第46期为您介绍的是作家 蒋方舟。2015年，蒋方舟曾经接受了gooood Everyone专辑的采访。过去五年间，她出版了新书《东京一年》和《和唯一知道星星为什么会发光的人一起散步》，并且作为建筑原案参与到了一些建筑项目的设计之中。这些经历，想必让她对于写作、建筑、生活等话题有了许多新的体悟。之前的采访请至：Everyone专辑No.1 蒋方舟
gooood team interviews creative individuals under 35 years old from all over the world, some are pioneering founders, some are clients, some are ordinary practitioners. gooood is trying to record the authentic living and working states of this era. Your recommendations and suggestions are appreciated!
gooood Under 35 NO.46 introduces writer Jiang Fangzhou. We have interviewed her for our Everyone album in 2015. In the past five years, she published two new books, One year in Tokyo and Walking with the Only Man Who Knows Why the Stars Shine, and collaborated with architects in several architectural projects. We believe that she has gained some new perspectives on writing, architecture and life after these new experiences. Previous interview of Jiang Fangzhou in 2015 please see: Everyone No.1 Jiang Fangzhou
出品人：向玲 / Producer: Xiang Ling
编辑：陈诺嘉，武晨曦 / Editor: Chen Nuojia, Wu Chenxi
Getting involved with writing
“Writing helped me to find the thing I adore and can do best. It gives me continuous positive response from the outside world and healthy emotional support…An author should be honest with his or her authentic passion. When you lose your passion on a certain subject, you should better turn to another one and write something else.”
I have been writing for quite a long time, from 7 to 32, which accounted for most of my life. My attitude towards writing has also changed in this process. When I was a child, I wrote because I wanted to be different. After becoming a teenager, I started to have columns in newspapers, one article per day, which provided me with regular income, as well as feedback from the readers. Since then, I truly realized the joy of writing because I got to know there were people who loved to read my pieces. For now, the challenge has become greater, which pushes me to consider more about my creating, such as whether my work is innovative and interesting, or whether it is able to reflect the reality of the era.
As a child I wrote mainly about small and trivial things happened in everyday life. Around the age of 14, I started my columns simultaneously for Southern Metropolis Daily and The Beijing News, in which I wrote articles about history, and it was a period of self-developing. After my teenage years, I have published some books, each of which has a different subject matter, from comments on current affairs to purely fictional creations. This is partly an attempt to challenge myself, and partly out of passion. Several years ago I finished a book called One Year in Tokyo, and after that I realized that I may never write another diary-style book, because I would not have the same feeling of freshness and enthusiasm any more. An author should be honest with his or her authentic passion, which means when you lose your passion on a certain subject, you should better turn to another one and write something else.
▼蒋方舟出版的作品，books written by Jiang Fangzhou
80% of the book “Walking with the Only Man Who Knows Why the Stars Shine”（和唯一知道星星为什么会发光的人一起散步）was finished after March 2020. It was a year when everyone was locked down and spent most of their time at home. However, the more confined life becomes, the more you yearn for a border universe, which was also the reason why this book jumped out of reality and involved a large part discussing on the universe. On the other hand, I have always been interested in the theme of time, since a novel itself is essentially an art of time. The time span in a novel can be flexibly changed, depending on the author’s subjective will. Meanwhile, time can also be non-linear. It is able to travel between the past and the future in the author’s narrative. This kind of temporal magic is the most wonderful part of writing a novel. To sum up, this book covers a lot of big themes related to time, space as well as the memories.
Novels and architecture
Engaging with architecture as a novelist
“I think a building is also a story that is told by the space using its form and materials.”
我最早产生小说和建筑结合的概念，是看到张永和老师（更多关于他，请至：Atelier FCJZ on gooood）创作的《第三个警察》，将爱尔兰作家弗兰·奥布莱恩的小说中的片段变成了一个特别有意思的装置。那是我第一次觉得文学原来可以用这样的方式表达出来。于是我也挺希望如果哪个建筑师对我的哪部小说感兴趣，我们可以一起把文字变成一个真实的、让人可以参观、可以进入其中、可以触摸的空间。
When I was in college, I watched a documentary on Maya Ying Lin about her designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I was so shocked that such deep and intense emotions could be expressed in the form of a building. I think it is similar to a novel, which guides you to find inspiration, and the more you are attracted by it, the more you will discover the exquisite beauty of its content. From the perspective of a writer, I think a building is also a story that is told by the space using its form and materials.
The first time I came up with the concept of combining novels and architecture was when I saw “The Third Policeman”, an impressive installation by professor Yungho Chang (more about him, please see Atelier FCJZ on gooood), which reinterpreted the story in Irish writer Flann O’Brien’s novel of the same name. Until that time had I ever knew that literature could be achieved in such an innovative way, and it evoked my expectation for the opportunity to collaborate with an architect who was interested in any of my novels and thus we could together turn the words into a real space that people can walk in and touch the interior of it.
▼为《和唯一知道星星为什么会发光的人一起散步》中的四个故事构想的四个场景，four scenes conceived for the four stories in the book Walking with the Only Man Who Knows Why the Stars Shine
第一次与建筑师合作是和大学同学覃斯之一起参加一个建筑竞赛。他说建筑就是关于故事的，要我给建筑讲一个故事，于是便有了《和星星散步》一书中的第一个故事。后来我也跟建筑师王子耕老师（更多关于他，请至：Pills Architects on gooood） 合作了一个项目，他邀请我参加建筑评图。课程的主题类似后媒体时代的家庭关系，有点像是科幻小说创意展。有人想象所有人都生活在单个的公寓中，通过VR立面去接触真实的世界；也有人描述当媒体掌控了一切之后，生活会变成什么样子。这次经历让我发现建筑也是对未来人类生活的一种幻想，跟文学的关系其实蛮大的。
The first time I collaborated with an architect was participating an architectural competition with Sizhi Qin, my classmate during college. He said that architecture is also about narrative, and asked me to write a story for an architecture, which later became the first one of the stories in the book Walking with the Only Man Who Knows Why the Stars Shine. After that, I cooperated with the architect Zigeng Wang (more about him, please see Pills Architects on gooood) on a new project, and I was asked to take part in the final review of the studio he led in university. The course of the studio managed to examine the family relationships in the post-media era, a bit like an exhibition of ideas for science fictions. Some of the students imagined a world where everyone lived in a single flat and use VR surfaces to access the real world, while others described what life would be like when media took control of everything. With this experience, I realized that architecture can be regarded as a fantasy about human’s life in the future, which is quite relevant to the essence of literature.
The cooperation with architects drew my eyes on the details of an architecture, including its walls, the difference between its internal and external forms, and the changes in light and shadow. Besides, I have learned to notice the way that architects build the connection among people, for example, by using staircases and spaces that are inconspicuous. The cultural space that Qin and I created was also considering how to regroup people, allowing them to freely choose when to communicate with others and when not to.
▼蒋方舟参加建筑评图，地点在Pills工作室，Jiang Fangzhou participated in architectural design review in Pills
An Egg by the Seaside: “Watch and being watched” with the universe
“There are always some people who want to dig into the universe, and it is because of them that our world become broader.”
I have been fascinated by the story of Prometheus who brought fire to the mortals. On the one hand, he dared to think of what others not do, and on the other hand he was able to put his thinking into practice. When I was writing the story of An Egg by the Seaside, I created a hero called Protheu who was also a fore-thinker. When everyone was confused by the unknown, he had the foresight to turn it into something both romantic and practical. I have also been obsessed with the concept of a telescope. It is accepted by people that not everyone has the willing to see farther, but in society there are always some people who want to dig into the universe, and it is because of them that our world become broader. I remembered the competition at that time called for a proposal for building a structure on a prominent location and echoes the theme of “watch and being watched”. However, I thought it was a bit boring to make people see each other only outside the structure. I wanted it to become a narrative of “watch and being watched” that existed in a universe scale, and so there was a subsequent development of the story.
Once the story was finished, I would not interfere it more. I think it is exciting for every writer that your words turn to concrete things – people from other professions giving new life to the story of your own. This reminds me of the Franz Kafka Museum in Czech, which reinterprets Kafka’s stories into spaces in different atmospheres. It was a very unique experience for me to witness Qin and his team setting up the mock-up of the huge “egg”, making it steady and discussing on its facades, materials and stairs.
illustrations for the novel An Egg by the Seaside, showing a man who wants to dig into the universe
▼竞赛效果图，renderings for the competition
Walking with the Only Man Who Knows Why the Stars Shine: Re-build the connection between people
“When one person delivers his love, it lights up another person and allows him to shine with it.”
This story started out as a simple idea, which is about a girl and a boy who reunited after years of separation. Like a heart lighting up another heart, when all messages in the universe had extinguished after the black-out, the stars shone brightly again. During the period of creating this story, I found the models of society and the relationships between the characters became more and more complicated, and with the addition of all sorts of figurative interpretations, it became a long novel. Oppositely, when building up the architectural space physically, we went back to the simplest emotional needs, trying to creating a place that could reconnect people with each other.
The project was located in Hubei and had been through a lot during the global pandemic, so there was a need for people to get together again, reading or talking in one space, to repair their relationships as before. Above this gathering space was a starry sky of knowledge and masters, and inside was the interconnection between people. Every master is a star, and each time the star glows, someone’s universe will be illuminated. The same is true for establishing the relationship between people, just like Akira Kurosawa to other directors, or Socrates and Plato to the numerous writers, when one person delivers his love, it lights up another person and allows him to shine with it.
▼空间概览，overall view of the space
▼空间内部，头顶上方是大师的星空，下方是人与人的连接，interior of the space, above is the starry sky of masters, below is the connection between people
Reconstructing Time in Venice: To find emotional bond in fragmented time
“Time is a subjective perception. The father and the son reached a settlement in the staggered layers of time.”
This story had been presented as a project at Venice Biennale of architecture in 2018. The initial proposition of the project was to review the centennial history of Shougang industrial park in Beijing, but the most affecting part, in my opinion, was the emotional memories embedded in. Looking back on the renewal process of Shougang industrial park, it could be often found that there were generations of laborers who had devoted their lives to this large corporate community. In this continuous circle drawn by the wheel of destiny, there were conflicts that arise, such as the younger generation not willing to follow in their fathers’ footsteps. What I wanted to talk about in this story was the conflict and understanding between the fathers and the sons. They seemed to live totally different lives, but at some point in time, the sons would suddenly realize that they were actually no different from their fathers. The story was inspired by the book The Order of Time, authored by Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, in which he argued that time is a subjective perception, an illusionary orchestration of events and does not really exist. It was really a great inspiration. In Reconstructing Time in Venice, I told a story of a father who suffered from Alzheimer’s: the timeline was chaotic, and the memories about the son also randomly flashed back in the staggered layers of time. In the end of the story, they reached a settlement at a specific point in time.
The exhibition was presented using new media. The protagonist of the story found that time was actually determined by human’s consciousness, so he wanted to change people’s ability to arrange the sequence of time and thereby become a “time traveler”. Every time he woke up, he found himself jumped into a new time clue. His diary was presented in the exhibition by projection, and even on the same day, its content would be different according to the time when the visitor entered the space, since the protagonist had jumped into another universe.
▼展厅模型、外观和轴测图，model, external view and axonometric of the exhibition pavilion
▼展览中的场景，scenes in the exhibition
Similarities and differences between architecture and novels
“The strangeness and freshness brought by architecture and novels are quite similar to the act of escaping from reality.”
The biggest difference between architecture and novels in terms of narrative is that the latter’s time span can be extended to very long. Novels are not limited in time and can tell a story spanning a hundred years, a thousand years or even ten thousand years, while architecture relatively does not embody such a long period of time. But the similarity lies in the sense of strangeness: when stepping into an architectural space with strong artistic quality, you often feel like entering the inner world of the architect. It is very much like entering a chapter of a novel, where the author guides the reader into a strange world and cuts you off from the real life. This kind of strangeness and freshness brought by architecture and novels are quite similar to the act of escaping from reality.
▼让人仿佛进入了另一个世界的建筑空间，architectural spaces as if connecting to another world ©蒋方舟
(left) Casa Milà，Barcelona, (right) The connection between the sea and the sky, exhibited at 2018 Saison Enfance, Paris
Perspective on literary creation
“The ideal writing status is to write regularly every day…Having no input of fresh ideas or new stimulations is the relatively enormous enemy for my writing process…A real professional writer is like a salary man, being tortured by the deadline and finally creates some relatively satisfying works…What literature is good at might be creating the future that has not happened and the past that was not experienced…I have a tiny aspiration that I want to enlighten, warn or terrify people living in the reality through my fictional writing.”
▼蒋方舟参观知名文人的故居和博物馆，visit the former residences of celebrated writers and museums ©蒋方舟
(left) former residence of Pushkin, (middle) former residence of Dostoyevsky, (right) Escher Museum, The Hague
▼蒋方舟记录写作灵感的笔记本，Jiang Fangzhou’s notes to record writing ideas
中国大部分年轻的文字创作者，写的还是跟现实有关的事情。我们熟悉的上一代作家也写现实题材，而且他们在文学技巧上的成熟程度，是年轻作家难以超越的。同样是写实，你写的没有上一代作家写的好，那你的出路在哪里？这是我自己的生活经验和写作技巧所不能触及的。其实，我是一个对历史、对神话感兴趣的人，把历史、神话和现实结合起来，也许是未来世界文学一个新的发展方向。上一个诺奖得主，小说家石黑一雄的作品之一就是把亚瑟王的故事用他的方式重新讲述了一遍。诺奖作为世界文学的风向标，也开始鼓励想象力强、有一定科幻色彩的作品。关于现实，我们可以通过短视频、电视剧、电影去快速捕捉。有一部叫《The Morning News》的美剧，它与现实几乎是同步的，对现实的反应速度和准确程度令人震惊。相较之下，文学擅长的也许是创造还没有发生的未来和未曾经历的过去。
▼工作与生活，work and life
Insights into the current society
“Solitude is a purely internal view of the self, of being with yourself; there is no way to escape from self-interrogation and observation…When I was doing nothing, I recognized many interesting things, gained many writing inspirations and discovered a lot of spare time to think…In fact anxiety and self-loathing are good friends to me. They can help me to produce good results. ”
Plans and outlook for the future
“I want to be a writer with continuous enthusiasm for creating productively.”
This year I’m planning to publish an anthology, mainly of literary criticism, which I hope to have finished by the end of the year if things go well. After that I’m going to take a break, playing games or watching some animations, getting some inspiration from the fictional world to prepare for my new full-length novel.
I think it is sufficient for me to keep writing with enthusiasm for the next 10 to 20 years. Many writers are likely to slow down after they reach the mid-stage of their creative process, which is the situation that I really dread to be trapped in. Although many people criticize Haruki Murakami’s recent work for not as good as before, they still have to admit the fact that Murakami has maintained a high level of productivity, which means he has a consistent passion for writing. It is hard for me to envisage the level that I could reach in writing in the future, because it often depends on how well your work is received by the outside world. However, I can still control myself on keeping the productive enthusiasm and a steady mind for writing. I don’t want to become a writer who spends ten years for sharpening a sword. What I want to be is a writer with continuous enthusiasm for creating productively.