Eyes Closed, Eyes Open
A handmade book about the story between the light and me
I was born in Dalian,
a seaside city in the northeast of China.
Here I lived with the eyes of a child.
A fond memory of that time,
it is certainly 老铁山灯塔, the Laotieshan Lighthouse.
During the day, the sun gave light to the lighthouse.
At night, the lighthouse gave light to the night.
My eyes have seen this lighthouse many times.
I know its life well: eye on at night, eye off during the day.
Eye on eye off, eye on eye off.
The life of the lighthouse is just like my life, a time made of two moments:
eyes open, eyes closed,
eyes open, eyes closed…
the light, the dark,
the light, the dark, the light…
Light is only half of my life. Every night I have to meet the dark.
As a child, being alone in the dark was my great fear.
If everything is dark I have no points of reference.
During the day my mom was my lighthouse, but at night I was alone. I could not sleep peacefully.
But one day a lantern came to my room.
With the gentle light of that lantern I overcame my fear,
because now I could clearly see the way to go to my mom,
and my mom could easily find me too.
Each light is like a presence of life.
My need to have a light with me was actually the need to have company.
The Lantern Festival
My brightest memories are those of festivals.
The Lantern Festival in my country is a masterpiece of lights.
This moment of reunion of lights is also the moment of my whole family reunion.
When my eyes see my dear ones’ faces, light comes into my eyes, so for me the dear ones in that festival are lights in the middle of the other lights.
The magic of light is the magic of seeing each other, looking into each other’s eyes.
It is the possibility of connecting with other people.
The light for me is not just the warmth of the family,
it’s not just the fire of the candles inside the lanterns.
I live in a cold place.
There is a place where light and ice meet each other with harmony each winter.
I love materials like ice… transparent materials… those allow light to pass through.
Since I was a child I love snow.
What is purer and whiter than snow?
I loved the white of the snow much more than the black of the night.
But on a sunny day, while walking in the snow, beautiful landscape of light,
I felt the need to put a hand in front of my eyes.
The light was too strong that my eyes could not see anything.
Since that time, I understood that the light is more beautiful if it is surrounded by darkness.
With zero light you see zero. With too much light … the same: you see zero.
The solution is black together with white… white together with black…
Now I’m in Italy, Italian for me is still a language full of shadows…
I see words. I hear sounds.
Some meanings come to me clearly.
Others come to me but they don’t light up inside me.
But every day I see and hear Italian more brightly,
an important light for me in Italy is precisely this:
every time when the meaning of something comes to me clearly in Italian.
In early times in Japan, bamboo-and-paper lanterns were used with candles inside.
A blind man, visiting a friend one night, was offered a lantern to carry home with him.
“I don’t need a lantern,” he said.
“Darkness or light is all the same to me.”
“I know you do not need a lantern to find your way,” his friend replied, “but if you don’t have one, someone else may run into you. So you must take it. “
The blind man started off with the lantern and before he had walked very far someone ran squarely into him.
“Look out where you are going!” he exclaimed to the stranger. “Can’t you see this lantern?”
“Your candle has burned out, brother.” replied the stranger.
– Taken from 101 Zen Stories
curated by Nyogen Senzaki & Paul Reps –
My name is Liu Yue.
I am a designer.
With one eye closed,
I imagine the projects to be realized inside me,
with an open eye,
on a blank piece of water, I bring them to light.
The light with its rays always suggests a direction.
I like the rays of light. They always know their direction.
They know where to go… Always forward. Straight ahead.
If I think about my life, I too would like to find my direction and move on all the way,
like a ray of sunshine.
Having a direction in life is like having a light inside.
Having a desire in the heart is like having a star in the night.
If you have the right desire, even in the darkness you won’t lose the right direction.
Now I look to the future… I imagine my life… I see images… eyes closed… eyes open… lights on… lights off…
If I look carefully … my future is a transparent truth …
I am already a ray of sunshine … I already have my direction … my light …