Silence is speaking II 

2020|Photography, illustration, video
Illustration: Children in Taiwan Autistic Family Care Association 
Photography: Chia HUANG

At the beginning of 2020, I started a joint creation project with friends of mine who experienced homelessness near my house in Nice, France. Through the work, I invited them to use mobile phones to record videos and take pictures with disposable cameras of their day to day experiences. I sketched these persons and sketched other subjects in their presence, and edited their videos. As a photography creator, in this work, I deliberately put aside the original creative form (centered around a photographer, and who or what is photographed), and tried to find new possibilities for cooperation. My intent was to subvert the power relationship before and after the lens, decentralize the relationship between photographer and who or what is photographed, and most importantly, return the right to speak to the silent people. 


Silence is speaking II 

2020|Photographie, illustration, vidéo
Illustration: Les enfants dans l'Association de Familles Autistiques de Taïwan 

Photographie: Chia HUANG

Une grande partie de ma vie artistique implique la co-création et l'exploration aux côtés de créateurs amateurs, en particulier ceux appartenant à des groupes sous-représentés et défavorisés. Mon intention a été d'amplifier leurs voix et leurs expériences, de les aider à mieux s'exprimer eux-même. Dans cet esprit, je me suis engagée dans quatre projets artistiques à long terme. De retour à Taïwan, depuis la France, en avril 2020 en raison de l'épidémie de la COVID 19, j'ai collaboré avec des personnes handicapées au sein de l'Association de Familles Autistiques de Taïwan. Là-bas, j'ai démarré un projet de co-création à long terme, avec des personnes handicapées psychologiques. En combinant le dessin, la photographie et le vidéo, j'ai fourni des outils et des conseils à ces personnes pour raconter les histoires de leur vie à travers des médias différents. Cet album enregistre nos points de vues qui se superposaient.


Silence is speaking II 





Back in Taiwan, from France, in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was immediately invited to work as a photographer at the Taitung Autistic Children's Family Care Association (TACFCA). There, I accompanied the children to create works. This was different from what I did in the past few years, because before, my only consideration was the creation of a good artistic product. This is the first time I no longer thought about how to use time to my best advantage, and how to make unique works. At TAFCA, I instead wanted to stand on the standpoint of others and think about how to give my collaborators more resources and more freedom. Some people think that doing good deeds, as these are perceived to be, should be separated from art, and that artistic creation is sufficient. But in fact, I am not focusing on doing good deeds. I am seeking means to let myself disappear, and in time and erase the boundary between myself and others. This goal is to rediscover who the so-called "we" are. And if art will grow, it will effortlessly sprout out of this expansive soil.


Before our drawing club started this morning, I spent one hour guiding everyone in breathing together. Through breathing, we entered into a world without others, and started to draw in that state. And then I played the music for them. What I played was “Boléro” of Maurice Ravel. I asked them to open their ears to hear the sounds, and imagine that their hands are the instruments. At the beginning, some people didn't dare to draw, so I asked them to guide my hand with their hand, as if we were traveling together. They held my hand, and I asked them to tell me by the hand's message, how they interpreted the music. Sending the messages through hand, it's just like telling me an insignificant but extremely deep secret. Actually, the day before our class, I had already made a plan for the class. But in the morning before the class, I went for a walk in the sacred aboriginal mountain: Mt. Dulan. This mountain sent me a new brand version for our class plan. In this drawing club, I wanted to let them sense that no matter how much we have already lost, the ability to respond delicately to world is always in our hands. We can never lose it, because we are the freedom itself.

今天的美術時間開始之前,我花了一個小時帶大家呼吸,利用呼吸進入裡面那個沒有他人的世界,在那狀態下才開始畫圖。接著請大家聽音樂,放的是Maurice Ravel的Boléro。我請他們張開耳朵聽聲音,並感覺到自己的手就是樂器。起初有些人放不開不敢畫,所以我請他們帶著我的手旅行,我把手握在他們的手上,請他們用手告訴我,究竟自己是怎麼解讀音樂的。用手傳遞訊息,就像在跟我講一個無足輕重,但又萬般深邃的秘密。其實上課的前一天,我已擬好課綱。但上課前的清晨,去都蘭山腳下散步,都蘭山給了我一套全新版本,於是便即時替換了全新的。在這堂繪畫課裡,我想要讓他們發現,不管自己已經失去了多少,細膩回應世界的能力永遠都還留在自己手裡,怎麼也丟失不了它,而我們也難以不是自由它本身。

I woke up 3 a.m., and drove to Taimali to take photos at around 5am. Then, I came back to Taitung’s downtown for the drawing club. At the beginning, I was exhausted to the level that I almost felt my heart hurting. But after doing collage with my collaborators for one hour, having absorbed their positive vibes, I started to feel extremely happy. But I didn’t know why. Then, it hit me. The drawing club is the moment for gods to decode themselves. For me, each person in the club is an unrecognized god. They deeply embrace this world in their own ways, which are not easy for us to understand.


I hope that these people with physical and mental disabilities can continue finding the freedom of life in the drawing time. Every time before the drawing workshop started, we closed our eyes together and took deep breathing until everyone calmed down and then we started. In this way, everyone can draw from the deepest place of their hearts. So it prevents them from over-thinking, and thinking that they are not talented, and feeling frustrated when drawing, which happened so often.

This time, because everyone in this drawing class couldn't quiet down, we canceled the breathing session. Instead, we laughed loudly together for an hour. The energy of their laughter was so powerful that even one person, who had never seemed to react sensitively to others, came from the first floor up to the third floor to join us.

We took a long time for laughing, until “shame” disappeared from our dictionary. We laughed until everyone felt that the whole world was totally ridiculous, and then we began to draw. This time, my collaborators took turns to be drawing models. For each person we spent 20 minutes drawing.

When we first started drawing, people were used to staring only at their paper, not the models, and only drawing what they've known in their minds. So, no matter how they drew on the paper, they felt it was ugly. But as soon as I heard them criticizing themselves, I told them that no one couldn't draw. The less we know how to draw, the better we can draw.

I asked them not to look at the paper when they were drawing, but to put their eyes, all the time, on the shape of the model’s body, because the body shape was constantly moving. The shape only appears once, so if we lose it, we will never see it again. So, we don't draw what we've imagined, but what we draw as we continually discover in the present moment.

I told them that we often thought that the human body had only one look, thinking that we have completely remembered what other people look like. But actually, we have never seen what, or who, was in front of us now. And we cannot predict what the body shape will look like in the next second, so drawing is actually super exciting.

When they worked on large areas such as hair or clothes, they tended to forget about the model, and just looked at the paper in order to finish the part in the shortest time. For this, I also asked them to keep putting their eyes on the model and observe carefully each hair: how the hair bent, how each hair talked, how the hairs interacted with each other. Because if we stopped observing, the spirit of the specific part of the model they drew would have no air to breathe, and finally die.

Then I told them that humans’ eyes are actually acting as decoders of their own, and by looking at others, we crack the secrets hidden in the lives of others. And what one sees, others can’t see. We spent some time without brushes. Near the end, I invited every person, as the master of analysis, to share with us why each model appeared to be so unique, and why each organ on the model tended to be so full of words, yet to be expressed.




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