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Words on the Street
道上之言

2023

Woodcut Printing on Fabric

木刻版印刷、胚布

As a part of Residency Solo Exhibition "The Necessity of Occasional Boredom" (2023), this work was created and exhibited in Art Site of Railway Warehouse Hsinchu City.

這個作品收錄了我在新竹最常見到或者最有印象的語句,主要是標語或廣告,有些在全台灣都很常見,有些則在新竹特別多,引起我的好奇。「閱讀」是我認識一座城市的方法之一,我總是忍不住思考這些在街上出現的字詞向我們透露了哪些訊息?它們為何出現在那?我們從這些句子中能看見這個地方的什麼面貌?

This work is about the sentences on the street. I collected words which I’ve seen most frequently or impressed me the most from the city of Hsinchu, they are mainly signs or slogans. Some are very all over Taiwan, some are particularly common in Hsinchu. “To Read” is my method to understanding a city. I am always curious about what kinds of messages we can read from the street. Why are they here? What information do they reveal?

於是我用手機拍下路上隨機見到的字,再用藝術村剩的小木板刻成活字版,並把刻版的過程印在胚布上。

I collected six sentences, made them into small woodcut boards and printed on fabric in a way that shows the process of carving.

 

「建設風起 進步新竹」is the slogan from Hsinchu City Government, you can find it on the wall of every unfinished public construction site. Loosely translation is “The wind of city construction is up, Hsinchu is progressing.”

「請勿停車」means “please don’t park your car here,” it is everywhere in Taiwan but I feel it’s a lot more common here in Hsinchu.

「吳媽媽週轉金」is the small loan advertisement which is pasted on almost every street. Usually using a title in female form, such as “Mrs. Wu.”

「比你想的更便宜」is also part of a small loan advertisement, meaning “the interest is much cheaper than you thought.”

「難得雙面採光」is the slogan of a real-estate advertisement, featuring the room with multiple windows from two side, which is probably rare in Hsinchu real-estate market now.

「在市心 擁學區 仰未來」is another slogan of real-estate advertisement. Loosely translation is “In the centre of city, sitting on the area with good school, looking up at a bright future.”

從街上到手機,到電腦螢幕,到描圖紙上,到木版上,再到布上,在層層轉印中,不斷產生誤差與變形。手機拍攝角度的歪斜,得到了一開始就失真的圖像,越忠實地將其刻出,產生的結果越不真實。即使依舊能夠辨識它是誰,那些字也早已不是原本的樣子,如同我來到新竹之後在心中形成的新竹形象,無論如何也不會是新竹真正的樣子,甚至在地人心中的新竹,大概也不會是新竹真正的樣子。

 

我的想法是,只要人還是感覺的動物,「真正的樣子」就不存在於我們的認知當中。舉例來說,因為不斷看到小額借貸廣告而認為新竹有很多人需要借錢,純粹是我個人的解讀與臆測,實際上到底是如何,或許即使是政府的統計資料也無法如實呈現。

These texts were transferred from street to my phone, then my laptop, tracing paper, wood block, then printed on a fabric in the end. They became more and more inaccurate during the process of tracing, carving, and printing. Images of the texts were captured with slight distortion due to the angle of camera lens, and me trying to make the woodcuts as similar as the images can only produce texts with same angles as camera, which is far from reality. Furthermore, even if there’s no difficulty identifying the texts, they are no longer having the same look as original. This reminds me of how the image of a city shaped within one’s mind, and it could never be the “truth” of that city.

 

In my believe, as long as we human are the animal of perception, there will be no “true appearance” in our cognition, everything is the result of observation. Just like my attempt of understanding a city by reading the messages in public spaces, however personal the selection or interpretation of these messages are.