Workshop: Pandemic Product

Guideswork 参考线文化

Biography

Guideswork: A small-scaled creative studio based in Beijing, founded in 2018. They are dedicated to bringing original, fun and design-oriented contents and products to the market. During the pandemic, they created a booklet named ‘Safety! Safety!’.They collected over 400 ‘Special Period Passes’ from all over the country and assembled them into a booklet in the hope that the products of this special period would be preserved. The cover is made of the same non-woven fabric as the mask.

参考线文化:一个位于北京的小规模创意工作室,成立于2018年。他们致力于为市场带来原创、有趣和以设计为导向的内容和产品。 在疫情期间,他们创作了一本名为《出入平安》的小册子。他们从全国各地收集了400多张通行证,并将它们组装成一本小册子,希望这个特殊时期的产品能够被保留下来。封面是由与口罩相同的无纺布制成。

Safety! Safety! 《出入平安》

The recording of the book ‘Safety! Safety!’ launch:

参考线文化《出入平安》新书发布会录音:

http://www.notion.so/Guideswork-Book-Launch-9f6a4d50881447b3ad82c4d742ada572

Welcome to the launch of the new book Safety! Safety!, we are a small studio called Guideswork. For many audiences who often come to (Shanghai Artistic Book Fair) abC, we may be new faces, because it’s the first year of Guideswork to participate in the Artistic Book Fair Shanghai, because last year, we went to the Beijing fair. Coincidentally, this year is the 2nd birthday of our studio.  At this time, we came to Shanghai to attend the abC book exhibition which is really a great pleasure and honour for us.

欢迎大家来到《出入平安》新书发布会,我们是一个小型的工作室,叫作参考线Guideswork。可能对于很多经常来(上海艺术书展)abC的老朋友来说,我们是新面孔,这也是我们参考线第一年来上海书展,去年去了北京。很巧的是,昨天正好是我们工作室两岁的生日,二我们在这个时候来到上海,参加abC书展,有这样一个新书发布的活动,是很开心很荣幸的。

First, we will briefly introduce our studio, because basically we are still new faces to you. We usually take some design projects as well as running our own workshop. Due to the pandemic this year, our workshop did not operate properly but the previous year we had worked in this way several times and received positive responses.

The form of the workshop is about everyone working together in 48 hours or in a few days. Of course, the most significant point is that we will also do our own works that will be published independently. These are the two books we have produced. The first one is called The Board and the other Safety! Safety! Therefore, today we’re going to talk about the first work we will publish at the Shanghai abC—Safety! Safety!

先和大家简单介绍一下我们工作室,因为我们对大家来说还是比较新的面孔。我们平时会接一些设计项目,除此之外,我们还会办自己的工作坊。今年因为疫情的原因,所以没有办(工作坊),但去年办过几次,效果非常好,大家会在48小时之内,或者几天之内一起做作品。当然,最重要的是,(我们)还会做自己独立出版的作品。这是我们目前已经做的两本作品,一本叫做《社区切片》(The Board),一本就是《出入平安》(Safety! Safety!)。今天我们要和大家介绍的就是这本在上海abC首发的作品:《出入平安》。

Guideswork 参考线
Overall presentation
Guideswork 参考线
Overall presentation 

In fact, the word “出入平安 (Chu Ru Ping An)” is quite common in our daily lives, and appears most as the print of door frame in China (the meaning of the Chinese word of 出入平安 means that “safely going in and out”.  It is an idiom of China). As a result, when we see the word, we will feel that it is a positive expectation, “going in and out” is such a common thing that we always do during normal times.

But, you know, since the outbreak of the pandemic early this year, the “going in and out” thing started to become unusual, even special.   Our studio began working on the sixth day of this Chinese New Year, which was the time that our communities had not yet locked down and before communities distributed passes  to each resident.  At first, the of checking passes was not that strict but with the fast spread of the virus, not just in our community but in many residential areas, the pass became of utmost importance.  Then, we’d realised that we were witnessing a phenomenal event happening.  It was incredibly weird that we came to rely on a pass in order to live.

In about February or March, we saw some public and self-made activities launched online, like “Exposing your passes “, “Collecting everyone’s pass” and so on. When I saw them, I felt that it’s meaningful to do something similar.  From our point of view, the pass seems to be the mark of this period.  That reminded me of a book Old Sparks (Collection of Objects No .1) of Shiwei CAI.  We used to call the script on the side of the matchbox the “sparks”, CAI collected all the matchboxes in China then and made them into a book. According to this, our current passes are more like the “food coupon”  which we had decades before.  A lot of people have mapped out the collection of the food coupon in China, including in Guangxi Province.  Normal University Press has just issued a book this year, called China in the Tickets.  In this sense, the pass must be seen as a representation of our current time and act as a witness to our experience during the special year of 2020.  What is more, we’ve just found out that the Chinese National Museum is also issuing an announcement to collect information about everyone during the pandemic, and the pass is playing a key role as a “special reference” artefact.

其实“出入平安”这四个字在生活中是挺常见的,最常见的是在门口的地毯上,门框上等等。其实在日常生活中,当我们看到“出入平安”这四个字的时候,会觉得这至少是一个美好的期盼,从日常来说,“出入”这件事情并没有什么特别的地方。但大家知道,从今年年初新冠肺炎疫情开始以来,“出入”这件事情就变得不再寻常,它变得很特殊。我们工作室是在今年的大年初六开始上班,那个时候小区还没有形成那么严格的出入管理,但是后来没过多久,(社区)慢慢地就给每个居民办出入证。一开始管得还没有那么严,但是随着疫情发展得越来越严重,不仅是我们小区,(在)很多小区,出入证甚至成为仅次于身份证的重要凭证,只有拿着这个凭证才能进出小区。当时我们意识到我们应该(正)在见证历史,因为靠一张出入证去管理,至少在近十年都是很少见的。在大概2、3月的时候,我们就看到有一些媒体和自媒体都在网上发起了类似的活动,比如“晒一晒你的小区出入证”,“征集大家的出入证”等等。我看到的时候就觉得这是一件很有意义的事情,在我们看来,出入证这个东西很可能可以留下这个时代的印迹。当时我想到了蔡仕伟老师的一本书《老火花》(《集物志》第一辑),大家知道以前我们都用火柴,火柴盒上的划片叫火花,他收集了整个民国时代的火柴盒,做成了一本书。在我们看来,出入证更像是这个时代的“粮票”,其实历史上有很多人做过中国粮票的图鉴和收集,包括广西师范大学出版社今年也刚刚出过一本书,叫作《票证里的中国》。当时我们就想到,出入证一定能够代表我们当下这个时代,甚至是一个(见证)整个2020人类共同经历疫情的物件。很快我们也看到国家博物馆发布了一个公告,就是收集大家在疫情期间的相关资料,其中特别提到了收集出入证。

Last February, we decided that we must organise such an event because it is so significant. Therefore, we sent our posts in WeChat, Weibo and other platforms, calling for passes from all over China. We started this activity during the earlier period of the pandemic, and we tried our best to find various ways of collecting passes, even changed the name on our website to “Calling for Passes”. We stopped collecting last July, and even got some passes at the abC Book Fair in Beijing.   Finally, we collected more than 400 passes, and because we began collecting at the beginning of February, which was months before then, when we started sorting the passes out and we found something interesting.

我们在2月份的时候提出我们一定要做这件事情,因为它太有意义了。所以当时我们就在微信、微博等各种渠道发了帖子,征集全国各地的出入证。那个时候疫情应该刚刚开始,我们也就开始了(这个活动),我们找了各种渠道,还把自己的网名改成了“征集出入证”,这样群聊里有人提到我们的时候,就会看到我们在征集出入证。我们一直收集到7月份,甚至7月份在北京abC书展的现场也收集到了很多出入证,最后我们一共收集到了400多张。因为这些出入证是我们从2月份开始收集的,所以当我们开始整理的时候,发现了他们很有意思(的地方)。

At the beginning of the pandemic, the passes produced in February which are very simple and printed in black and white, only allowed each family to go out every two days. The one-off pass was more common in those early days.  We could perhaps look at them as all being temporary passes at first sight, because the communities might not have expected the pandemic to last so long.  As the time went on, the pass we see now is much more advanced than what we saw in February.  At the time, we might not have brough our ID cards but must have the pass with us— because the pass then has a name, phone number, ID number, address, and many people’s passes even had a copy of their ID card.

With our collection, little by little, the pass is gradually taking on new meaning. We can see a variety among them, such as “each household can only issue three passes a week “, this is a one-time pass, after once in and out it would be recycled. There are also passes that were distributed every day, with every date on them. There are also “vouchers” in the upper right corner of the passes—just like the movie tickets, being teared at the corner, so the passes can be kept. There is also a whole piece of paper with a pass, a pass like a brochure, and so on.

像疫情最开始的时候,大概2月份的出入证,这种证件是非常简单的,都是黑白打印,上面(写着)限定每户每两天只能出门一次,这种一次性的通行证在早期是比较常见的。这些通行证一看就是临时(使用)的,因为当时社区可能也没想到疫情会持续这么长时间。随着疫情慢慢发展,我们现在看到的出入证已经比2月份看到的要高级很多,身份证可能都不会随身带,但出入证一定要带,因为现在出入证上都有姓名、电话、身份证号、住址,很多人的出入证背面甚至是身份证的复印件。随着我们一点一点的收集,出入证也在慢慢地升级。我们看到各式各样的出入证,比如上面写着“每户每周只能发三张(出入证)”,这种是一次性的出入证,出入一次就要回收,不能自己收回。也有每天一张,上面写着日期的。还有的出入证右上角有一个“副券”,就像电影票一样,出入一次就撕掉一个角,这样就可以自己留着出入证。还有一整张纸上都是出入证、类似于小册子的出入证等等。

Guideswork 参考线
Various passes
Guideswork 参考线
Various passes

As the pandemic went on, the pass design became more advanced. The communities on the same street would have a uniform pass design. Like a pass from a neighbourhood we collected near Beijing Capital Airport, they’re in different colours, blue is for the ordinary resident living in the neighbourhood, red is for the aircrew, for the airport staff. We also find that, in some places, passes are divided into resident pass and non-resident pass.

Here are some passes we collected at the Beijing abC Book Fair. During July las year, the outbreak in Beijing was coming to an end.  At that stage, the passes we collected have a lot of traces of daily usage. Personally, I really like these kinds of passes, they don’t look as smooth as we first collected, but these traces are the records of our common experience during that time. Then, the pass was used for so long that many of them have plastic coats, but still with obvious marks of usage. Like this pass, distributed in March, with a severe back tear and the user has taped it up, but the most interesting thing is that there is a small line of words under it: released on June 6, 2020. During the outbreak, the community was locked down and no one could get into the community without passes until June 6th, 2020. Therefore, look at that line, it says “reused on June 14,2020”, due to the second outbreak in Beijing—the pandemic was serious again at that time, so the passes were reused then.

随着疫情的延续,出入证的设计也变得高级,同一个街道,出入证的设计也是统一的。比如我们在北京首都机场附近收集到的一个小区的出入证,它分了不同的颜色,蓝色是住在小区的普通居民,红色则是(住在小区的)空勤,代表的是机场的工作人员。我们也看到有些地方的出入证分为常住居民出入证和非常住居民出入证。接下来这些是我们在北京abC书展收集到的一些出入证,7月份北京的疫情基本进入了尾声,这个阶段我们收集到的出入证上面有了非常多使用过的痕迹。个人来讲,我其实很喜欢这样的出入证,它看起来不像我们一开始收集的(出入证)那么平整,但是这些使用过的痕迹才是我们共同经历疫情的记录。后来出入证因为(被)使用时间(变)长了,所以很多小区采用了塑封的外套,但依然存在着使用过的痕迹。比如这张出入证,是从3月份就开始使用了,背面磨损严重,使用者用胶带贴了起来,最有意思的在于这个出入证底下有一行小字:2020年6月6日解封。之前因为疫情,小区都是封闭式管理,外卖、快递不允许送进小区,大家只能凭出入证进出,到6月6日大家才能正常出入。再看上面那行字,写的是“2020年6月14日复用”,因为那段时间北京出现了二次疫情,时隔一个礼拜,这个出入证又被重新使用。

We also found a lot of unexpected stories about passes during collection.  For example, the pass that was torn in half, because there was more than one household living in that apartment, but the community only provided one pass to every flat, so they tore the pass in two halves and said that the pass had been damaged when they met the inspectors. This shows the wisdom of everyday people to get by.  What’s more, there was also a very special pass, which could no longer be seen as a pass, as the pass was washed in the washing machine. Fortunately, this pass had a plastic package, so it had not been completely destroyed.

我们在收集过程中,也发现了很多意想不到的关于出入证的故事。比如被撕成两半的出入证,是因为一位房东家里不止住了一个住户,但一户只提供一张出入证,所以他们就将出入证一撕两半,在遇到查验的人员时就说出入证损毁了,这就是“民间的智慧”吧。在这400多张出入证里,我们还收集到了一张非常特别的,已经看不出是出入证的出入证,就是一张被扔进洗衣机里被洗过的证,好在这个出入证做了塑封的(壳子),还没有完全散架。

Guideswork 参考线
Pass torn in half
Guideswork 参考线
The pass on the right is the one that was thrown into the washing machine

In addition, we carried out a lot of analysis after getting them, including the font printed on the pass. For the passes were mostly made by the communities themselves or designed by the small printing shop in cooperation with communities, so the fonts are very common, such as Bold, Song, Chinese line block letters, official script and other normal computer fonts.  From the font of these passes, we can see how the so-called “folk design” is done.  Originally, the passes were very simple, with only the words of “temporary pass” or “community pass” on it.  Later, there were more and more slogans on them. The slogan was “Preventing the pandemic, everyone has the responsibility “. I think this may also be a very effective strategy in Chinese community control. Consequently, we put all the slogans on the passes together, like a board of “commentary subtitles”.

我们拿到这400多张出入证以后,做了很多分析,包括分析出入证上的字体。因为出入证大多是社区自己制作,或者找路边的图文店进行设计,所以字体用的都是很常见的,比如黑体、宋体、华文行楷、隶书等电脑自带的字体。我们从这些出入证的字体上就可以看出来所谓的“民间设计”或者“野生设计”是怎么做的。一开始的出入证很简单,上面只写着“临时出入证”或者“社区出入证”,后来我们发现出入证上出现越来越多的宣传口号,宣传口号里出现最多的是“防范疫情,人人有责”,我觉得这可能也是中国社区管控很成功的一点,(因为)我们不断在强调这是每个人的责任,每个人都有义务一起去防控疫情。所以我们把所有出入证上的这八个字都放在了一起,就像是弹幕的效果。

Guideswork 参考线
Similar slogans on passes
Guideswork 参考线
Similar slogans on passes

Initially, we were thinking about how to present these hundreds of passes, and then we felt that we did not need to do too much designing or special arrangements. What we have done is just put the passes together, since this represents everything, and we did not need to explain too much what they were because everyone has their own experience in relation to them. Now when we put these passes together, many different things came to mind: it is like evidence of history, the map of what we were going through during that time. Thus, we decided to name the book Safety! Safety!, and we wanted to make it look like the mask we wore during the pandemic.  It was also the same size as the mask. Additionally, the cover of the book used the same material as the mask: non-woven fabric—as far as we know, this may be the first book to use mask material. We went with a soft hardcover form for this.  Hardcover is usually formed by attaching a cloth to a piece of cardboard and then re-bound, but because there are many holes in the non-woven fabric, it could not be placed directly on the cardboard. To overcome this, we studied with the printing factory for a few months and bought all kinds of non-woven fabric. Finally, we found a kind of non-woven cloth that was attached to the paper itself, so we put it on the printed paper to make the cover of the book. At the same time, we also made white leather straps like masks on the cover.

一开始我们在想该怎么呈现这400多张出入证,后来我们觉得不需要再做过多的设计、特别的排布,只是把这400多张出入证排在一起,就代表了一切,我们不需要再过多地解释这是什么,因为每个人都在经历着这一切。所以当我们把这些出入证摆在一起时,这就是历史,这就是我们正在经历的这个时代所发生的事情。于是我们就决定做《出入平安》这本书,我们希望把它做成口罩的样子,所以它的大小是按照口罩的大小,材质上也做了创新,这本书的封面使用了和口罩一样的材质:无纺布。据我们所知,这也许是第一本使用口罩材质的书。我们采用的是软精装的形式,精装一般是布面附在一张硬纸板上,再装帧,但因为无纺布上有很多洞,无法直接刷在纸板上。所以我们和印刷厂一起研究了几个月,买了各式各样的无纺布,后来我们找到了一种本身贴在纸面上的无纺布,然后我们把它再贴到印刷纸上,做成书的封面,同时我们还在封面上做了一个像口罩白色皮筋一样的绑带。

Guideswork 参考线
Exterior design

In addition, we made a notebook in the same style and a brochure to make a set. The brochure was printed on press paper, and the content was the information we collected about passes and access during our collection of the passes. We collected about 100 stories and selected 30 to be included in the brochure.  These stories also have various topics, as an example, hot topics in a society like: “A man without a pass was refused to access the community, then he said: my dad is from the Municipal Committee, you’ll have trouble tomorrow”, “Community security and household conflicted, the woman said,” I won’t show you a pass even if I tear it”. There are also some funny ones: “As a result of refusing to show the pass, the person was required to participate in community service “, “A criminal gang was caught because they did not hold their pass”. Then, of course, there are some sweet stories, “a pass helped a stray to find his home “, “Use your pass to find the owner of the wallet “. In more than 30 stories we collected, there was one I thought to be the most meaningful. When we were searching for passes, we knew that the pass was not first used in 2020 because of a piece of news we found about SARS on June 20 2003, which’s 17 years ago. At that time, the community had begun to implement the lockdown strategy by using passes. However, unfortunately, we could not see what a pass in 2003 looked like now. If someone had produced such a body of collective work, the information could have lasted longer. Whereas people at that time might not believe that after 17 years, a similar thing could happen again.

此外,我们还做了一本同款的笔记本,以及一本配套小册子。小册子是用新闻纸进行印刷,内容是我们在收集出入证的期间搜集的关于出入证和出入相关的新闻。我们搜集了大概100条新闻,从中选出30条收录进册子,其中有一些很有意思的(话题),比如“男子无出入证闯小区被拦,他说:我爸是市委的,明天就让你下岗”,“小区保安和住户起冲突,女子放话:撕了出入证都不给你看”,有一些好笑的,比如“因为拒不出示出入证,被训诫参加小区服务”,“没有出入证的传销团伙被端”,当然也有一些温馨的故事,比如“出入证帮助迷途老人找到家”,“利用出入证找到钱包的失主”。我们搜集的30多条新闻里,对我来说其中有一条最有意义的新闻,我们在搜索“出入证”时,发现出入证不是2020年才出现的,我们找到了一条2003年6月20日非典期间的新闻,也就是17年前,那个时候小区已经开始实施封闭管理,使用出入证了。很可惜的是,我们现在已经看不到2003年的出入证长什么样了,如果当时有人做了这样一件(收集)作品,那些资料可能就会永远留存下来,但当时的人也想不到,时隔17年后,(出入证)这个东西会再次进入每个中国人的生活中。

Guideswork 参考线
News booklet
Guideswork 参考线
Inside page
Guideswork 参考线
News about SARS

When we come to the abC book fair, ourselves, or the people who come to our booth, might feel that we don’t fit the whole atmosphere of the book fair which is mostly illustrations, comics or photography. Our work, it is not avant-garde or trendy photography, just a piece of an ordinary pass.  However, I think there such work should be done; this is also the significance of the Guideswork.

Both of our current works are very practicable topics. Once an audience came to our booth and asked if we were only concerned about the community. I would like to borrow the Biao XIANG’s view of “nearby “— We want to start with people and things that happened nearby. We want to rediscover the surrounding life through such works and observe the space of our own lives.  If you want to summarize what we do with a few keywords, that may be—find the topic that is “nearby” and stick to the topic for a while. Taking collecting more than 400 passes as an example, we could let the audiences go back to “nearby “, intervene in “nearby “, observe nearby life, and even create their own “nearby “.

Last year in Beijing, abC heard a lecture from the director of the abC Art Book Award, his ideas overlapped with the vision we want to achieve by doing this. We hope to tell you through the work that such a book is not just about what I want to do and what I could do, but also about how it could be done.

当来到abC书展,我们自己,或者来到我们摊位的人会觉得,我们是否会和书展的整个氛围格格不入,因为这个书展上大多是插画、漫画或者摄影作品。而我们的作品并没有前卫的设计、新潮的摄影,只是一张张普普通通的出入证,但我觉得这样的作品、这件事情总是要有人去做的,这也是参考线与众不同的地方。我们目前的两本作品都是非常接地气的选题——都是发生在我们身边的事情,曾经有一个来到我们摊位的朋友问我们是不是只关注社区(的问题),我想借用项飚老师关于“附近”的概念,我们是想从附近发生的人和事入手,从日常生活中找到选题,就像项飚老师说的,我们好像都不关心“附近”,不再关心身边发生的事。我们想通过这样的作品重新发现附近的生活,(观察)自己生活的空间。参考线做这样的作品,并不是以华丽的设计见长,如果要以几个关键词概括我们做的事情的话,就是从“附近”发现选题,并且坚持一段时间,比如坚持收集这400多张出入证,然后能够让大家回到“附近”,介入“附近”,观察附近的生活,甚至创造自己的“附近”。去年在北京abC听了abC艺术书奖负责人的讲座,他提到的一句话也是我们做这件事想要达成的愿景,我们希望通过作品来告诉大家,这样一本书不只是我想做、我可以做,这是可以大家一起完成的作品。

The above is our brief introduction about the work Safety!Safety! and our Guideswork studio. At last, I would like to thank everyone who provided us with their passes. We should remember that summer was accompanied with masks and passes and we hope that the work of the passes is no longer a reflection of our current situation but has become a historical material record. I hope we can go back to the world without passes.  Thank you all.

以上是《出入平安》和工作室的基本情况,最后想感谢一下每一位提供出入证的朋友,我们必须记住与口罩、出入证相伴的这个夏天,我们希望关于出入证的这个作品不再是对现实、对当下的印证,而是能够成为史料,希望我们能尽快恢复到不需要出入证的日子,谢谢大家。

 

Please feel free to share with us your ideas about special products during the pandemic!

欢迎和我们交流你们关于疫情期间特殊产物的想法!

 

Staff

Contact Person: Ifance FAN
Planner: Christy YANG
Text: Christy YANG
Translator: Jiaqi GAO
Proofreading: Calum BAIRD

 

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