Will You Come To Me Today?

Project Narratives

 

This project is a piece of comprehensive work integrated with performance, photography and diaries.

One day in 2015, I encountered an unacquainted old granny. She was, grey-haired, wearing a rose-red jacket with a pair of sunglasses. As standing there, she looked like a young girl.

“May I take a photo of you, please.” She agreed. Thus, we made an appointment verbally to meet again on a certain day at a certain place, without leaving any immediate contact information for each other. This meant that probably we might never meet again once either of us broke the appointment, after we turned around and walked our separate ways, respectively.

This was an insecure appointment,  however, from where it came all the romance and cruelty.

Since then, I've made impromptu invitations of “see you several days later” to people with different status. And we only made verbal appointments, not knowing each other’s any contact means at all. For the people actually showed up, I would take photos of them, while for the absent, I would take photos of our meeting place instead. Whether they come or not, I would always write the stories of our first and subsequent meeting (or the event of no-shows) into my diary. Up to now, I have made over 50 “see you several days later” invitations to strangers for meeting, during which things expected and unexpected all occurred.

Today, the convenient communication renders an “appointment” to be a revocable “performance” for we can arrange as many appointments like “see you later” or “see you in a needed time” as possible at any time we want. Behind this “performance” lays a subtle change in the relationship between people and their spirit links. Under the rules of this work, however, people’s agreements can only be made once, free from binding force of public opinion, discipline, and legal obligations. The author tries to explore social relationship and spirit links in contemporary society through the medium of bodies, images and words.

Performance occupies a vital place in this work for it has changed the artists’ status to organize or to observe in their artistic creation and lets the artist to interact with the participants equally. The body-based performance art highlights process and interactivity. It is so hard to define what category of “art” it belongs to. It is a performance, also a literature disseminated and shown in the way of photography. “I”, as the medium, not only facilitated but also fulfilled the dissemination of the event along with participants. Perhaps as some scholars addressed: "with the coming of Hypermedia Era, the boundary among medium, arts and human ourselves has become blur".

Each invitation has an uncertain outcome. Once the invitation is sent, everyone’s story tracks may turn to a different direction and the most attracting part of this art creation is the uncertainty: what would happen between two unacquainted and equal souls. For me, the road ahead is always covered with mist——Whether he/she will come? Who he/she is? What will happen between us? This uncertainty always makes me fascinated

 

I am waiting for you at the prearranged time and place.

Will you come to me, today?

18/10/2015  at BFA (Beijing Film Academy) 

 Doctor Jin, an old woman 

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the founding of the BFA. The campus was still crowded and lively. On the way to the Pyramid, I saw a white-haired old woman with sunglasses and a rose-red jacket, standing beside a green tree and waiting for someone. I passed her. Then I turned back to her. I said, “Let me take a photo for you, please.” She was taken aback, and then smiled.

 

She said, “I was born in a family of doctors. My mother was Song Meiling’s private health doctor. Nobody dared to mention it at that time.” The conversation continued and then she said, “Then I will meet you at the west gate of Tsinghua University as you told me, at 2:30PM, next Thursday. I will get there and wait for you on time. We Shanghai people are those who have the spirit of contract and will keep to our promise.”

 

I arranged to see a stranger under the circumstances of not knowing her contact information. What if she didn’t show up several days later? What if she got to the wrong place? What if she came across an urgent matter and broke her promise? After all, I was unable to reach her. It’s such an unreliable appointment. I felt insecure, definitely. However, it was an exciting experience and I liked that. 

22/10/2015

at the west gate of Tsinghua University         14:30PM 

she had not yet appeared at 14:30.


Did she forget our appointment? Did she have something urgent? Did she get to the wrong destination? Didn’t I recognize her?


 

The feeling of disturbance itself was amplified. And I felt somewhat worried.
.I tried to wait for her patiently. Finally, I saw her crossing the street.


 

With a greyish white windbreaker, a scarlet scarf, a dark green leather bag, and her hands in the pockets, she strode and looked so natural and unrestrained.
“Hey! Miss Wu! I told you that I would be punctual. But I am late because of the traffic jam.


 

“I sent the photo of me, taken by you with your phone, to my sister. She is in the USA and she thinks that I looks pretty.”


“The leather bag is given by my sister.”


“I usually contact my sister via the video call.”
...


 

I mentioned her children, unwittingly. Her face changed, without a word.

I didn’t know whether she was alone. However, I wish that someone could accompany her. 

20/10/2015      at Bridge Café    a woman doctor from Italy

22/10/2015          at Bridge Café         9:00AM

My friend and I were at Bridge Café.

Seeing from my friend’s shoulder, I found that a foreign woman bending her head was writing something attentively.

Wearing a coat patterned with flowers, she looked so beautiful.

“Is she a French?”, I guessed.

 

After a while, there came another foreign woman. Maybe that was her friend.

She tidied up the table. It seemed that she was about to go.

I trotted toward her, and said, “Excuse me, may I take a photo for you?”

“Yes?”, she replied.

I told her what I was thinking briefly, and then she nodded.

She said bye-bye hastily.

 

I didn’t know any contact information of her, even her name.

 

Would she come?

I felt perturbed.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I woke up several times for fear that I would oversleep and my alarm clock wouldn’t ring.

I arrived at the coffee bar ten minutes in advance. However, she was already there.

 

I felt delighted. Each of us ordered a cup of coffee and then struck up a conversation.

She spoke Chinese well. She turned out to be a doctor from Tsinghua University, who was doing research into philosophy of Chinese Song dynasty.

“My name is Liudu, transliterated from my Italian name. I am an Italian, not a French.”

“I used to study western philosophy in Europe... Yes , I study Neo-Confucianism... Why? At the very start, I studied philosophy of Confucius and Mencius, which stresses propriety. However, I find that Chinese people don’t appreciate propriety so much in real life. So I begin to study Neo-Confucianism. ”

“I have a younger brother and he is in Italy. When he came to Beijing in summer, he would shrug his shoulders when crossing the roads or taking a subway.  He was a little afraid, probably because he had never seen so many people.”

“I miss him so much.”

19/10/2015  at Wangjing metro station  

a designer with long hair

Having visited my artist friend, I was waiting for the subway train at Wangjing station.

 

In front of me, stood a tall and thin girl, wearing a white hoodie and carrying a highly design-driven backpack full of colorful geometric patterns.

In addition, what attracted me was her long black hair which looked like a flowing inky waterfall.

The subway train arrived when I was about to invite her. On the train, I explained the coming appointment. On hearing that I came from Chengdu, she was so happy. She said that she graduated from Sichuan Conservatory Of Music, and she missed Sichuan dialect and delicious food particularly.

She arrived at her station before long. We waved goodbye to each other and arranged to meet at the place where I saw her. To be specific, we meant the toilet nearby.

23/10/2015      at Wangjing metro station   17:00PM

A friend of mine and I were waiting for her at the appointed place.

It was half an hour beyond the planned time. I had not yet seen her, Perhaps, she would not come. I put up the tripod to shoot a photograph of the mirror in the toilet.

Suddenly, a familiar face popped up. It was her.

 

“I’m so sorry for being late. I’m afraid that you are not here,” she was panting.

She was a designer and also took photos. She had a cat and a rich boyfriend whom she knew at an early age.

“But his family has got into troubles recently. His villa in Beijing will be auctioned this week. ”

“Will you leave your boyfriend if his family is bankrupt? ”

She thought for a while,“No. Because the one that I love is him, not his money.” She paused and smiled, “I have confidence in his ability. I belive that he can earn money in the future. I also have a job and I can support myself. ”

Being shot for a while hurriedly, she looked at her watch, “My boyfriend is waiting for me to have dinner. I have to go now. ”

24/10/2015                at the Forbidden City   

the trapped “Palace Maid”

My good friends and I went to the Forbidden City.

 

We stopped at a place. Tourists could wear copied costume of Qing dynasty and sit in the emperor’s chair. There were a huge heap of 21 century fake princesses, fake queens and fake emperors.

 There was a small fenced space next to the garment department. It’s almost blue. A little girl stood inside, looking up and waggling her arms now and then.

She was like a butterfly.

 

Above her head was a small DV. And a screen was placed over the DV.

In the screen , she was soaring above the Forbidden City.

Freedom!

In reality, she was trapped in the color blue.

Constraint!

2/11/2015   at the Houhai lotus memorial archway   15:00PM

It had been ten days since we met each other for the first time.

I had been waiting for her for one hour, but she didn’t show up.

 

The world, turned blue.

27/10/2015   at BFA      the girl with curls

I walked out of the film department, together with Wenxue Shi . While walking, we were talking about the movie we watched just now.

Approaching the small garden, I saw a little girl wearing large spectacles, with curls, who was not that tall.

I said, “Hey, look at that girl. I saw her at the very beginning of the semester two years ago. She impressed me a lot. I do want to make an appointment with her.”

“Go ahead.”

Then I abandoned Wenxue and raced towards that girl.

 

She told me that she was from the animation academy and she didn’t have time at ordinary times. She tilted her head, thought for a long time, and then took a look at the calender on her phone.

“Let’s meet at this small garden on November 4th .”

4/11/2015   at the small garden in BFA     15:00PM

I parted with my friend and ran to the appointed place. Fortunately, I was not late.

I stood there stupidly, looking at people coming and going. From time to time,

the security guard glanced at me, who was standing there almost half an hour, with a tripod.

I felt so embarrassed, pretending to kick stones on the ground. However, no one could be found on the smooth floor...

I looked like a fool...

 

After a while, there came two people who were my students when I was a teaching assistant. They stood around me and discussed cameras with me.

 

After their leaving, I saw a girl with a shock of inky hair and snow-white skin wearing a white sweater. (Her skin was too white to see one blood streak.)She looked particularly like a girl from Japanese animation. I felt like that she was popular with boys.

Do you want to know her? Aha,I have her Wechat number.

26/10/2015 

in the conference room of School of Photography of BFA                                                                    Van Gogh

The delegation of Film Academy of Danish VIA University College came to our college today.

There were five student representatives sitting in the conference room. The three girls and two boys had the typical Northern European appearance.

A boy among them looked like Vincent Van Gogh.

The representatives from China and Denmark introduced their own works respectively. At the end of the meeting, I walked to him and sent out my invitation.

I suggested meeting the next day at the lobby of the Jianguomen hotel, because they would leave China within several days.

All of the attendees would take a photo together tomorrow. Therefore, I proposed to meet him at 7:00am, ahead of the official meeting time.

However, I was not really sure whether he could understand my intention here or not.

27/10/2015   at the lobby of the Jianguomen Hotel    7:00AM

I hastened to get to the lobby of the Jianguomen Hotel. It was not yet 7:00 and some people arrived in succession.

I glanced around, but didn’t find “Van Gogh”.

At 7 o’clock, Songyi flicked his chin, “Jakob is coming.”

Thank goodness, he knew what I meant and came as expected.

 

Due to the limited time, we had no time taking photos. Therefore, we chose to make it after the official activity. He brought his classmate, a rather cute, cool and interesting girl.

We were arranged in the same group and they chose me to be their model. During the pleasant day, Jakob and Helena took many pictures for me.

When he played the role as my model, I acted as the Chinese photographer and took some commercial and fashionable photos for him.

 

Jakob o himself is not only an excellent outdoor photographer, but also an outstanding skiing coach. You can see a great many nice pictures shot by him around the world from his Ins.

Tianchi Restaurant was a Xiangjiang-style refectory in BFA.

I got the impression that the owner and its chef were Xinjiang people.

 

Once I ate out with my friends, unexpectedly, I found that the man roasting meat outside the door was a chef with Hui nationality(Chinese Muslim) with a little white hat.

He looked like the country doctor shot by W. Eugene Smith, rather than a cook.

 

We decided to meet each other here on his day off.

It was a surprise today, absolutely.

The chef was at the restaurant. Before I could talk to him after the shooting, the restaurateur’s wife stopped me.

“We have a lot of pretty Xinjiang striplings. You can take pictures for them, too. ”

 

I could not refuse it.

The landlady summoned two or three young men who were speaking Xinjiang dialect. But I couldn’t understand the language.

 

The camera suddenly didn’t work when I was going to take a photo for the middle-aged man.

He couldn’t understand mandarin and seemed a bit impatient when he saw I was not ready to take the picture.

 

The camera was ready afterwards. However, the man’s frowned brows and unpleasant facial expressions were left on the photographic plate.

 

By the way, I learned that the landlady was a cool jailer when she was in Xinjiang.

4/11/2015  at Tianchi Restaurant    14:30PM

4/11/2015  at Tianchi Restaurant    14:30PM

Tianchi Restaurant was a Xiangjiang-style refectory in BFA.

I got the impression that the owner and its chef were Xinjiang people.

 

Once I ate out with my friends, unexpectedly, I found that the man roasting meat outside the door was a chef with Hui nationality(Chinese Muslim) with a little white hat.

He looked like the country doctor shot by W. Eugene Smith, rather than a cook.

 

We decided to meet each other here on his day off.

It was a surprise today, absolutely.

The chef was at the restaurant. Before I could talk to him after the shooting, the restaurateur’s wife stopped me.

“We have a lot of pretty Xinjiang striplings. You can take pictures for them, too. ”

 

I could not refuse it.

The landlady summoned two or three young men who were speaking Xinjiang dialect. But I couldn’t understand the language.

 

The camera suddenly didn’t work when I was going to take a photo for the middle-aged man.

He couldn’t understand mandarin and seemed a bit impatient when he saw I was not ready to take the picture.

 

The camera was ready afterwards. However, the man’s frowned brows and unpleasant facial expressions were left on the photographic plate.

 

By the way, I learned that the landlady was a cool jailer when she was in Xinjiang.

5/11/2015  at the Niaozhouli Rotisserie                  14:30PM

The shopkeeper of the Japanese rotisserie didn’t show up on time.

I asked the waiter but he said he didn’t know. I heard that he was busy and perhaps went to play baseball.

Disappointed, I felt.

The waiter advised me to take photos for others. I told him that it was his boss whom I wanted to take photo for.

By the way, there was no difference, when you went to the restaurant during the day or at night. It was dim likewise. It seemed that time was static in this space.

 

I took my camera out and was about to take photos of the restaurant when Fujita showed up.(I got his name afterwards.)

I felt so delighted though he was late for half an hour or so.

He never forgot it and took a day off for our appointment specially.

“I studied abroad in Tsinghua University before. ”

He continued, “I usually go back to Japan once every two months. My wife and children are there...I love the Tigers and I am their super fans. By the way, one athlete of them will come here. He is my idol.”

2/11/2015   Houhai Lake    the vendor in a wheelchair

It was the second diary today.

 

I intended to be punctual for the appointment. However, the girl I met in the Forbidden City broke her promise and didn’t show up. Then I took some photos of Houhai lake as a souvenir. Suddenly,

 

 A fragment of music came to my ears. It turned out that a very short man with a child was singing for a living. I stood there and watched them for a moment. I found a stall, bought two bottles of water and two corncobs, and walked towards the father and son.

 

Afterwards, I walked back and chatted with the woman selling things to me. She told me that there was something wrong with her legs and she lost her job several years ago. From then on, she was always selling things here to earn her living. Her husband and her were both disabled. She had a son. As long as she could go out,

 

she would sit in a wheelchair and sell things. I thought that she deserved a decent and romantic photo, like the one that she leaned on the balustrade of Houhai lake, against the sunshine and wind.

6/11/2015        Houhai Lake     9:00AM

I was in the seventh heaven because it snowed today.

 

She didn’t appear and I felt somewhat pity. Maybe it was not convenient for her to get out for the bad weather.

Houhai Lake was so beautiful after the snow. However, it was not a good place for dating because people would stand me up when I chose this place. Eva, I and others went to Yanqi Lake subsequently.

I did love the heavy snow so much!

28/10/2015    at Tianchi Restaurant  

Tianchi Restaurant was a Xiangjiang-style refectory in BFA.

I got the impression that the owner and its chef were Xinjiang people.

 

Once I ate out with my friends, unexpectedly, I found that the man roasting meat outside the door was a chef with Hui nationality(Chinese Muslim) with a little white hat.

He looked like the country doctor shot by W. Eugene Smith, rather than a cook.

 

We decided to meet each other here on his day off.

4/11/2015  at Tianchi Restaurant    14:30PM

It was a surprise today, absolutely.

The chef was at the restaurant. Before I could talk to him after the shooting, the restaurateur’s wife stopped me.

“We have a lot of pretty Xinjiang striplings. You can take pictures for them, too. ”

 

I could not refuse it.

The landlady summoned two or three young men who were speaking Xinjiang dialect. But I couldn’t understand the language.

 

The camera suddenly didn’t work when I was going to take a photo for the middle-aged man.

He couldn’t understand mandarin and seemed a bit impatient when he saw I was not ready to take the picture.

 

The camera was ready afterwards. However, the man’s frowned brows and unpleasant facial expressions were left on the photographic plate.

 

By the way, I learned that the landlady was a cool jailer when she was in Xinjiang.

It was said that food in a Japanese rotisserie tasted good.

I invited Wenxue and Zhigang to go there.

Pushing the door and stepping inside, I felt that I was totally in the scene of Japanese TV drama.

The room inside was not that large and the lamplight was rather dim--It was really very dim. The guests sat around the bar counter while the chef was barbecuing in front of the guests across the counter.

A lot of things were put up on the wall. I took a close look and found that they were almost pages about baseball from magazines and newspapers.

It was obvious that the shopkeeper loved baseball very much.

It was said that anyone eating here needed reservation. Wenxue was quite familiar with waiters here, so we got the seats.

And I was so curious about what kind of person the boss was, who decorated the room in this style and loved baseball so much. Wenxue pouted his lips, “Well, the one who is barbecuing.”

1/11/2015   at the Niaozhouli Rotisserie   the shopkeeper adoring the Tigers 

3/11/2015 

in the refectory of BFA   

the dresser with blue hairs

I was eating in the refectory of my college.

 

I saw a young man with peculiar blue hairs.  

 12/11/2015    at the front gate of BFA      15:00PM

I came across him unexpectedly in the refectory.

 

I walked towards him and greeted him. He was very much in the dark himself, so he asked the person next to him, “Is this your friend?”

 

The conversation continued and then I said, “I am the one you met in the refectory, who invited you to take photos last week. And you promised to meet me today. ”

“Ah...I see...I just forgot it,” said the young man.

I said, “It doesn’t matter. Then see you at the front gate at 3:00PM.”

 “OK”, he replied.

4/11/2015   in the small garden of BFA     the girl making a sketch

In the garden,

 

I saw a girl making a sketch. She wore a brownish grey fur coat and a red shirt. She had her back toward me.

She told me that she was from the school of animation and was doing homework.

There were a lot of red freckles on her face. However, I thought she was quite cute.

 

She said, “Call me Custard.”

11/11/2015     at the front gate of BFA    14:30PM

She was out of breath, “I am so sorry for being late for about several minutes. ”

“Never mind,” I replied.

“I often see girls from the school of animation dressing up like anime characters or characters in the idol drama. In your opinion, is this the casual dresses? Or do you do it occasionally?” I asked.

She said, “To a certain degree, most students studying animation seem to live in their own world. So we feel cool no matter what we wear.”

She also said, “I’m 17 years old and just a freshman. My skin is not in good condition. It’s allergic and there are whelks on it. It’s ugly.”She continued, “Custard is the name of one type of cupcakes.”

5/11/2015     Dongyuan Edifice  Mr. Bumblebee

What bad weather!

Even though it was only 5 o’clock in the afternoon, the sky was dark and thick clouds hung low. The sky was like an upside-down wok.

Then I walked home. When I was around Dongyuan Edifice, it took my breath away.

It was the Bumblebee!

Tall, with yellow helmet and yellow clothes, it hewed out its path out of chaos.

It seemed that it just finished a fight and returned in triumph. It looked like a hero.

 

I said, “Hey, Sir, you looks so cool.”

12/11/2015       Dongyuan Edifice     15:30PM

I didn’t see Mr. Bumblebee on time. However, I was unwilling to give up and continued to wait for him. Finally, I waited until he showed up.

He said, “Hey, I thought that you lied to me. I told my wife that a young girl invited me to take photos, but she didn’t believe me. I told her that the girl looked naive and simple. How could she cheat me? I arrived here just now, but I didn’t see you and I thought you were a liar, in fact. I left just now, but I still wanted to come back to see whether you were here. Here you are!” It turned out that he mistook the time and arrived here half an hour earlier.

I could see he was very angry from his remarks. But he cheered up when he saw me appearing by appointment. He and I went to find a pastry shop and sat down.

The family name of this middle-aged man was Chai. He was from Shanxi province, and was working in a Korean fast food restaurant. The owner was a Korean old lady. She would bow to greet them and never defaulted on employees’ wages. So he was satisfied with his present job.

To my surprise, in this so-called satisfied job, he got no paid holidays or vacations , which meant he had to work for 365 days all the year around. The only resting hours every week was the only two to three hours evacuated by him through negotiating with his colleagues privately. But for this week, his precious three hours was spent on our appointment.

 

In front of my eyes appeared a gyroscope, rotating for 24 hours, ceaselessly.

12/11/2015    Tous Les Jours    Turkish girls

I chatted with the stranger Mr. Chai at Tous Les Jours. After his leaving, I saw two beautiful girls sitting beside me. And then I came up to them and talked with them in English. They were from Turkey.

 

The one with short hair was called Jize. She majored in tourism management before, and then came to study in China. The other with long hair studied in Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and she was not 20 years old yet. I liked them both because they were beautiful. And the other reason was that they gave me a small bag of Turkish hazelnut.

 

It tasted pretty good.

15/11/2015  Yuanmingyuan Imperial Garden  12:00PM 

They didn't show up. I was so sad that day that I didn't even want to take any photos. I went away, feeling frustrated.

 

Later, I sent an email to them to ask them why they didn't come. Jize felt so sorry and said, "OMG! We forgot it totally. We stayed up last night, so we got up very late today." "It doesn't matter." I replied.

 

(The photos were taken in Yuanmingyuan afterwards. The surface of the frozen lake was beautiful and mysterious.)

My mother and I planed to travel to Taiwan for half a month. Thanks to this plan, we appeared at Ximenting in Taipei.

We were eating all the time. After tasting all kinds of delicacies, I was patting my stomach, feeling so satisfied.

 

There were so many Taiwan girls peddling things on the streets, whose voice was so soft. In front of the door of one of the shops selling Taiwan specialties, a girl with white dress and a pair of wings on her back, was calling out her wares seriously, “Ginger tea! The decent ginger tea! Come on and have a try! ”

I bought some ginger tea at her store and sent out an invitation. She was very shy. I told her the address in Taipei where I would stay several days later, and invited her to visit me. And I would wait for her downstairs. 

18/11/2015   In Taipei       The angel girl

27/11/2015     one guesthouse in New Taipei  11:00AM

I gained a lot when I got back to Taipei from Kenting.

The journey would be so perfect if the angle girl come to visit me punctually.

I was enjoying sunshine downstairs, feeling reluctant to accept the fact that the journey drew to a close. Bathing in the sunshine for half an hour, I hadn’t seen the angel girl yet.

That was all. It was impressive to leave some pity during the journey, which was fine. I took a photo of the bathroom in the guesthouse in New Taipei City. There were stars and the moon on the wall, which were as beautiful as her.

My good friend Lao Shi moCenter of Tsinghua University. I called on him. I was wondering whether he could ved to a new place, the International Youth Exchange lend his place to me to take photos.

 

Having visited it, we played ping-pong in the basement. After a while, someone pushed the door and went inside. I cast a glance at her. It turned out to be the sanitation worker here. She was not tall but a little fat, wearing blue uniforms.

She slowly walked to the sofa against the wall and sat down slowly. She stayed there silently and looked at us. I invited her to join in us. She said with a smile, “I can’t.” She left quietly before long.

Lao Shi and I planned to have lunch. Stepping out of her dormitory, we saw that woman and her other two colleagues. I came up to greet her. She pointed at me and said, “Hey! She is the one playing ping-pong just now!” I encouraged them to take photos. They agreed happily. We made an appointment to meet in the basement.

20/12/2015      

in the basement of International Youth Exchange Center of Tsinghua University   

I ran to Tsinghua University buoyantly, only to be impeded by the resident assistant. The assistant told me that it was prohibited to take photos here. It took me a long time to explained to him, but I was not allowed in. They asked me whom I wanted to meet, and then they went to the basement and called them to meet me.

Seeing me, they said , “We have been waiting for you for such a long time and thought that you would not come. Why do you such a young girl cheat us?” In addition, they were not allowed to go out, for it was their working time.

What a depressing day it was today! Looking at their disappointed eyes, I got a feeling of guilty and shame.

18/12/2015  

in the basement of International Youth Exchange Center of Tsinghua University    

a female sanitation worker

21/12/2015 

at the meeting room of Beijing Film Academy photography department     

Shilin, a girl with half short hair and half long hair

There was a lecture today, given by the famous curator, Robert Pledge.

That girl, I knew, was the newly-coming lower-grade schoolmate. It was her hair that attracted me so much. Half of her head was shaved into crew cut which was really short. The other half was longer than the shoulder length.

I asked my friend next to me who she was, and she told me that girl called Shilin was from Pakistan.

23/12/2015  
 Beijing Film Academy photography department
13:00PM

We decided to meet at the gate of our school. However, she didn’t show up.

 

I took some pictures of the things in the classroom, with features of tenacity but also flexibility,

 

Just like her. 

I didn’t know why I was eager to meet her, without any reasons. Fortunately, she agreed finally,

13/4/2016   in the refectory

17/4/2016  

at the northern gate of Dongwangzhuang Community 9:00AM

She was a few minutes late, which made me feel worried.

She was quite interesting. She said, “From my perspective towards love, there is no gender difference. Even the cactus can be my boyfriend.” She had slightly  languid and somewhat cool temperament.

 

“Boyfriend and girlfriend, I had both of them.” I was about to bid farewell to her, when someone, holding a broken bowl, was begging for mony from us. I didn’t give money to the cadger, but went to the fruit supermarket and bought some fruits.

 

She helped to pay for it because I didn’t have enough money. We gave these fruits to the cadger. What a beautiful and lovely girl she was! If I had fallen in love with a girl, I would have choose her. Aha!

24/6/2016 
in Beijing Language and Culture University    
the woman in black clothes holding white chrysanthemum 

The weather was great. I went for a walk to the BLCU nearby with Yueyang. A lady, pushing a bicycle, was passing by. She wore a pair of sunglasses and was in a black dress and knitted sweater. She put a bunch of white chrysanthemums in her bicycle’s basket. I got a strange feeling that she was walking leisurely, from the Republican period to today.

I trotted after her and told her that she was so elegant that she looked like a figure in the painting

 

. The lady slightly raised her labial angles and said, “In fact, Today I am going to attending the funeral .of my friend.” I felt a dull pain in my heart.

1/7/2016  9:00AM

I headed for the arranged place, the gate of BLCU.

I saw that lady in a distance. She saw me and smiled gently. She said, “I am so sorry. I have something to do, so I can’t go with you and take photos with you. ” She continued, “I have a conference to attend, but I remembered we had an appointment. So I must come to tell you. I can’t be absent from the conference, either. But I told the organizer that I must come for our appointment first and then I can attend the meeting. Because I made a promise to you.”

To my surprise, she had been waiting for me here specifically, though she needn’t have done so. I was deeply touched.

The middle aged woman’s surname was Luo. It turned out that she was a retired teacher of BLCU and taught the overseas students.

Can you guess how old she is?

26/7/2016   

in the Manhattan Community in Tongzilin, Chengdu    

the owner of a guesthouse called Hello, Stranger

I went back to my hometown, Chengdu in early July. Having been invited by a friend, I visited a newly-opened guesthouse which was called Hello, Stranger. It reminded me of what I was doing now. Wasn’t it “hello, stranger”?

The house was so beautiful, which was like its owners, two beautiful ladies.

1/8/2016    at the guesthouse Hello, Stranger     15:30PM

One of them was called Mengyao Yu; the other was Liuyang Zhang. One was engaged in music teaching, while the other devoted herself into art education for children at an art gallery. Their friendship started from highschool.

Recalling the scene where they met for the first time, Mengyao said, “I stood in the corridor on that day when she reached out her hand. She said, ‘Hi, my name is Liuyang Zhang. Can I make friends with you?” I guessed that Liuyang must smile very brightly at that time.

At this point, I miss my best girlfriend very much. I met her in the corridor outside our classroom, too.

4/2/2017      at the entrance of the lift     a little girl 

Qile Zhang visited me today. We ate out and then went home after supper. We reached the lift, only to find that it didn’t work.

I felt a bit speechless because I lived on the 10th floor. Meanwhile, I rejoiced secretly in my good fortune that I didn’t live on the 30th floor. Yes, that was the reason why I preferred low-rise buildings.

Then we began to climb stairs. Along with us was a little girl. She was capering. Her long hair was glimmering in the stairwell like stars in the deep ocean.

6/2/2017      at the front gate of my housing estate   10:00AM

“Am I so hapless? This is my first appointment this new year.”I thought to myself.

I had been waiting for her for more than ten minutes, but I didn’t see her coming.

I was about to give up waiting for her, when she showed up, with a small schoolbag on her back.

“Hi!” I greeted her enthusiastically. However, she just smiled faintly and asked me where we took photos. I felt frustrated.

“Shouldn’t the kid be passionate? Who is this reserved kid?” I though.

Then we got to the rooftop. I brought a very cute decoration, only to find that she disliked it.

She said, “I got up and reviewed lessons at about 5:oo in the morning.”Her remarks rendered me speechless.

She said, “Girls in my class are high on gossips, and they’re always talking about who loves whom secretly.” She continued, “Someone made irresponsible remarks that a friend of mine was dating with a boy. When the teacher knew it, she asked the boy’s parents to come to the office. The boy’s parent asked her to leave their son and told her that their son didn’t need friends like her. My friend is innocent. From then on, my friend always lowers her head wherever she goes. I am so angry.”

I said, “I feel angry, too. ”

2017.3.21 
in the classroom of Besancon Academy of Fine Arts 
a smoking model

It was my first time to come to France to participate in the Artist-in-Residence program by Besancon Academy of Fine Arts. I was quite curious about this land and people here. Thereupon, I began to explore this place.

She was thin and very beautiful, with short hair, earings and a nose ring. She stood in front of the teaching building, smoking. I smiled at her when I walked to her. She smiled back and nodded. However, neither of us spoke a word.

I kept walking forward until I opened a door, inside which was an atelier. I scrutinized the paintings on the wall and those uncompleted work. Three or four people came in after a while in succession. It looked as if they were in their 40s or 50s. I met her again. I vacillated a little while, and then went to have a chat with her. She turned out to be a freelancer. Sometimes, she would come here to be these painters’ model, who learned to paint pictures after retirement.

She spoke very fast and always wore a smile. She was also willing to let me take photos for her. Then we made an appointment to meet at this place. 

2017.3.30 
in the classroom DESSIN-PEINTURE 15     13:30PM

Things were out of control temporarily today.

Friends newly made in Besancon Academy of Fine Arts invited me and another resident artist named Niconila to join in their lunch party. But the party time was in conflict with my appointment time. I was talking about the artistic creations with these new friends while glancing at the phone clock now and then.

When it was close to the appointment time, I ran at full speed to the planned classroom. However, I didn’t see her. I waited for her for 10 minutes but she didn’t show up. Then I left because my friends were waiting for me.

  

I was not sure whether she forgot it or my waiting period was not long enough. Maybe if I had waited for a longer time, I could have seen the tardy girl. Or maybe not.

2017.3.28  
  in the WORK SHOP in Besancon Academy of Fine Arts   Manuel

I was preparing for the exhibition project for the performance art festival in April. Because it was involved in the making of props, I went to the WORK SHOP in Besancon Academy of Fine Arts to ask for help.

The man in charge of the WORK SHOP was Manuel, a sir who always wore the coat of his workwear. He looked cool and cute. He concentrated on his work and worked carefully and attentively. And he was very kind. Every time we met, he would call me Miss Wu enthusiastically. After we met each other several times, I found that this sir was so cute. Both Nico and I liked him very much. Hence I wanted to take a photo for him. He accepted my invitation with pleasure.

 

He said, “I am usually here on workdays, and you can come to find me.”

“But I want to arrange a specific time when you have time to let me take photos for you, so that I won’t delay your work.”

He continued, “Then 2 o’clock, next Friday afternoon, I won’t be busy.”

2017.3.28   
in the WORK SHOP in Besancon Academy of Fine Arts  
14:00PM

Actually, because of my work, I would meet Manuel each day for the past two days. Today, I arrived at the WORK SHOP ten minutes ahead of the agreed time. Manuel was immersed in his work to make something for Nico. He greeted me enthusiastically as usual, then continued to drown himself in his work.

I stood beside and watched him for a while. When he was free, it was about 20 minutes later. I asked,

 

“Manuel, do you remember our appointment?” He paused. I reminded him, “We agreed to take photos today.” He was suddenly enlightened and said, “Ah! I’m sorry. I should have forgotten it.” “Haha.

 

It doesn’t matter. Take your time and we can do it when you’re free. ”

 It’s spring now. Manuel, who often deals with iron, steel and electric welding machine, in his overalls, wearing the protective safety eyewear, was standing in the green grassland where little yellow flowers scattered. The scene made me feel so wonderful and romantic.

2017.3.29 
in the corridor of Besancon Academy of Fine Arts   punk girls

I walked from the library and saw two young ladies in the corridor. They looked so young. With a nose ring, ear studs, dreadlocks and martin boots, they were so cool and in so punk style and looked like rock singers. When I brushed past them, the sunshine penetrated the French windows. In a trance, I remembered the juvenile me ten years ago, the one who looked cute and well-behaved but was rebellious inward. I turned round and caught up with them.

2017.4.7 
at the small garden of Besancon Academy of Fine Arts  
14:00PM

We agreed to meet at the small garden of Besancon Academy of Fine Arts.

The sunshine was bright. I sat down on the ground beside the corridor. I waited for them peacefully. I had been waiting there for about one hour, however,

 

I did’t get the ones that I was waiting for. Were amnesia and standing me up the “French style”?

 

PS: Something amazing happened. On April 8th, the day following our planned day, I came across them who were sitting in the chair under the storied building and basking in the sunshine. I greeted them in great surprise and asked them why they didn’t come yesterday. They seemed confused and said, “We got to that place, but we didn’t see you. And we had been waiting for you for half an hour. ” “Ah? Come on. I was waiting there for an hour.” “At the garden?”, asked them. “That’s right. ”

 

I didn’t know where we went wrong. Were we in the parallel universes? Or did I go to the wrong garden? That was interesting. I asked them, “What was your feeling when you didn’t see me? Were you disappointed or angry?” “No. We just felt confused.” I stretched out my hand and said, “Bonnie Woo. Nice to meet you!” “Ever. ” “Emilie.”

2017.4.5  
 on the scene of performance art festival 
the naked performer Anais Pinay

    The performance art festival will be held annually in Besancon Academy of Fine Arts. It lasts from April 4th to April 6th this year.

 

I accomplished my performance art show in the exhibition yesterday and came to enjoy it on the scene near the river today.

 

Among the girls, one of them attracted me. She stood there and moved slowly. Looking around cowardly, she hesitated to unzip her blue coat. And then, she took off the second coat... She picked up the speed gradually. And her coward and hesitated facial expression gradually turned into a bright and delighted one. She became more and more fast, at last she could not wait to tore off all her clothes. She, was free. Oh, my god! There hided at least ten pieces of clothes on her body. Actually, I met her in the canteen of the academy yesterday. She told me her name was Nana and she studied in a city near Lyon. Maybe because I got some resonance from her performance, today I decided to know her formally.

2017.4.7
 in the canteen of the Besancon Academy of Fine Arts   9:30AM

We went through the French windows and the throng who were eating and chatting in the canteen, and then began to take photos on the rooftop.

 

Sunshine of the morning illuminated her naked body. She was like a gleaming goddess.

2017.4.6 
 at the ball of performance art festival 
 the handsome youth with lipstick

       

On the scene of the performance art festival, he was so eye-catching.

 

The large yellow spectacles, the tidy gray shirt, the lip with lipstick, and the color were beautifully matched. I asked my friends around me whether French boys loved putting on lipsticks or not. They shook their heads. Young boys with lipstick looked so pretty. He was supposed to be reserved.

I met him again at the ball in the evening. I discussed with Nico, and then encouraged myself to find him. After all, I had kept thinking about him for the whole afternoon. But I was ready for the failure psychologically before I went. Luckily, he lived in the downtown of Besancon and agreed to have a “date” with me. I walked away shyly after we reached an agreement. Afterwards, I met him again on the dance floor. He smiled at me and nodded.

 

I was thinking that he didn’t seem to be a reserved guy.

2017.4.9  
at the Time Square of Besancon   
15:00PM

I found the Time Square half an hour earlier than our agreed time. I was wondering if this boy would come. Didn’t he forget it? Or maybe he just didn’t want to come. After all, most people had forgotten to meet me in the previous appointments. I was a bit upset and paced back and forth at the square. When he showed up with a patterned shirt, I almost jumped with joy. He was unexpectedly easy-going and courteous. He looked so cute and was shy like a girl.

He introduced himself first,

“Antony,you can call me Tony. ”

“Bonnie. So nice to meet you!”

 

Tony is very young. He is 20 or so and studies at the fashion university in Besancon. He likes photography, and also likes being photographed. He told me it was the first time for him to be photographed so formally. I took many pictures for him, some of which looked very fashionable and was in line with his identity and temperament. I advised him to use these photos to find a job as a model. He also agreed with this idea. He was really so cute that I wanted to have such a lovely and handsome brother like him. Then he said,

 

“Now you have a French brother and I have a Chinese sister.”

 

I was so happy. 

2017.4.7 
in the stairwell of the artist-in-residence apartment  Thomas Perrin

I stopped him at the entrance of the stairwell and said, “Could I took photos for you?”

 

“Yes, you can. But I don’t want to take nude photos.” (He was supposed to see that I was taking nude photos for Nana that day.)

 

I burst into laughters and said, “Take it easy. I won’t do that.”

2017.4.11 
on the ground floor of the artist-in-residence apartment   9:30AM

I knew his name was Thomas from other people. I met him several times before in the campus and some activities, but it didn’t mean that we knew each other. He seemed to be the student who studied well and worked actively, and who was popular with the teachers and schoolmates. He was so young and seemed to be under 20 years old.

Seeing me, he apologized to me. He said, “I am late because I was delayed by temporary matters.” I said, “It doesn’t matter. I am so glad that you remember to come. ”

 

“Oh! I study here as a postgraduate, and I will graduate very soon. Haha! I am not that young and I’m already 25 now.

 

” He continued, “Are you sure to photograph me in this way...Oh, it doesn’t matter. I just mean that very few people take photos for models in flowers. I think it’s special... I want to be a university teacher after my graduation. Well, I mean the real teacher, the professor.”

04/05/2017   in OMA’s caravan in Amsterdam 

the Spanish lovers

04/05/2017   in OMA’s caravan in Amsterdam 

the Spanish lovers

I traveled to the Netherlands with my friend and ordered a special accommodation online. In a small courtyard parked three caravans, inside which people slept at night. Outside it were the public bathrooms and toilets. The owner was called Oma, who was a very lovely old lady.

 

A couple of lovers lived next to me. In the evening, they were smoking at the courtyard. My friend went out to borrow a lighter. I heard that they were chatting outside.

 

She pushed the door after a while, and said, “The couple of lovers are Spanish and work in London. They go on a holiday in the Netherlands and will live here for a week.”

I will stayed in the Netherlands only for three days. Just because of this reason, the interval between the day when I invited them and the agreed date is quite short, which is only one day. I was wondering whether this dating was meaningful, because the interval time was so short, they lived next to me and we could meet every day.

I got up in the early morning, prepared my camera roll and sat in the chair outside the caravan. It was about 9:30 when I saw the man walking out and bringing his wash ware to wash his face and rinse his mouth. We nodded at each other and that was our greeting. I kept on sitting there and waited to photograph them after their washing. However, they didn’t show up though half an hour over our agreed time passed. Then I walked forward and knocked at his caravan. The man opened the door. I walked inside and the girl was sitting abed and smoking. She greeted me friendly.

I asked them, “Do you remember our appointment?” Seeing that they wore a face of astonished bewilderment, I added, “To take photos.” That girl was suddenly enlightened. “OMG!” She jumped down from the bed and apologized to me continuously for her forgetting our appointment. How did she forget it? That was really unbelievable.

However, these unexpected things were the interesting and charming parts of the appointments. I still took a number of photos for them. I admired their love, but rejoiced at my being single.

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