游靜 Yau Ching
We live in a society that is being rapidly flattened. The higher the expectation of singularity, the desire for purity, and the imaginary fixation, the more we scream for inter——nationalization. The gap between the surface and the inside is stretched to the maximum. The inter——national. The inter- is the border, the interlaced. We have to know the boundary before we can interlace. If the individual is infinitely large and always occupies the center of the nation, s/he cannot see the borders.
Cultures, necessarily hybrid. But how contradicted and how hybrid varies from one culture to another. The places where I grew up, where I studied, where I lived, where my parents grew up, all of these make up the air I breathe, the tissues under my skin, and the selves. How China, how America, how England, how Japan, how Southeast Asia, how the Philippines, how ancient, how modern. Where, when, how contradicted, and how hybrid, form the different versions of me. All education comes from knowing, transforming, this self. Imagine different selves, the synesthesia in between, and their connections.
To do yoga, I have to take off my glasses. Standing in front of the mirror, the silhouette has a head but you can’t see the face. The human form and borders of space blur in the encircling air. Ever used smudge in Photoshop? Its icon is a curved finger. Where the mouse slides over, a line or an edge, between A and B, between you and me and it, the border can be blurred. Semi-fluid, powder-like, the I dissolves in the air——water surrounding. Blurred, one becomes softer, freed from the routinely defined, bordered self, imagining weightlessness, closer to pain, encircling the void, closer to, me.
From 1999 to 2005, I taught at the School of Design of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. A cross-media, cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural curriculum is a must. Originally known for its fashion design and interior design disciplines, there were faculty members from over a dozen countries. After compulsory crossovers, the three-year fashion design curriculum was split and scattered in all courses, each taught by teachers from different disciplines and nationalities. If lucky enough, we might get to some understanding upon the end of each semester, while more often than not, there was not enough time or patience to hear each other. After all, we were there to teach, not to study for another design degree. The students were, of course, already a handful.
Every specialism then became a water drop in class, flowing through without leaving any trace. Like on a non-stick pan, fast and clean. Nobody was responsible for anything. The students stood by the doorway. Inside was a circus. They took a peep at everything without seeing anything. Never leaving, never arriving anywhere, never experiencing change, never going under, their own skin. If there is nothing beneath one’s feet, how can one ever transgress, anywhere?
Most people, most of the time, can’t afford, crossing. What a pain to cross out of one’s own skin. In 2002, I made a feature film called Ho Yuk (Let’s Love Hong Kong). The Chinese language itself is intercultural. Many people around the world live every day between the spoken dialect and the written language; between the ancient phonology and languages that have been passed down for thousands of years, such as Cantonese, and between the modern national languages that were invented only about a hundred years ago. There are dialogues in Chinese, Cantonese, and English in “Let’s Love Hong Kong”. At the Golden Horse Awards evening banquet, a Korean curator who was a member of the jury came to me and said, Let’s Love Hong Kong was too sophisticated, had too much stuff in it. I was very happy to hear such criticism. Where crossing fails is probably also where it works. Of course, too much stuff is not necessarily good. Feelings, mixed perhaps too much, perhaps mixed in wrong ways. Then, crossing, not to mention intersecting, becomes impossible. Then, next time we have to learn to cross, a bit more.