H↑H is a journey of exploring the suspense and dependence towards strangers, and open up a series of work on the relation of inevitability and accident.

***

My father was a civil servant when I was a kid. There was a sign of “H↑K” appearing in the tissue he used, and I always wonder what this upwards sign mean.

I used such arrow sign in Project H↑H in 2016. This is a journey to look for a meaning to go to the north. During this journey, I would keep my mind aimless, but it is not like totally lost, I would pay attention to everything which hinder my nerve and treat it as a sign and follow its tips, and then I will see what the North means to me.

It is because of Robin, a friend who once lived and worked in the South pole to make me started the journey.

The first time I visit his home, besides the family group photo, what I saw on the wall were various type of pictures related to the South Pole: self portrait in South Pole, exploring great team picture and motto, landscape oil painting of South Pole……And the first life story he introduced himself was his job in South Pole in 1966, he temporarily left his pregnant wife and 2 young sons.

He was a neighbor when I had a residency project in Auckland, New Zealand in 2016 February. Robin is 50 years older than me. Why made him so care about this short stay in South Pole? Is it a miraculous journey in his life? He was my age by that time.

I also found that hitchhiking is a not welcoming issue in North Island of New Zealand. From my survey of twelve neighbour resident, most of them dislike it, they will never try hitchhiking nor pick up hitchhiker. “Because this is not safe!”, the adventurer Robin didn’t support it either. There were two European tried it before, but it was a long long time ago.

This disturbance is difficult to explain or proof, the related news was not much, so I set off to understand it. I invited Robin to go with me for HéH, the target is from home to the furthest north side we could reach, without schedule, we would chat about our past happening during the road trip, listening the the stories that are half century apart, discussing about “journey”. After we resume to home base, Robin would have a new exploratory story of the north.

However, Robin rejected me on 8th February. His rejection level up my curiosity on this issue, as well as urging me to start this go-to-the-north project. And I set off on 13th February.

Figure Route Distance in between
2016.02.13 Ian, single, NEC technician Muriwai →Henderson

→Auckland→

39km
2016.02.14 Eric & Gavin, couple, run business on Gate Barrier Engineer Silverdale → 30km
2016.02.14 Logan, single, work at seafood process factory Warkworth → 28km
2016.02.14 Troy couple, fireman and teacher Kaiwaka → 39km
2016.02.14 Roger, single, retired Whangarei → 62km
2016.02.15 Femke, single, year out, baby sister and traveler Whangarei → Ocean beach → Waipu → Muriwai 232km

After about 200-km trip relying on strangers pick up, I met a drifting german girl, Femke, she happened lived in the same town as me in Muriwai, a remote and tiny place, we spent a day to travel in Whangarei, and then back home together.

“You are my north!”

Postscript:

I reported to Robin once I back from H↑H, and invited him to start another H↑H journey with me. Again he rejected me, my action could not change his mind. But then he used his own way as an active response on 23rd – drove me to the town at northern town Helensville to swim. When we picked up his son Thaddeus after the trip, I saw a blond girl opposite to me at school, couldn’t recognize at the first moment, but she come close, I would not expect to see the baby sister friend again, Femke!

H↑H accomplish a trip and this group photo – it represents a continuous way of exploring and reviewing the initial thought and belief, and so as to investigate the logic of the relation of inevitability and accident. This trip inspired me for two video work : Femke, Follow The Fall

H↑H是一個探索對陌生人的懸念與依靠的旅程,並開始一系列關於必然與偶然關係的創作 。

***

小時候,爸爸當公務員,常用一些印有H↑K包裝紙的廁紙,我經常猜想指向上的箭咀是什麼意思?

2016年我計劃的《H↑H》就用上了箭咀,是一個為「往北走」而尋找理由的旅程。旅程中不讓自己有目的,但也不盡是迷路般,把所有微小的東西視作提示,跟隨它們,然後看看北方於我是甚麼意思。

開展這次旅程是因為認識了一位去過南極的Robin。

首次到他家聚會,牆上除了家庭照外,便是各類與南極有關的舊照:在南極工作時的個人照、Campbell Island的團體照、探索隊偉人照及名句,南極風景油畫⋯⋯而他介紹自己的第一個故事也是在南極時的工作,暫別兩名幼子及懷孕太太的1966年。

他是我2016年二月在紐西蘭奧克蘭駐留期間認識的鄰居老伯伯,剛剛比我大50歳。他為甚麼對短短一年的南極生活那麼在意?難度他一生只想念一個奇蹟般的旅程嗎?而他當年正是我現在的年紀。

我又發現原來搭順風車(hitchhike)這件事,在北島尤其不受歡迎。在我訪問的十二個本地居民中,差不多全部對這件事反感,自己不會嘗試,也不會接載hitchhiker。「因為這不安全!」,連冒險家Robin也十分不支持。另外有兩位本地歐洲人試過,但也是很久很久以前的事了。

這種不安,既難以名狀又難以證明,相關的意外報導並不多,於是我出發去理解它。我邀請Robin跟我一起HéH,目標是由家出發一直到北面的最遠處,沒有時間表,在沿途的車上閒聊自己的往事,聽聽差距半個世紀的事跡,討論「旅程」⋯⋯回來後,Robin就可以多一個北方探險的故仔了。

可是2月8 日Robin堅決地拒絕 了我。 他的拒絕使我對這件事的不安加劇,但同時反作用力也更大,摧促我更馬上開始去北方的計劃。終於2月13日我出發了。

經過了差不多200公里依靠陌生人接載的路程後,我認識到另一個漫無目的的德國女子Femke,她剛好和我住在Muriwai這個十分偏遠的小鎮,我們用了一天的時間遊歷Whangarei,然後回家。

「你就是我的北方!」

後話:

回來後馬上找Robin報告,再次邀請他跟我H↑H。他又拒絕了我,看來我的努力未曾動搖過他。但2月23日他卻用自己的方法──駕車帶我去北面的小鎮Helensville游水,也算是積極的回應了。回程時一起到學校接小兒子Thaddeus放學,我從遠處與一位束起金髮的女子對望了一會,未有即時認出她,她走過來時,竟然是現職保姆的Femke!

《H↑H》成就了一個旅程和這張合照──它的意義代表持繼地,不帶預切地去發現和檢視起點時的信念,以及撿視必然與偶然之間的邏輯。在此我創作了兩段錄像《Femke》《順隨墜落》。

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exhibition :

Everything seems the hint when you get lost, Muriwai Earthskin Residency, Auckland, New Zealand, 2016