FP member Kel Lok tells the tales of “those swords,” “those soldiers,” “that house” and “that model,” which embody moments of his life, his temperaments and his persistence that are best presented as toys in TOY AS MEDIUM, opening 20 November 2016 at Floating Projects.

[***English translation follows after the Chinese text and Related Readings. Please scroll down…]

您好,想快樂地把玩玩具,Andio 的四驅車與福權的彈珠人是你的明智選擇;

想看精緻的模型和玩具製作的技術,偉叔叔的作品相信令你大飽眼福;

若想就玩具的媒體功用進行文化上的理論研究分析或討論,歡迎來與各位製作者討論!

另外還有精美繪圖、愛情代碼、懷舊片段、絕版單張、收集回憶等多種精彩環節……

 

說到這裡,相信各位讀者都不約而同地在問:

『那你到底是來幹什麼的?』

容我重新為我的玩具介紹一下:

「您好,我是來說故事的。」是關於這四件(種)玩具的那些小故事。

 

不自覺成為玩具之物:《那些木刀》Those SwordS

「好一段時間,我在思考,自己是不是只將它們由一種垃圾轉變成另一種垃圾?

起初,有的只是兩根無人問的木方(長木條)和一部在工場中沒人使用的砂帶機。

把木塊按壓在砂帶機上,厚度化為粉塵慢慢消逝,邊隨心所欲地施力邊感受著木材傳來的微震,把稜角磨圓,使它漸漸變得平滑。在研磨的過程中,我的內心總會出奇地平靜,全神貫注於指上的觸感,而木刀的誕生,本來不過是副產品。

一把又一把的,由「洞爺湖」開始,「洞尾」、「小太刀」、「鑑切」、「刃薄」。…

這一年來,隨心順性地造了二十多把木刀,而造刀的自己,與所造之刀,也漸漸產生了變化。…」

kel_01

由殘件組成之物:《那堆怪兵》 Those Soldiers

「話說,一盒模型之中,常有額外或多餘的零件,軍事模型也是如此。偉叔叔場中的每件佳作背後,不多不少有一些殘餘、沒用的「廢件」,如雞肋,無用武之地, 棄之又可惜。

雖然千金散盡從不會復來,但仍想相信「天生我材必有用」的心,使我拿起膠水,東拼西湊地把它們黏合起來,嘗試把雞肋煮湯再風乾,混入一些創意和瘋狂,看看能否研磨成雞粉,物盡其用。

豈料不拼尤自可,湊起來倒是走火入魔。雞粉不成,風味十足,光怪陸離的奇異產物接踵而來…。」

它(們) 由一變十聚在一起;而我,就在聽著偉叔叔說二次大戰時代的事。異類的故事開始在我腦中串連起來…..

於是,我開始為它們說著想像性的故事。

二戰的背後,有兩個鮮為人知的存活物,分別為美軍的「亞伯(Abel)」與納粹德軍的「再生者(Regenerator)」部隊。

前者名字來自聖經中亞當和夏娃的次子,受神所愛卻被兄長該隱殺害,因此已「死了一次」。

後者名字則更直接名明顯。兩者皆由殘疾士兵組成,以不明技術變成怪兵的特殊部隊。

 

為他人而作之物:《那間小屋》 That House

kel_cat「共渡14年,陪伴她走過最艱苦日子如親人的貓。去世了。

心理準備再多,對那刻也是無功;言語上的安撫、關心、慰藉、開解,當下彷若徒勞。

無論你多重視、多想守護對方,在話語或文字上,軟弱無力,盡是枉然。原來在關鍵時刻,自己不過是連哄人一笑也力不從心的無能角色。

我是誰?她是誰?她在想什麼?她有何感受?她需要什麼?她想要甚麼?我能做甚麼?我懂些甚麼?我還能為她做些甚麼?短暫也好,有甚麼能令她快樂?

使人快樂的工具……不就是玩具嗎?

於是,我找了「它們」,造了「它」,寄給了她……。」

 

留給未來的自己之物:《那盒模型》That Model

「模型買家,大可分為有三種人:

第一類、玩家:模型到手即砌,趕著透過它們感受把玩的樂趣,或重現心中的場面;

第二類、收藏家:不止不打開包裝,在此之上更可能添增數層封套,但求永久保存著「完美」的全新狀態。

毫無疑問,我是前者,只有透過將零件切割修剪打磨組合,方能感受模型設計的精密細心,讓它成形,並在我手上「動起來」。而若是想它變得更「完整」的「製作家」,補土填縫畢地分色摭蓋噴漆上色滲線亦是家常便飯,若要將心中場面成真,技巧之要求與心力之嚴謹更非三言兩言可描述,觀賞偉叔叔的作品或者更能直接地明白。

倒是,這一盒卻是特別的。不是不砌,也不是不想完成,只是想交給未來的我,去更完美地完成,於是砌了一半地保存著。地位之特別,在於它來自一套超越童年回憶層次,甚至可說是塑造了我的價值觀與人生態度的動畫作品。就是這作品,一直深深銘刻在我的心裡,成為我所堅持的信念:『不要奢求,學會爭取;若是如此,必(終)有所得(獲)。』-《交響詩篇》(Eureka7)」

第三類、「模型倉庫」建造者:跟我一樣的是,他們的模型亦不是不砌,也不是不想完成,而是把買到的模型交給未來的自己。分別在於,他們在處理了公事私事家事國事天下事之後,除了把模型買回家外,已沒心力組裝。如是者,模型堆積如山,成為了倉庫,期盼著未來的自己,在未來的一個悠閒假期將它完成。有點可憐嗎?但當看著喜歡的玩具,心中冒出一點零碎的希望時,也算一種浪漫!

****

人與玩具,很講緣份。遇見為有緣,共處為有份,曾遇到卻終沒能共處者,則有緣無份。雖說,緣由天定,今君能細閱此文,有緣也;而份,多少在於人為。我是來說故事的,因此,這四個故事的後續,就留給有緣有份的人。在會場中附上實物,再為大家娓娓道來吧!

 

RELATED READINGS:

Toy as Medium: FP Assemblage 玩具之間- 句點聚疊 [event post]

Growing up… through the toys I made: “That Model” 如何長大:留給「未來的自己」的《那盒模型》

Military Miniature, My Toy, My Medium: A Maker’s Journal 軍事模型,我的媒體 ,我的玩具:玩家日誌

Toy as Medium: artistic passion, self expression and the circuits of cultural artifacts 玩具之間:(再)創造熱情、表述、聚疊…以外

玩具展 – 下雨天的城堡 A Castle for the Rainy Days: toy show “Toy as Medium”

我跟彈珠人有一種緣份。We’ve got a connection…

Long Time no see: TAMIYA-Tiger 再度重遇「你」: 田宮「虎一」戰車

Gundamzeta

 

kel_02Those toys…

Hello! You just want pure playing, just for fun. Andio Lai’s four-wheel drive and Wong Fuk-kuen’s B-Daman are yours truly.

To see for yourself fine craftsmanship in model making – Wai’s works will be a big feast for you.

In case you are interested in toys’ function as a medium, or want cultural analysis of objects that filled our playtime, come to meet all artists and join them in a discussion!

There is a lot more: fine drawings, sketches, tokens of love, nostalgic audio-visual clips, out-of-print vintage items, memoirs and mementos, you name it…

 

At this point, you’re probably wondering,

“So what are you doing here?”

Allow me, then, a formal introduction here to my toys:

“Hi, how are you? I’m here to tell you stories.” These are about my four (types of) toys and their little tales.

 

Unintentionally formed toys: Those SwordS

For a while I have been wondering: did I just grab garbage and turn it into another form of garbage?

In the beginning, there were only two inconspicuous wood planks abandoned in a corner and a belt machine of minimum usage.

I pressed the plank on the machine and, magically, thickness diminished as wood transformed into dusty power. Time flowed. I let the machine take me to feel the minute vibration as it did its job, automatically. Corners and edges smoothened; surfaces grew suave. And I found myself immersed in calm and utmost concentration on my fingers’ sensations. The birth of the wooden knife was just a by-product.

One knife after another… My species of “wooden swords” grows with morphological rigor. So here I am at “Toys as Medium,” with 20-something numbers born of my calm and leisure. It seems though, in the process of time, the “I” that made the swords and the swords that were made have been morphing, morphing into…

kel_03

Assembled toys with hybrid bodies: Those Soldiers

As it is known, in a model kit, there are always some extra or surplus small parts, and that is no exception to kits for military miniatures. You want to take a lot at FP manager Wai’s miniatures: each one of them generated some left-over, unused parts, which, as the Chinese saying goes, are like the meatless rib-cages of a chicken, that is, no good for food, and yet a bit of a waste to be thrown away. Committed to the thought that there must be some use to every piece of material existence, I was determined to “exhaust” the last bit of “use value” of these abandoned parts. I took some glue and started to combine and mix, piece and collage, and sorted out ways to turn these “tasteless rib-cages” into something: to “broil” it, dry it, perhaps to “marinate” it with a bit of my own madness, to see if I may get “chicken powder” at the end of it.

Nil or all the through… I find myself in an endless journey that is wide open: assembling is a serious deal. I have not managed to make “chicken powder,” but what came out of this game is extremely “tasteful” – weird looks, unnamable objects, shocking combinations kept coming… It is no Frankensteinian nightmare.

When he/they — as one may become ten — gathered together, and while listening to Wai’s stories of World War II, alien stories began to pop up in my mind….

I started to write the imaginary stories about these soldiers…

Behind the Second World War, two facts are rarely known: Team Abel from America and Team Regenerator from Nazi Germany.

Abel, named after the second son of Adam and Eve in the Bible, though loved by the Lord, died as he was killed by his elder brother Cain. The naming of Regenerator would be obvious. Both of them consisted of the handicapped. They were teams formed by weird soldiers with unknown techniques.

 

A Toy Made for Others: That House

Fourteen years of togetherness. To have her accompanied through the most difficult days, like with a cat that hanged around at all times… and she’s now gone.

No matter how well prepared I were, psychologically, the moment of departure remained insurmountable to me. Words of consolation, care, chats to ease the mind… were all in vain.

No matter how much you cherished a person, or how much you want to protect or be on guard, frail words simply fail us. What an impotent role I found myself when you couldn’t even cheer up a person at a critical moment.

Who am I? Who is she? What is she thinking about? What does she feel? What does she need? What is it that I can do? What do I know? What else can I do for her? No matter how brief and short-lived, is there anything that may make her happy?

Would a toy work?

I found “them,” toys, and use them to make my own, and sent “it” to her…

 

A toy made for the future me: That Model

I heard there are three kinds of purchasers of model kits:

Type one – Players: they start assembling and building once a kit arrives in their hands, wasting no time to enjoy the process of “making” or perhaps to re-present the scenarios they see in their mind’s eye.

Type two – Collectors: Not only would they keep the packaging intact, they also apply additional wrappings to preserve it for good in its most perfect state.

No doubt, I am the former. To me, the only way to understand the mind of the designer and the fine design is to start making – from preparing the parts, organizing them, tweaking to assembling. The point is to turn the parts into material forms, so the work will come to life. For those perfectionists, preparing the ground, filling in the gaps, differentiating the color layers and in what order to apply them, whether to spray or to paint and so on are integral parts of the game. The skills required of mimetic perfection cannot be summarized in a few words. When you are in front of Wai’s miniature, you will need no more of my persuasion.

“That model” I present here is a little bit different. This box set is only half-done. That’s not because I don’t want to complete it, but that I don’t want it to be completed. I want to leave it to the “I” in future to finish it, “more” perfectly. This work, then, is about semi-preservation. My inspiration comes from a favorite animation pictures in my children: its story imprinted in me, and its ethos ever since then have been mine. Psalms of Planets Eureka 7. “Do not ask for what is too much. Learn to fight for it; if that’s the case, you’re sure to get something.” I’ve been that Renton Thurston all these years and will continue to be so.

Type three – the model warehouse-keepers. Like mine, their models are not exactly untouched, nor exactly waiting to be finished. They simply want to send these models to their future selves. The difference is, after all the mindful business of life, big or small, they have no time and energy left for re-assembling the models except to bring those pieces back home. And because of this, their unfinished boxes accumulates and form a warehouse, with the only hope left that one day they might have the luxury to spend, such as in a long vacation, to complete all of them. Isn’t that a little pitiful? Perhaps it is a kind of “romance” to look at these beloved toys and secretly hope one day this little wish will come true.

  •       *        *

Humans and toys – that I believe involves what’s embodied in the Chinese concept of yuan fen, that is, fated chance encounters and predestined affinity that leads to relationship. Encounter is chance; affinity is relationship. Encounters are chanced affinity. The encounter of two persons could be fated chance, but does not necessarily lead to a relationship. One may say it’s all numbered in heaven. But the fact that you are reading my words now is somehow a significant chance encounter. Relationships are not just predestined but a result of our effort.

So I come here to this show to tell my stories. Yet the “aftermath” of my four stories, be it sequels or prequels, are in the hands of those chanced to encounter me and will to sustain their relation with my works. The actual toys in the show will take you in further onto my voyages of yuan fen. (November 2016)