Dance Award Banner.png

[中][ENG] 另類空間跳舞──享受「不受控」

Dance in Alternative Spaces—Embracing the “Uncontrollable”


文:尉瑋


近年來,越來越多舞者嘗試在另類空間中進行演出,博物館、咖啡廳、畫廊、戶外廣場等空間為表演賦予不同質感。舞者廖月敏與陳偉洛就對探索新空間樂此不疲,曾參與多個不同空間的舞蹈製作。對他們二人來說,如果說劇場是精密設計的夢幻空間,那選擇另類空間則似是試圖打破這種「盡在掌握」。


《Snark》(策劃:Andre Chan; 編舞/演出:廖月敏)

Snark (Curator: Andre Chan; Choreographer / Performer: Sudhee Liao)

/攝Photo:South Ho(照片由廖月敏提供 Photo provided by Sudhee Liao)




空間賦予作品不同質感


對於廖來說,選擇另類空間進行演出,首先是成本低。劇院場租不菲,排期又長,選擇另類空間給藝術家帶來更多靈活性。其次,不同的空間質感也為創作注入更多靈感。「我比較喜歡不是在劇院做,而是在畫廊,或者是其他特定場域,因為有多些東西可以玩。」她說,「劇院的作品比較在預料和掌控中,你知道甚麼時候會發生甚麼,很定勢,特定場域則多些材料可以來做創作和融合。」


她記得自己所參加的第一個戶外演出,發生在大角嘴一個工業大廈中空置很久的一個空間。演出首先不言明表演地點,而是讓觀眾在某時某刻某地集合,再一起被帶領到工廈中,爬上樓梯,進入一個很粗糙的空間。比起傳統的觀演,更像是一次沉浸式的旅程。「這個空間丟空很久,沒有人,又沒有電,很髒,記得一開始去還要先幫它做清潔,好多塵。」她笑。一小組的觀眾被邀請進入這個空間,與表演者呼吸相聞。在這非典型的表演空間中,有趣之處除了迥異於劇院觀演的親密感,也許就是其「不可控」。對表演者來說,排練時有個框架,其他則要因應現場環境來即時反應和發揮;對於觀眾來說同樣也是新體驗。廖分享,當時有些觀眾就微微尷尬,不知道該站在哪、該和表演者保持多遠的距離,頗有些手足無措。

《自照湖》Narcissus' Lake/攝Photo:Ruby Ku(照片由陳偉洛提供 Photo provided by Chan Wai-lok)



而對陳來說,每個不同的空間都會為作品賦予不同質地,從而打造出獨一無二的體驗。「每個場地也會有不同的觀眾來,討論的事情都會不同。」他舉例道,2017年港深城市/建築雙城雙年展的參展項目《異質沙城》中,他曾參與了《自照湖》,在北角屈臣道休憩花園的天橋底搭起一個個私密房間,垂下的布幕上挖出不同的洞,觀眾伸頭進去觀看。「當時很多街坊來,可能他們也不知道我在做甚麼,但是對他們來說,這個空間會一直保有這樣的一段記憶。」


後來在Art Central 2021,他在陳惠立個人展覽「寂寞更衣室2」中現場更衣,將一個私密空間錯置在公眾空間中,帶來奇特的觀感。「這個更衣室如果放在劇場中可能就會順理成章得多,現在很多戲劇上的處理已經會這樣,但當它被放在一個公共的,並且是這麼一個很多錢流動的空間,又變成另外一個質地。」


另類空間的演出也時常打破劇場的規範,將觀眾引入更加自然的狀態中。早前陳在大館監獄操場演出#非關舞蹈祭《Drink and Dance》,就邀請觀眾一起party(派對狂歡)。人們可以自由走動,「喝水,去廁所,organic(有機)很多,沒有那麼多的規範。」還可以現場打開手機,聽著自己喜歡的音樂融入表演者營造的氛圍中。在陳看來,劇場有其特定的規範和質地——觀眾入座,聚焦於舞台之上,進入一個奇異空間。戶外或特定場域的演出則具有不同的邏輯,空間的語境賦予演出獨特的質感,使得現場的體驗難以複製。



把玩虛幻和現實的界線


在二人看來,選擇另類空間演出,或者創作特定場域作品,最好玩的就是其不可控制,甚至是「狀況頻出」,例如戶外演出就無法杜絕環境的聲音和突然闖入的人群,如何把玩表演的虛幻力場和周遭現實之間的界線,對藝術家來說是挑戰,也是樂趣所在。「就好像在畫廊演出,你可能會碰到各種人。」陳笑,「屋邨的公公婆婆會參加那種屋邨遊,本身到大館來看監獄,中間可能不經意走進了當代藝術館。開始時不知道你在做甚麼。你就會聽到他們說:跳甚麼舞啊?怎麼像個鬼一樣站在那裡?唉,浪費錢!」這種情況下,表演者要維持很大的信念感來繼續角色。「也會讓你反思,到底當代藝術和人有多遠?和社區又有多遠?究竟,你的受眾是誰?」他說。


廖也分享,早前參與Eisa Jocson的作品《動物園》的表演時,就要在畫廊中扮演不同的動物走來走去,「不能和別人說話,但是會聽到別人很近地評論你,或者懟部機過來很近地拍你。」在劇場中觀眾與表演者的清晰區隔在這個空間中消弭了,觀眾的反應變得各種各樣,有人不知道是否要對演出給反應,也有人輕車熟路地上前互動。街坊、小朋友、家庭、藝術圈人士……各種觀眾隨機來去,「這些細緻的關係的流動會變得很明顯。」


《動物園》Zoo/攝Photo:大館當代美術館Tai Kwun Contemporary(照片由廖月敏提供 Photo provided by Sudhee Liao)



正因如此,是否選擇於另類空間進行演出,選擇怎樣的空間,對兩人而言,受眾和目的很重要。劇場自有其特別質感,但有些演出若要搬入劇場,反而會有過分矯飾的感覺。比如#非關舞蹈祭《Drink and Dance》,對陳來說,要在劇場中營造一種親密的party感不僅吃力、貴,還不一定討好。「在監獄操場,比較熱,大家在一起離得很近,燈光不會太強,感覺就很party。但是進到劇場,如果要set出這種氛圍就很難。」冷氣、永遠亮著的exit(逃生)燈牌、挑高的天花板,都需要花費非常大的功夫來裝扮及轉化。「如果需要做一個lively(有活力)的東西就需要擺很多lively的setting(佈置)在裡面,而對我來說,這些材料在戶外可能直接就有了,不用再設置。」他又指出香港的劇院少有一種歷史感和獨特的語境,而在另類空間中則較為容易營造一種空間的錯置和矛盾感,從而引發思考。例如在大館的監獄中狂歡跳舞,可能會讓人覺得奇怪,但也會產生更多的想像與反思。


 

Dance in Alternative Spaces—Embracing the “Uncontrollable”


Original text: Wei Wei

Translator: Penelope Zhou


In recent years, an increasing number of dancers have started to perform in alternative spaces—from museums and coffee shops to galleries and outdoor plazas—as a way of giving their performances a different texture and context. Dancers Sudhee Liao and Chan Wai-lok are keen explorers of such unconventional settings, and have been involved in various alternative space dance productions. For them, using these unconventional venues signifies a bold attempt to subvert the meticulously artificial design and controlled environment that are characteristic of traditional stage performances.


Imbuing Artworks with Different Textures


Compared to the high costs and long waiting times involved in renting professional theatre venues, the affordability and flexibility of using alternative spaces is a major draw for Liao. In addition, she finds that the varying textures of these spaces often become a source of inspiration to her. “I prefer doing performances in galleries or other types of venues to conventional theatres, because I like to have more things to play with,” she explains. “Stage performances are often highly predictable and tightly controlled—you know what is going to happen when, it’s more or less set in stone. Whereas in alternative spaces, I get access to more materials to incorporate into the creative process.”


Liao recalls the first-ever outdoor performance she did, which took place in a long-vacant space inside an industrial building in Tai Kok Tsui. The location was not disclosed to the audience prior to the show. Instead, they were instructed to gather at a meeting point and were led to the building; they then had to climb up flights of stairs before entering the bare-boned space. It was a much more immersive journey compared to the traditional performance viewing experience. “The place had remained vacant for a long time. There were no people, no electricity, and a lot of filth! We had to clean it before we could do anything else in it—it was really dusty,” she laughs. As the small audience was introduced into the room, breathing the same air as the performers, an intimacy and a sense of “uncontrollability” permeated this atypical performance space. As for the performers, they needed to react to the unpredictable circumstances and adapt their pre-rehearsed movements to the actual environment through improvisation. For the audience, it was also an unfamiliar experience—Liao said that some spectators felt a little awkward and even baffled because they were not sure where to stand or how much distance to keep between them and the dancers.


「寂寞更衣室2」The Lonesome Changing Room 2/攝Photo:Chan Wai-lap(照片由陳偉洛提供 Photo provided by Chan Wai-lok)



Chan says that each unique space imbues a work with a different texture, thus creating a one-of-a-kind experience for both artist and audience. “Every venue attracts a different kind of audience, and different audiences talk about different things,” he says, giving the example of Hetero-Hong Kong, a multidisciplinary project featured in the 2017 HK-SZ Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture. Chan took part in a work entitled Narcissus' Lake as part of the project, in which a performance space was built underneath a footbridge in North Point’s Watson Road Rest Garden. The space was covered in drapes with various holes in them, allowing people to stick their heads in and watch the show. “A lot of people from the neighbourhood came to see it, although they were probably confused about what I was doing. But I think the memory of that space will always stay with them,” he says.


During Art Central 2021, Chan was featured in local artist Chan Wai-lap’s artwork, The Lonesome Changing Room 2, where he had to change inside the titular changing room in front of viewers. This placement of a private space inside a public gallery created a curious juxtaposition. “If we had put this changing room on the stage, it would’ve been a lot more classic because we’re used to seeing private spaces in stage productions. But to place it in an actual public space, especially one where large sums of money are exchanged, gives the work a whole other dimension of meaning,” he feels.


Another interesting aspect of performing in alternative spaces is that it provides an opportunity to break traditional theatre conventions and offer the audience a much more natural experience. For instance, # DANCELESS complex Drink and Dance, a performance that took place in Tai Kwun’s Prison Yard, was an open invitation for the audience to join the party. People were free to walk around, “drink water or go to the bathroom, making the whole performance a lot more organic and spontaneous,” says Chan, co-creator of the project. They could also listen to their favourite tunes on their phone while enjoying the environment and collective experience. Chan observes that the theatre setting has its own rules and merits—the audience take their seats, eyes locked to the stage, ready to enter an imaginary realm. In contrast, performing in outdoor or other unconventional venues comes with a different logic. The context of the space itself lends a special texture to the show, making each experience impossible to duplicate.


Straddling the Line between Fantasy and Reality


For both Liao and Chan, the most fun part of using alternative spaces or creating site-specific works is the uncontrollable elements and unexpected dramas that arise. It is inevitable, for example, that in an outdoor show you have to deal with background noise and people interrupting the performance. The challenge of straddling the line between the make-believe world of dance and the surrounding reality is where the challenges, as well as the fun, lie.


“For instance, when you put on a show in a gallery, you encounter different kinds of people,” Chan chuckles. “During a performance in Tai Kwun, we had some senior citizens from public housings on a tour of the prison compound there. Some of them strayed from their group and somehow wandered into Tai Kwun Contemporary and saw our performance. They had no idea what was going on, you could hear them saying, ‘What kind of dance is this? Why are they standing there like ghosts? What a waste of money!’” As performers in situations like that, you need a lot of mental strength and faith in what you’re doing to be able to carry on with the performance. “On the other hand, it also compels you to ask some uncomfortable questions: Is contemporary art too far removed from ordinary people and communities? If so, then who is your target audience?” he says.


《Drink and Dance》Drink and Dance/攝Photo:Carman So(照片由陳偉洛提供 Photo provided by Chan Wai-lok)



Liao shares another Tai Kwun Contemporary experience of her own. When taking part in Eisa Jocson’s project Zoo, she and other dancers played various animals and walked around in character in the gallery. “We weren’t allowed to talk to people, but we could hear them making comments, judging our performance right next to us. Some of them were taking photos of us right up close,” she recalls. As the boundary between the audience and the performers became blurred, the reactions became remarkably varied and unpredictable—some viewers were not sure whether they were supposed to give any feedback, while others did not hesitate to interact directly with the artists. From drop-in visitors from the neighbourhood, to kids, families and arts professionals, a wide variety of spectators came and went, “and the nuanced relationships between different sections of society suddenly became very tangible.”


And that is why both artists agree that whether to use an alternative space and what kind of space to choose, largely depend on the show’s target audience and purpose. While the theatre has its own irreplaceable advantages, the formal, rigid setting may make certain types of performance feel contrived and affected. Take # DANCELESS complex Drink and Dance for example. Chan believes that it would have been much more expensive and difficult, as well as less effective, to create such a carefree party atmosphere in a theatre. “When you’re in the Prison Yard on a hot day, with everyone standing close together, and the lights are not too bright, you feel like you’re at an actual party. It’d be a lot harder to create a party vibe like that in a theatre setting.” Everything, from the air-conditioning to the always-on exit signs and high ceilings, would have to be altered or disguised. “To make something lively, first and foremost you need a lively setting. An outdoor venue brings that in itself and means I don’t have to do too much,” Chan says. He adds that compared to local theatres, which do not usually have specific historical associations with particular art forms or offer a unique context, it is easier to create a thought-provoking sense of juxtaposition or conflict through using alternative spaces. Dancing in an upbeat way in the Tai Kwun Prison Yard, for example, creates a bizarre experience that can provoke both wild imagination and profound reflection.



==

尉瑋

Wei Wei

文化記者,愛舞之人。 Feature journalist, dance lover.




Tags:

焦點 Focus 尉瑋 Wei Wei 廖月敏 Sudhee Liao 陳偉洛 Chan Wai-lok 大館 Tai Kwun 非關舞蹈祭 DANCELESS complex 當代舞 contemporary dance 自照湖 Narcissus' Lake 動物園 Zoo 寂寞更衣室2 The Lonesome Changing Room 2 Drink and Dance