Toy as medium
On Toys as Medium & Popular Culture
The idea of the show started off as a chat, one day in early summer, with FP folks Wai and Kel during the setup of an exhibition. Wai and Kel’s model making involves intense concentration and techniques. These and the very process of construction parallel what is involved in art making, whereby passion and joy are integral to the experience.
If a medium is the very thing through which we express ourselves and deliver our ideas, a toy object fully qualifies as one. As a medium, a toy is expandable, and its meanings change over time. Toys probably began as personal diversions in the domestic setting before commodification in contemporary society, and such a history is open to interpretation. It is obvious to us, though, that toys extend themselves through multiplicity of forms to storytelling, such as in animations, books, videos (ad) and so on. A toy often suggests potential interaction with other toys or individuals. Toys are in many ways counterparts of storytelling. For example, a robot toy often incites a futuristic animation making: a singular toy-robot “lives on” with many encounters through carefully designed plots, settings and scenarios .The context of the story could be totally outside of the robot toy itself. This inventive relationship between toy objects and their narrative content manifests most brilliantly in the movie Toy Story (Pixar, 1995), in which the toy protagonist Buzzlightyear is able to acknowledge his identity as a “space ranger” fully only from the words printed on the packaging that comes with him! We are intrigued by such expandable possibilities, which is also common in art: literature often lends itself to paintings, paintings to sculptures, theatre to songs and so on. A painting we are looking at often points to a backstory that is untold, hidden, or suggested, or perhaps finding origins in a different artistic medium in another time and space. Similarly, interacting with the toy medium requires multiple levels of knowledge and imagination – for the maker as well as the player.The history and the place of toys intersect with the histories of art and culture.
In this show, “Toys as Medium,” our setup begins as another of FP’s assemblage sessions, but completes as spatial intervention. While following a specific plan of formal juxtaposition, our goal is to allow ourselves the room to rethink the possibilities of toy through actual making and playing, and to rediscover toy as an artistic medium pertaining to daily life. The versatile character of the toy objects, too, turns art into inter-subjective experiences.
A “dreamscape” from childhood is what our setup aims to recreate – it is vivid, fun and resourceful, resulting from the variety of toys and related artifacts in assemblage. This also generates an alienating reality as we build this “room” with our knowledge, resources and experience as grown-ups. The toys are the same, but we have grown out of our younger selves. This show is the return of Floating Projects’ assemblage experimenting with space and re-purposing of material objects after several FP members’ solo series. But this is more than the usual group show; this show only makes sense when we collaborate and make the space together through display strategies and the tying in of our own “toy histories.” We push boundaries, perhaps even beyond toys as medium. (2016.10.07)
On Playing 有關玩
“Play is a notoriously difficult concept to define; it is a culturally and socially specific idea.” –Mary Flanagan
“The root of creativity is found in the need to repair the good object destroyed during the depressive phase.” – Melanie Klein
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” – Carl Jung
The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he is always doing both. – Lao Tzu
In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play. – Friedrich Nietzsche
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. – Plato
Toy as Medium <玩具之間>
*展期 2016.11.20－12.11 Exhibition opens: 20 Nov – 11 Dec 2016 @ Floating Projects / Exhibition initiated by Kel Lok, Wai-leung Lai and Andio Lai, joined by Cheuk Wing-nam, Wong Fuk-kuen, Jess Lau, Kelvin Lam and other friends of the Floating Projects.
*The show focuses on TOY with the possible play within the sets, arrangement and interactions between the time frame.
**The venue will be filled with readings, catalogues and related comics, which provide a more thoughtful dimension to the toy objects.
***Toy is a kind of common language for us as we must all have played a certain toy when small. How did toys and toy cultures form our childhood and of memory of it? TV, comics and games are also part of Toys. This show discusses and reflects on the media that come alongside with toys. How much of it has become obsolete, or elements of nostalgia in contemporary pop culture? We hope this show shares with our expat friends the toys that we grew up with for a direct gaze into our childhood.
這個展覽的靈感源於初夏的一天跟偉師父和 Kel 的聊天。那段時間，他們埋頭苦幹的在據點藝術工場「砌」模型。模型製作所要求的專注和對技法的絕對要求，其實很像藝術創作，當然還包括那分熱情和喜樂。
「媒介」常被定義為我們用以表達自己、傳達意思的東西,玩具其實很符合這特性。作為媒介, 玩具是有伸展性的。玩具的淵源可圈可點，其中我們注意到玩具常以形的多樣化向外伸延到說故事，出現於動畫、書本、影片、廣告等。玩具本身就意味著交流 – 與人及別的玩具的交流。其中一種普遍的交流是玩具引來的講故事活動。玩具與敘事確有著迴響、呼應的關係。例如,一個機械人玩具往往會連系著一套動畫，透過精心設計的劇情, 佈局和情景，機械人從獨立的物件「進化」為落入一連串的遭遇、事件的經驗主體。情節和故事的語境是外在於機械人玩具的，可延伸可改變。最絕妙的例子可數《反斗奇兵》(彼思動畫，1995) 的玩具主角巴斯光年，要透過自己的包裝盒上的說明才得知自身的「太空戰士」身份！這把我們帶到藝術類別之間的關連性 – 就像文學作品引來繪畫,繪畫又牽連雕塑,又或劇場導至歌曲的創作。要明白一幅畫的完整意思,很多時要回到背景緣由。這意味著和玩具互動，玩家和造玩具者都需要有一定程度的有關知識和想像。玩具的歷史和重要性也扣着藝術和文化的多重歷史。
這次的展覽既是據點的另一個獨特的「聚疊」事件 ，更期望其成果是有意識的空間介入。我們執著於展覽的形相和鋪排 – 那是風格的所在。更重要的，是透過這組合引導我們去重新想想玩具跟遊戲是怎麼一回事 – 作為藝術，甚至作為指向生活的媒介。我們展示玩具作為媒介的豐富繽紛，也以另一角度去看玩具裡的玩、藝術和生活經驗。