New Norm Magazine
I am a travel & lifestyle photographer and writer based in Tokyo. As a Chinese descendant in Indonesia, my work is very much influenced by the idea that ‘home’ is a fantasy, a romance of belonging that doesn’t actually exist; a personal pulsating struggle that directs my sense of art, that is also deeply rooted in Indonesian history of its Chinese community. This drives my urge to travel and dictates my choice of places, and thus, inspires me to create works that is poetic and provoking the sense of wander.
Where are you from / call home?
I’ve been living and working in Tokyo for the last five years, but I’m originally from Indonesia
What are some simple pleasures that you’ve rediscovered during the coronavirus pandemic?
Slower, unhurried pace of daily life.
Embracing slower living
How have you and your creative process changed?
I used to look for and find inspiration in the movement — on the train during my commute while walking around the city, or by purposely travel somewhere. Now with quarantine order almost everywhere, movement is replaced by stillness. Instead of looking out, I am learning how to find and understand the inspiration I get by not moving anywhere, instead, I am training myself to look inside, to rely more on the voice within and boundless imagination. That process really helps me to discover more about myself as an artist, and it molds my work to become more of my identity, rather than as another version of someone else’s.
What are some of the things that have changed in your country as a result of the pandemic? What is the new normal?
The way people connect to each other as a community. Indonesia is a very social country — people like to gather in a large crowd and do things together. The quarantine may limit the physical activity, but not the spirit. We see artists and entrepreneurs joined with each other to create a new-kind digital experience for concerts, workshops, seminars in a way that was never thought before the pandemic, to bring people together to stay inspired and creative during this time.
Travel from home
What was your favourite destination and why?
The Dordogne Valley in southwestern France. There are a lot of small idyllic French villages — those with traditional limestone houses and cobblestoned pathways; spread around the region, each with its own tight-knitted community. Coming there from a hectic megalopolitan like Tokyo made me savor the slow and simple kind of joie de vivre that I found there.
What are some of your most memorable moments during the trip?
I went there in spring, right when the poppies were in full bloom. Driving around the valley from one little village to another, I passed countless poppies meadows — blooming wildly and freely; quite a different notion to how flowers bloom in Japan where they are arranged and treated like a fragile thing. I think surrounded by those kinds of beauty was somehow liberating, in a sense of art, especially after being in a country of rigid order for quite a while.
What does travel give you that everyday life doesn’t?
An intense, sudden change of perspective that is overwhelming, inevitable, and yet so transforming.
You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours, where would you go?
I would love to visit Copenhagen! The city has been on my list for a long time for its art and design vibe, and coming from a tropical country, I strangely enjoy the cold and gloom of the northern hemisphere more.