201911142105Stories from the Future Workshop 未來的故事工作坊—澳洲多元藝術文化機構主辦
Stories from the Future Workshop 未來的故事工作坊
First of all, I want to say a big thank you for this opportunity to attend the Stories from the Future workshop. I’m truly blessed to get the grant from the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, which support artists in regional and remote Australia with all the travelling costs and make it possible for us to attend such a meaningful project like this. And what a privilege for me when I realize I might be the only one in my mother country Taiwan, and in my town Geraldton to get the experience of this workshop so far.
Before the workshop, I had a meet and greet coffee catch up with some of the participants. It was such a great chance to be able to connect with others and know each other better. I wasn’t able to chat with all of the artists during the workshop (what a shame!). I would appreciate more time to catch up with others.
When the workshop started, everyone was sitting in a circle. We’ve been asked to bring an object to share the story behind. I brought my practice, a painted rock with me. I wasn’t able to fully explain how important and why I choose it during the workshop and in the interview film, but lucky I can tell you the full story right now:
I was suffered from depression after giving birth for two years. With no family and friends around and in a country with an unfamiliar culture, for me, it was big. I lost myself. Without the role of being a wife and a mum, I don’t know who I am. I stumbled into rock painting while the painted rock hunting game was on. It’s a game to encourage people to go out door with their kids to find the painted rocks or hide them to make someone’s day. Since then, I was hooked. I found the joy of painting, the quality time I can really be with myself while all my kids were sleep and husband away working, and the pure excitement when finish a piece of art work; all of these, were the light during my darkness time. Then I started doing the kindness rocks project: Painted rocks with positive message on it. Every now and then when I feel down, I asked myself what message I would like to see to get over this hard time. And this is the second time my rocks had saved me from misery.
It hit me hard when the first time I open to the public to spread the kindness rocks project. Here’s the word that I wrote down that day. “There's one boy around 12-15 written something like "live your life to the fullest because you only live once." I was amazed really. I don't think when I'm in this age I'll be able to understand life like this. That boy had me thinking. I don't know what he's been through, but he definitely points me to the right direction: I have to keep the kindness rocks going!”
With my practice, I had bought all different kinds of rocks. Some rocks are even original from my own country, Taiwan! The rocks had travel all the way to Australia to find an artist like me to give them a different life, to turn them from normal rocks to outstanding gems. I was chosen. At some point, didn’t I share the same destiny as the rocks? I came such a long way to be here in Australia, will I be lucky enough to find someone to value me and see my potential as a gem? It might seem that I, as an artist, give a new life to the rocks that I encounter, but indeed, the rocks were giving me a new life by offering me the chance to paint them. These realizations won’t even be here if it’s not because of this workshop.
Sit, Drink, Share and Eat 會場布置、飲食與每個人所帶來的小品故事分享
I was never a quick thinker and I feel so frustrated when I can’t fully express myself in front of the people and camera. However, the workshop host, Remy, guided us to take time and be mindfulness to the place where we were, to the feeling of the temperature, and provoke us with some deep issues and feelings that arouse inside our body by asking questions like “Who’s been marginalized? Who’s artworks been undervalued? What’s the feeling and where’s the feeling locate in your body?” By naming the feelings and be aware of it while facing the challenge we had doing our practice, it helped us really look deep into ourselves.
We used lots of sticky notes to write down our challenges and stick them on the white board. Everyone was encouraged to have a look of all the struggles we had. One that catches my eye was “Fear of Difference.” It sums me up very well. I never feel comfortable while I’m in a group of majority white, it made me standout too much and I never like to be notice in that way. Then I think of my rocks. Rocks came with different shapes, forms, sizes and colours, just like us human being. While sorting out the rocks, rocks that are different from the majority will always be the first one to spot and pick out by me. And my feelings toward those rocks were always like this, how special you are! At one hand, I like to be the same like others, but on the other hand, I know my speciality is the spotlight itself to make me stand out from others. From an artist point, being different is so important, but since when we forget to apply it to ourselves and be gentle to our uniqueness of diversity? Since when do we feel so uncomfortable in our own skin while it might be the purpose of why we were here?
After lunchbreak, we did an activity to imagine our future generation was writing a thank you letter to us. The gratitude and appreciation that had been share in a small group was out of this world. Then we were asked to look back to those struggle sticky notes, and think of a way to bring those issues to be resolved and end up with the appreciation thank you letter in the future. What can we do right now to bring us to the bright future we all looking for?
There were four aspects for us to ponder. From personal attitude, our art practices, and art institute then the societal and governmental level. We were encouraged to think of a different structure of the art world. Our group work from the bottom level of personal attitude and agree there should be more empathy, respect and appreciation. As for the art practice, we should have more freedom to experience in different kinds of ways. We feel like art institute were being very selective, and not everyone can really approach to it. So if we could push the boundary more, especially from culture to culture, it would have more chance for artists to be seen and heard. But at the same time we feel like there’s nothing really can change if the authorities do not come from the government level.
Unfortunately the time is ticking quick, the discussion session just not enough for us. However, it’s very interesting to exchange our thoughts from all the other groups. And for me, the ideal art structure in 30 years time would be both the government and people work in a mutual way to meet the balance. It’s not from the top (government) to the bottom (people) or vice versa, but from a point to point based to form a flow circle that everyone was covered.
Struggle notes v.s Thankful letter, interview afterward 掙扎的便條貼與感謝信的對比，會後的攝影訪問
Stories From The Future workshops had definitely broaden my eyesight. It didn’t feel like a workshop but more like a reflection of us. The repeated gratitude and appreciation shown in the workshop were the highlight I reckon. If it’s not the past, there’s no present, so be thankful. And if it’s not the present, there’s no future, so be more thankful!
Last, I’m going to sum up with my practice; again, this understanding was credit to the workshop that I was lucky enough to attend. While doing rock painting, a smooth and round rock is always the best. But rocks don’t just come out this way. They have to be tumble by the river or wave to smooth out all the bumpy bits they had. Their outside might look different from the time being washed, but their quality inside remain the same. Or even their outside had completely been washed off and showing their true inner self. Arts and cultures influence us the same way. We need to be round and smooth with our relationship both to the country where we stay and the country where we belong. Doesn’t matter how much we’ve changed through the wash of the culture, we are all in one soul. We are never the same person again, because now we shine more.