31 Dec 2012

公平只是消費神話:高雄人搭飛機的無奈



同一家航空公司飛往同樣的航點,為什麼高雄人就只有「次級」的服務,且這種「次級服務」甚至要多花個一兩張小朋友才享受得到?
從實際里程看,高雄到北京本比桃園到北京遠,所以價格高也是合理的,又若是從高雄搭高鐵或者接駁航班到桃園轉飛北京,多付高雄到桃園的費用也是理所當然的,這即是現代社會的使用者付費概念,所以從實際距離差異論,定價似乎是合理且公平的。不過當我們比較高雄與桃園到曼谷的價格差異時,這裡的合理性馬上被取消。桃園到曼谷比高雄到曼谷遠,但價格卻比較低,再若決定中轉桃園到曼谷,依據使用者付費概念,整趟旅程的花費也未必會高出高雄飛曼谷許多,則這裡的價格高度不合理,近距離者反比遠距離貴。經過這樣的比較,似乎得出一個結論,若往北走,直接從高雄出發是合理的,而若要往南走,便應該反向先往北走,因為旅程距離的拉長形成更好的「本益比」。然事實並不如此,因唯有從桃園出發才能獲得最佳的飛行「本益比」。
這怎麼說呢?航空公司當然是以提供交通工具服務為目的,但這種目的早已被航空公司自身五花八門的服務所掩蓋,因此消費者在搭飛機時根本不會意識到距離的問題,而是關注「到底我能在飛機上得到什麼服務」。因此消費者搭飛機的成本支出已非航空公司從計算距離而出的定價,而更多在於航空公司在這一確定距離之中所能提供的服務,故消費者在搭飛機之中所得之利益並非從一點到另一點的連結,而是在這種點對點連結中所享能受到的服務狀態。
既然服務內容才是關鍵,則高雄或桃園與任一航點間的距離就不是定價公平與否的依據,也正是這關鍵加重了南北差異問題:高雄人享有的不過是「次級服務」,而這更隱藏了高雄人是「次等人」的社會現實。聽來刺耳,但卻是不爭的事實!
不論是飛北京或是曼谷,從桃園出發的航班多是大飛機,而高雄永遠是用中小型飛機來執行任務。不可否認,顧客數量的多寡決定了飛機大小的運作,但「數大便是美」這種觀點象徵著大者所具有的優越性。這種大的優越性象徵意義並非東方文化所獨有,若真是如此便不能解釋巴黎戴高樂與倫敦希斯洛的機場擴建,因為機場本屬基礎建設一種,它象徵著國力問題,而國力的最佳表現就在軍事武力以及經濟影響力上,機場正是經濟影響力的外顯。故城市之間的比較也依循相同的邏輯,有大飛機服務的城市必然在經濟上與政治上比僅有小飛機服務的來得優越,而這種差異性更可從台北松山機場與高雄小港機場的比較看出:同屬都市型機場,也同樣有飛往東京的航班,從松山出發的航班遠大於高雄,且都是使用大型飛機來執行任務,更見出高雄之不比台北的次級地位。桃園機場雖屬桃園地區所有,但它國家機場的政治地位實際是以服務首都台北市為目的的,因此它的存更加強了台北市的優越性地位,由此突出了高雄的次級地位。
飛機之大小的形式差異已帶有強烈的偏見存在,但這種偏見的確定更在於服務內容的差別待遇上。大飛機的每一個座位上都設有個人專屬的娛樂系統,先不論娛樂系統之先進與否,至少每一個乘客都可以在耳機的包覆之下輕鬆地享受視聽娛樂,運氣好一點的更可以自由選擇所要的娛樂節目。反之,小飛機的乘客必須挺著脖子看架設於天花板上的液晶螢幕,運氣差一點的乘客更須努力地張大眼睛才能看清楚倒底螢幕上在演什麼。雖說後者像是在電影院看電影一般,但機艙內狹小的空間加上座位距離的過度親近,娛樂反倒像是身心的折磨。兩三個小時的航程或許可以容忍,在長一點的根本就是花錢買罪受,就像我搭泰國航空往歐洲的親身經歷,為了貪圖看電影而換來背痛、脖子痛,那種像是落枕的疼痛真是難以忍受。
形式與內容間的差異是明顯成等比的,大飛機便備有更優秀的服務項目,而小飛機則提供次級的服務內容。大飛機除了作為一種便利的交通工具外,它自身更是航空公司服務的象徵,而小飛機就不過是附屬於大飛機系統之下的輔助品,幫助航空公司完成提供交通服務的目的,因此娛樂不是主要的服務內容。除本國籍的出境旅客外,大城市自身的國際能見度更能吸引外國遊客,在加上國家機制對大城市的肯定與輔助,因此航空公司必然把大飛機配置於大城市的服務中,儘量滿足這一城市中的所有需求。相對的,從屬於其他城市的國際機場因城市自身無法吸引本國乘客之外的外國遊客,因此永遠只能享有航空公司次極品的服務。事實上這是一種差異的惡性循環,大者恆大之下加重了原本的偏見,而航空公司自身的商業營利考量絕不可能對此差異做出任何可能的修正。
小紅梅航空公司的服務便是這種商品市場機制引導出的歧視的最佳證明。不過在分析之前要先指出以小紅梅航空為例,並不是對這家公司的刻意詆毀,更非對這家公司的偏見。以她作例是因對特定航點,她同時提供往來桃園與高雄的航班,且從高雄出發的航線與航班數量遠多於綠地球航空公司。雖這裡不詳細分析綠地球航空公司,但他們對高雄人的歧視並不亞於小紅梅,且甚至更為嚴重,因在現實中的缺席代表著為他們幾乎不把高雄放在眼裡。
小紅梅航空每週有一班高雄到北京的航班,用的是中小型的737-800客機,但從桃園到北京卻是每天都有航班,且用的是大型的747-400客機。航班數量的差異並不能完全歸咎於航空公司之上,這裡不只有乘客數量問題,更涉及兩岸間航班限制規定。單就航機運用來看,738所能提供的服務完全不及744,尤其在航空公司完成744內艙改裝之後。從高雄直飛北京的費用遠大於從桃園出發,但在飛機上所能得到的服務卻遠遜於後者,則走這條航線的本益比其差無比,雖時間上節省了數小時似乎彌補了缺憾,但航班選擇性的匱乏又同時抵消了省時的優勢。同樣的情況也出現在曼谷航線上,桃園的航班數量遠大於高雄,且班班都是配備新娛樂系統的330-300大飛機,價格上更相對低廉。從整體應支出價格來看,從高雄出發的738航班完全不具備競爭力,唯一的優勢就在時間的節省上,但時間優勢實際並未能彌補極差的本益比,關鍵問題就在服務上:若花費差異不大,為什麼得到的服務比較差?從此便導出下一個問題:既然不趕時間,是否寧願多花一點時間來獲取比較好的服務?
由此,商品市場機制的惡性循環不斷持續下去,加重了政治意識的偏差。航空公司提供的商品選擇教育消費者「由桃園出發才能享有優良的服務」,但同時卻又假借「省時與便利性」來推銷相對次級的產品,而消費者又因習慣於直接從廣告來吸收商品資訊而做出消費動作,不斷在已被預先設定好的有限選擇中做出「出於自由意志的決定」,然這根本不是真正的自由意志表現,而是商品市場機制的操弄結果。生產與消費的循環過程合法化既有的商品市場機制,而機制背後本已有政治意識型態的存在,所以整個消費體系體現了早已存在於商品生產之前的南北差異問題,
當然的,這樣的說法政治化了商業模式的運作,也因此就商論商者必然以市場需求的角度來駁斥此處提出的觀點,指出缺席或者忽視本因不足的需求使然,因此上市場上的商品選擇必然有限,也無法滿足所有人的期待。但市場需求論述本質上是有問題的說法,因這種需求並非可以做出明確的簡單解釋的生理需求,如餓了要吃飯是生理需求的解釋,但市場需求說法實際是說餓了要吃什麼飯的問題。前者或許可以是等式結構,但後者絕不可能是等式的,因為還有別的東西影響著需求的意義表現,即商業機制中的廣告,這便帶出了更重要的議題,到底是誰有權力控制市場機制的有效實踐?一旦市場機制的運作連結到意識問題時,一切必然是泛政治化的:因為人不可能完全共享同樣且不變的意識,也因此意識的衝突不可避免,必然衍生出宰制與霸權的問題。當思考的層面走向控制,或者宰制性問題時,簡單的商業性等式思維便顯不足且幼稚,不僅隱藏了生產與消費的連動關係,更把消費轉化成一種當代神話,愚弄著市場中的每一個人,讓他們以為他所做的任何決定都是一種出於自由意志的結果。
雖說里程較長的航線理應比里程短的貴,但實際存在的距離並非價格公平性的依據,而附屬於服務範圍的一切更打破了定價的合理性,形成一種反邏輯的極怪異消費模式,在被默許的狀況下肯定了消費市場機制的合法存在,並因此轉化根本不合理的商品成為個人意識中的一種合理選擇。問題是這種所謂合理的、自由的選擇,根本是不自由、不合理的,因為在這種本末倒置的消費機制體系中,公不公平已非實際可見的、可測量的距離問題,空間感知的壓縮強調出時間認知,進而抽象化並象徵化消費動作,致使深陷其中的人誤以為空間中所有的既存狀態都是合理的存在,忽視了自身意識的自主性問題,僅能盲從於市場的規律而缺乏判斷。選擇實是市場機制規定出來的遊戲規則,而這個規則又與遊戲參與者的籌碼綁在一起,假公平之名而行不公平之實。
在這種怪異且不合理的消費邏輯中,高雄人因為默許次級服務而變成了次等人,但是否這種詭異狀態完全不能扭轉,是否就像Jean Baudrillard弔詭的超現實預設,高雄人就是已喪失人性而完全「役於物」的純粹消費者?Baudrillard的說法問題很多,此也無法申論,但反觀日本航空與新加坡航空所提供的服務,或許可以稍微平衡一下差異性問題,雖不可能打破整體消費神話的存在,更不可能取消政治意識型態問題,至少消費者重新被賦予了「身為人」的身分,至少他們在「役於物」的狀態中獲得了相對更自由的選擇權,至少更好的服務是對消費者人性的基本尊重。台灣的航空公司應多花一點心力針對附屬的服務產品做出品質提升,因為高雄人、台北人都是人,都應享有相同的服務品質。

14 Nov 2012

東西薈萃下的哈姆雷特:蜷川幸雄於倫敦巴比肯中心的呈現

最近發現這篇在2004年寫的劇評,已修改了部分內容,我想現在要看Ninagawa親自執導的戲劇作品應該是不可能了。

Hamlet, directed by Yukio Ninagawa
October 2004. Barbican Centre, London, UK.

「這是我第六齣哈姆雷特;我於1970後期執導第一齣哈劇,當時於日本的製作皆為英國製作的翻考。我想翻考並不是正確的做法。我想把哈姆雷特界定為普遍的文本,並同時去發展十分獨特的視覺呈現。」[i]

蜷川幸雄的哈姆雷特,是我們熟悉的、瘋狂的哈姆雷特,但同時的,這個哈姆雷特卻是十分的人性、十分的東方。這是我於倫敦巴比肯中心 (Barbican Centre)觀賞蜷川幸雄所導之哈姆雷特後最深刻的感想。這個由英國演員麥可馬龍尼 (Michael Maloney) 所飾之哈姆雷特,雖仍以傳統莎士比亞演出方式將隱含於無韻詩中之腳色特性傳達出來,但整齣戲最值得一提的則是東西方文化元素的運用及交流,也是基於此一特質,更凸顯了蜷川幸雄導演的哈姆雷特之當代性以及普遍性。

演員為英國人、文本為英國戲劇文化的傳統、演出地點在倫敦,再再傳達了傳統莎劇呈現的訊息。導演仔細的、力求完整的將原劇以新的表現手法呈現於舞台上。就表演看,演員的語言、速度、於舞台上的肢體呈現及態度、對空間上的認知與運用、對腳色的揣摩等等,明講了這是一齣十分傳統的莎劇,以口語陳述配合誇張肢體動作的西方表現式演出,使腳色的情緒刻畫明顯的呈現於觀眾的眼前,如哈姆雷特對奧菲莉亞及其母親狂亂般的情緒表達,或如奧菲莉亞精神上崩潰後瘋狂的舉動,以及哈姆雷特與克洛帝亞及賀拉修間的情感互動。哈姆雷特為所有莎劇中最長的劇本,欲將所有無韻詩完整表達並呈現腳色情緒,演員的速度控制十分重要。此劇所有演員皆能將他們的演出速度拿捏得恰到好處,不過於聲音表達上卻不盡十分理想,尤其在於富含情緒表現時的聲音太小,如當哈姆雷特陳述「to be or not to be」時,於觀眾席後方的觀眾幾乎不可能聽的到他的聲音。

舞台上並無特別的布景與道具,空台的運用就如同莎士比亞時期劇場,舞台效果完全依賴於演員的表演及演員對文本的認知及表現。蜷川幸雄十分成功的打造出傳統莎劇的演出氣氛,並藉由燈光使用,演員將舞台上的抽象空間轉變成實質空間,同時更因無界定出特殊的年代背景,抽象但十分表現式的燈光與服裝更允許空台去變成我們所認知的目前的生活時代。整各舞台實際就像一個大黑箱,其中豎立八條邊緣被切割的纜線,上方懸吊了十二顆或大或小的燈泡。所有的牆壁皆由雙推式的門版組成,並藉由門版及燈泡的應用,舞台可呈現不同的場景。當演員於舞台上,就如同被囚禁於黑色牢獄中,導演似乎是藉由此一設計傳達了哈姆雷特情緒上的壓抑,以及陰謀的被揭發。這一呈現似乎帶出了我們當代人精神上的壓抑及被壓迫,亦帶出了現代人,對於所有可見可聽事物的懷疑及不信任。在此一概念之下,哈姆雷特不單單只是四百年前莎翁比下的哈姆雷特,他似乎仍存活於我們的年代中,或者他早已變成了我們自己的啂某一組成部分,就如蜷川幸雄所言,哈姆雷特具有其普遍性,是關於「徹底的質詢人性,人性的深度及尺度。」[ii]

然而導演為日本人,舞台上出現了一位講流利英文的日本演員,服裝以及表演肢體動作呈現了日本傳統能劇及歌舞伎的影子,而更特殊的則是戲中戲的安排:蜷川幸雄流利的融合了東西方表演藝術的特質,把西方表演藝術的符號表意方式夾入東方高度形式化的姿態與動作,形成具備文化意涵的程式化動作傳遞出普遍性意義的特殊情況。劇中劇的呈現裡蜷川幸雄俐洛流暢的結合了舞蹈以及啞劇。於舞蹈中觀眾可明顯的觀察到舞者服裝為中國、西藏及日本服飾的綜合,於肢體動作上清晰的呈現了西方芭雷、東方武術動作以及現代舞形式,更重要的是面具,此一手法清楚的表達了西藏傳統「藏舞」的使用。於啞劇中蜷川幸雄採用了傳統希臘式長袍,但卻讓演員裸露上身演出,加入了運用男性演員演出女性腳色,此一呈現帶出了去性別化的效果。每位劇中劇演員皆有燭火於前方導引,燭火的運用似乎是帶出了印度戲劇的影響,如同於卡達卡里(Kathakali)舞劇,火光引導了觀眾的注意力集中在演員的舞台呈現上,同時燭火明暗變幻更強化了演員肢體的情緒傳達,塑造出詭訣的舞台氣氛。此時我們所見之哈姆雷特不再是傳統莎士比亞式的舞台呈現,蜷川幸雄將他的哈姆雷特推出了時間與空間的界線。換句話說,此一呈現突顯出莎劇的廣大性並觸及普遍人性的著墨,更普遍化所發生事件的本質,提醒這在當代社會中可能的重出,一併諷刺了當代社會中的現象。當導演把時空限制拔除後,所遺留於舞台上的是所謂的普遍本質,一切偶發事件皆共享的緣由,這實際存在於每個人身上,是與生俱來的,不論其文化、知識、性別、地域等背景為何。

巴赫汀(Bakhtin)提出的「時空型」(Chronotope)[iii]說一切語意上的定義皆需時間與空間的相互運作,這一過程複雜化了意義的展現。若單純從既有意義來看某種表現或者再現,我們只會在多重意義中打轉,進而迷失了自己,正像後現代社會的生存實境,當一切規則與定律皆被不斷地的攻擊與重新定義時,我們生存環境實質上已變成了契柯夫劇作中的「不確定的年代」[iv],我們所見的都只是無意義的表現,看不見的正是人性的本質。蜷川幸雄藉由其獨特的舞台視覺呈現,以剝洋蔥方式帶出一切存在於當代社會中需要被檢視的本質問題,利用莎士比亞的哈姆雷特來讓觀眾知覺問題所在。這不是一齣將觀眾帶入不自覺的戲劇幻覺作品,而是將觀眾帶入其自我意識中,去思考何謂人性,人性本質為何等問題。戲如人生,蜷川幸雄藉由戲劇清晰無誤地說了人性與人生的概念。

注釋:
[i] 導演蜷川幸雄於接受 Manchester Online 訪問時對其製作作出此段回應。此為筆者之翻譯。節錄自 ‘Not lost in translation’, www.manchesteronline.co.uk/entertainment/theatreanddance/reviews,29 October 2004。
[ii] 導演蜷川幸雄於接受 Telegraph 訪問時所述。此為筆者之翻譯。節錄自 ‘Go east, sweet price’,http://advertising.telegraph.co.uk/arts,20 October 2004。
[iii] 參見,巴赫汀(Mikhail Bakhtin),‘Forms of time and of the Chronotope in the novel’ in The Dialogic Imagination,編輯 Michael Holquist,Austin: University of Texas Press,1981,p.p. 84-258。
[iv] 節自契柯夫(Anton Chekhov)劇本 Platonov , 參見 The Oxford Chekhov,vol. 2,翻譯 Ronald Hingley,Oxford: Oxford University Press,1967。

25 Sep 2012

Reconsidering Chinese Aesthetics

I have been fascinated by my friend's artwork Monkey Queen (2010), and this fascination leads to me produce this article that reexamines the meaning and function of classical Chinese aesthetics. Created by Bridget O'Leary, an Australian Artist living in Taiwan, this painting is based on the famous image of the Monkey King in Journey to the West. Other than that intention to confirm the effectiveness of Classical aesthetics in the artistic practice nowadays, I have also explored the possible connection between Chinese aesthetics and the contemporary discourses on art and culture. By looking at the concept of hybridity in the artistic practice in globalization, how the artist shows the potential manifestations of the diaspora is also elaborated. This article is now published on the August issue of Modern Art Asia. I do appreciate the journal and the editor for reviewing and publishing my article, but I have to mention that the journal was negligent in the format and accidentally placed a long quotation in the following paragraph. This is a lapse, and it should not affect the readers. If you are interested, click on the link below to read my article:


The article in pdf format is free for download as well. 

I welcome constructive feedback from the readers for it is the best way for me to improve myself in both writing and theoretical reasoning. 

27 Aug 2012

Music breathes: we will survive as long as art is still playful and imaginable

We Will Survive: Igudesman & Joo with Kremer & Kremerata

8 to 88 Musical Education for Children of All Ages

I honestly believe that it is a sin for a person not knowing about Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, or whatever versions that came afterwards. A sin not because of the violation of any established religious doctrines or cliched morality, but one marking a person's ignorance of contemporary culture and vain existence in this world. I do not know since when this song has become a theme song for gay culture, but I guess, other than the meanings of the lyric, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) must have been one of the major factors.

Can pop music be married with classical music, or classical music with pop music? Many would be shocked when they hear this because they are such distinct forms of music. Supporters of classical music would be likely to object that it is not art anymore for art should be sublime, while the drifters in pop culture would contend that the seriousness and rigidity of classical music only kills the vitality in pop music. However reasonable one argues against their unity through big theories, the truth is the baby of this marriage can be amazingly intriguing, as you see in the work of Igudesman & Joo, a collaboration of two musicians who endeavour to bring classical music closer to all. Music in their hands is turned into a hilarious but unique theatrical show. Their playfulness rejuvenates the old and distant classical music, and their superb technique tears away the vulgar face of pop culture. Who would have guessed that the violin can be such a perfect instrument to interpret the deep emotions in I Will Survive, and who would not be cheered by the new variations of classical music juxtaposed with the pop music? This could not be achieve without the musicians great and bold imagination. The ensemble is playful and cheerful, and the music flows smoothly into the heart of its listeners, whose lighthearted reaction in return not only breaks the barrier between the stage and the auditorium, but also releases classical music from its heavy burden.

Is not such a cheerful communication the objective of art? Is not playful a crucial meaning of art? Is not spiritual content a function of art? Is not making everyone know more about everything by bringing them together to see and to feel the social function of art?

The ensemble seems like a spectacle, and it is a spectacle indeed. But this spectacle is no longer a simulacrum as Baudrillard criticizes because, instead of projecting something null and empty, this spectacle reintroduces classical music to its viewers through re-familiarizing them with pop music. Neither is the juxtaposition in this spectacle a pastiche in Jameson's view, since the superb technique successfully combines each element into a harmonious totality in which a new representation is constructed to eschew a dull nostalgia. This new representation is playfulness that shows what the presence is, or borrowing Derrida's term, the "autopresentation" of "pure sensibility." Sensibility comes only with the ability to imagine and feel. Although this sensibility has long been a debatable question in discussions of art, it cannot be denied that art is all about feeling -- be it yours, the artist's, or the critic's. It is feeling that brings art, and music is the most wonderful vehicle for the expression of feelings.

Indeed, as the musicians say: "music breathes." It is alive and so pop and classical music starts this beautiful dialogue. As long as one is willing to open their heart to listen to this fun dialogue, one would finally realize that art is not just about sublime. Art must be playful, cheerful, and imaginable.

5 Aug 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) in the best exotic India


I think I might be Indian in my past life!

Maybe I truly was, 
or maybe my intoxication with Indian culture hallucinates me into a bizarre and crazy belief!
From Wikipedia

Even before I stepped on the land of India, I have been fascinated by her rich and colourful culture and arts: the powerful and mesmerizing musical and dance rhythm in Bharata Natyam, the mysterious performance of Khatakali, the breath-taking beauty of Mughal arts, the unique serenity of the Buddhist statues, and of course, the amazing play of colours in Holi as well as the peaceful happiness in Diwali, both are Hindu festivals celebrating the precious human nature in the name of gods. More can be added into this list, and the most interesting is certainly the highly entertaining Bollywood films, interweaving everything artistic into a spectacular ensemble that marks the unique cultural feature of India.
Some would say that such a fantasy can never survive that actual experience of being in India. The poverty and underdeveloped social milieu scare most travellers immediately after they walk out of the airport, as we see in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in which the English ladies are so shocked by whatever they see, even the air they breathe in. The reality kills the fantasy, and many would end up leaving the country with a great disappointment. That is not my experience though. The truth is every minute I spent in India only strengthens my strange love for that country and her culture, and the character’s falling in love with India in the end reminds me of how much India offered me when I was embraced by her vibrant pulse and hospitality.
The excellent acting of these brilliant actors – a retired man who grew up in India, an old lady who served a family of the high society all her life, a widow who lost almost everything due to her late husband’s wrong investment, a couple who try so hard to fake a happy marriage, an aged gold digger who still wants a rich husband, and an old man who seeks love and the rejuvenation of life – constructs a sense of reality, with which viewers are not only deeply touched, but also drawn into an imagination where they feel what human nature is through the magic of Indian culture, regardless whether the viewer truly has that actual experience of India or not. Or probably it is my personal preference and experience that make me like this film so much!
Of course, there are stereotypes, and the revelation of cultural stereotypes poses some problems as well. Even though India has not yet lifted herself from actual poverty and underdevelopment – the most obvious example is the recent massive black out that affects almost the overall Northern part of India, the film representation reinforces the already prevalent image of what India should be. This image is composed of yellowish sky with dusty air, horrible traffic, as well as a skyline of unorganized buildings, usually with a huge orange setting sun behind the wavy air. To add extra exotic flavor to this background, a bunch of dark skin children running around tourists and begging for money, even with their naïve smile, is always arranged to set off those spectacular ancient architectures standing at the back. This is the India we perceive in our mind through different kinds of mass communication in the age of World Wide Web, or understood as the age of simulacra. Is this image real? Maybe it is for my memory of India is not that different from the scenery captured by the camera lens. However, this image is not what India truly is. It is only a surface without depth that has been falsely believed as a truth.
India has so much to offer in terms of her culture, particularly a unique humanist view seeking a life of peace and love. No matter how those characters reject and deny the environment and people around them, being surrounded by those who are brought up by that specific view on life and the submersion in that culturally rich environment slowly change their views, leading them to embrace what used to horrify them and even making them willingly become a part of that country. It could be sympathy or friendship with a deeper though not complete understanding, but it is no longer exoticism, no longer a prejudice that sees people and their culture through a looking-glass. It is the characters’ sincere reception and understanding that saves the stereotypical representation from becoming a biased cultural note that is arbitrary, hostile, and superficial. Once again, great and mature acting helps this film to eschew the problem of cultural imperialism – though not totally successful – in colonialism.
One aspect is particularly interesting, and this is the story of the retired official who spent part of his life in India when he was young. Unlike all the others going there primarily for a fresh start after retirement, he goes there with a wish that has haunted him ever since he left that land. His love for India is inseparable from his love for this Indian man, and he wants his life without regret, a perfect ending in the perfect place. Such a homosexual relationship is essentially intolerable, let alone it is one between a white boy from the dominant social class and an Indian boy from a lower social stratum. Forbidden it is, so the unexpected exposure of the scandal results in the misery of the two, and the following political turmoil further complicates the issue, making their reunion an impossible dream, an eternal loss. How amazing the power of love it is! He finds the love of his life and learns about his loyalty even though he is forced to marry by the social norms. His lover loves him so deep that he had to confront his wife with the unbearable truth. Now he is ready to die, but he dies a happy man because he finds his heart again on that land of his dream.
What is special in this story of love is not the loss or reunion, but the understanding of the Indian man’s wife and her acknowledgement of love. Love brings about a deep understanding of human nature permitting her generous acceptance of her husband. The true love between two men is not that different from the love between a man and a woman in her eyes. She sees love as a natural phenomenon in terms of classical Hindu religious and philosophical perspective, a worldview she was brought up by, not a moral standard according to social norms and prejudice. Of course, not all Indians are like that, and it is more likely that most of them reject homosexuality in terms of religious doctrine, particularly those growing up in a Muslim surrounding. It is this great contrast that highlights her notions on love and life, showing not only the unique and healthy attitude to life in classical Hindu thoughts, but also a different representation of Indian culture.
Corresponding with this view of life is the warm and encouraging embracement of others in the Indian society, and it is this open embracement without preconceptions that helps the widow who has never really lived a life of her own to start bravely a new meaningful life. Through her exploration of both herself and the new environment, she slowly regains the meaning of her existence and also opens her heart again to welcome new possibilities. Indians are passionate and they are willing to help, though maybe too passionate that somehow scares those who are so used to keeping the distance. The house maid who is forced to leave her job shows that fear of being close with people, particularly people with colours. Her self-defence is a perfect example of racism, but ironically she is the one who fights for the right of the hotel owner. She would not have changed her very limited view of people and the world without that willingness to change, a change that owes its debt to the passion and care of those around her. Their embracement gradually opens her eyes to see how people really live their everyday life. When you decide to really open your eyes to see what life is, skin colours, poverty, underdevelopment, and even nationality all become nonsense. What matters only is that concern for another human being whom you care and love, whom you would try your best to help when obstacles arise, whom you know deep down would do the same to you. Now begins a beauty and wonderful friendship that goes beyond all sorts of boundaries like age, social status, and cultural barriers.
Maybe I was just lucky when I was in India, because I know there are stories from others that do not match the represented images of culture and people in this film. But it cannot be denied that good things are beautiful and they are more easily recognized in India than in most Western developed societies, a society of consumption in which human relations are reduced to the exchange of goods. Everything can be calculated in terms of monetary values, even human emotions, with a result of a cold and detached human world. The good acting of the characters reintroduces the significance of being human, but this significance would not be achieved without its being set off by the rich and vibrant Indian culture, which sees life as a journey of understanding. Peace, love, and content are the divine prizes for those who are willing and ready to pursue this journey, to become human again.

5 Jul 2012

是否斷袖、分桃者就不值、不配愛人與被愛的權力?:談以色列片Eyes Wide Open(2009)


Image from Wikipedia


The above three images provided by New American Vision

兩個相愛的人,卻被迫分離,難以承受的苦痛,最終只能以死亡暗喻解脫。Romeo and Juliet、La Dame aux Camilias以及其歌劇改本La Traviata,上演的正是這套情節。雖然中國文化不喜歡悲劇結局,仍是出了以人生終結換取美滿良緣的《梁山伯與祝英台》、仙境重逢但卻哀淒失落的《長生殿》,若把大團圓拿掉,《牡丹亭》的奇異文字講的也是同樣的故事。照理說,這種淒美的情節安排著實老套,小說汗牛充棟,電影更是演爛了。但「不知道為了什麼」,看完以老梗做基礎的Eyes Wide Open(2009)後,「千言萬語」說不出,「憂愁它圍繞者我」。


「千言萬語」說不出口,就在於導演成功地在影像結構裡,置入了強而有力的同情、質疑與批判。在極度保守的猶太教,同志身分與行為本具有高度敏感性,而帶著同志身分的教士或宗教學校裡的學生,更容易成為眾矢之的,更何況是發生在瀰漫著傳統教義的耶路撒冷,一個被開除的學生與一個略具名望的教士間的同志情愛。導演強烈的人文關懷由此而出,然他更超越了原本設定的同志主題,涉入到神學對人性的束縛問題,並以側面角度同情著在傳統家庭裡默默付出、沒有聲音、沒有立場、沒有自主決定權的女性。


一個勇敢地面對著他的真實人性,年輕的他大膽的去愛,熱烈地擁抱生命,更因沒有家庭的孤獨感,加上因天真的追求愛情,喪失了教會支持後生出的失落感,無路可出的他,視接納他的長者為人生的唯一依靠,在愛情中摻入了戀父,攪混了愛情與親情的色調,帶出一道有著獨特氛圍的情感色彩。另一個從未真實去面對他的同志傾向,一直以宗教來作為他人生的唯一目的,麻木的生命其實是對自我真性的壓抑,終於他抵不住對年輕的他的情愫,但仍要以宗教教義來合法化他的愛情,同時面臨背叛婚姻家庭與擁抱不被認同的愛情間的兩難。中年的他在接納了年輕的他之後,終於意識到何以他的生命一直缺乏意義,在與教義導師的當面對質下,鬆口承認此時的他,終於活過來了。愛情的力量,如此強烈,不僅有情人得嘗宿願,心盲者亦得以體會人生存在的真義。


不可能實現的戀情,當然只能發生在見不得光的二樓牆角,存在於鎖門關店的剎那間,但愛的交流不一定是身體的依偎,更在教會裡的讀經、辨經時刻,在那瞬間的眼神交會中。但如紙般輕薄的偽裝,畢竟包不住那一把愛情烈燄,年輕的他被迫離開,而中年的他,在家庭、教會的雙重責任下,必然回到傳統的路子上。然而好不容易活過來的他,愛得更深、更真,是否失去愛情的他,能走回頭路,回去麻木的生命中。此時,妻子更面臨著難堪的困境,傳統的她是如此堅強,愛他的她卻又如此心碎。就在轉角的雜貨店,另一個不被接受的愛情也正上演著。他與她的眉來眼去,破壞了傳統社會的規矩,因為愛情他被逐出教會,而她要被迫嫁給她父親為她選擇的男人,以履行婚約來挽回這個家庭、父親的顏面。這兩人的困境出於違背社會習俗、宗教教義,雖罪孽不比兩個男人間的愛來得重,但承受的卻是同樣的結果。更諷刺的是不可自拔於同志情愛的中年的他,被要求成為這對男女問題的中間人,被要求以教義來開導這兩人,引導他們各自走回正確的道路上。這情何以堪!


因為同情,有感而發,所以懷疑既有的社會現實與文化規則的合法性,更藉著這樣憂鬱、壓抑的藝術表現,隱隱地批判著眼前所見的不合理性。最終的影像並不是個已被決定的結局,因為現有狀態並不允許異於死亡暗喻的結局存在,所以根本沒有他種結局的可能性,但又不滿於這樣輕易臣服於不合理的社會現實,不如讓觀眾自己去設想可能的結果,去反思人性的本能問題,去揣測身為人,面臨所必然遭遇的違逆本性時,到底該如何走下去。這開放性的結局,反倒強調出人在愛情消逝下的心病,更接近了李商隱講:「滄海月明珠有淚,藍田日暖玉生煙。此情可待成追憶,只是當時已惘然。」


安靜、沉穩、陰鬱、壓抑,灰色的光景中沒有激烈的場面,唯一算得上激烈的是屠夫店裡的剁骨宰肉,以及有時下午、有時傍晚的偷情時刻,但在Haim Tabakman鏡頭下的血腥,卻不是暴力,其中的冷漠反倒突顯出被壓抑的人性,一種不甘願但又無奈的妥協,而偷情的肉體激情,更卻乏視覺性的煽動,反倒籠罩著一層薄到看不見,但卻又深入到觀眾視網膜的藍色憂鬱,好似每一次的親密結合,每一次令人驚喜、震顫的真實熱情,都是在準備必然即將到來的分離。這種陰雨、憂鬱、安靜、壓制、無奈與妥協的氛圍,讓這部以色列片帶有希臘導演Theodoros Angelopoulos的風格,沉穩但幾乎是靜止的長鏡頭,又像是侯孝賢對真實自然、生活片段的抓取,而那種專注凝視,令人想起王家衛鏡頭裡的眼神,其中隱含的自我壓抑,更如同李安對人性、情感的細膩處理。


眼神說明了一切,連續動作的影像更幫助了故事的推展,整體氛圍突顯的寫實性形成一種真實感,拉近螢幕與觀眾的距離。在此,音樂的使用不僅是情節的註腳,更拉出了情緒張力,強調悲劇的氛圍,成功地引領觀眾從窺伺的視角進入到反思的位置。形式結構說明這部影片本身的美學價值,但更值得提出的是在語言的運用下,賦予影像形式強烈的社會文化意涵。語言的運用依賴著語境的存在,語境更是現實生活的再現,也因此語意必然反應社會現實,必然突顯文化特質。雖然語言使用也呈現被壓抑的傾向,幾乎沒有不必要的發聲存在,但帶著特殊風格的影像形式所再現的語境,使得語意的展現具有極深刻的文化批判意涵,它挑戰著猶太人的傳統宗教觀,更質疑了傳統猶太教教義的合理性。若缺乏了語言運用,極緩慢、極憂鬱的影像步調,可能變成令人難以承受的視覺壓迫,而故事的含義更可能脫離其題旨,變成「為賦新詞強說愁」。


多數人必然不了解猶太文化,但這部影片詳實地詮釋了猶太文化中的不合理性。導演在藝術架構與手法中,隱藏了強烈的人文關懷,也因此,影片中突出的人性問題,早已超越了猶太文化對同志的壓迫,也走出了同志議題,進入到以神學為根本而對人性的不合理壓抑。不同的傳統文化都有對同志的壓迫問題、對女性的束縛問題、對基本人性的箝制問題。能不能突顯出這些問題的普及性,可否引發一種超越既有視覺意象的心靈回應,有賴於藝術構思與實踐,就像司空圖講「象外之象,景外之景」。雖然影片講的是希伯來文,發生地點是耶路撒冷,但在表現以色列特殊的文化狀態下,導演的影像詮釋拓展了影像的情緒渲染性,讓非屬此文化的人同樣感受到恐怖的人性扼殺,進入到影像的敘事之中,去反思人性自由這至今為止,仍然被既定意識型態所箝制著的根本問題。

16 Jun 2012

舞者與觀眾間的兩難關係:評驫舞劇場《兩男關係》/ 并對表演藝術評論台的回應


以下為看完驫舞《兩男關係》後的評論。本意圖發表於表演藝術評論台,但礙於學術格式問題,故作罷。同時筆者不認為學術與一般評論間應嚴格劃分界線,但這不表示放棄學術嚴謹性以屈就閱讀之普遍性,而是嘗試更為深度的討論的可能性,並期待開啟更多元的討論。所以除評論之外,回應表演藝術評論台台長文章,一併附出於評論後。

時間:2012526
場地:衛武營藝術中心281棟展演場

文:孫敏智

在李世揚熟練指法的琴聲中,陳武康站在晦暗但質樸的舞台中央,面對炙熱的聚光燈,他緩慢地脫去身上的西裝,此時蘇威嘉的旁白似乎表明脫西裝動作的象徵意義。蘇威嘉說著,琴聲繼續飄揚著,僅著底褲的陳武康開始重新穿上西裝,但他卻刻意「穿反」。西裝內裡成了表面,西裝表面反是貼近人體真實的層面。這一脫一穿象徵現實生活中的人所面對的窘境,一種人性內在真實的情感思想與表象行為慣性間的衝突。此處舞蹈動作成為社會文化符號,暗指人面對表象慣性那層偽裝的倦怠,不耐與煩躁使他決定突破美麗表象與真實人性間的「兩難」關係。
這種「兩難」關係在舞者的各自獨白中被強調出來,但同時也形成一種觀者與舞者間的「兩難」關係。陳武康不是陳武康,蘇威嘉也不是蘇威嘉,兩人各自再現對方的真實身體、情性。則穿脫西裝的身體體現的是蘇威嘉的不耐、困惑與煩躁,而那圓胖但動作流利、精鍊、柔軟的身體則表現陳武康的細心、耐心與關心。舞動中的兩男並不是單純不相干的兩個男性主體,在舞蹈動作及口語的表述下,雙方已然是主體互涉的同一,各自為對方的互補、互證。蘇威嘉在節目單《兩男關係之古典與極簡》裡說「一起做一場台上只有我們兩個的演出」, 因為「我們的默契『天下無雙』」(頁4),陳武康帶著同樣的口吻說「默契無敵,就是很好」(頁3),而共同創作的林奕華更指出「武康和威嘉是互補的」(頁2)。但問題出現了:觀眾不認識這兩人,他們之間不確定的複雜關係到底要說什麼?這關係是否傳遞了林奕華所意圖呈現的當代人在社會現實中面對的兩難窘境?
陳武康與蘇威嘉的共同編舞多少體現了舞蹈可能傳遞出的社會文化意義。舞蹈動作的基礎建立在對日常生活行動的轉化上,把平常穿脫衣的行動舞蹈化,讓一般認知上是無意義的行動,變成可以欣賞的美的對象。日常動作的舞蹈化明顯帶著Pina Bausch舞作的「跨界」特徵(cross-over)〔註1〕,多重跨界形式的綜合表現成為這齣舞作的結構基礎:日常與舞蹈動作、現代舞(重心向下)與古典芭蕾(重心朝上)及探戈交際舞(橫向平衡)技巧、現場音樂演出與舞蹈,以及舞蹈與敘事劇場。這種跨界融合形成混雜(hybrid)特徵,但混雜的確定更依賴在舞動主體者的互涉上,即主體的發聲與動作幫助了作品中各元素間的文本互涉(intertextuality),形塑舞台上的「兩難」關係。舞蹈動作的身體力量、敘述語彙語義、音樂旋律情感、主體轉化成演員直接對觀眾說話,不間斷的相互指涉明顯呈現「後現代」或「後戲劇」〔註2〕劇場特徵,但事實是在跨界、混雜的形式裡,原本欲突顯出的兩難關係因主體、文本互涉而變成一種極彆扭的「詭異」關係,更因這層詭異關係造成舞者表現與觀眾接受間的「兩難關係」。
問題癥結在藝術形式的跨界、混雜、文本互涉實踐上。Jameson提出文本互涉背後是拒絕主題化傾向(thematization),以對傳統歷史觀與理論論述的拒絕來確定表現既存現實狀態的可能性。〔註3〕其實跨界、混雜形式所反應的是當代人,在面對科技發展導致社會快速變遷下,產生的多重主體性與觀點癥狀〔註4〕,而藝術形式的多重並置意圖出強調意義的開放性。但這齣舞作的多重意義表現有問題:題材本身的私密性,加上創作者對主題化的刻意拒絕與忽略轉化私密經驗成為可供體驗的有效表現,舞台上並置的形式與意義侷限在舞者的封閉世界裡,且拒絕與他者的觀眾產生交流;用敘事劇場來表述特定語義,在經過舞蹈動作抽象化變得極不穩定,而象徵性的姿態、動作反而造成戲劇文本語義失能,衝突下造成意義消解;音樂情感獨立於其他元素外,甚至凌駕舞蹈動作力度與戲劇文本強度,不僅沒有拉近文本語義、象徵動作、情感表現間的關係,反更疏離原本就已封閉的喻意,肢解舞蹈整體形式並突顯後現代藝術生產中的分裂(fragmentation)問題。片段訊息在意義消解下阻礙情感共鳴,形成混亂、模糊、不確定的內容,打斷了舞台與觀眾席間的聯繫,無所適從的觀眾出現接受上的兩難:那兩人到底是什麼關係、這是舞還是劇、這就是後現代舞蹈嗎、我看懂嗎!
這些問題似乎達成林奕華意圖的效果,但表演本身必要有美學價值存在。隨意拼湊也可創造不確定性表現,但那並非藝術,而僅是「可拋棄」的東西,「看完就完了」。〔註5〕事實上相當精緻的舞蹈動作說明這不是任意為之、隨意拼貼,而舞蹈動作反應的社會文化狀態確定舞蹈自身的美學價值。不過舞蹈的混雜形式同時也指向混雜本身的問題,即在拼貼不同技巧與形式的過程中,是否挪用部份的自身特質已被融合過程犧牲,以致混雜形式僅是架空的表現,缺少原本技巧與形式可能的指涉。〔註6〕畢竟舞者有深度的舞蹈基礎,所以有能力在融合的過程中掩蓋因挪用而出的指涉問題,在建構舞蹈語彙中創造一種「有質感的安排」(textured arrangement)(註7),但指涉問題仍存在,如形式上借用Bausch卻忽略深度情感表現,或用雙人探戈表現兩男關係卻拒絕回應雙人舞拉出的同志情節。此外,編舞者顯然因對敘事劇場及音樂表現不熟悉,以致劇場性、音樂性成為空虛的裝飾,不僅缺乏本身活躍的指涉力,甚至阻礙舞蹈表現。此時舞蹈、劇場、音樂同時面臨難堪、詭異的「兩難關係」,同時並存反突顯舞作的藝術缺陷。
若從「總體藝術」(Gesamtkunstwerk)概念出發,或許創作者可以打開作品的封閉性來指涉更廣泛的社會文化狀態,並避免形式、意義的分崩離析。文本互涉的跨界混雜形式其實是「總體藝術」的變形、不被承認的「私生子」〔註8〕,而「分裂」特徵更有關於「總體藝術」的融合性質。「總體藝術」是當代劇場實踐的主要源頭之一。當代劇場不可能自外於後現代文化潮流,故後現代藝術生產邏輯必存在劇場實踐中,但此邏輯不可能無關於歷史過程中多樣的藝術實踐,因此當代藝術創作者必要深入了解目前流行的手段,不能僅看到了特徵便依樣畫葫蘆地重製出來,這只會肯定Jameson對「後現代」藝術的不信任與嚴厲批評。由於對藝術形式的陌生、實踐上的輕忽及陷入後現代潮流的激情中,形式與內容、形式與形式、舞者與觀者間的「兩難關係」成為《兩男關係》的特徵,而意義消解形成的不確定性使這齣作品成為看完就算了的「拋棄式」演出。

〔註1〕:Bausch舞作中呈現日常與舞蹈動作、動作與語言、舞蹈與劇場的「跨界」特徵,見Maria Shevtsova, “Performance, Embodiment, Voice: the Theatre/Dance Cross-overs of Dodin, Bausch, and Forsythe,” NTQ 19. 1 (Feb, 2003): 3-17;特別是頁9-1012
〔註2〕:Han-Thies Lehmann不認同「後現代」(postmodern)劇場的說法,提出「後戲劇劇場」(postdramatic theatre)觀點來確定當代劇場與「戲劇」(drama)的關係,見Postdramatic Theatre, trans. & introduction by Karen Jürs-Munby (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2006), 17
〔註3〕:Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 1991), 84-85 90-92
〔註4〕:同上,頁150-151
〔註5〕:Fredric Jameson and Anders Stephanson, “Regarding Postmodernism – A Conversation with Fredric Jameson,” in Universal Abandon?: The Politics of Postmodernism, ed. by Andrew Ross (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), 24.
〔註6〕:Laurence Louppe, “Hybrid Bodies,” trans. by C. Penwarden, Writings on Dance: the French Issue 15 (Winter 1996): 63-67.
〔註7〕:此借用Maria ShevtsovaRobert Wilson的劇場中混雜形式特質,見Robert Wilson (London: Routledge, 2007), 12.
〔註8〕:Matthew Wilson Smith, The Total Work of Art: From Bayreuth to Cyberspace (New York: Routledge, 2007), 203.

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台長大鑒:


謝謝您的來信指教。參考貴台發表之評論後,同意拙文確實不適合貴台,不與刊登,亦可理解。在此感謝您願意花時間批評拙文,同時也提出一些看法,供您參考。

關於蘇、陳二人的語彙表現,拙文並無視為「代表了不同文本」,但兩人間的主體互涉構成舞台上的文本元素之一,而此元素與舞台上的他種元素間具有互動、甚至是競爭關係-這即Julia Kristevay“Nous Deux” or a (hi)story of intertextuality文中再次解釋的「文本互涉」概念,這層關係實關係於舞台上藝術性呈現問題,或者說形式表現的美學問題,即評論者需要分析、開展的癥結處。同時您說「林弈華到底有沒有故意讓文本朝著不確定性走,我並沒有看出這種企圖」,這事實是另一個評論的問題點。就節目單來看,不確定性的假設確實是林奕華的意圖表現(見引出節目單頁2)。相信劇場實踐者與研究者必然都對Peter BrookThe Empty Space中批判劇評與商業性傾向的連結印象深刻,他說得極好,所謂的劇評不過是「已死亡的劇場」的保護者,在他們的支持下,劇場中的創新可能性被抹除,因為劇評不斷以他們主觀的、先入為主的、傳統的中產階級認知來為維護他們認可的價值,這裡好奇的、知識性的、非傳統的觀點被排擠到邊緣、被噤聲。深入究之,戲劇的價值在這些劇評眼中被歸納成個體主觀直覺經驗,而論劇場完全變成任意、武斷的論述,因為只要論述符合既有認知概念且範圍不超出「演出」,可以不顧其他任何可能的佐證資料。Brook40年前就已發現的問題至今尚存,不過西方劇評已出現不同狀態,請見法國劇評的深度與廣度打破了學術與一般論述的界線,而開啟的論述開放性解釋何以歐陸劇場一直是劇場愛好者的關注焦點。

您提出「他們的文脈是一致的」的說法是正確的,拙文並沒有反對此觀點。不過「說的就是兩人的成長與經歷,你即使不認識他們,卻可從他們的敘述讀出他們的故事」,這一說法大有問題。筆者同意藝術家的創作本就有關個人私密性經驗的表現,Benedetto CroceAesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic中不斷強調此觀念,並以「藝術直覺(artistic intuition)」來定義藝術創作背後的動機,但是是否觀者能夠「讀出他們的故事」不只是創作動機問題,這有賴成熟、精緻與有力的藝術形式表現,若形式表現出現問題,即虛弱與不確定,觀眾如何能進入到眼前的藝術景象中並抓取其中的意義呢?如拙文所言,藝術作品-尤其舞蹈的抽象性-往往在藝術家描繪成長、經歷過程中,可能有意或者無意地包含了社會文化訊息,這確定了藝術表現中的社會文化指涉,也從此-請允許我用符號學觀點來看-定義了藝術本身的美學價值。換句話說,社會文化的指涉隱藏在極度私密性的經驗表現中,而具有美學價值的藝術表現即在於有力地,或者創新地、抑或者隱晦地轉化此種私密經驗成為有效藝術形式表現。然此作品此種表現尚待加強,對比他們之前的作品,似乎出現倒退狀態。

有關「後現代」觀念問題,此必須指出拙文僅以引號括出此詞,但並未對此詞的爭議性多作說明實為疏忽。不過「導演有沒有嘗試採用後現代手法,依照我對後現代的粗淺認識,這支舞與後現代舞蹈差距甚大,舞者的動作、音樂並非無意義化」,此一說法反而突顯了台灣劇場界對「後現代」概念的模糊性認知,甚至是誤解,且這裡拒絕的意味更呼應了您以為國人對Jameson「後現代」論述陌生,事實上反而呈現出「後現代」語彙的特徵。相信學術界不可能不認識Jameson這發表於90年代初期的重要論述,同時在當代網路普及化下,一般人多少也對「後現代」一詞有所認識,看看現代人習慣使用的威基百科的詞調解釋,或者用Google搜尋此詞出現的上千萬詞條。基本上Jameson提出的是一種文化狀態的觀察與批判,他對於「後現代」藝術的不信任起因於對當代藝術實踐-尤其建築與影像藝術-以及價值的推敲,但他是否否定「後現代」藝術的可能性,又或者他是否就定義「後現代」藝術必定是無意義化,相信讀過的人會發現他的深入分析呈現對上述兩問題的否定態度,而這種否定態度是期待「後現代」實踐的成熟與發展可能性。不僅JamesonMatthew Wilson SmithThe Total Work of Art: From Bayreuth to Cyberspace以及Han-Thies LehmannPostdramatic Theatre,皆指出「後現代」事實已經是當代藝術實踐的狀態,雖然對此詞之爭議以及其中運用的手段尚待更為仔細的分析,但不可否認當代文化生產邏輯下的藝術實踐已不同於1960年代以前的「現代」的「前衛主義」,如Andy Warhol的《康寶濃湯》絕不是無意義的表現,雖然他刻意說「無意義」,但事實上是轉化Bauhaus概念-尤其是Oskar SchlemmerLaszlo Moholy-Nagy-對資本主義興盛導致價值觀念變遷的反應,而這種觀點呈現之後更出現Pina BauschRobert Wilson的作品中。同時這種「後現代」狀態並無法與之前狀態完全切割,也因此其藝術價值的存在必然要在當代實踐手法下回退到藝術實踐的歷史過程中來推敲。這說明不可能忽視「後現代」的狀態,且此作品中的拼貼、跨界、混雜本質上已是「後現代」文化特徵的展現,不論此同時並存到底有無美學價值,展現本身已要求著觀者的注視,邀請觀者參與藝術自身形式的呈現的嘉年華會氛圍。

這就是您所說的「舞蹈、戲劇的混用,這在現代舞裡早是常態,不能把舞蹈戲劇硬切開來」,但評論者是否就應把這種混用當做自然而然的東西?是否舞蹈、戲劇本質上沒有差異,所以可以直接合而論之,就像是一場視覺饗宴、完全娛樂,目的就是滿足觀眾「幻覺」與「口味」?這不就是已往中產階級盛讚那種「已死亡的劇場」的價值觀表現嗎?這樣的評論對於藝術生產會有什麼幫助?是否單純的隨意結合便是藝術?在這樣的價值觀下,到底藝術之所以成為藝術的條件是什麼?所以您的反證論述便是「動作、音樂根本就是敘述性的,是敘事體的,這與後現代差距更大!」但事實上身為觀者的筆者並沒有感受的音樂的敘述性,且音樂表現的情感強度反壓制動作的象徵敘述。此必須明言音樂的情感表現並不能以敘述性說法來替換,其高度抽象與象徵完全是情感的引發,且受制於絕對主觀的認知,所以您有上述說法出現。舞蹈動作具有相似的狀態,但因動作的空間性表現,它實際的視覺存在在相比之下,更容易轉化成符碼的運用,使觀者在審美經驗中產生一種意義的解讀,促成意義的追尋,形成觀者體現的敘事性表現。是否具有「敘事性」-此姑且用您的表述來同時談音樂與動作-便不是「後現代」?這又回到上述對「後現代」認知的問題了。當「後現代」被認知成無意義狀態的表現,論者便容易的拒絕以此觀點來看任何可能「有意義」的作品,很容易的視跨界、混雜、分裂為一種普遍而適當的藝術展現,而非「後現代」眼光下牽涉美學價值的有問題的形式表現。故這種視為「理所當然」的觀點必然否定Jameson提出的「可被拋棄」的結論。

其實您已認知到「後現代」概念的重要性,但卻未能進入到此概念涵蓋的社會文化與美學領域問題,如您說「就某些後現代只重拼貼,毫無意義,或許是極可能的危險,但放在這支舞,整個立論導引的結論,就值得商榷了。」不過立論導引結論不是人文學科論述的重心所在嗎?意圖以立論來開啟分析的可能性,並期待結論能大開討論空見,促成藝術的再生產與美學領域的拓展嗎?再者,所有的評論永遠都是一種立論,既是論述便是權力運作的場域,FourcaultThe Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences早已說明知識論述的潛性規則,因此「有待商榷」確實是一個被期待的結果-當然的行文者必要願意接受來自四方的猛烈攻擊。劇場評論-尤其是舞蹈-本就容易陷入爭論狀態,大家有各自不同的看法,也因意識型態的堅持形成論述戰場,但這不表示論述僅能靠向宰制意識型態,不表示他種聲音的噤聲,而是如Mikhail BakhtinThe Dialogic Imagination中認知到的「眾聲喧嘩(cacophony)」,在混雜論述聲音的體現下,意識到他者的存在並拓展認知的新的可能性。筆者尊重您對於此舞的認知,畢竟各自觀察的角度或有不同,因此得出之結論必有差異,但筆者認為此舞作中的諸多問題實無法以那種「常態」觀點來看,同時也不認同評論必然不是「學術化」的思維模式。再次回到Brook的概念上,觀眾並不是完全被動、無自主性的接受者,他們變成如此有大半因素在評論者的影響上,這肯定了ArtaudThe Theatre and Its Double裡對自以為是的中產階級觀眾的嚴厲抨擊。

以上為對您提出的論點的回應,且非常感謝您對拙文的指教,這開啟了一個難得的溝通的機會。畢竟筆者僅為一喜好劇場的市井小民,並無機會與如您為劇場界中重要人士有溝通機會,居住在高雄更沒有什麼機會看到好的表演(現狀已有進步了)。相信您也了解在台灣戲劇類學術性期刊少得可憐,又多屬學報性質-即流傳性相對侷限,又他們多不接受評論文章。雖國外期刊多有刊出評論機會,但礙於國內團體的封閉性以及外國人看待國內劇場生態問題,會被接受的大概就是講雲門的文章。拙文與此回應,筆者將發佈在私人部落格上,希望能有機會得到更多不同的意見,望您見諒。

19 Apr 2012

國旗歌、國旗歌,至少我有唱過


會不會唱國旗歌對許多人來說不是個重要的問題,但我相信對那些離鄉背井,或者仍旅居海外、遙望故土的人來說,尤其是曾經歷過早上升旗唱國歌、國旗歌的「中年人」、「老人」(我想 7 字頭的一代讀小學時應該就沒唱了吧,或許在晚一些),在聽到國旗歌或者國歌的那一剎那,心的深處必然產生一種莫名的感動。那種感動並不關於政治立場、政黨傾向,而單純的是一種回憶的再現以及對家鄉的認同(當然的,極端的政治立場堅持者必然對這句話有強烈的敵意,一派會堅定否定對國歌、國旗歌、中華民國的情感認同,而另一派則會批評沒有中華民國認同哪會有情感反應,但是對更多的人而言,或許那個對家鄉的認同並不一定牽涉到政治立場問題,而是關係到他或她個人在台灣的成長經驗,是一種私密性的回憶,而歌曲不過是觸動回憶的媒介罷了,只是恰好這些歌曲帶有明顯的政治意味)。

當 TVBS 播放得到杜哈亞運金牌的棒球選手驕傲地唱著國旗歌時,看電視的人很難不被畫面中的情緒所影響,很難不為自己的家鄉感到驕傲,為台灣感到驕傲。在這裡我們沒有必要陷入政治性的爭論中,如果我們願意打開心胸去為那些貢獻自己力量的運動員喝采、為台灣喝采。

雖然馬英九這支競選廣告帶著強烈的政治訊息(選戰),但不可否認選用小朋友唱國旗歌,並搭配著台灣的風土民情,這支廣告啟動了那些仍會唱國旗歌的人的回憶,引發了一種「懷舊風情」,那種會讓人開始懷念家鄉點點滴滴的強烈情緒。那種情緒可能是國家認同,也可能僅是回憶故土,甚至單純的只是影像動人魅力的結果。不管如何,國旗歌在霎時間變成了「個人身分認同」的符號,而這個符號在持反對政治立場的眼中是「意識型態」在作祟,是必須要予以打敗的恐怖怪獸。事實上在這裡並沒有對或錯的問題,只有立場與政治意識型態的問題,但由於所謂的「政治正確性」的因素以及一種「偽」民主觀念(功利的、畏懼對錯、結果導向、泛政治性),國旗歌不再唱了,升旗取消了,甚至連國歌也變成中小學教育中的洪水猛獸。

問題是這樣的打壓國旗歌、國歌的結果會是什麼?是否因為不再唱國旗歌、國歌就可以塑造出一種新的國家認同?很明顯的,結果並非如此,而就像新聞報導說的,現代的年輕人多數不認得國旗歌,但也沒有因此形成另一種有別於舊有的、新的國家認同。我不認為新一代的人要回頭去做以前我們被要求做的事,小時候我也不喜歡升旗、唱國歌等等,但如果他們能有機會以新的方式來認識這些歌曲,或許可以形成有效的台灣認同,利用這種認同來凝聚住在台灣的新一代,形成一股力量來強化台灣的競爭力。就像是七十年代中期中美斷交時,不管海內外,來自台灣的年輕人自動自發地團結一致,促使了之後的經濟起飛,而現在在藝術領域中執牛耳的不正是那批人嗎!雖然那是因外在政治因素所形成的一股特殊現象,但我們是可以從歷史現象中學得某些有用的東西,而不是說要要求類似的事件再次發生:歷史不會重複,但歷史精神可以複製再運用。

簡而言之,若是沒有一種共享的、大家都同意的價值觀,是很難去凝聚社會群體的。當群體無法被凝聚去朝著光明的未來前進、當群體只是粗淺的認知其所生所長的土地與文化、當群體陷在多重認同下而精神恍惚,這群體所屬的社會到底會發展成什麼樣的社會?是否單純地說「多元文化」,並朝著這樣一個含糊不清的概念走下去,這個社會就會有大發展?(法國的種族動亂不正是多元文化導向的結果嗎?)國歌、國旗歌可以不要唱,但是在拋棄了他們之後,我們是否有個東西可以凝聚台灣的年輕人,有那樣一個東西可以在某個特殊的時刻(在世界的舞台上得獎),讓他們覺得驕傲,一種可以代表自己家鄉的符號?


19 Mar 2012

The English Weather, the English Repression, and the Unique English Sorrow: Weekend (2011) and Adele


Indeed, living in London for a while does not make one English enough to comment on Englishness, nor does it efface the stereotyped concept of Englishness, and the truth is being a foreigner there, this stereotype is perceived way stronger than that absorption of Englishness through varied forms of entertainment while residing in the hometown. Although the actual lived experience in that surroundings of Englishness injects something real into that mental image, once one leaves that surroundings, the mystic functioning of the memory twists the real experience, making it even more unreal and vague, and thus going beyond the stereotype, becoming a pure imagination of Englishness that calls itself memory.

So this memory of Englishness is only something very private and untrue, and it is pretty much a false image, a fantasy, particularly in the eyes of the English, but it is this false image that allows Adele’s voice to produce a strange emotional resonance that links with that slight but beautiful depression in Weekend (2011, directed and written by Andrew Haigh), which triggers memories of other quite irrelevant real experiences that somehow reinforces this mental imagination of Englishness.

Weekend (2011)

Gloomy weather, repression, and the light sorrow constitute this mental image of Englishness, which is first developed after seeing the film A Room with a View (1985) and then is strengthened in the reading of this novel by E. M. Foster. The fine misty rain falling from the gray sky is a symbol of that light sorrow that can only come into being through a very subtle mental struggle and repression, which is most obviously manifested in love and self-control. This imagination of a gloomy and repressed lifestyle is once again intensified in the most recent TV series Downton Abbey (2010 – present), a genre play of the high society in the early twentieth century.

But such a mental struggle is not a privilege of the high society, and Weekend projects this agonizing self-control along with that feeble wish to break through through two young middle-class gay men in the twentieth-first century. The truth is such a projection of mental struggles is universal, and it should happen to anyone regardless nationality and cultural upbringing, but due to the temporal-spatial setting of the film, memory directs mind towards that imagination of Englishness, which blurs the reality with fantasy, making the mental construction truer than ever. As a result, the sorrow of those young men – though not completely without hope and faith for the future – represents a unique English dilemma that gay men faces in the contemporary English society. It seems illogical if the temporal-spatial setting is made American, or, say, Taiwanese, since the background does not offer that gray, gloomy ambience which makes the exaggeration of mental struggles available.

It is interesting that such an exaggeration of human sorrow can be achieved without images, and Adele’s smoky and emotional voice sings not only regret and lamentation, but also fortitude – through her special tone that encourages those who mourn their loss and saves them from the over-indulgence in sadness – which is also the characteristic of those tragic heroes or heroines in English films or TV series. Once again, that should be a universal human nature, but due to that strong mental image of Englishness, the display of one’s inner strength and self-control is associated with the English. Even though one is so deeply dwelling in that unbearable sorrow without not having tried to ignore it, as projected in Weekend the departing of lovers who are almost strangers to each other and their knowing of each other through self-confrontations, the repression for self-control never allows a total breakdown of the mentality. As seen in this film, this self-control miraculously directs them to hold on to that feeble wish that they themselves have already known so well that it might not be achieved. Although they can never be together, at least they know they have found each other, they both have rediscovered their self, and life can still be beautiful because they are left with beautiful memories.

This complicated mental process allows them to stand in the brink of self-destruction without truly destroying the self, and therefore, these two young men are both the combination of extreme sadness and positive faith for the future. It is fortitude that keeps the balance of this bipolar relation. This unique feature is sung by Adele in her Someone Like You (2011), and her tone and attitude makes her a perfect representation of fortitude, and her Englishness makes this universal fortitude so English. This Englishness is best projected in her version of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love (1997 [2008]); rather than being manly and caring, the English love is repressed, well-controlled, and even lonely, a love that can never come into being without a long process of self-struggles, or a love that can be completely sacrificial even though it is utterly unattainable, as the one projected in Weekend. This self-control is celebrated in One and Only (2011) through which she advises that mental struggle can only be conquered by the self, and one must be bold and keep the faith for oneself if the final paradise of happiness should be reached. Her encouragement points to that English nature of repression, which should not be seen as a total rejection of life but an inevitable sorrow that would make the final success sweeter than ever.

How interesting it is that these three songs all connect with the plot of Weekend even though the film has not incorporated any of these songs. One and Only interprets the emotional change of both characters in this short-lived weekend love. After they grow fonder of each other and intend to know each other more, Make You Feel My Love is represented through their constant self-confrontation and arguments. When the lovers are doomed to that inevitable separation, Someone like you becomes the perfect footnote to their mood and their hope for a better future, even though that sorrow has perpetually stained the heart.

Probably no others can project this gloomy sorrow better than the English. Although French films normally give something way more miserable than this English sorrow, its strong philosophical stance quite often takes control of the overall emotional expression, and thus their exploration of humanity is deep, making the film heavy and emotionally unbearable. Quite differently, Weekend probes the same issues with a light approach, but not as light, or usually comical, as Hollywood movies, and that projection of the actual life of nobodies brings that film closer to its viewers. There are no special effects or melodramatic expressions. All you see is something so real and sincere, something that resembles the tone and attitude of Adele, something that reminds us of Englishness, a memory of pure imagination.

28 Feb 2012

A Shy Guy’s Approach


"Can I bum a cigarette?" The shy guy finally approached me after moving around me for a while.
"Sure! Do you need a lighter?" I looked for my lighter and then handed it to him with a smile.
"Thanks." He started smoking without saying more.

This is the end of the conversation.

"So he must be straight, otherwise he will try to carry on the conversation." I told myself I got the wrong message, which could be true since my gaydar is quite broken. 

However, I found that he did not leave but stood right in front of me. He seemed nervous and not sure about what to do next. I looked at him and wondered whether or not he would talk to me. He kept looking to his right, and it seemed like he was avoiding me. Then my dear friend came back from the bathroom. Naturally I quietly told her about what just happened, and she started to check this guy out, quite boldly. Still, he did not leave; neither did he make any effort to look at us.

Then his friends showed up. Though he seemed to relax a bit, he did not really talk to his friends who acted like it’s their first time clubbing. Since we were at the corner where the foosball was, I thought he must be waiting for his friends to play the foosball. This was confirmed when the manager of the club showed up to open the foosball and checked the jammed slot. Since I had never seen the inside of that machine, I said, "Wow, it’s my first time seeing this." Finally he looked at me with a big smile on that cute face. Still, no conversation! I told my friend he’s not gay, but she insisted that he is and is interested in me.

He still stood in front of us for a while, and then his friends called him to join them, still in front of us. These two other boys looked pretty gay. Tight T-shit with skinny jeans and Converse baseball boots, they were truly twinks. It seemed like they were teasing him or something, but I could not tell since the music was damn loud. Except that big smile to me, he avoided us, but my friend caught him peeking at us when he had to turn his face to his friends. Then he disappeared!

Later my friend and I went dancing, and when I was quite immersed in the remix of the 80s music, I saw him standing on the far right looking at my direction. But, you know, it’s quite impossible to ensure whether he was looking at me when I was submerged in all different kinds of flesh and blood. But I found that whenever I got the chance to look at where he was, he was always there, smoking, looking at my direction. I told my friend that maybe she was right about him, but still I was not sure. I could not pick up any clues that could confirm his gayness. His outfit was so boring. A gray polo shirt with a small hole on the right arm, overly loose jeans that made his legs look short, brown working boots, along with his scruffy face and messy hair, all these made him look like a real lumberjack, not a cute one that one would see in the movies. Despite these, he does have a good looking face, one that reminds me of those cute French or Italian actors.

Not long after we went back to where we were for a rest, he wandered to our area again, but this time he did not stay but carried on his wanderings around the club. Later when he came again, he accidently looked up and met my gaze. I guess he was a bit shocked coz he gave a quick nod with a nervous look on his face, and then he very quickly turned himself and walked to the chair that was a bit far from us. I do not know whether or not he intentionally chose that chair coz the chair was facing me. The funny thing was he sat facing the bar rather than me, and once I caught him looking at me, he swiftly turned his head back to the bar direction. Not for long, the staff of the club came and took the chair away, so he had no alternative but sat on the built-in sofa that faced our direction. Still, I locked my eyes on him with a smile on my face, which I thought a welcome sign that might get him to approach me. But unfortunately, neither did he make the move nor look at my direction again. He sat there for less than a minute and then stood up quickly and walked to the dance floor. Even though he walked away and stood with his back facing us, he was still in front of me.

Nothing actually happened, and I still do not know who this person is and whether or not he is interested in me. All I know is that this person could not be straight and he is very shy. Straight guys don’t bum a cigarette and then do things like that. Also straight guys always check out hot chicks rather than ignore them completely. There were couple girls actually sending him the very obvious sexual signs, but he totally overlooked them, treating them like air. His other friends checked us out very boldly whenever they walked past us, and that might be a sign that they knew about something.

Another friend of mine told me that I played my cards all wrong. Maybe I did play my cards wrong, but what else I can  do when he is so shy! If I did act more aggressively, then I am sure I would scare him away. It is so difficult to deal with a shy guy. But honestly, except for his bad taste for clothes and the lack of style, he is such a cute shy guy.


7 Feb 2012

Madonna, the Real Queen: 2012 Super Bowl halftime show


When Madonna talked to the audience in her interview with Anderson Cooper, she said "I have eight minutes to set it up and seven minutes to take it down and twelve minutes to put on the greatest show on earth." (Read Here) Yes, she did it, and that 12 minutes are not just fabulous and innovative, but truly qualified as "the greatest show on earth."

Many would argue against this statement, and as you can read from the comments on Youtube. Those who dislike the show criticize her for lip sync as well as lame dance, and there are even comments saying that she represents some kind of dark occult that might have endanger the social norms. The last critique is ridiculous. If you want to view the pop culture through such standards, then there is no pop culture. Can you imagine living in a world of drought, just like the middle ages when the "orthodox" religious beliefs rule everything? But even in that period of time, festivals were still allowed and the pop culture was lively among laymen. Those who believe in such standards probably detest the fantasy world of Dante or Rabelais, and they probably hate the Carnival of Venice, the Rio Carnival, and the Mardi Gras in Sydney or New Orleans.

As for those who criticize her for lip sync and lame dance, they have been too harsh on her. She is 53, and putting on a show this grand is never easy. For those who have never perform on stage, they would not know how difficult it is to sing and dance at the same time, particularly on a stage this big. Go ask a Broadway musical performer! In fact, the last song Like a Prayer was a live performance, and even though I do think Madonna is not a great singer, she did it quite well. I do agree that her dancing movements are less powerful than she did before in her concerts, but the varieties of dance and the incorporation of acrobatics, marching, as well as cheerleading enrich the overall performance marking Madonna's innovation and creativity.

Except Give Me All Your Luvin (featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.) is the new song from MDNA (2012), the rest is famous and catchy old songs. Vogue and Music are so popular that even the non-fans of Madonna would be able to sing a bit of them. When old songs are performed, naturally they bring about nostalgia, which certainly helps create the desired ambience. According to Fredric Jameson, this nostalgia marks the weakness of postmodern arts, that is, its inability to represent and fashion the contemporaneity (see Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, 21). However, this 12 minutes show is a nostalgia with a reshaped form in which bold innovations are inserted to renew the old images of these songs. In other words, Modonna's world of Roman soldiers, Greek gods, cheerleaders, acrobatic performers, street dancers, choir singers, as well as marching ensemble is a world of multifarious artistic forms, and none of these component parts is irrelevant to or detached from the modern lifestyle:  the cheerleaders and marching ensemble in Glee, the Greek gods and Roman soldiers from the latest Hollywood films, the world-famous acrobatic performance from Cirque du Soleil, the street dance that everyone enjoys on Live to Dance in the US or Got to Dance in the Uk, and lastly the church choir whose singing can also touch those who are not a member of Christianity. Everything is identifiable and easy to capture for those in the auditorium or in front of the TV.

Multifarious pastiche is the nature of contemporary pop culture, but Madonna's creativity and sincerity turn such a pastiche into a fine artistic expression. The ensemble is not simply an arbitrary combination of forms. Each component part is placed carefully in relation to the overall performance. This is why they do not contradict but complement each other, and the ensemble not only charms the crowd, but also confirms their mental image of the contemporary pop culture. Thus, this successful portrayal of the modern life and entertainment renews Madonna's old songs and the nostalgic ambience is replaced with the passion of the cheering crowds. Her creativity makes her the real queen of contemporary pop culture, a true icon for twenty-first century pop fashion. Some might want to compare her with Lady Gaga, but the truth here is "Madonna is irreplaceable." She has passed the phase to use grotesque or bizarre performances to legitimize her status. Now she renews herself from her own past. She evolves from within, and this is why she is amazing. 

31 Jan 2012

求得龍年運簽之感

日出東方福雲散,乾坤清氣盡光明。
二十四時都清洁,求財作事皆有成。

常言道「太歲當頭座,無福必有禍」。今年為龍年,恰是本命年,故於春游台南時,在古廟北極殿向上帝爺玄天上帝求一隻運簽。幸運地得到上帝爺眷顧,給了隻上簽。或許也該是時候到了,蹇運走盡,上帝爺不過就事論事,據實以告。又或者是平時之努力與行為處事為上帝爺認可,加上誠心善念,所以賜予這隻上簽來肯定並鼓勵。

神明的意圖永遠無法被證實,但就簽意觀之,明顯的「必有禍」應該是不成立了。事實上是福就不會是禍,若是禍怎樣也躲不過,人生本就福禍相伴,如此人生才有意義,而來的禍越大,對生命的體悟也就越深刻,越能珍惜緊接而來的福。

既然上帝爺給了如此大的肯定,則太歲本命年必然是福祿並置的昌旺之年,更當把握時機,努力精進。「舉頭三尺有神明」,冥冥之中是有一股力量在引導往良善正確的方向前進的。就算是迷信好了,至少人帶著希望,日子也就過得比較清鬆,對自己更有信心,對未來也就不再徬徨。