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2022-01-05 21:32:43肥力 felixism

Tino Sehgal︰那種遙不可及的最近距離交往

 

2015年曾參與荷蘭藝術節,茫然不知地走進碩大的阿姆斯特丹市立博物館(Stedelijk Museum),誤打誤撞地在其中一層走進Tino Sehgal作品《如此變奏》(This Variation)的房間,在漆黑的世界裡逐漸撐開瞳孔,隱身於黑色的角落,聽著看著表演者的歌聲與舞步,也看到入口光源處多少觀眾好奇,最初是戰戰競競摸黑進內,及最後仍能放開懷抱,有些人如我一樣安坐一旁,有些更走出來一起跳舞,表演者與觀眾融合起來,利用一起交流的觸感,滋潤了那個只有丁點餘光的世界,就這樣不知不覺就過了一個多小時,是個很美好的時光。

 

事隔六年,我再次在大館的賽馬會藝方中看到這個作品,此一時彼一時,地域及政局不同,時間及世界劇變,即便是同一個追求與人互動,探索人面對黑暗,用最純樸的方式了解交流意義的作品,卻給予我另一番完全不同的滋味。

究竟香港當下的現況,對Sehgal及其作品帶來多大衝擊?看過演出之後,我腦中一直徘徊這個提問。原因是,與其說Sehgal的作品是打破表演與展覽,遊戲與舞蹈的關係,更準確的說法可能是將表演者與觀眾的距離越趨貼近,但仍保留如絲這般的距離,而僅僅依據空間、語言、動作,維持二者的關係。正如是次在大館策展的「信任&迷惑」活動中,Sehgal的兩個作品《這些聯繫》(These Associations)及《如此變奏》一樣,二者都是把空間作為社交儀式來呈現,前者原為倫敦泰特現代美術館(Tate Modern)邀約作品,今次本地表演者在監獄操場遊戲,與路人/觀眾說自己的故事;後者如上所說,表演者在漆黑的房間唱歌及起舞,等待觀眾從光的入口悄悄進來,又慢慢飄離。

不同於一般社區活動,Sehgal不將表演者與觀眾混淆,即使二者如何親密,兩個演出仍是表演者主導,觀眾跟隨。然而問題是,我欣賞的當天可能是平日下午,在表演者從早到晚不間斷的演出途中,不論是博物館內那個完全不起眼的黑房,或是外面操場,人流都少得可憐,有時只有我一個,或多一兩位觀眾。在沒多觀眾,而香港觀眾大多既含蓄又不習慣親近表演者的情況下,那些重視交往,甚至說是依靠交流才能成為作品的演出,究竟要怎樣才能完整?更何況,在當刻疫情政治,尤其是表演者及觀眾,在香港政府整年努力以疫情之名設下多重隔離防線之下,將表演者如同準帶菌者或疑似病源體般看待,迫令表演者做盡無限制疊加的防疫措施,並與觀眾定性為兩種完全不同屬性的生物品種,只要他們近距離接觸就有可能犯法或交叉感染下,這種探索人與人的距離的作品,是注定要「失敗」。

 

當然所謂「失敗」只是從行政的角度來看,人流太少,交流親密度不足;但對作品而言,當然也是一個很好的地區反映及另類統計,正好顯現香港及觀眾如何看待非劇場及非舞蹈的互動作品。而且,以個體視角來看的話,在我當刻所看到的是,香港表演者及觀眾,均具智慧及良好心態,去投入當中的交流。《這些聯繫》中表演者會走到路人面前,一對一地向觀眾訴說他們準備好的個人小故事,而觀眾則靜靜聆聽,觀眾有時會回應,就變成傾談了。可以說,在香港如此壓抑的情況下,讓表演者及觀眾親密地單對單分享,享受空間,非常難得,也脫離了當下環境之外的氣壓。

 

有趣的是,因為很多時我也是一個人,在《如此變奏》中的黑房內(其他遊客只在門外探頭觀望而離開),常會被表演者注意;在《這些聯繫》的情況尤甚,總計不多於半小時在操場流連,表演者因為難得有觀眾可給予他們互動,而對我「虎視耽耽」,至最後我聽了四個不同表演者的故事,方才離去。當中有關小學老師的體罰,而令表演者說會去回到幼稚園向親密的老師投訴,而不是父母的故事,以及有關斷絕社交媒體關聯的分手故事最為溫暖又悲傷。

 

至於,表演的隨性及遊戲性,以及依賴與觀眾互動方可完整的作品,究竟其屬性如何,是劇場、展覽、舞蹈,或是社區活動?在我觀察,認為Sehgal豈只不是在挑戰當中的界線,而是不在乎。在英國或荷蘭,觀眾都很習慣在表演內與表演者交流傾談,因為日常生活與陌生人表達自己的想法是普通不過;但當在香港,當說成是一場「舞蹈」,也可能會令觀眾認真看待起來,更何況是業界經常要強調「當代舞」詞彙的必要性,以及當香港已變成自由說話也具風險,藝術家要思前想後自我批判,市民燒烤都可能被票控,野豬也難得求生,我們又怎可能安心出行,在漆黑之內,在陌生人分享的故事中,想去脫下「藝術」字眼的保護及包裝(更何況不能保護),純然地感受近距離親密所帶來的安靜與自由?

 

Tino Sehgal: Close Contact Yet Out of Reach

 

Original text: Felix

Translator: Chermaine Lee

 

In 2015, I attended the Holland Festival in the Netherlands. I was confused as I entered the enormous Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and found myself in a room showcasing Tino Sehgal’s artwork This Variation. In a world of darkness, I hid in a dark corner, let my eyes gradually adjust to the environment, listened to the songs and watched the dance.

 

I saw some visitors show their curiosity at the entrance - they hesitated a little before entering the dark room, but eventually relaxed. Some sat to one side like me, while others went up and danced with the performers. The interactions brightened up the dimly-lit world. An hour passed by swiftly - it was a good time.

 

Fast forward six years, to when I saw the same artwork again at the JC Contemporary in Tai Kwun. The differences between now and then, here and there, politics, timing and changes left me with an altered impression, even though the work still featured human interactions and explored people’s reactions in the dark.

 

How much impact does Hong Kong’s current situation have on Sehgal and his work? I kept asking myself this after watching the performance. Instead of saying that Sehgal breaks the barrier between performance and exhibition, as well as between play and dance, to me it’s more accurate to say that the artwork bridges the gap between performers and audience, yet still maintains a tiny distance between them, depending on space, language and movement to link them together.

 

In the trust & confusion exhibition in Tai Kwun, Sehgal’s These Associations and This Variation present space as a social ritual: the former was initially a commission from London’s Tate Modern Museum, and this time, local performers played games in the Prison Yard, telling the passers-by / audience their stories; in the latter - as mentioned above - performers sang and danced in a dark room, waiting for visitors to sneak in from the entrance where it was light, then slowly drift away.

 

Something that sets Sehgal’s shows apart from the usual community activity is that they do not confuse the role of the performers with that of the audience: regardless of how close the two are, the performers take the lead and the audience follows. However, when I had the pleasure of watching the performance it was a weekday afternoon. The performers worked non-stop in either the inconspicuous dark room or the square outdoors, but the problem was the pathetically small number of spectators - at times I was there on my own, or with only one or two other people.

 

Without many spectators, and in Hong Kong where the audience is used to being reserved and keeping a distance from the performers, how can an artwork like this, which focuses on interactions, be realized to the full? Not to mention that now we are under the pandemic policies, where the government has set strict boundaries on the pretext of controlling the virus, treating performers as potential carriers of infection and imposing multiple anti-virus measures on them. This inevitably separates the performers from the audience. If interactions in close proximity may risk violating the law or spreading infection, this kind of artwork that explores the distance between human beings is destined to “fail”.

 

Of course this can be seen as a ‘failure’ from the perspective of administration, as the number of spectators, and therefore of interactions, was too low. Nonetheless, it is useful for the work as it reflects the region’s reaction shows how the Hong Kong audience responds to interactive artworks which are not strictly theatre or dance. Furthermore, from an individual perspective, I could see that Hong Kong performers and spectators both had the wisdom and the right mindset to engage in the interactions. During These Associations, performers walked up to the people watching and told them personal stories they had prepared in advance. The spectators listened in silence, and sometimes responded, turning the performance into a conversation. In today’s depressing environment in Hong Kong, this was an extremely rare opportunity for performers and spectators to converse one-on-one and enjoy the space, a moment to feel free from the pressure of the current situation.

Interestingly, since I was mostly on my own, I received lots of attention from the performers in the dark room of This Variation (other visitors poked their heads in from outside, then left). In These Associations, I stayed for only half an hour, but ended up listening to the stories of four different performers because I was the rare spectator to be present. One of the stories was about a performer complaining to his / her close kindergarten teacher, rather than his / her parents, after receiving corporal punishment in primary school; another, about severing social media ties, was the most bittersweet.

 

How should we categorize such spontaneous and playful artworks that rely heavily on interactions with the audience? Are they plays, exhibitions, dance or community activities? I think Sehgal did not just seek to challenge the boundaries between them, he simply did not care. In Britain or the Netherlands, the audience is used to conversing with the performers in a show, because it is commonplace for them to express their views to strangers. Yet, in Hong Kong, if we categorize a show as “dance”, the audience will assume this is something to be taken seriously, especially when the term “contemporary dance” is used. In the city, speaking freely has become a risk, so artists often have to engage in self-censorship. Citizens risk paying fines for having a barbeque and wild boars find it hard to survive. In a dark room with strangers, how do we remove the packaging and the protective bubble of art (which does not actually protect it), and simply enjoy the peace and freedom of experiencing close contact and interactions in such a performance?

 

 

 

《如此變奏》及《這些聯繫》

This Variation and These Associations

大館 Tai Kwun

藝術家:Tino Sehgal

Artist: Tino Sehgal

展期︰2021年10月23日—2021年12月5日大館賽馬會藝方三樓及監獄操場

Exhibition: 23 October 2021 – 5 December 2021, 3/F, JC Contemporary and Prison Yard, Tai Kwun.

 

文章已刊於《舞蹈手札》2022年1月

https://www.dancejournalhk.com/single-post/%E4%B8%AD-eng-tino-sehgal-%E9%82%A3%E7%A8%AE%E9%81%99%E4%B8%8D%E5%8F%AF%E5%8F%8A%E7%9A%84%E6%9C%80%E8%BF%91%E8%B7%9D%E9%9B%A2%E4%BA%A4%E5%BE%80?fbclid=IwAR1-3DSI6hqxk6o-RjHPQRwFYjvcZIEPOFr03-jsUTV-ZZ1I9zDKE4aSajk

 

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