[中][ENG] 旅歐舞記 Dance Travelogue: 左顧右盼後的藝術呈現Presenting art as we look across

旅歐舞記

Dance Travelogue

 

[中] 左顧右盼後的藝術呈現

 

「我發了一場噩夢。」《Meniscus》中的一位表演者,在首演前兩週告訴我。「我發了一場噩夢,因為演了這部作品而不能在香港入境。」

 

執筆當日,首相約翰遜(Boris Johnson)在電視發表講話:由於疫症大流行,民眾應該考慮在家工作,避免到俱樂部、酒吧和劇院。疾病蔓延,處處恐慌。今天下午,鬼和我去了一趟超市,貨架已經空了,末日片似的。「Corona[1]!」人們喝駡。他們盯著我們,他們疏離我們,對頭髮的顏色,眼睛的顏色,皮膚的顏色都感到厭惡。一切都來得突然,感覺被離間,感覺被漠視,感覺無人理解我們的掙扎,充滿恐懼和孤獨。然而,這種感覺自二零一九年六月起一直存在。

 

我們對恐懼並𣎴感到陌生。但這是非常特殊的恐懼,具有多重的理解和意義。這是一種對不公義的恐懼,對危機未被解決的恐懼,對無助的恐懼。在地球另一端,我們目睹了苦難。作為香港藝術家,我們在這邊應該傳達怎樣的信息,以及在得到觀眾注目時,應該如何表達這些信息,都是我們一直在思考的問題。透過精心展示的藝術創作,我們試圖跨越文化差異和地域上的障礙,回歸原始的情感,正如我們通過屏幕,凝視著一個場景接一個場景,不知所措,充滿憤怒、苦惱、無能為力等等。也許是出於使命感,我們去年十一月在倫敦,和二十六位藝術家合作,辦了三場多媒體協作演出《Meniscus》。

 

鬼和我相信要做「手機怪」、「低頭族」,才能跟得上在香港這個家所發生的事。只有透過屏幕,我們才能擺脫肉體上的限制去接收訊息;只有透過屏幕,我們才能感覺到自己仍然屬於香港。作品的其一重要畫面,是利用屏幕作一表面,顯示遠方傳來的訊息。表演者和觀眾在演出時都拿著手機,結合投映、鏡子、電訊工具等運用,文字和圖像有系統地出現在各個表面上。鬼作為程式員的背景,加上不同藝術家集結的智慧,大大促成了這個作品的成功。

 

《Meniscus 》;編舞:鬼與約翰;創作舞者:(由左)Shum Pui Yung、Annie Knobbs、Keity Pook、Matt Bell、Alina Sakko、Jocelyn Mah;攝:Dominic Farlam

 

人與人之間的信任,讓我倆得到解放。首演的場地是兩個打開了中間隔板的相鄰工作室,通常不會用作這類表演。與大多數藝術項目一樣,投入創作和製作的工作量幾乎相同。我們在距離首演僅兩週時,邀請燈光設計師Charles Webber合作,他看過排練後說:「又一個雄心勃勃的作品!讓我們看看這次能做多少。」

 

經過一番討論,我們在整個廿九米乘廿二米的空間鋪上黑色地膠。儘管倫敦市中心劇院的健康和安全法規非常複雜,但表演期間我們依然可以飲食,甚至可以拿刀切水果。一切一切都是來自各合作單位之間的溝通和積極態度,對彼此能力的信任以及共同創造好表演的熱情。

 

觀眾可用自己的手機執行不同任務,並見證不同事情發生。一種不確定性一直在房間中漫延,但不以令人不安的形式出現。這不確定性反而吸引他們,邀請他們與表演者走得更近,並嘗試理解主題。當身體和物品不斷移動時,房間的景觀則不斷變化。通過參與及不斷發現的過程,觀眾可找到自己對作品的理解。

 

作品完結時,人們圍著圈走路,鬼和我從控制檯加入人群,看到一位觀眾在哭泣,另一位給她紙巾。「唔好喊啦。我哋一齊行。」我告訴她。她哭得更厲害。

 

這作品確實有很多假設。它假定觀眾也來自手機文化的背景,對香港的情況有基本了解,並且對講故事的作品感興趣。當考慮人們的審美偏好,對舞蹈的期望,以及話題的敏感性質時,該門檻就會更高。但是,我們試圖通過《Meniscus》傳達出,藝術製作和呈現確實可以突破文化差異並為交流開闢門戶。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] 編按:「Corona」一字取自引起疫症大流行的新型冠狀病毒「Novel Coronavirus」。

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文:約翰(自鬼與約翰)

約翰是為鬼與約翰的一人,專注研究藝術與社會的連繫性。網站:www.ghostandjohn.art

[ENG] Presenting art as we look across

Text: FrancisJohn Chan (from Ghost and John)

 

“I have had a nightmare.” one of the performers at Meniscus told me, two weeks before the premiere on 1 November 2019. “I have had a nightmare that we won’t be able to enter Hong Kong because we have presented this work.”

 

I am writing this article on the day that Boris Johnson has just announced that people in the UK should consider working from home and avoid clubs, pubs and theatres because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The disease is spreading and people are panicking. Ghost and I went to the supermarket this afternoon and the shelves had been emptied. It feels apocalyptic. “Corona!” people called us. They stared at us. They made us feel like aliens, that they were disgusted by the colour of our hair, the colour of our eyes, our skin, our facial features. It all came very suddenly, just like how everything has happened so suddenly. It feels like we do not belong. It feels like no one is hearing us. It feels like no one knows our struggle. It is fear and loneliness. However, being from Hong Kong, this kind of feeling has already been with us since June 2019.

 

‘It is not that fear is an alien thing in our lives. But this is fear that has very particular, though varied qualities’[1]. It is the fear of injustice, the fear of unsolved crisis, the fear of helplessness. As we have been witnessing all the pain and suffering of our own people at home, on the opposite side of the planet, what kind of messages we should be delivering as Hong Kong artists and how we should express them when we get to put an audience in front of our work become the questions that we have on our mind all the time these days. Through these carefully displayed and presented artworks, we have attempted to leap the hurdles of cultural differences and geographical barriers and return to primitive emotions like the ones which have overwhelmed us as we’ve stared at scene after scene happening at home through our screens. The feeling is a mix of rage, distress, powerlessness, and more. It was with a sense of mission that we presented Meniscus, a multimedia ensemble work in collaboration with twenty-six other artists, in London last November.

 

Ghost and I believe in being on the phone, or more precisely, being on the screen. Only by being on the screen do we get to see what is happening at home. Only by being on the screen are we free from physical limitations in receiving information. Only by being on the screen can we feel like we still belong to where we came from. The screen, a reflective surface that shows us information from far away, was one of the main items in this experimental work. Mobile phones were heavily used by both the performers and the audience members. Together with the use of projection, mirrors, telecommunication tools and more, we saw text and images emerge on various surfaces in a choreographed manner. Ghost’s background as a coder contributed greatly to the feasibility of making this work, along with the collective intelligence gained through collaboration with artists of all kinds, from cinematographers to dancers.

 

Meniscus; Choreographers: Ghost & John; Devising Dancers: (from left) Claudia Silas, Adéle Diridollou, Keity Pook, Sunne Laundesgaar; Photo: Dominic Farlam

 

It was a liberating experience to see how things can happen through building trust between people. The space used for the premiere was two adjacent studios with the partition between them opened. It was not usually used as a performance space, or at least not for performances of our format. As with most art presentations, the amount of effort put into creation and into production were almost the same. When we invited Charles Webber, who we also collaborated with when we produced I'M NOT SURE ABOUT YOU, BUT I NEED ..., to be our production manager and lighting designer, it was just two weeks before the premiere. After watching the first run, he said: “Another ambitious one! Let’s see how much we can do this time.”

 

After some negotiation, we were able to put a black floor covering over the whole 29 metre by 22 metre space. We were able to eat and drink during the performance, despite the very complex health and safety regulations for theatres in central London. We were even able to use a knife to cut up fruit during the performance. All this came about through communication and positive attitudes between collaborators, trust in one another’s abilities and our shared passion for the work, for presenting an excellent performance.

 

The audience carried out different tasks with their own mobile phones and roved around the space as events happened. Uncertainty lingered in the room throughout the performance, but not in a way which would disturb people – instead, the idea was to intrigue them, to invite them to get closer to the performers and try to understand the subject matter. The landscape of the room was constantly morphing as bodies moved through space with objects and images. The piece presented itself as a showcase and demonstration of a fraction of this larger landscape that we live in. And through this process of discovery and engagement, the audience could come up with their own understanding of the work.

 

The work ends with everyone walking joyfully in a circle round the room. Ghost and I came out of the tech-box and joined the crowd. We saw an audience member crying, with a companion handing her a tissue. “Don’t cry lah. Let’s walk together.” I told her, and she cried even harder.

 

The work did come with a lot of assumptions. It assumed that the audience also comes from this digital culture of heavy use of mobile phones, has a basic understanding of the situation in Hong Kong and an interest in fragmented storytelling. The bar was set even higher when you take into account people’s aesthetic preferences, their expectations of what dance is and the sensitive nature of the topic we were tackling. However, if there is one thing that we are trying to convey through Meniscus, it is this: that making and presenting art really can be a way to break through cultural differences and open up gateways for communication.

 

 

 

[1] This is a play on a line from Freedom Hi by Papergang Theatre, a piece we performed on 10-15 Mar 2020.

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Text: FrancisJohn Chan from Ghost and John

FrancisJohn Chan is a Hong Kong artist, half of Ghost and John, investigating the reception and social efficacy of arts. Website: www.ghostandjohn.art

 

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