentation of a sound artist.

Look at the ever-changing sound waves on the screen... That gentleman is surely listening to the performance visually..
Next to the room where the presentation took place was another exhibition...  On the screen were pictures of ordinary buildings and their water towers (or simply water towers).  Interestingly, there were four plants on the table... placed at just the right place that their shadows were cast at the bottom of the screen... as the pictures with water towers were moving and changing... what remained constant were these shadows... making the presentation like an anime--to a certain point.

Then, at some point, I started talking to this gentleman in the room with a nice camera... who happened to be the photographer 游本寬 himself... He told me that the plaints were still in the water yesterday, brought to my attention the sound of water in the background, and explicated the theme of the exhibition... aqua 「水之二三事」(Something about Water).

A photograph of the photographer 游本寬 explaining his photographs to my former adviser at the exhibition  「水之二三事」(Something about Water).  The notion of my taking photographs of an expert is like... 魯班門前弄大斧... though I did do it in his back... lol
I have a liking for this quote Dr. Stallmann reiterated during this presentation... something his professor had him told... though not the exact words...

Shall what you don't understanding be considered as noise, how much noise can be tolerated before the meaning is lost?

Profound... eh....

After the event, I had to go and do some walk... Interestingly, as an appendix to my former adviser's family, I somehow found myself landed at the dining table with Dr. Stallmann's family and my former adviser's family.

So it concludes too many of them words limited de your missy appendix the lucky dog of the day... lol

It's very unfortunate that, because I was not sure whether video recording was allowed at this performance, I did not take video clips of the performance... and did not capture the sound part either... Knowing it was recorded by devices far more advanced than my grandpa canon.... I hope something might be uploaded somewhere sometime... so that I can simply show you the performance in liu of too many my words and still my pictures... (though... if I could make myself to steal some pix, why didn't I go all the way to take the clips?  Can't understand this head.  lol)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fulong Train Station 福隆車站

On the train ride to Hualien, my dad got us the famous Railway bentoboxes (便當)... and that definitely brought back my childhood memory... when my aunt's family were selling benton in Fulong by and at the Fulong train station.

I had only gone back to visit Fulong once, perhaps, since my aunt's family moved away from Fulong.  However, I simply couldn't find them pictures taken (imaginary or not).  Since my head was getting me mighty annoyed (被我這粒頭煩死啦!) with its constant pursuit to find the picture of Fulong train station, I decided to take a walk down the memory lane... to the summer playground of my childhood, Fulong, which I grew up believing that it's a town in Yilan and only to realize that it's actually a village in the Gongliao District of New Taipei City in the last 2 weeks or so.

I actually didn't know whether I would arrived at Fulong that day... since given the time constraint, I might just go somewhere closer by... speaking of... "I don't know where I'm going."  And, I surely knew that I actually made it to Fulong when I heard the announcement on the train... lol

And, finally, I got to see my Fulong train station during the day time and in the night.
Fulong Train Station today (2013)
Fulong Train Station today (2013) in the night.
Without a doubt, the train station I saw looked a bit different from what I remembered... So... I took the liberty to google up some pictures showing what the old station in my memory might look like... what I saw when I went down to visit was like below...

Older Fulong Train Station 舊福隆車站
Whereas what my head was searching for might be the train station shown in this picture taken in 1968 (ok... just for the sake of clarification... before I was born).

This is more or less the image of the Fulong Train Station I was looking for... a picture taken in 1968 (before I was born).
And, of course, let me not forget the train station in the eyes of the sand sculptors...

Fulong Station in the eyes of the sand sculptors  2013.

The reality is... perhaps... what I was reminiscing about was not the train station itself only... but the bento place  (鄉野便當) my aunt used to run right next to the train station.  Every time the train was about to come in, a lot of adults would come in to get the bento boxes and rushed to the platform with that wooden box hanging over their neck... full of bento boxes.

Because I was till pretty young, there was nothing much they could make me do.  Then, there came this day right after a typhoon passed... after howling all night and scared the xyz out of me.  Someone came to inform us that the train had taken off from Hualien and the whole family rushed to the store... When all the adults were busy doing whatever they were doing, I was assigned the job of cutting eggs (魯蛋)... I gotta be really proud of my egg cutting experience that I still remember today how I was trying to cut one egg at a time.  8-O lol

There were other times when we took the train that stopped at the Fulong station.  Knowing which train we were on, auntie and cousins would prepare special bento boxes for us.  I remember vividly how, one time, my cousin made me a special bento with egg salad as one of the dish.  That might be one of the first times I had a taste of egg salad... and it tasted sooooo nice!

Bento seller today.
Then, there came this one summer, in addition to selling bento boxes, they also brought in this huge machine (like the machine in the picture below) to sell 搖搖冰 (slurpee).  I was maybe about 6 or 7 years old... and was mighty in awe with this gigantic machine that could make slurpee on its own.  Wow... 8-O

A picture I found of the 搖搖冰 machine from someone else's blog.
Them good old times when I was much more of a spring chicken!  Things might have changed but the trip surely brought back some lovely memories du temps passe!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Bridge and the Fulong beach 福隆海水浴場及拱橋

So, because I couldn't find a picture of the Fulong (福隆) train station, I decided to take a walk down in Fulong.  En route, I strolled down the sand beach and visited them sand sculptures... before some of them... yet to be completed.

Before entering, I was told that I had to carry my behind up this Rainbow Bridge (彩虹橋)... to get to the beach where the sand sculptures are...  It didn't look like all that big a bridge at the first sight...

At least, not until when I set of my foot on it...

Inching away, wondering to myself how much longer it was to take before I get to see the sand sculptures on the beach.

It's gotta be about 3 decades since I last came to visit the Fulong beach.  In between my snooping around the sand sculptures, I got my feet wet in the Pacific ocean.

Up to this point and much later, the Fulong beach was the background where the 2013 Fulong Sand Sculpture Art Festival (2013 福隆國際沙雕藝術季) takes place and that bridge was but a bridge I had to move my sorry behind over  with many a stop to cross some water...

Then, as I was looking for some information online about Fulong train station and Fulong beach a day or two later, I learned that that water I had to crossover is the Shuangsi River.  Due to the change of the waterway of the Shuangsi River from year to year, in some years, the bridge goes directly into the sea... while other, like this year, the bridge lead to the beach surround by the Shuangsi River on one side and the Pacific ocean on the other.

This beach itself was already a famous one during the era of Japanese occupation and it was formerly known as the Aodi beach (澳底海水浴場).  In recent year, the sand of the beach has diminished gradually, which was suspected to be related to the staithe built to transport equipment for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant of Taiwan.  Apparently, the diminishing sand beach had caused some problems to hold the Ho-hai-yan Rock Festival (貢寮國際海洋音樂祭), which has taken place on the Fulong beach for years.  Essentially, the receding shoreline leaves insufficient beach to hold the concerts... thus... the need to move sand from somewhere else to build a bigger beach.

So... the beach and the bridge turned to be some interesting object to me... as a result of the things I learned... unaware of when on site.  I decided to find some pictures showing myselves what it be like for the bridge to go directly into the water... river or ocean.

As of 5/2/2013, in the picture I took, the Rainbow bridge goes over the Shuangsi River and lands on the sand beach.
In some years, the bridge goes into the water... (look almost like the river to me)...
In some other years, the bridge goes into... not quite sure the sea or the river... Pacific ocean perhaps?
Knowing something about the bridge and the beach now, I am surely happy that I took a picture of this seemingly ordinary bridge... and... this came to my mind...

The Rainbow bridge we see here was build in 1994, what about before 1994?  I remember vaguely that when we went down the beach when I was a kid, there was a pretty beaten down old bridge and I remember the adults had mention the irregular site of the beach... though... memory is a strange thing... (therefore... the entire research on eyewitness testimony).

I looking all over the internet till... finally... I found this clip online to show that... in 1968... a different bridge was in place... although I don't know whether this was the bridge I saw then.  (And, I asked my dad about the bridge today and he recalled there to be a simple bridge taking people to the beach... Maybe what he remembered is this bridge in the following picture.)

See the bridge there... standing strong as of 1968... a screenshot taken from the following clip at time 1:07.

So it concludes my blah blah blah on how my thought of taking a picture of the Fulong station led me to the 2013 Fulong Sand Sculpture Art Festival (2013 福隆國際沙雕藝術季) and to the sight of the old beach bridge in 1968.

Hope it would give you some background information shall you decide to visit the Fulong Sand Sculpture Art Festival or the Fulong beach.

Do you see what I am seeing now? 


Friday, May 3, 2013

Fulong Sand Sculpture Art Festival 2013 福隆國際沙雕藝術季

Because I couldn't find the pictures I took of Fulong (福隆) Train Station, I took my walk all the way down in Fulong (福隆).

Just so happen, when searching for the cheapest means to get to the Fulong station, I found out that there will soon be the 2013 Sand sculpture festival, with the opening on 5/4/2013 running till 6/30/2013. Then, when getting off the train, I overheard these other passengers speaking of the Sand Sculpture Festival as well... (though I had no idea where it might be and can't be on the beach directly since I can conceive not how the sand sculptures can weather the rain and wind).

So I asked the lady at the Tourist Information and realized that I could get to see the sand sculpture (some still in formation) with 40 NT dollar entrance fee to the beach as opposed to 100 NT dollars after the opening. Yours cheapskate, thus, took the daily walk down the Fulong beach.

It was a lovely tour and what makes the tour most interesting is to see the process of art in formation... to see the artists continuing to craft their work and making the final touch in preparation for the grand opening in two days.  The process and what is not spoken of behind the scene... all the tools... motorized or not... spreading around.

So during this tour, I found the answer to how the sand sculptures could handle the weather.  The gentleman in the burgundy cap told me... what they were spraying on the sand sculpture is a combination of water and some environmentally friendly and water-soluble glue.  This protects the sand sculpture.  However, it's not fail-save since the glue is water-soluble...

I saw, in carne e osso, how the artist get the sculptures out... one scoop at a time.

I captured an artist taking a clip of his completed work (possibly and in my imagination).

I also met the dutch artist who explained to me the story behind her sculpture.

A new world I saw... the day I took my walk down the sandy beach of Fulong because I wanted to take a picture of the Fulong Train station (while I had no idea whether I would really go to Fulong until I got there. Speaking of... I don't know where I am going... lol)

Given limited my worlds, I shall leave the rest to, in the eyes, my grandpa Canon.