Voices from the Atmosphere (1): archiving thought paths in days of isolation 「大氣中融融細語」(一): 隔離日子的思路的庫存

Voices from the Atmosphere (1): archiving thought paths in days of isolation 「大氣中融融細語」(一): 隔離日子的思路的庫存

Linda Chiu-han Lai 黎肖嫻

Linda Chiu-han Lai 黎肖嫻

發表於: 23 Apr 2022

20 + 4 works on quarantine, isolation and (un)wavering thought path in VOICES FROM THE ATMOSPHERE, issue #4 of FP’s online video zine「大氣中融融細語」,《平地數碼》網上錄像誌第4期。20+1 段關於隔離、獨思獨處的,堅定也搖擺的思路。

**Feature image: video still from Mandy Yau’s work, courtesy of artist


D-Normal/V-essay online video zine #4 (April 2022): Voices from the Atmosphere

Imagine someone gives you a blank sheet and asks you to freely put something on it…

An instantaneous thought? A long held grudge? A heart-felt concern? A playful pretense of somebody else? A question? The performance of annoyance? A mark, an enigma? Or, well, may I grab this chance to take you through my thought path by the step? Anger, desperation, self-consolation, a genuine experience in a virtual world …

And what if the blank sheet is a canvas? Would you splash paint for the pleasure of automatism like Jackson Pollock did, or would you turn it into a cut-up artbook like Claude Cahun’s Disavowals to assemble fragments for your next moves as your moods may take you?

This issue (#4, 4 April 2022) contains 20 montage-collage photo sequences of 1-2 minutes for free expression, all made during the quarantine or period of limited mobility and limited resources, when classes were all turned online, once again!

Game rules

This issue has the grand purpose of turning our chains of thoughts visual-narratively into short video sequences; it is also an open game with some basic rules:

(1) Combine collage (spatial) and montage (temporal) — to play up the richness of a single image and the adventurous journey of a series of single images constructing a world as they add up.

(2) Still images mainly. Hand-drawn works fine. Live-action video reduced to minimum: construct moving images from still images and output as video.

(3) For collage work, using found images by others is acceptable but it must be followed by proper citation.

(4) Output as video: play with time and space

Stop motion. Montage, Superimposition. What else? How to make a still image move?

Address the question, “What is in your mind, here and now?”

Thinking narratively…

Visual-narratively, this exercise seeks to stretch the possibilities of “narrative” by first taking it to its minimum form – sequential ordering that has an impact.

As an exercise of free expression, the minimum characterization of “what is narrative” is understood as the unfolding of a thought path… Thus…

… i.e. a cluster of things (fragments of thoughts and images) in sequential order, hanging together by the connective “and then … and then… and then…,”

And we may advance into more possible connectives to form more complex thought paths:

// What if the connectives are more than “and then… and then… and then…”… ? They could be “but,” “on the other hand,” “in the meantime,” “surprisingly…” …?

// In narrative games, the general idea of a work (often unfairly reduced to a theme or message) is not as interesting as the process of lining up and integrating details, or forming an explicit or implicit argument. We call that an image discourse.

Yes, to an artist, the final value of an arithmetical operation may not be as interesting as the process.

7 = 0 + 7

7 = 1 + 6

7 = 2 + 3 + 2

7 = 6 + 5 – 4

7 = (2+1)2 – 2

7 = {(2+1)2 + 4 + 1} 2

…so on and more…

Thought paths…

In some of the pieces in this issue, the artist’s thought paths are more a sustained state of mind about to morph or proliferate but not quite. The points and modes of “closure” in many of these works are like an enigma, or a silent secret. Some ends with a wandering mind about to take up a second life, second journey.

Some works start off looking for their expressions in existing images by others. These collage works with found images remind us of the collage tradition in which the negotiation of cultural artifacts results not in appropriation but re-invention of meanings.

Lastly, the works in this issue were all made this spring 2022 when classes are all online, some in quarantine, and there are limited resources except basic software from the open source and a smartphone. But limitations are the beginning of innovation. Minimum resources, maximum expression.

Archiving a moment

In the final stop-press moment, I felt compelled to include FOUR more videos on hotel quarantine – this unexpectedly prolonged experience up till this very moment since 2020. … By serendipity, I found several such pieces from young artist-friends who graciously responded. These last few solicited videos are marked with an asterisk [*], all placed in section I. They are the only works that are not restricted to the game rules described above.

Grasp the moment. In five years’ time, if we stumble upon this issue and read the minds in these 24 works, what would…..? I wonder… I am curious.

| Linda Chiu-han Lai, 4 April 2022

… to be continued …




那麼如何白紙其實是畫布?你會像 Jackson Pollock 那樣快樂的潑發顏料?或如 Claude Cahun 那樣把影像割切成寓意漫溢的碎片,湊合成剪貼簿作備案,方便日後心情到可抽取搞搞新創作?






(二)基本材料和輸入的必須是靜態畫面 — 手繪、攝影、印刷品剪出來的皆可 — 輸出的是錄像視頻。






「視覺-敘述」: 一種特殊的思辯法

「視覺-敘述」的操作上來說,這個練習尋求對「敘述」的可能性張開,起步卻是尋回「敘述」觀念上的極微至小和最低 (不同敘述理念的最小公因數)– 有次序的排列以至其撞擊出來的果效

依循這個練習的自由發表的大方向,何謂敘述?其最基本的特性可理解為思路的逐步攤開(反折疊)。因此 … …

… … 「視覺-敘述」本身就是一種特殊的思辯法。一簇東西(思想和影像的碎片),在某種排序下以「然後 …,然後 …,接著 …,於是 …」等等的接連方式湊合起來。

**然而言,還有更多的連接詞可訂定更多的聚合法和思辯的邏輯。「可是…」、「另一方面…」、「反過來看…」、「與此同時…」、「詫異地…」… …。



0 + 7 | 7 = 1 + 6 | 7 = 2 + 3 + 2 | 7 = 6 + 5 – 4 | 7 = (2+1)2 – 2 | 7 = {(2+1)2 + 4 + 1} 2









上載前的一刻,安排了特殊的加插。隔離而獨力令生活不致失去意義的這狀態驅使我好奇的向外尋援,就問問身邊的人有誰在隔離期間拍過錄像日記。欣然收到了一些即時回應,那便是第一部份打了[*] 的四個作品。也就是唯一的不依從上述遊戲規則的四個作品。



| 黎肖嫻,2022年4月23日



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