⟨ Book ⟩

How do books respond to time?

After opportunity by MOSSES

Words / Elva Pang
Translation / Fanny Chan

一張白色的紙帶給你甚麼想像?手指尖觸碰它順滑的質感、微微地穿透背面的厚度,還有那暗黃的白,像被陽光曬久了,帶點歷練的白。即使它的身上沒有半點筆墨的痕跡,在一些人的眼裡它仍然是充滿了內容,只是千言萬語不知從哪裡說起。

翻開不同大小、顏色、觸感的紙品,承載著別人或是彼此的故事。由獨立書店MOSSES出版的《機遇之後》以「紙上展覽」為概念,收錄七本選紙、設計及裝幀各異的攝影集,以不同的紙品混合起來成書,從藝術層面探討社會不同階層所面對的「挑戰」和「機遇」;同時伸延出三本關於香港社會現況的書誌。閱讀《機遇之後》猶如體驗一場紙上的展覽,感受書籍設計作為溝通的橋樑,既輕盈也沉重;同時也體現印刷品蘊含的無限可能。雖然由書籍伸延出來的展覽經已結束,但是讀者仍能透過精心設計、編輯和深刻多元的內容,走進一個廣闊的思考空間。

書中收錄了七位藝術家的攝影作品,包括香港的張雅玲、黃雪綾、李卓媛、馮祺、葉建邦和意大利的Piefrancesco CELADA,以及荷蘭的Saskia WESSELING。他們都是2018/19年度WMA大師攝影獎入圍的攝影師,以年度主題「機遇」為主題,透過攝影作品回應及探討了社會不同階層所面對的挑戰和機遇,看似陌生,卻處處呼應我們身邊的人和事。

策展人胡卓斌把《機遇之後》一書轉化成一個立體的展覽時,作出了深刻的詰問:「書,何以回應時代?」。「機遇」是經常被提及的字眼,有人說城市裡「機遇處處」,但事實又是否如此呢?即使我們未必能從書中得到確實的答案,也可以透過閱讀,重新思考社會現況,在講求「機遇」的城市裡尋找自處之道,最後把想法從生活中實踐出來。這就是以書來回應時代的方式。

How does a piece of plain white paper unlock your inspiration? Imagine your fingertips gently gliding over the paper, feeling its smoothness. It is thin enough to let some light pass through. As if it has been exposed to sunlight for too long, there is a very subtle hint of yellow to its whiteness thus making it more of a weathered white. And even though there are no traces of ink on it, some people think that it is full of stories, but just that those stories are always too hard to tell.

Flipping through books of different sizes, colors, and textures, we read the stories about ourselves and others. Published by an independent bookstore  MOSSES, After Opportunity centres upon the concept of an exhibition on paper. It features seven photobooks of varied designs, binding styles, and printing paper, and three other publications that examine the current situation in Hong Kong. The collaborative work explores from an artistic point of view the ideas of ‘challenges’ and ‘opportunities’ faced by people from different walks of life. Reading through After Opportunity is like walking through an exhibition with the printed materials acting as a bridge of communication. There are infinite interpretations and possibilities within; it could be a light read, or it could be a heavy read. Although the actual exhibition centred around this collaborative publication has already ended, readers can still be inspired by the carefully designed and curated works via their printed form and allow their imagination to roam freely. 

After Opportunity features photographic works by seven artists who are shortlisted for the award, WMA Masters on Opportunity 2018/19; they are Hong Kong locals Cheung Nga Ling Cynthia, Beatrice Wong, Sharon Lee Cheuk Wun, Jolans Fung, and Yip Kin Bon, as well as Pierfrancesco Celada from Italy and Saskia Wesseling from the Netherlands. Centred upon ‘Opportunity’, the theme of WMA 2018/19, the artists’ works are their responses and observations to the challenges and opportunities that are faced by different groups of people in society. These works might seem obscure to us, but they are the people and things that we encounter in our day to day lives.

When he decided to transform After Opportunity into an actual physical exhibition, Renatus Wu, the curator of the project asked himself a profound question, “How do books respond to time?” ‘Opportunity’ is a word that is often mentioned; some people say that “opportunities are everywhere” in the city, but is it really the case? Even if we may not be able to get a definitive answer from After Opportunity, it inspires us to rethink the current situations in our society. To find a way to survive in a city that stresses ‘opportunity’, and to actually put it into practice; this is how books inspire us to respond to time.