Friday 2 August 2013

Three years

Three years ago, in early August, a freshly turned-forty Parisian-born Vietnamese man named An Ton That landed in Taipei. This wasn't his first time. He had previously come to Taipei on several occasions the preceding couple of years, but that particular time was special: his new life was to begin there.

Three years, intense and challenging, to say the least. But never did I allow the thought of a possible return to Paris. Whatever would happen, I'd have to keep on. The first year and a half was hard on me. I had left Paris without truly realising where I was heading to. I had travelled a lot, and would spent longer time abroad, each time, but my home was still in Paris. I would wake up some morning, wondering where I was. Paris? Tokyo? Any other city? Only slowly would my eyes recognise what was around me, the room where I had spent the night, the photos on the wall, the ceiling... Yes, my home in Taipei! It still happens. Very recently, it took me a full minute to remember where I was after I opened my eyes. A full sixty seconds when my state of slumber had not totally yielded way to the 'real' world of the awakens. I didn't recognise anything. Is it how one feels after death, - if 'feeling' can be the accurate word to use in that case...?

I want to make a celebration. Three years represent a cycle for me. Yet, I'm still not officially a resident here. My status as music composer does not fit any category.No company can hire me as they would hire engineers, bankers or teacher, so I still have to leave the country every three months, which is actually fine with me for I do have to leave the country regularly for my projects  - on the first year, it was every month!!!
Much as I enjoy my life here on this island, I can't say that work has been that exciting. My collaboration with HuangYi, especially Double Yellow Line would be what first springs to my mind. Compared to my work with Jo, it's of a modest scale. My work for film is starting to flourish. Two long features to score this autumn. The first one, Pierre est heureux is still in limbo and I begin to wonder if it will ever be finished...
But I have met Jay Chern, who is an up and coming young director. He does know how to tell a story and how to hold a camera. Our first long feature together will be Like a Thief. Having done music for all the shorts he has done the past couple of years - eight in total!!! I believe the long feature will be a fulfilling collaboration. Jay is currently finishing the screenplay. He wishes to work on the music first. Shooting will commence in December, probably...
So it seems that my work is veering toward the visual field. When the To the Sun MV is done, I shall start working on the next two ones: Who We Be and Love Profusion. Who We Be will be a dance video experiment, and involve three hip hop dancers, a white background, me in a black suit and blindfolded, and nine persons squeezed in a square and jumping in rhythm. I was supposed to start rehearsing with the choreographer last month but there isn't a busier person than he.

So I find myself with more projects that I could imagine. The difference with the younger An is that all these projects are coming to life these coming months.

I have met people recently who push me to publish my photographic work in a book. I planned to do an exhibition this summer, again with Adrian, but after the unsuccessful attempt at creating a true gallery at the Empress Lounge, I have also realised that it was time for me to take my non-musical work more seriously. They deserve better than student-like projects which will be burried by other similar student-like projects.
So a book it will be. Having an exhibition to launch the book will be a wiser move. Jin, who helps me set up my artist collective in Taipei, has advised me to look for a gallery to represent my work.
So the book, the record, the MV, the artist collective, the novel, the opera... I should clone myself!
No one can blame me for being lazy!

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