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15th hk arts development awards_舞蹈手札  67

爭議與關注 Issues and Concerns

(原文刊於2001年第三冊第六期Originally published in dance journal/hk 3-6 in 2001)

 

難道你不願意分享一齣舞蹈?

 

從經驗中我留意到一個普遍的現象:觀眾對於如何欣賞舞蹈常感到摸不著頭腦。他們很直接的即時反應就是:「我看不懂,不明白!其實他們所指的明白或不明白,似乎與理性分析或推導關係不大。對藝術的認知和判斷,大抵是審美的結果。假若一齣舞蹈能成功地喚起觀者對美的讚歎,明白與否再也不是問題。

 

審美是主觀的

 

如果美是純主觀感受,每個人潛意識中是否都有一套預定的審美準則?而此準則又會如何影響了他對事物的接收?這準則莫非就是所謂的「個人品味」?不同品味的互相認同與否,往往便變成「成見」之爭。例如有人覺得婀娜多姿是美,有人和卻認為是矯揉造作;有人對異於常人的柔軟度而讚歎,但亦有人覺得那是違反自然,令人不安。每人也根據自已的準則作為判斷是非的標準,而且慣性傾向於「同於己者為是之,異於己者為非之」。似乎要建立共同認可的標準是不可能的。

 

欣賞舞蹈的能力因人而異

 

此外,觀眾的「主觀期待」令藝術品評更為複雜。有人期待舞蹈中有令人歎為觀止的高難度體操技巧,假若看不到便會大惑不解;有人要欣賞到體態的線條美;有人鍾情於舞蹈中所激發出各種人性面;有人追求生命的新視野和觀點,尋找令他對人生再思的啟發。當一個觀眾步入劇院時,他亦攜同著他的主觀審美準則和期待人座。當主觀期待未能滿足時,觀眾便會感到很困惑,歎句「我不明白」來訴說自已的感受。由此可見,欣賞能力是因人而異的,與個人的主觀期待和審美觀分割不開。藝術重直覺的把悟,而這種把悟,並非理性的語言文字可以代替的。

 

審美觀隨時代而演變

 

審美大概是透過美感去作判斷。人對事物美的感受是與生俱來還是後天的培育?有一點是可以肯定的:審美準則是會隨歲月而改變。從藝術歷史的演變中,便可以看到審美態度和準則不斷隨歲月而革新。理想而言,藝術家肩負的責任是開拓美的視野,把悟出生命中不同層次的美,感性地豐盛我們對生命姿采的洞察力。但其實高層權貴的審美態度對於美的演變有相當大的影響力。

 

洛伊富勒為當代舞及舞台燈光實驗的驅。

Loie Fuller. A pioneer of both modern dance and theatrical lighting techniques.

 

審美態度和準則變化最劇的時代莫過於二十世紀。個人主義和不斷革命的狂熱是二十世紀藝術特徵。傳統審美觀被質疑和挑釁,力求創意的藝術創作呈現百花齊放的現象。探索領域滲透入生命各個不同層次,絕不會對人性陰暗和邪惡面有所忌諱。醜與美的界線再不是黑與白之分。

 

當代藝術的困境

 

當藝術疆界不斷受到革命浪潮的衝擊而變得更寬廣時,當代藝術在不知不覺中把力爭「出位」和「反叛」變成了藝術創作的動力來源。藝術家努力去尋找「富爭議性」的題材來出位,或以「為什麼不可以」作理據來維護自己。藝術創作變成了時尚的角力戰場,以非智巧取替了感性的審美判斷。觀念性的創作以高速層出不窮、匆匆忙忙地不斷更替。其實,基本上這些觀念性的創作有沒有成功地從感性上昇華出美的新準則?還是,觀眾所看到的,與其說是美,不過只是一些為新而新的主意。

 

兩難之局

 

在現今世代,是什麼支配著普羅大眾對美的觀感?在以市場為主導的社會中,美的塑造背後是有企圖的嗎?為何現今商業社會一切也講求包裝?要創出能取悅大眾的時尚是商業藝術生存之道嗎?在有限資源競爭下,過於拋離大眾審美能力的藝術創作便會難以生存。表演藝術工作者莫不了解「票房」對籌措資金的重要。假若連資源也沒有,又如何去實踐創作?滿足市場品味似乎是有實際需要;不過假若要審美的視野領域可以繼續開拓,我們便要讓藝術家可以率性地去探索和實驗,從「嘗試/失敗」中探求。有些藝術家的審美觀——例如梵高——卻要在離世後好一段時間才被了解。表演藝術,尤其是舞蹈,就只有台上的一剎那生命,絕少聽過有觀眾因看不懂或不理解一齣舞蹈而再買票觀看,接受與不接受就只有那一刻的機會。難以想像,眾多尚未被接受或沒有知名度的編舞家的作品會被保留下來,而忽然有一天被理解和重視。由此可見,一個舞蹈藝術家要成就夢想,不僅視乎他的個人才華,還要有很多方面的配合和支持,才得以發揮。

 

更多的關注

 

要發展舞蹈藝術,除了眾所皆知要有優秀的舞蹈藝術家外,還需要那些方面的配合和支持呢?例如社群對舞蹈的興趣和支持對帶動舞蹈發展可以起怎樣的作用?怎樣才可以引發起社群對舞蹈創作的好奇,引導他們把悟不同視野的審美觀?究竟又是誰有肩負教育普羅大眾舞蹈藝術的責任?對於審美觀處於劇變中的當代舞蹈,有時會令一般觀眾無所適從。觀眾與當代舞蹈家彼此間的審美歧異又有沒有妥善的溝通渠道?其次,對藝術發展的另一個重要因素便是資源分配。在現今市場主導的社會,贏取得群眾便是成功。在有限資源中競爭,舞蹈創作是有實際需要去符合市場和圭助商品味。但假若舞蹈家不能有一個「實驗場地」去進行「嘗試/失敗」,藝術的創作領域便被規限。在經濟不景氣的現實下,藝術創作的不同聲音又如何可以繼續有生存空間?要使舞蹈發展得更豐盛、更多元化,在資源分配上又應如何去考慮?

 

Won't You Share A Dance?

 

From my experience I have come to notice that in general, audiences often find themselves not knowing how to appreciate a dance. They respond with frustration and feel that they have little idea what the dance is about. Perhaps understanding in art has little to do with intellectual rationalization. It is more the result of one's aesthetic judgment. If a dance can successfully arouse exclamations of beauty, what the dance was about is then no longer of major concern.

 

Aesthetic Judgment Is Subjective

 

If aesthetic judgment is largely subjective, does this then imply that subconsciously within every one of us there is a private set of predetermined aesthetic criteria constantly monitoring our perception? Perhaps such predetermined aesthetic criteria in us are so-called "personal taste". It happens quite often that disagreement in taste can easily lead into egotistic dispute. For example, one might find seductive undulatory gestures attractive, whereas someone else might find them vulgar and indecent; or one might applaud with joy supernatural physical flexibility whereas another might find it unnatural and sickening. Everyone judges according to one's predetermined standard. We tend to believe in those with whom we agree, and disbelieve in those with whom we disagree. To establish a universal aesthetic standard beyond any prejudice seems difficult and highly unlikely.

 

Ability To Appreciate Dance Is Selective

 

Artistic judgment can be further complicated by preconceived expectation. If an audience member expects highly technical gymnastic feats in a dance, he would be at a loss when not finding any. Some audiences might demand to see graceful poses; some expect to see colorful kaleidoscopic group formation; some are looking for a human touch which moves them emotionally; some want to enrich their perceptual horizon, and widen their field of inspiration. When an audience member walks into the theatre, he brings along with him both his personal aesthetic criteria and expectations. When his standards or expectations are not met, he will get frustrated and question what the dance is all about. Therefore, one's ability to appreciate dance is selective and ties in closely with one's expectations and aesthetic criteria. The act of appreciating is almost like an innate intuition. It is the feeling one senses before one knows how to articulate it verbally.

 

Aesthetic Judgment Changes With Time

 

Making aesthetic judgment probably is about rationalizing one's intuitive sense of beauty. How does one acquire such ability? Is it innate or acquired through education and conditioning? Certainly aesthetic judgment changes with time. Art history observably reflects such evolution. While artists carry the responsibility to uncover the various strata of beauty and to broaden our sensibility and perceptual horizon of the world, the support or the disapproval of the influential figures in the high hierarchy also has a significant impact on the evolution of aesthetic. The twentieth century is the age where aesthetic attitude and judgment has changed most drastically. Individualism and rebellious frenzy are the major characteristics of contemporary art. Aesthetic judgment is constantly being questioned and challenged. Everyone strives to be inventive with one's creation. Contemporary art digs into different strata in life, and will not refrain from either controversial issues or the dark and evil aspects of humanity. Beauty and ugliness are no longer black and white.

 

Problems in Contemporary Art

 

While the revolutionary frenzy continues to challenge and stretch the boundary of art in the twentieth century, making oneself conspicuous and rebellious somehow has become an unconscious compulsion for many contemporary artists. A controversial topic is explored only because it draws attention. "WHY NOT" is their major argument for self-defense. Not to be outdone, everyone formulates principles to distinguish oneself as avant-garde. Artistic creation turns into a wrestling ground for the most fashionable. Artists base their creations on cleverness rather than aesthetic sensibility. One fashionable idea replaces another at high speed. Fashionable ideas usually get obsolete before their proposed aesthetic principle has had time to mature. What the audience sees is various forms of fashionable ideas rather than the discovery of a new aesthetic.

 

A Dilemma

 

In general, how does a popular aesthetic attitude come about? In a market-governed society, is there always an intention behind a new standard of beauty? Why has "packaging" taken on such an unprecedented importance in our society today? Seemingly it is a necessity for commercial arts to please and to create fashion. In a competitive world where resources are limited, art works that are beyond the public's comprehension have a hard time surviving. All performing artists realize what a box-office success would do to their future funding and sponsorship. Without resources, it is hard to imagine how a project could ever be realized. There is a need to satisfy the taste and expectations of the funding organizations as well as the public. Yet if we are going to continue to expand our perceptual horizon aesthetically, we need to give artists an opportunity to follow their heart to explore, and to learn from their "trials and errors". Artists like van Gogh were not understood during their time and only appreciated years later. Dance as a performing art is both ephemeral and temporal. It is rare that an audience goes back to see a performance again because of not understanding it the first time. The first impression is the only opportunity to determine whether the work was accepted or not. It is hard for an unknown choreographer to have his work preserved so that people might understand him one day in the future. For a dance artist to fulfil his dream, he needs support, connections, and cooperation from many sectors of the community besides his own talent in the field.

 

More Concerns

 

Besides the need for fine artists in the field, what other kinds of support and coordination do we need to allow the art of dance to fully bloom? For instance, what significance could the interest and support from the community bring to the development of dance? How could the community's interest in dance be brought about and furthered so that the public can come to appreciate the aesthetic perception behind a creative endeavor? Who has the responsibility to educate the public dance appreciation? In particular, in the contemporary scene where aesthetic attitude changes drastically, how can the aesthetic gap between the audience and artist be bridged? Another influential issue for the development of art is the allocation of resources. In today's market-driven society, winning the majority is to be powerful and successful. To compete for funding, there is a need for the choreographer to satisfy the expectation and taste of both the masses and the patrons. On the contrary, if a choreographer is not free to experiment, and to learn through "trial and error-, how can there be a real breakthrough in creativity? In time of economic depression and scarcity of resources, how can different voices still find room to survive? In what ways could the allocation of resources be planned to ensure freedom and diversity in art making?

編輯手記 Editor's Note

 

本文指出各人的審美觀隨歷史、文化、社會脈絡及個人美學而發展出差異,亦提出當代藝術「觀念性的創作有沒有成功地從感性上昇華出美的新準則?」的問題。文章寫成的20年後,放置於香港舞蹈藝術的脈絡,業界仍多番討論到「市場/資助單位為主導」對藝術製作的影響,因不希望令資助單位失望而「穩陣」地重複藝術家自身,或為應對市場而限制創意,不但缺失「嘗試/失敗」的實驗精神,更可能讓藝術創作變得因循守舊纏足難行。這些制度上引起的問題,行政人員及藝術家們多年勇敢積整理對,但下一步又將如何邁進?

 

This article points out how the aesthetic judgement of each person develops differently depending on their history, culture, social context and personal aesthetics. It also raises the question as to whether, in contemporary art, "fashionable ideas usually become obsolete before their proposed aesthetic principle has had time to mature" and discusses the impact of competing for funding on creativity. Twenty years after this article was written, within the current context of the art of dance in Hong Kong, the industry is still discussing endlessly how the ‘market-driven/funding organization-orientation’ dilemma affects the creative process -- whether to ‘play safe’ and repeat the same self in order to meet the funding organization’s expectations or restrict one’s creativity to satisfy the market. As a result, there is no experimental spirit in the way of ‘trial and error’, and artistic creation is left stuck in a rut, following the same old ways and making little or no progress. Administrators and artists have made courageous attempts to resolve these problems, but how can they move forward?

客席編輯Guest Editor: 劉秀群Cathy Lau Sau Kwan | 翻譯Translation:施德安 Cecil Sze  

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