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在线翻译:
szdaily -> People
Niko Edwards: I AM A COOL ET
     2015-January-9  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Luo Songsong

    songsongluo@126.com

    ONCE there was a naughty and absent-minded boy who always imagined a UFO would take him to outer space. Apparently, a UFO never found him, but the boy grew up and managed to “see” the mysteries of space from a height of 30,000 meters.

    Sept. 3 was a nice day. The wind was gentle and the sun was warm. On the square in front of Jieyang Tower, Jieyang City’s landmark ancient building, a couple of students completed the assembly and test work on their simple aerospace device and waited.

    “We wanted to show people that we could do something they wouldn’t even dare to think of,” said Niko Edwards, a 20-year-old photographer and artist.

    The first trial failed because the balloon was overloaded and there was an issue with air inflation. After removing unnecessary parts, a white balloon filled with helium carrying a GoPro camera, a GPS tracker and a customized parachute finally took off, rising into the sky rapidly and disappearing from sight shortly afterward.

    On July 22, Edwards first brought the idea to create art projects in the setting of outer space to his partner GreenD but the idea wasn’t eagerly received. Edwards explained his plan in detail. Twenty minutes later, they decided to work on it together. “The idea may sound crazy, but it was achieved by working on it slowly, step by step,” said Edwards.

    To solve a series of technical problems, they expanded the team and introduced new members from different backgrounds. They looked up information together, purchased and adjusted devices and completed a series of fundamental tests.

    Shortly after takeoff, the coordinates shown on a mobile phone were fixed on a wharf. Initially, they thought the device might have crashed in the middle of nowhere. Thus, they began to search in the blazing sun for hours, but nothing was found. “I told GreenD I was sad, and she felt the same way,” Edwards recalled.

    Two girls changed his life. One is his partner GreenD, a graphic design major from Guangzhou, who inspires him to create meaningful art, not just visually compelling images, and to add more interactivity with audiences in his art projects.

    The other one was a girl he fell in love with in high school. “To get her attention, I prepared a special gift — ‘a city.’ It took me two years to finish the video. To capture some images, I went to uninhabited mountains and empty and dangerous buildings alone. I finished the project, but she turned me down,” said Edwards at the launch ceremony of Apollo Base in Shenzhen on Dec. 22.

    Just when they decided to give up searching, another team member in Guangzhou told them that the devices had landed in a remote village near Heyuan City, 300 kilometers away from the launch site. At around 11 a.m. on Sept. 3, they drove to the village but didn’t find it because of weak mobile signals and language barriers with locals.

    With a digital map sent by Edward’s mother, the team searched the mountainous area again but still found nothing. On their way back in the evening, Edwards decided he would return. “The project involved a lot of effort. I didn’t want to give up so easily,” Edwards recalled.

    On Sept. 4, he went back alone with boots, gloves and leaflets around 6 p.m., after eight hours on trains and buses. “I intended to give out leaflets to locals in case they might find it one day,” he said. Fortunately, he found the device in a ditch between a paddy field and forest and informed his partners of the news immediately.

    After spending only 6,000 yuan (US$983), they become the first

    student team in Asia to obtain scenes of the earth that could only be captured by satellites before. “It was a cool experience and we are proud of ourselves in spite of the mockery, criticism and contempt we have experienced,” said Edwards.

    “Why do I need to argue with a human being? I am an ET (an extraterrestrial),” he declared. Influenced by the American movie “In Time,” he believes there is an invisible watch on his hand that shows his remaining life expectancy. “Arguing will only kill my time. I want to live every moment to the fullest and keep exploring,” Edwards said.

    From his point of view, human beings are tiny, arrogant and ignorant compared to the immense universe. The mysterious and abstract outer space is a language and he is the interpreter. “If aliens visit the earth one day, they will find me and take me to space,” said Edwards.

    When he was a kid, he was fascinated by science fiction books and always had odd dreams about swimming with no water or falling into a huge hole created by water dripping from a tap that someone forgot to turn off.

    In high school, Edwards was a troublesome boy in the eyes of classmates and teachers. It was at that time that he began to learn about photography. “The world you see with your eyes and capture in pictures are totally different. After realizing this, I began to develop my own philosophy about life,” he said.

    Photography helped him understand the power of images. When you edit an image and turn it upside down, you can see another world, he said. However, he doesn’t want to restrict himself to paper or any typical medium to create art. Therefore, he chose space to experiment with his idea.

    “I want to bring something new to the world because traditional art is repetitive. I want to change the world and change people’s thoughts with art from the perspective of an ET,” he said. “I am not proposing an empty theory. I will show you in the end,” he said.

    Some people think he is too arrogant and conceited. “I have to behave in my own way,” he said. In his opinion, he is a colorful being among a huge but colorless crowd. He is trying to fly in the sky but is being held back by others. “Being special and being yourself is hard because you could be mocked and even stopped,” he said.

    However, a strong sense of inferiority is his driving force. “I am not handsome, but I want to be a cool guy. My art is not good enough, but I will work harder,” he said. Instead of spending money on entertainment as many young people do, he has achieved something millions of people couldn’t have done.

    After the balloon event, Niko Edwards gained tens of thousands of followers on his social network platforms where he posts his art and writes articles. “Even if the whole world knew who I was, it wouldn’t make me feel proud. But I will make the world know me through my art, which can be displayed on your dining table or in metro stations,” he said.

    He plans to hold an unconventional exhibition sometime in the next five years to demonstrate his art installations. He hopes he can help people experience the power of outer space or from people’s hearts. “I am in no hurry because I want to make the best things,” said Edwards.

    In his view, the process of creating art is accumulation. “I am an ET but I still need to improve myself, learn from others and communicate,” he said, “Fortunately, I am a good ET and will use my positive energy to push the world forward,” he said. He is preparing to study new media art in New York.

 

    “Fortunately, I am a good ET and will use my positive energy to push the world forward.”

    — Niko Edwards

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