"There are three people sitting on the bow. The middle E crown and the bearded man is Dongpo, the Buddha Yin is on the right, and Lu Zhi is on the left."
"He Zhou Ji" should impress us in the middle school age. The peach core of "long but not full inch" vividly reproduces the scene of Su Dongpo visiting Chibi in a boat under the superb skills of Wang Shuyuan, a KitKat man in the Ming Dynasty.
This "nuclear boat" is a type of "miniature" art. Miniaturization means to shrink in proportion. Gulliver who strayed into Lilliput, Alice who fell into the rabbit hole, and Arrietty who borrowed things, these classic stories show miniature worlds or characters with different proportions from daily life.
Far more than literary stories, miniature art has become a pastime in our daily life, such as doll houses, mini kitchens, Lego toys… In getting along with mini things, we have a perspective to re-examine the world.
As for craftsmen, they need to carefully observe the reality of each plant, house and object, and use the tools to open the way to the miniature world.
▲ Eddie Putera, producer of miniatures.
Because of the tools, craftsmen can make miniature works; miniatures enrich the scale of the world, and they themselves are our tools for measuring things.
The relationship between people and tools is closer because of miniature art.
One hand, one thought
From childhood, mini things have a natural attraction to humans. As a representative of miniature toys, "Shiwan" seems to be born in response to this demand.
Shiwan is divided into inedible and edible. Non-edible foods are mainly for play. For example, the Shiwan model of Bandai Japan will come with a mint or chewing gum; edible foods are mainly for eating, also known as "knowledge fruit", which is often used as children’s Educational toys, children can use various materials to DIY mini versions of various foods.
▲ Edible food play. Picture from: Yuzu wood subtitle group
Today, Shiwan is not only a play house for children, but also a toy for adults. In the mini kitchen, the creators start directly from the materials to make more realistic edible dishes.
For example, to make a fried egg in a mini kitchen, the maker needs to use a syringe to absorb the yolk protein from the normal egg, and "shape" the mini fried egg step by step. There is no difference between these dishes and normal food, until the creator’s hand enters the screen, the audience knows that this is a magic of proportions. There are a lot of mini-kitchen videos on YouTube and Station B. The viewers are still ordering food in the comment section, such as hot pot, Buddha jumping over the wall, ice cream cake… Whatever it is difficult to do, just order it.
▲ Mini kitchen. Picture from: B Station@小小万mini Kitchen
The popularity of the mini kitchen is actually easy to explain. The pockets of tools, the rare materials, and the restoration of the process make cooking a real viewing process. The audience did not want to learn specific methods, but was curious about how to manipulate the small pots and pans in the video like the hands of giants to be close to the real cooking process, but avoid the annoying parts of the real kitchen.
The mini kitchen satisfies curiosity and heals migrant workers. We watched the mini kitchen with less than a desk in our grasp, and we all felt relieved of the pressure of reality. Moreover, these miniature works often evoke compassion, which in turn gives people strength and heroism. A small mini kitchen is actually about the most simple human emotions, and we are often very willing to pay for emotions.
▲ Mini kitchen. Picture from: B Station@小小万mini Kitchen
Similar to the mini kitchen, there are felt animals, Lego toys, paper puzzles, doll houses and so on. The recently popular miniature building blocks are a joy that people with average hands-on ability can experience. This is in the era of convenience and clear division of labor, we have a nostalgia for the era of tools and hand-made.
More micro, more detailed
Astronauts explore the unknown of the universe for mankind. Astronauts can also be used as a building block to lie in the palm of their hands to entrust their dreams of flying to the sky. Miniatures named after small are often associated with larger things and encourage people to observe and understand things in their hands more carefully.
In the 1890s, the tallest building in the world was the Eiffel Tower. Standing at more than 300 meters and looking down, the entire city became a miniature model, just like the previous section of an airplane flying into the stratosphere. We can only see the ground when we look at the ground. Dotted towns and ant-like crowds.
▲ Overlooking Paris from the Eiffel Tower. Picture from: B Station @柠檬家的柚子茶茶
The model of the Eiffel Tower has been tried to make since the Eiffel Tower came out. In 1925, a New York dental student used 11,000 toothpicks to successfully build a model of the Eiffel Tower. The model was a little taller than his own. The entire construction process used tweezers and glue, which took about 300 hours.
Later, there was a person named Vettel who spent several years building a 1:10 model of the Eiffel Tower with about 500,000 matches. In 1961, French newspapers published the match tower. The size of the match tower in the photo was large enough to climb.
▲ Picture from: "Put the World in a Matchbox"
To build the Eiffel Tower model, the builder must not miss the key details. The smaller the size of the work, the deeper the creator's exploration. With the help of miniature art, we have a better understanding of the huge buildings standing on the vast ground. Because it is meticulously crafted from the smallest point, it can often leave the deepest and most memorable impression on people of normal size.
Ai Faner's "Playing Things" once interviewed Pan Baoxin, an artist who made miniature food toys. Even if her clay works are only the size of a thumb, we still see a high degree of detail reduction. In her view, the key to looking like a real thing is to observe and think. When she visits the fruit shop, she will observe the texture of orange peels and the spots on the surface of the apples; when she sees an ordinary wall, she will subconsciously think about how to achieve the effect of this wall.
▲ Pan Baoxin's clay works. Picture from: "Playing Things" public account
From different perspectives, the world can be very large or very small. When we can master and create miniature square inches, we can regain the sense of order and security, all of which come from a careful experience of the real world.
Once a miniature work is formed, it becomes a special specification of its prototype, allowing people to see the whole picture and understand things at a glance.
▲ Picture from: "Put the World in a Matchbox"
For example, in the book "Packing the World in a Matchbox", the author introduced a reduced model of the English slave ship Brooks in 1789. It showed the bloody slave trade and played an important role in the passage of the abolition of the slave trade bill. None of his words have achieved such an effect, "The ship model is the most intuitive representation of human suffering. For those who have supported it, the reality is undeniable: what they hold on their hands is human. fate".
Wherever it is, nothing is there
In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a popular reading "Global Survey", which was a practical tool book with strong subjectivity and a wide range of fields. More than 70% of the content of the book came from submissions. Only those who have really used a certain tool can pass on their experience to readers around the world in the "Global Survey". There are methods for survival in the wild, building houses, and making personal computers, as well as popular science on dolphin awareness, beekeeping technology, pioneering architecture, and music concepts. "Everything should be there."
The slogan of the "Global Survey" is "Tools and ideas are at your fingertips." It did indeed. The tools it promotes are all accessible, practical and high-quality. The tools at hand and the knowledge in the brain have shaped more creative human beings, who have more initiative in the world around them.
The same is true for miniature works. Through continuous communication with tools, craftsmen have the possibility to enter a smaller world until they reach the limits of current technology together.
Miniature books that can only be read with a magnifying glass require thorough application of typesetting, binding and printing techniques; micro-engraving in traditional Chinese arts and crafts also requires practitioners to do some research on tool making, mastering chiseling, shoveling, polishing, etc. The working procedures and techniques such as deep and shallow relief, hollow carving, three-dimensional round carving, etc., must have at least 10 years of basic skills, and the mini-carving practitioners can be handy.
▲ Two sheep on the tip of a pencil. Picture from: People's Daily Online
Making good use of technology can make better miniature works, and miniature works can also be used as tools to observe the world, which in turn promotes technological progress.
Models are a kind of miniature works. Many children's understanding of the world begins with models in museums. The Wright brothers are world-famous for inventing airplanes. During their childhood, their father brought back a flying spiral toy that looked like a "butterfly." For the first time, the Wright brothers knew that in addition to birds and butterflies, artificial things can fly into the sky. , Which inspired the Wright brothers to explore the aircraft initially, and then an aircraft took us into the high altitude.
In fact, we already have modern miniature tools around us, computers can be, mobile phones can also be. The Internet has empowered ordinary people, giving us the opportunity to "craft", "forge" and "synthesize", and experience the feeling of a creator as easily as a craftsman. The threshold of the Internet is very low, but the upper limit is very high, and individual creativity and initiative have been fully reflected.
In the World of Warcraft 9.0 version "Shadow Kingdom" launched in November 2020, designers have played more tricks on the "Nationwide Orange Dress" and added a lot of customization options. Players can create their own orange outfits. .
In the sandbox game "Minecraft", players can build and destroy freely, combining and piecing together elements like building blocks to create cabins, castles and even cities. Players can also install some MOD (Module, a game enhancement program) to increase the fun of the game.
The netizen the_balazs spent 3 years using "Minecraft" to build a metropolis. The architectural inspiration is mainly from Chicago and New York, but the city is empty and it looks like the fourth floor of Inception. "Give him 100 million years, you can build a galaxy," this comment is also like a magical pen.
▲ Picture from: Youyanshe
There is a very popular construction video abroad called "primitive construction." As the name suggests, builders find a clearing in the dense forest and use natural materials to create brick kilns, bows and arrows, clay pots, mud wall huts and other primitive buildings or equipment with bare hands. For example, ignition is done by "drilling wood to make fire" instead of a lighter, and building a roof requires climbing up trees to harvest the bark that is about to fall off.
The whole process takes dozens of consecutive days, but after editing, the length of the video is often only a dozen minutes. The producer will not have narration, and the whole construction process only has background sounds such as bird calls, running water, blows, and grinding sounds.
The original construction may not be miniaturized or light enough, but it is free and open like a sandbox game. It does not force the creator to accomplish any goals. The creator completely autonomously controls the work process, interacts with a variety of environmental elements, and can create , It can also be destroyed in the middle. What you enjoy is the slow, calm, and meditative state in the construction and manufacturing process, which is exactly the same as the essence of miniaturization.
In this era when tools are so convenient, the creators of the original construction have unimaginable obsessions and desire to control the overall situation. They abandon machines, which also means they realize that the difference between humans and machines lies in the spirit of creativity, and that humans are the real technology. A pair of dexterous hands and a flexible mind is an excellent tool that should be used in richer practice.
Miniature is at the intersection of technology and art, and it is people who connect it. The artistic value of miniatures goes without saying. At the same time, miniatures provide a valuable perspective that allows us to revisit the relationship between people and tools. The value of miniature works lies not only in the scale itself, but also in the proof that humans can reach that scale and expand the perspective of the world at that scale.
"One flower, one world, one core and one floating life." People who are good at using tools can often see more and create more.
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