In the 2nd of a 4-piece contemplation on her overstaying in home city Hong Kong, artist Cici Wu articulated her liminal state as writing and paper-cutting moments. Love has no tenses. Experiences are difficult to compare without a shared framework of value. 《剪紙憶思》之二。讓思潮流淌是自由，涓流所到之處風景卻不一樣。經驗的結合需要共同的框架，又或如何交匯才是問題？武雨濛的點滴。
*feature image: courtesy of the author Cici Wu
**text marked purple (and bracketed) are the editor’s added English translation, not part of the author’s original text.
| Cici Wu 武雨濛
「人之相憶，二憶甚深，由此從生至生，兩不相離，如影隨形，永合為一。」 （出自《雨華集合刊》）(literal translation by editor: Mutual memories between two are deep memories. From birth to birth, the two are inseparable, like a shadow following a form, forever united as one.)
It was the second day after I came out from the quarantine. I went to Lamma Island to visit my ex-lover and we walked to Tin Hau Temple together. There I encountered a Buddhist text by accident, with no exact author nor publishing year. Inside the book, there were two book-marks: one was a butterfly, and the other was a lantern.
十一月十四號。 (14th November)
I dreamed that I saw two or three photos of us when we were little and I stuck the photos on the fridge. Perhaps we were friends from childhood in our last lives.
十一月二十七號。 (27th November)
朋友和家人在這裡和那裡 (Here and there are my friends and family members)
紐約 New York
離開紐約之前的日子，感覺一切都像是被一團煙霧籠罩著 (Those days before I left New York feel being shrouded in smog.)
現在剩下的只有那一張又一張稀疏的臉影 (What is left are those scanty face, one or other.)
On the airplane to Hong Kong, I was reading Conversations in Sicily by Elio Vittorini. It’s a story of reconnecting with one’s roots and re-learning some basic human values through one’s journey to home.
“If there is any rhetoric or fancy writing that puts you off at the beginning or the end, just ram through it. Remember he wrote the book in 1937 under Fascism and he had to wrap it in a fancy package. It is necessarily wrapped in cellophane to pass the censor. But there is excellent food once you unwrap it.”
-Ernest Hemingway, 1949
Foreword to Elio Vittorini’s Conversations in Sicily written by Ernest Hemingway
In the story, there were elements of an abstract sad winter: the rain, desperation, hopelessness, doomed humanity, returning home, family, New York, Sicily, island, mother, censorship and Fascism. It was hard not to associate the book with Hong Kong, especially when I was reading it on a Cathay Pacific flight. Later, I realized that Straub and Huillet also made a film based on this novel titled Sicilia! (1999). While I was processing which part was the most relevant to relate to, I sank into a wandering state of contemplation swelling with contradicting thoughts.
Here I want to mention Shu-mei Shih’s Comparison as Relation. Shih states that comparison, that is, the act of contrasting for similarities and differences, led to anxieties toward the grounds of comparison, and people usually privilege one over the other. The logical conclusion of the comparative reason is the pronouncement of differences, usually from the perspective of a Eurocentric standard, and produces more distance between two entities. Shih suggests relational comparison, that is, comparison as relation.
“Comparison as relation means setting into motion historical relationalities between entities brought together for comparison, and bringing into relation terms that have traditionally been pushed apart from each other due to certain interests, such as the European exceptionalism that undergirds Eurocentrism. The excavation of these relationalities is what I consider to be the ethical practice of comparison, where the workings of power are not concerned but necessarily revealed. Power, after all, is a form of relation.”
-Shu-mei Shih 史書美
Elio Vittorini and Straub-Huillet both shared similar political ideologies grounded broadly in an understanding of Communism. Associating my return journey to Hong Kong with their journey to Sicily is hard as there is no singular compatible ideological framework. I wonder: if there is a Hong Kong version of Conversations in Sicily, what would it be like? Can we talk about the relationship between Communism and Fascism? Was this historical conflict unique to Italy applicable to Hong Kong?
Hong Kong, this small island, ultra-capitalistic and cosmopolitan, is not lacking in efforts that give complexity to the narrative of Communism versus Western and Non-Western Colonialism, or to give rivalry accounts. On the one hand, Hong Kong seems unable to grasp the right to be properly heard in the present, but on the other hand, it contains advanced potential of humanity for all confluences to meet. Perhaps one day, when people realize that radical thinking is not the only option to pierce through the illusions of this world, they may then arrive here.
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