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[中][ENG] 旅歐舞記 Dance Travelogue: 半滿的隱形背包 Backpacks on and let’s go

旅歐舞記

Dance Travelogue

 

[中] 半滿的隱形背包

文:約翰(自鬼與約翰)

 

我和鬼去龍脊行山,慶祝我的生日。天氣很熱,我們脫掉上衣,直接背上背包。我們肩上現在好像還有個隱形背包。開玩笑般問對方:「你攰唔攰?」

 

住在倫敦時,我們常抱怨那裏地勢平坦,沒有山可行,更沒有手掌般大的蝴蝶和各類可愛的甲蟲。要看見城市風景的唯一方法就是上高樓,其中之一就是泰特現代美術館(Tate Modern)。我們偶爾會去那看看有沒有新的藝術展品或現場表演。高聳入雲的建築讓您同時俯視城市及藝術的景觀,還擠滿試圖拍攝夜景的遊客,和蠢蠢欲動的年輕藝術家。

 

在倫敦七姊妹(Seven Sisters)的房間裏,我把Paul Hughes的諾丁漢(Nottingham)手繪地圖釘在牆上。從愛丁堡一路乘搭火車到達他家後,我們坐在沙發上喝茶。他把當地的藝術空間畫在A4紙上,介紹每個空間的工作,以及在諾丁漢時會遇到的人。我們將這些空間一一輸入到Google地圖中。

 

二月,我們在Pavilion Dance South West的資助下穿越威爾士、英格蘭和蘇格蘭的邊界,走訪了六個城市。當時我們懷著一個問題:儘管組織和結構不盡相同,我們是否可以重新構想和創造一個新的框架,使藝術家可以真正地,積極地促使項目發生?或許另一個問法是:我們怎麼才能不攀爬架構階梯,停止為得到大型機構關注的各種把戲,真正開始專注於藝術的本質?

 

我們在不同地方的不同藝術圈曾會面的人:(由左)

Viviana Checchia (CCA Glasgow)、Cathy Boyce (Chapter)、黃家駒 William Wong (流白之間 Blank Space Studio)、Paul Hughes、梁偉然Ian Leung(香港藝術中心HK Arts Centre)、Catalina Barroso-Luque、王榮祿 Ong Yong Lok(不加鎖舞踊館Unlock Dancing Plaza)、陳麗麗Lilian Chan(K11 Art Foundation)、Hannah Sharpe(Dance4)、林燕Krissy Lam、CC Time、Sian Baxter、Karl Taylor(Buzzcut)、Mark Bleakley、Joshua Lockwood-Moran (Bonington Gallery)、Siu Wan Noel、黃建宏Kevin Wong(CCDC舞蹈中心CCDC Dance Centre);照片由鬼與約翰提供 

 

三月下旬,我們回到香港,由香港舞蹈聯盟作媒,約見香港的藝術家、導演、評論家和其他藝術從業者,提出類似的問題,嘗試以新的視角觀察本地生態。在二零一八年離開香港之前,我們只是本地藝術界的訪客、觀眾和舞蹈比賽參賽者。以藝術家身份回來,是一種令人生畏卻又新鮮的體驗。

 

讓我大膽地說一下我們對本地藝術圈的一些初步印象:

-  願意見面的人都真的很好,可說是幾乎零保留,非常慷慨地分享自己的想法,也非常積極地分享他們的藝術意念和工作。

-  對於新晉舞蹈藝術家來說,似乎有不少平台去讓他們創作規模較小的短作品。

-  本地的資助單位非常神秘,約見他們幾乎是不可能的。官方的資助詳情和申請細節都非常籠統,您必須非常敏感並保持警惕,從同行中收集足夠信息,才有機會獲得資助。

 

電影導演王榮陞(Sunanda) 是我們遇到的人之一。他是鬼的中學同學,他們在聚會上再次相遇,意識到大家都涉足文藝行業,便聚在一起聊天。談話一直進行,酒喝了一杯又一杯,談話內容鼓舞人心。原來他曾出家學佛,後來決定繼續在藝術電影界當導演。

 

有一次,我因一宗小事感到非常沮喪,便相約出來見面喝啤酒。在我告訴他是怎麼回事和個人感覺後,他問我:「咁你有冇咩領悟?」

 

也許經過數百次對話後,無論是與英國藝術委員會的經理,還是與格拉斯哥的阿根廷裔表演藝術家,或與香港舞蹈藝術家徐奕婕在一起,我們始終背著這個半空半滿的背包。這不僅是關於半滿杯的道理。我們一直渴望從他人的角度聽到更多,吸收更多,但又可以取出背包中的一些東西,與新的事物作比較,神奇的是背包永遠不會裝滿。這可能有關於同理心,或更可能是對周圍環境的好奇心。

 

歸根結底,保持思想活躍是我們作為藝術家的重要工作。我們要不時檢查這個隱形的背包, 重新盤點,重新思考,不斷反思。從中找尋意義,找到實現藝術的原動力,使我們不至迷失沮喪,作品因此能在這個寒冷的世界中站穩陣腳。

 

咁,有關藝術行業的新結構和藝術家主導的框架,你的答案是什麼? 我仲反思緊。

 

 

 

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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] Backpacks on and let’s go

Text: FrancisJohn Chan (from Ghost and John)

 

The other day we went hiking on Dragon’s Back to celebrate my birthday. It was great. We took our shirts off but left our backpacks on. And now, we look like we have invisible backpacks over our shoulders. Jokingly we asked each other, “Are you tired?”

 

When we were in London, we constantly missed the hill climbs, the palm-sized butterflies and shiny beetles we saw on this hike. We used to complain about how flat the landscape there is. The only way to get a view of the city from above is to go up a tall building. One of those would be Tate Modern, a gallery where we would go once in a while to check out what was new there in terms of both art that hangs on walls and live art.

 

It’s no coincidence that the same building shows you that standard top level view of a city’s landscape and the standard top level view of a city’s art scene. The building is crowded with both tourists who are trying to get a photo of the night view and artists who are trying to get their works photographed and viewed.

 

Back in our room in Seven Sisters, London, I stuck a piece of a hand-drawn map of art spaces in Nottingham by Paul Hughes on the wall in front of me. He drew it on a blank piece of A4 while explaining what each of them does and whom we should meet while we were there. At the same moment, we were inputting these galleries and studios one by one into Google Maps. It was right after we took our first sip of tea after arriving at his house from Edinburgh.

 

This happened in February when we were on a trip across Wales, England and Scotland, supported by Pavilion Dance South West, asking the question: despite all the organizations and structures, can we re-imagine and innovate new frameworks where artists can truly take an active role in making things happen? Another way of asking this may be: how can we stop climbing the ladder, stop trying to catch the attention of big institutes, and start focusing on making art itself?

 

We came back to Hong Kong in late March, thinking that we would only stay for a month. With Hong Kong Dance Alliance as our bridge, we were meeting and chatting with artists, directors, critics and other art practitioners in Hong Kong, asking similar questions, observing the local art ecology from a new perspective. Little did we know we would still be here now, in July.

 

When we left Hong Kong in 2018, we were only involved in the local art scene as visitors, audience members, and occasional contestants at dance competitions. Coming back as artists who wish to participate in and be part of this scene has been an intimidating yet fresh experience. We let ourselves engage in conversations with different people, artists from different disciplines and art practitioners at different levels of organizational structures.

 

Let me be bold and write this - here are a few first impressions we have had of the local art scene:

-  People who are willing to meet up are really nice. Very generous in sharing their thoughts with nearly zero reservation. Also very active in sharing what they are working on.

-  There seem to be adequate platforming opportunities for emerging dance artists to create short, small scale works.

-  Funders are very mysterious. It is almost impossible to meet them. The official details about funding opportunities and applications are very general. You have to be very sensitive and alert to gather sufficient information from your peers to actually be able to get support.

 

We have been having coffee with so many people. One of those we met is Sunanda Wong, a film director. He was a secondary school classmate of Ghost’s and they bumped into each other at a gathering. Realizing that they had both wandered into the same industry, we decided to meet up and chat. The conversations just went on and on. Drink after drink. Cigarette after cigarette. Ever inspiring. Ever encouraging. It turned out that he used to be a Buddhist monk and has decided to keep on working as a director of art films.

 

Once I was really frustrated over a minor incident. I called him and we met up for a can of beer. After I told him what had happened and how I felt, he asked me, “What have you understood now?”

 

Perhaps after all the hundreds of conversations we have been through, no matter whether with a funding manager at Arts Council England, an Argentinian live artist based in Glasgow, or Ivy Tsui, the Hong Kong independent dance artist, we are always carrying this half-empty but half-full backpack. This is not merely about the half-full glass idea. This is about how we are always eager to hear more, absorb more and see from others’ point of view. There are some things in the bag already that we are able to pull out and compare with the new ones. Yet, magically, the backpack will never be full. This may be to do with empathy, or maybe more to do with curiosity about our surroundings.

 

At the end of the day, keeping our minds active is our most important job as artists. We keep checking our “backpacks” from time to time. We restock, rethink and reflect. By doing that, we find meanings, we find the internal drive for us to make the art happen, we stop ourselves getting lost and frustrated as to why we chose this difficult and different path that our parents told us not to follow. By doing that, our works gain their weight and find an anchor in this cold world. It is never about skills and techniques. It is about how we keep the backpack half-empty.

 

So: what is the answer to the question about new structures in the art industry and an artist-led framework? Still reflecting.

 

Groundwork Pro With Lara Ward at Groundwork Pro, Cardiff;Photo provided by Ghost & John

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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