再次藝術,在瘟疫蔓延時 (Art again, in the Time of Pandemic)

本文收納在《生生展》【線上手冊-策展團隊文章】

忠泰美術館五週年展《生生LIVES:生命、生存、生活》 The 5th Anniversary of Jut Art Museum 《LIVES: Life, Survival, Living》

  • 策展人:蔡宏賢、鄭慧華
  • 策展顧問:李明璁、洪廣冀、鄭陸霖
  • 參展藝術家:(依中文姓氏字首筆畫順序排列)
    • dividual inc. / 多明尼克.陳 (法國)、 遠藤拓己 (日本)
    • SUPERFLEX(丹麥)
    • 尼古拉斯・布斯曼(德國)
    • 琳恩・赫什曼・李森(美國)
    • 何采柔(臺灣)
    • 埃德・阿特⾦斯(英國)
    • 張欣(臺灣)
    • 夏洛特.賈維斯(英國)
    • 鄭波(中國)
    • 彼得・薩索斯基(美國)
    • 魏廷宇(臺灣)
    • 顧廣毅(臺灣)
  • 展覽日期|2022年3月19日(六)至7月31日(日)
  • 展覽地點|忠泰美術館、忠泰企業大廳(臺北市大安區市民大道三段178號)及周邊公園戶外區域
  • 開放時間|週二至週日10:00-18:00(週一休館)

=================

再次藝術,在瘟疫蔓延時 (Art again, in the Time of Pandemic)

文/鄭陸霖 (「生生展」策展顧問)

Text / Lu-Lin (Jerry) Cheng (Curatorial Advisor)

萬千人命岌岌可危之際,還談什麼藝術?

Why bother art when human lives are at stake?

已經肆虐全球進入第三年的COVID-19病毒催生了《生生LIVES》展覽。刁鑽狡猾的Omicron變種病毒更帶來嚴峻的疫情,亦步亦趨地陪著藝術登場,正忙著在防疫緊繃中摸索著人類如何在「後COVID-19」的想像中重生的我們,挪移視線進入美術館凝視藝術,接近奢侈甚至冒著風險(矛盾又多麼生動)是為了什麼?通過當代藝術的稜鏡可以折射出人類存在處境怎樣的光譜?藝術暗示了怎樣的啟示與允諾值得我們分神關注?

After ravaging the world for the past three years, the COVID-19 virus has induced the birth of the LIVES exhibition. Nipping at the heels of this artistic debut, the cunning and insidious Omicron variant has further exacerbated the severity of the pandemic. Those of us engrossed in seeking methods for human rebirth in the post-Covid imagination have redirected our sights into museums to fix our eyes upon art, an approach that is both luxurious and potentially perilous (the contradictions in these two phrases are so vivid); but to what end? What spectrums of human existence are refracted through the prism of contemporary art? What revelations and assurances are implied by art that warrant our distraction and concern?

恐怖的黑死病為歐洲揮別中世紀並跨入近代注入動力,天花與霍亂伴隨美洲帝國的衰退與歐洲殖民地的開展,黃熱病的疫情阻止了法國勢力給了美利堅合眾國壯大的機會,一次又一次造成大量人口銳減與集體生存恐慌的瘟疫,措手不及地在短期間衝擊人類社會的正常運作,也是造成人類歷史急速斷裂與意外轉向的巨大干擾力量。上次的病毒大流行傳染是1918年1月爆發的西班牙流感,在1920年4月結束前,最高估計奪走了五千萬條人命。夾在兩次慘烈世界大戰之間的病毒在全球肆虐,逼使人們徹底懷疑原本沾沾自滿的文明價值,在隱形病毒的突襲下,生命的脆弱更加對照到人類運用高科技於戰爭暴力集團相殘的荒誕,事實上,當代藝術「正是」在大瘟疫的嚴峻撞擊刺激下,藉脫軌的感官迷走質疑人類自視清明的理性「奢侈冒險」地誕生,而最具地標性的事件就是布勒東(André  Breton)於1924年發表的「超現實主義宣言」。

The horrors of the bubonic plague injected an impetus for Europe to bid farewell to the Middle Ages and make strides toward Modernity. Smallpox and cholera accompanied the decline of Empires in the Americas that launched the development of European colonies. The outbreak of yellow fever staved off French forces and gave the United States an opportunity to strengthen its forces. Time and again, plagues that catalyzed drastic declines in human populations and triggered a collective panic for survival have brought immediate rapid impact on the normal operation of human societies. These disruptions have triggered rapid ruptures and unexpected turns throughout human history. The pandemic contagion preceding COVID-19 was the Spanish flu outbreak that began in January 1918, which took an estimated 50 million lives before it finally subsided in April 1920. Bookended by two traumatic world wars, that virus devastated the globe, compelling human beings to question the value of civilizations that had once been a source of pride. Under attack by an insidious virus, the fragility of life stood in even starker contrast against the absurdities of utilizing high tech for human mutual destruction through war and violent organizations. In actually, contemporary art, marked by the publication of André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto in 1924, was born precisely of the luxury and peril, afforded by the confusion of derailed senses that called into question the rationality of human self-consciousness under the severe impact of the Great Plague.

百年一度,藝術再次質問生命意義

A centennial re-interrogation of the meaning of lives

百年之後,從2019年10月中國武漢開始的COVID-19疫情,在跨入已超越西班牙流感紀錄的第三年之際仍沒有減緩的趨勢,新變種病毒領軍的第四波攻擊橫掃全球甚至打破了臺灣固守許久的清零防線,就在2022年3月的此刻,《生生LIVES》兩位策展人精心策劃的一系列藝術創作,詰問疫情下人類顯得搖搖欲墜的生命處境,凝視著我們據說終要學習「與病毒共存」的生活樣態。當代藝術在全球疫情的召喚下再度登場,不僅適時適地,也是讓我們借病毒創造的時勢,衡量當代藝術可以如何探測人類文化的自省契機。

A century hence, the COVID-19 pandemic that began in Wuhan, China in October 2019 has now entered its third year, in duration surpassing the record held by the Spanish flu, and showing no signs of attenuation. A fourth wave of attacks led by new variants has swept across the globe, breaking through Taiwan’s long-held zero-cases line of defense. At this moment in March 2022, a series of art works painstakingly culled by two curators for the LIVES exhibition, initiate an examination of the precarious position of human existence under pandemic conditions, gazing at the modalities of life as we learn to ultimately “coexist with the virus.” Contemporary art heeds the call of the global pandemic and takes to center stage once again. This is not only timely and appropriate, but also enables us to evaluate ways in which contemporary art prompts an introspection of human culture in this opportunity created by the virus.

因此,《生生LIVES》的顧問邀約著實難以抵抗,就算我拒絕了工作,腦海裡也從此很難擺脫糾纏——在世紀疫情的巨變中重思「lives」的真意,怎麼說都是「躬逢其盛」的我們,很難逃避既龐大又深邃的提問。《生生LIVES》的英文名稱簡潔有力,讓我想到311東日本震災時,設計師太刀川英輔(Tachikawa Eisuke)在日之丸(O)之後加上「Live!」(活下去!)的「OLIVE」救災行動;lives在英文中是個複合歧義的概念,中文的表達雜多殊異,但反而更適合拆解lives的豐富內涵,可以透析出人類存在三個若即若離的基本狀態:生存、生命與生活。

And so, an invitation to consult for the LIVES exhibition was irresistible. Even if I had declined, my mind would be unable to progress, mired in this entanglement. The fact of the matter is, our attendance is required in this re-contemplation of the true significance of “lives” in the midst of a pandemic of a century. A vast and profound inquiry cannot be avoided. The concision and force of the English exhibition title, LIVES, recalled for me the work of Japanese designer Tachikawa Eisuke in the aftermath of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, where he added the word “Live!” to the red circle symbolizing the Japanese flag, and launched the “OLIVE” rescue call to action. In English, “lives” is a compound concept with various distinct equivalent expressions in Chinese which suitably deconstruct the rich connotations of “lives,” into three basic ambiguous states of human existence: survival, life, and living.

受到威脅的究竟是什麼?

What exactly is at stake?

「生存」、「生命」與「生活」,「語詞」是「存有」的狀態,反映出人堆疊著差異內涵的立體樣貌,失之毫釐差之千里,不可不辨。

The words “survival,” “life,” and “living” are states of being that reflect a three-dimensional human appearance with multiple layers of disparate connotations that must be differentiated; a fraction of difference can be a world apart.

「生存」關乎一呼一吸之間的脆弱肉身,是作為生命與生活前提的物質底層,是我們盡可能規避面對虛空原點的恐懼,只有在無奈病殘之際,才會被愕然提醒,我們逐日「向死」的宿命,生存to live是在維生最低限度的邊際線上,迴避被迫提前「歸零」的掙扎。

Survival concerns each breath of the fragile corporeal body. It is the prerequisite physical underpinning of life and living. It is the fear of facing the void of our origin that we avoid at all costs; it is the inescapable fate that we are “dying” with each passing day, that we are alert to only when we are helpless with illness. Surviving is on the margins of the lowest threshold of maintaining life; it is a struggle to resist being prematurely returned to nothingness, to zero.

「生命」是對立「生存」另一端的存在想像,從一顆種子,在不止地辯證超脫中,成就一株巍峨的大樹,我們隨處都可以感受到一切lively(生氣蓬勃)生物的內在原始能量,生命作為抵抗地心引力下墜般死亡糾纏的向上成長動力,永遠遙指著未來那更加完熟統合、自我實現的「1」。

“Life” is the imagined state of being on the other end of “survival.” In a continuously dialectical detachment, a seed becomes a majestic tree. We can sense the primordial energy intrinsic to all living organisms. Life becomes an impetus for upward growth in resistance against the downward gravitational pull toward death; it forever points to a more mature, unified, and self-actualized “1” that lies in the distant future.

最後,「生活」是在0與1之間許多瑣碎重複的微細片段,在「生存」與「生命」之間,一天、一週、一月、一年看似重複循環的尋常,生存的歸零恐懼在生活靜好中得以遺忘變得遙遠模糊,雖然生存所繫脆弱無常的肉身一直都在;生命熱情在規律如梭的生活中也漸被撫平,錯過的回首嘆息我們自知注定等在未來。但也不要因此看輕了「生活」,畢竟唯有能夠融入循環復始「生活日常」的才是踏實孕育一切值得珍惜、永續之物的溫床。

Finally, “living” comprises the routine minutia and micro-fragments that exist between “0 and 1.” A day, a week, a month, or a year between “surviving” and “life” may be a repetitive cycle of normalcy, but this uneventfulness of survival diffuses the fear of a return to nothingness as something distant and vague, despite the perpetual presence of a fragile and impermanent corporeal body. Routines for living also eventually temper life’s passions, a look back on missed opportunities leads to lament for the destinies that we know await us in the future. However, “living” should not be taken for granted, because integration into daily routines nurtures all that which is worthy of cherishing and sustaining.

被病毒翻轉的「馬斯洛金字塔」

Viruses turn our lives (and Maslow) upside down.

在漫長抗疫中快被我們遺忘的「前疫情」日子裡,心理學者馬斯洛(Abraham Harold Maslow)樂觀主義的金字塔想像,是主導著我們如何關照lives的慣性模式:生存、生活與生命,由下而上依序堆疊,我們在資本主義生產消費、馴服肉身的忙碌現實「生活」中,暗自企盼、自我武裝、催眠自我實現意義充滿的「生命」高潮。一切安好,直到一隻渺小的肺炎病毒穿越、突破了人類一廂情願認定涇渭分明的文化/自然界限,這野性不遜的自然表徵,悄悄隱身潛入人群、打臉我們的白目無知、再度把人類破綻百出的文化,包圍在自然母體的黑漆當中,逼迫個體在社交距離的互動新規範中,成為孤立的泡泡,COVID-19至今毫無預警的突襲已奪走了將近600萬條人命。

In those pre-pandemic days, now a distant memory in our long battle against COVID-19, the optimistic “hierarchy of needs” described by psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow served as a guide for managing routines in lives: survival, living, and life, stacked in that order from the bottom up. In the bustling reality of our subjugated corporeal “lives” within capitalist production and consumption, we surreptitiously hoped, self-fortified, and self-hypnotized to realize a climactic and meaningful life. All was going well until a tiny little virus transgressed and broke through the culture/nature boundaries arbitrarily declared by human beings as incontrovertible. This untamed emissary of nature silently and stealthily infiltrated human crowds to deliver a slap in our eye-rolling ignorant faces, re-enveloping human culture with all of its imperfections back into the dark folds of nature’s matrix and forcing individual humans to become isolated bubbles in the new norm of social distancing. To-date, the covert COVID-19 attacks have taken some 6 million lives.

瘟疫毫不留情地翻轉了我們習以為常的「馬斯洛金字塔」,現在最原始底層的「生存」考量登上至高的王座全面壓倒一切商業、娛樂、教育的活動;「生活」從日常社交的毛細單元開始被迫大範圍的徹底調整;「生命」不再激發熱情,而只能被困壓在「生存」與「生活」費解的糾纏底下匍匐展開。百年前,上一次的金字塔倒轉也是拜瘟疫所賜,西班牙流感的全球瘟疫絕非偶然地同時召喚出了超現實主義的藝術力大爆發。從現在回頭看,佛洛伊德(Sigmund Freud) 與病毒的結盟,完勝了承平之際才被自我感覺良好的人們,朗朗上口的馬斯洛,潛意識的原始生存慾望,顛覆了理性生活的表面話術,看似非現實的藝術幻覺,反而足以逼近肉眼不可及的超真實、真世界。

The pandemic has ruthlessly upended the once-familiar Maslow’s pyramid. Conditions for survival, previously occupying the lowest strata, has ascended to the apex to override all commercial, entertainment, and educational activities. “Living” has been compelled to undergo a large-scale and thorough readjustment, beginning with the minutiae of daily social interactions. “Life” no longer arouses passion, and is relegated to a tentative unfurling under the incomprehensible entanglement of “survival” and “living.” A century ago, Maslow’s hierarchy was similarly overturned by an epidemic. Not coincidentally the global pandemic of the Spanish flu ignited a concurrent powerful explosion of surrealist art. In retrospect, Sigmund Freud’s alliance with the virus triumphed over Maslow, who became a household name among self-congratulatory human beings during a time of relative calm. The primal subconscious desire for survival subverted the superficial discourse of rational life. Seemingly unrealistic artistic mirages were, instead, able to approach the surrealist, actual world otherwise inaccessible to the naked eye.

當代藝術的全新戰場:資訊與生物科技

A whole new battlefield for contemporary art: Information and Biotechnology

百年後在又一次的世紀瘟疫肆虐中,《生生LIVES》理所當然地匯集當代藝術登場,在二戰後資本主義的短暫榮景中,好不容易被「扶正」的馬斯洛金字塔被病毒們合力傾覆,當代藝術創作從生存肉身的物質重組以及生活脈絡的拆解再拼裝中,再次揭開了關照生命的超真實魔鏡。藝評家邁爾斯(William Myers)敏銳地指出,千禧年後歐美當紅如今傳染全球的「生物藝術」,與上世紀初的那波藝術大爆發一脈相承,可以說是「當代的超現實主義」!只是這一次受惠於百年來的科技進步帶來全新的素材,人造器官與基因工程讓物質感官的血肉之軀再度返回藝術展台,病毒迅雷不及掩耳幻化般的快速變種一再竄流,結實地反覆出重拳打破了人們「文化 vs 自然」原本根深蒂固的虛假二分,人與非人的物種邊界在當代藝術的探索中,彷彿跟病毒串通好了般,被不倦地挪移重畫,這就是《生生LIVES》讓當代藝術與疫情共舞、再次探問生命底層奧秘的歷史性。

As a matter of course, the LIVES exhibition assembles contemporary art on stage in the midst of another Plague of the Century a hundred years hence. Maslow’s hierarchy that had eventually righted itself during Capitalism’s short-lived postwar days of glory, has once again been toppled by an alliance of viruses. By reorganizing the materiality of the surviving corporeal body, and the deconstruction and reconstruction of contexts of living, contemporary art creation has once again unveiled the magical surrealist mirror of existence. Art critic William Myers astutely points out that the popularity of BioArt in the new millennium, which has since spread across the globe, is in keeping with the wave of artistic eruptions at the turn of the last century, and can be described as “a contemporary surrealism”! A century of technological progress has provided all new materials; synthetic organs and genetic engineering have returned the corporeal bodies of material organs to center stage. The lightning-fast and phantasmagoric mutations of viruses repeatedly find new channels to deliver a sucker punch that breaks open the deep-seated false dichotomy of “culture vs. nature.” In explorations of contemporary art, the boundary between human and non-human organisms have been tirelessly amended and redrawn as though in collusion with the virus. This is the historicity of LIVES, enabling a dance between contemporary art and the pandemic as it re-interrogates the mystery at the foundations of life.

收筆之際,我正在搜尋第三劑疫苗的接種站,以便加入人類集體免疫的肉身陣仗、對抗「敵方」最新升級變種的微型怪獸!不同於西班牙流感時人類只能單純依賴隔離來對抗,這次我們有了尖端實驗室裡培育、快速配置移轉到工廠裡量產的高科技武器──疫苗。當中依賴數位資訊模型的生化創新──mRNA疫苗尤其醒目,我們將核糖核酸的「信使」(messenger)注射送入人體內、委託它傳送一段攸關戰局成敗的關鍵指令。這段材料的郵件旅程據稱會在細胞核前停步,然後對我們的身體下達嚴正的要求,細胞接著將會聽令行事,生成跟自己體質相斥的刺突蛋白(像極了異形?),它們與COVID-19 病毒的特徵高度相似,因此最後會欺騙了「我們的」身體(是嗎?),以做出反制外來異物的免疫抗體。這段 mRNA 的臨時訊息據稱會在刺突蛋白生成後自動銷毀,這新生化武器的優點是在病毒新變種出現後,可以機動地快速模仿複製後,產生新指令,在這場人菌螺旋上升的軍備競賽中,開發出最新型的「人體」投入戰場。

As this essay comes to a close, I am in the process of searching for a vaccination center to administer my booster shot, so I can join the corporeal ranks of human herd immunity in the resistance against the “enemy’s” newest upgraded mutation of these microscopic monsters! Unlike the Spanish flu where human beings relied solely on sequestration as a defense, we now have cutting edge laboratories that can cultivate and rapidly disseminate high-tech weapons – vaccines to factories for mass production. In this process, the biochemical innovations of the mRNA vaccines which rely on digital informational modeling have been especially eye-opening. A messenger RNA is injected into the human body, entrusted with transmitting a command crucial to the outcome of the war. The postal journey of this material will supposedly arrive at the cell nuclei and impose a demand on our bodies. These cells will then obey and carry out these commands and produce spike proteins repellent to their own constitutions. (Does this sound like the film Aliens?) These have a high degree of resemblance to the COVID-19 virus, and will ultimately deceive “our” (really?) bodies into generating immune antibodies that resist foreign bodies. This temporary mRNA message will supposedly self-destruct after the production of spike proteins. The advantage of this new biochemical weapon is that when new variants of the virus appear, it can be rapidly imitated and replicated to produce new commands and develop the latest battle-ready design of the “human body” in this rapidly escalating arms race between humans and viruses.

有沒有注意到,在這段超現實的描述中,世界的內外秩序悄悄顛倒了?一方面,我們在體內微小細胞的深處所進行的資訊操縱,決定了每個抗疫個體所處的外部環境(也就是「疫苗覆蓋率」);另一方面,在離我們最遠的尺度上,一種「人類共同體」休戚與共的生物/資訊版社會論述正在流傳,人道主義者指責西方強權因為罔顧疫苗的全球分配不均,才造成了最近這波疫情第三世界南非的破口,One for all/All for One (我為人人/人人為我)。再貼近觀察最新一波大規模「破口」後,戰爭前線的短兵相接,實聯制手機記錄的足跡追蹤,與確診者體內病毒基因定序追蹤,兩者的結合描繪出「人體/病毒資訊戰」的一體兩面,資料庫跨越了人與非人、文化與自然的界限,從實驗室、臨床病房一直到公衛現場,我們在一端敞開肉身細胞成為公領域,另一端又都活在他方的雲端伺服器。這個交戰前線的細小切片採樣透露了《生生LIVES》背後某種浮現中的新時代感知,生物工程與數位資訊的結合,誕生了一種準備好接手主導「後疫情」時代混種的世界/身體想像。

Did you notice that in this surrealist narrative, the external and internal order of the world has been surreptitiously reversed? On the one hand, we are carrying out information manipulation in the depths of tiny cells within the body in order to determine the external environment where each individual battling the epidemic is located (that is, the rate of vaccine coverage). On the other hand, a certain biological/informational social narrative of the collective experience of “the human community” is being circulated on the other end of the spectrum. One for All, All for One: humanitarians accuse Western powers of ignoring the unequal distribution of the vaccine, causing the latest wave of the pandemic in the South African outbreak. A closer inspection of the two-pronged hand-to-hand combat at the frontlines of the latest wave of large-scale out-breaks: real-time contact tracing using mobile phones, and using tracing genetic sequencing to track covid-positive patients — depicts two sides of the “human/virus information war,” where the database traverses the boundaries between human and non-human, and between culture and nature. From the laboratory, to the sickbed, and all the way to the site of public health, we open corporeal cells to the public domain on one end, while on the other end, they all exist in off-site cloud servers. This slice of life at the battlefront reveals a certain emerging new sensibility behind LIVES, where bioengineering and digital information have combined to give birth to an imagined hybrid world/body ready to lead in a post-pandemic era.

如何「與病毒共存」?

How do we coexist with the virus?

據說我們終需學習「與病毒共存」,但人菌大戰的這些戰線推移的線索,在我看來,似乎更像暗示著我們正奔向「將自然徹底地文化化」的路途上,我們真的要以這樣的方式「生存」下去嗎?生活領域也正在發生極為相似的事。「社交距離」為網路媒介的虛擬互動打開了無窮的商機,臉書極力推銷「元宇宙」(Metaverse),為受困於疫情的我們提供了適時的安慰劑──一個據說保證無菌的新天地,即便(可以預期地)我們在人造的宇宙裡遇見了「病毒」(沒有?那怎麼夠現實!)應該也只是不用肉身緊張備戰的虛擬真實,科技富豪跟我們掛保證外面的「自然」會繼續安全地存在「我們的文化」中。

It has been said that we eventually need to learn to coexist with the virus, but the clues at the moving battlelines of the human vs. virus war seem to suggest that we are rushing down a path of “thoroughly culturalizing nature.” Do we truly want to “survive” in this way? Similar events are occurring in the lifestyle realm. “Social distancing” has opened up endless business opportunities for virtual interactions in online media, with Facebook making a strong pitch for the “Metaverse” that provides a timely placebo of a new world that supposedly guarantees to be virus free, for those of us trapped by the epidemic. Even if (predictably) we do encounter “viruses” in the artificial universe (no? then how would that seem real?), it will only be a simulated reality that won’t require anxious physical preparations for battle. The “nature” on the outside will continue to safely exist within “our culture.”

「元宇宙」背後的慾望一點都不新,它是人類再一次慣性地渴望建一座隱形防護罩的「文化縫補」,讓我們人活在「自己人」裡面。面對藝術作品呈現的諸般生命樣貌,讓我在顧問與無盡的自問中不禁大膽地思索起來:會不會……真正的問題不在「社交距離」,而是人類在超級都市化的文明進程中,原本就因過度擁擠而「喪失距離」?靜心想想,「都市」不正是人類隔離於自然之外的文化原鄉?

The desire behind the “Metaverse” is not new. These are the cultural sutures of the habitual human desire to construct an invisible protective shield that enables us to live among “our own kind.” In confronting the various life forms presented in the artworks, I can’t help but wonder as a consultant, and in perpetual self-interrogation, whether the real problem is not in “social distancing,” but the loss of distancing from human overcrowding in the civilizing process of super-cities. Aren’t “cities” precisely the cultural homeplace of human beings who are sequestered from nature?

「社交距離」這門病毒為人類開的課題,很多人想拿「與病毒共存」來敷衍應付。「與病毒共存」說起來容易,但想想美國的白人與黑人、主流社會與同性家庭、都市的開發與自然的石虎……「共存」(co-existence)從來不是順口浪漫(或戰鬥疲乏)的簡單事,更不會是交空白卷以便擁抱人類彼此的放棄;而是需要強者的自我管束、放棄佔有的空間讓渡、自我料理的風險承擔、不窩在自己人裡取暖的安適……許多改變人與人、人與世界共存方式的覺悟與努力。

“Coexisting with the virus” is deemed by many as a salve to cope with the “social distancing” challenges posed by the virus to human beings. “Coexisting with the virus” is more easily said than done. When we think of black and white Americans in the United States, of mainstream society and gay families, of urban development and the leopard cat… Coexistence has never been a simple matter of romanticized verbalization (or of combat fatigue), nor is it a blank check written to facilitate a mutual embrace and surrender. Rather, it requires the powerful to self-discipline and to surrender the spaces they occupy, to take responsibility for the perils posed by self-care, and to eschew the comforts of staying within one’s own community, as well as having an awareness of and making efforts toward changing the ways in which humans coexist with other humans and with the world.

如果我們稍稍努力抵抗一下「人類中心」的思考慣性,不要想直接利用網路虛擬聚會的高科技來彌補人與人的隔離,把握世紀病毒與慘痛疫情刺激我們「終於」開始認真思考的難得機會,想想……那什麼是人與人、人與世界社交的「合理距離」?

If we make a slight effort to resist the “anthropocentric” contemplative inertia, without immediately resorting to utilizing high-tech network-simulated gatherings to compensate for distancing between human beings; if we seize this rare opportunity stimulated by the Virus of the Century to “finally” begin to contemplate and think in earnest… What is a reasonable social distance between human beings, and between humans and the world?

答案,我的任性揣測,難道不正是開放讓病毒所表徵的自然足以進入人與人之間、甚至足以隔離作為單體的人與人,這樣的測量暗示?「社交距離」不是「與病毒共存」的對立,恰恰相反,人不該趁此疫情肆虐百年難得的大好機會,以啟蒙自立的個性單體之姿,坦坦蕩蕩地加入自然,就像19世紀首批脫離山下過於擁擠的人群、卸除武裝、單身赴會、攀爬進入自然崇嶺的登山家們,以平等之姿在自然裡,寫生萬物的生命風采,然後終於關照到人類自己在世界的位置,如《湖濱散記》裡與眾樹為友並為其著書的梭羅(Henry David Thoreau),或許真正的「與病毒共存」更像這樣,人們終於學好如何跟疫情前的「舊文明」(Ancient régime)保持社交距離的「後COVID-19烏托邦」。

My willful speculation surmises that the answer is: precisely the amount of open nature required between human beings as dictated by the virus; or, the measurements implied as sufficient for isolating people as individuals. “Social distancing” does not stand in opposition to “coexisting with the virus.” On the contrary, human beings ought to seize this rare opportunity afforded by this pandemic of the century to rejoin nature in the posture of enlightened, self-reliant individuals. like the first group of 19th century mountaineers who left the crowded throngs in the lowlands, laid down their weapons, and made their way alone into the nature of the mountains. They made sketches depicting the vivid colors of all life forms as their equals, then reflected on the position of themselves as human beings in the world, just as Henry David Thoreau did in befriending the trees and writing On Walden Pond. To truly “coexist with the virus” should perhaps be undertaken in this capacity, in a “post-COVID-19 utopia” where human beings finally learn how to maintain social distance from the pre-pandemic “Ancient régime.”

在藝術中甦醒,抑或麻痹?

In the name of Art, awakened or anaesthetized

藝術家,當代的超現實主義者們,純熟撥弄著基因工程的生物藝術,巧於撩動資訊科技挑逗生命的數位藝術……究竟這些立在人類世末的十字路口上,會讓我們赫然驚醒的巨大糾結,將因而更為沈澱深思,還是讓我們在文化極致的藝術遊戲、感官思辨的歡愉中加速麻痹?在這條被稱為「後人類」的征途上,藝術究竟是新盟友,還是舊敵人?顧問如我也沒有把握,我的職責只負責「向藝術發問」,不可能有說服得了你/妳的答案。班雅明(Walter Benjamin)曾說過,藝術品在博物館裡展示的是它自己的複製品。在我看來,回到藝術創作時最初的那個時刻來理解這段話,藝術品是「藝術出沒過」(This art happened),「曾經有」藝術家「實驗探索過」的一些證據與若干痕跡,它對觀眾應該是一番:「那,換你的話,會怎麼探索?」的召喚。最終只有你親身來一趟展場,才能透過在《生生LIVES》,與藝術家面對面的展示裡所透露的當代,思考屬於你/妳自己一個人how to live的答案!

Would artists and contemporary surrealists adept at the BioArt: of manipulating genetic engineering and skilled in rousing information technology to provoke life, ultimately awaken us to a profound contemplation on the grand entanglements at the crossroads of the apocalypse? Or would they hasten our paralysis in the cultural extremes of artistic gaming and in the joy of sensorial speculation? On this journey called “posthumanism,” is art a new ally or an old enemy? As a consultant, I am uncertain. My responsibility is relegated to “querying art,” without providing any answers that may possibly convince you. Walter Benjamin once said that works of art exhibit their own reproductions in the museum. My understanding of this, taken from the moment of artistic creation, is that a work of art is a declaration that “this art happened.” It is evidence and traces for that which artists have experimented with and explored. To the audience, it is a call to action that says: “Now, it is your turn. How will you explore?” Ultimately, your physical presence is required at the exhibition venue in order to stand face to face with a contemporaneity revealed by the artists in the LIVES exhibition, and to contemplate an answer to “how to live” that belongs uniquely to you!

藉「我們的」病毒之助,思想「你/妳的」藝術

Contemplating YOUR art, with a little help from OUR viruses.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s