How Can Art Survive against COVID-19?

A Case Study of the Taipei Biennial from Taiwan to the Globe

[UC Merced Blogging Award 2021] By Gwen Kuan-ying Kuo

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the art world to its knees, and the contemporary art scene in particular needs more viewers and feedback to sustain itself. Artists require new channels connecting them with their audiences, and the artwork needs to be seen and appreciated by the public, curators, critics, dealers, and collectors to sustain its values. But the pandemic has forced the cancellation of many art exhibitions, some are even closed permanently. Will the pandemic bring the end of the art world?

To survive, artists, curators and art institutions are now aggressively using websites and social media to maintain activities. As the global pandemic forces art events moving online with digital media campaigns to gain viewership, the case of the 2020 Taipei Biennial exhibition hints at the likely future of art shows even after the pandemic. Though awkwardly, the health crisis squeezes many art events and social interactions into a two-dimensional screen (a small box) while viewers shelter at home (a larger box).

              The Taipei Biennial adopts a digital marketing campaign to maintain international art patronage, especially of the financially stable millennial viewers and younger Gen Z audience who feel comfortable with the virtual world via social apps. The Biennial curatorial team posts English-and-Chinese bilingual press releases with artwork images to its official website for all global netizens to view, use and create their own posts on personal blogs or vlogs. Exposés about the Taipei Biennial have also been featured by a variety of online (such as Ocula) and in-print media outlets. Particularly, the social media app plays a significant role in delivering the exhibition information, including visually appealing images, detailed descriptions of curators’ and artists’ ideas with their interviews on YouTube, Vimeo, or bilibili video-hosting sites. The growing user-base of Chinese social apps further complicates the digital marketing game. Moreover, the big data underneath many social media algorithm models generate a tailored feed list of content for each user by analyzing the content features and users’ interactivities.

Picture: The Taipei Biennial 2020 to show online with Ocula media.

The digital exposure of the Taipei Biennial 2020 work to recover some of the “connections” between audiences and the art event during the pandemic: posting pictures of artworks against a virtual white wall, sending multilingual press releases, syncing news feeds to keep art patrons updated. International viewers also comment on the event on blogs, vlogs, and audio-video-embedded sites. Many art aficionados take the role of marketers and active interpreters, with online authors editing and commenting on the Taipei Biennial for their blogs, WeChat microblogs, Instagram posts, vlogs on YouTube or Douyin video-sharing platform. Through print, photocopy, digital, or other technical reproduction of the exhibition information and images, the art exhibition is accessible to global netizens beyond distance.

              Critically, many participated artists’ agent galleries have designed webpages and online viewing rooms embedded cookies: collecting the visitors’ basic information (such as gender, age, and profession) and activate automatic customer surveys and basic analytics to sustain viewers’ engagement (Schneider 2020). In other words, online data-tracking functions similarly to the guest books at the front desk in a gallery that physically gather visitors’ contact information. The difference is that, without in-person communication, the metrics and digital algorithms embedded in links for partner websites collect more information than a guest book, including the viewer’s visiting webpage, views per page, views per artwork, which webpage receives the most views and for how long, total page views, visitors’ average time spent on the website and the number of viewers from which city or country. Artificial intelligence algorithms simultaneously sequence a website’s viewing records, the audience’s viewing habits, and preferences, and automatically select the information to present on the viewer’s screen. With these data, the online viewing space customizes the user experience automatically.

Digital media and mediation have amplified and transformed an art exhibition. Essentially, the online world is a realm of visual spectacle. Viewers have been overwhelmed by image flows in cyberspace that blur the boundary between high art and everyday life. As a result, to stand out from countless compelling virtual presentations, artists and art event organizers need new message-delivery strategies, and perhaps even most important, a skillful technology team. The competition among art events is more intensified on URL than IRL (in-real-life), because the exhibitions now not only compete with one another for viewers’ attention among extensive digital information, but also with other cultural industries and visually compelling e-commerce webpages – from fashion and design and to visually compelling websites incorporating with digital tycoons’ cross-national empires such as Amazon or Alibaba.

Picture: The Taipei Biennial 2020 on Youtube.

Conclusively, more than just a solution to sustaining the art exhibition during a pandemic, an online exhibition and its duplications are permanent, and the exhibition value increases as the digital reproduction of the images and messages spreading immediately on world wide web. That is, in some ways, the forced digital expansion of these biennials has resulted in improvements, and the health crisis might therefore have resulted in a permanent shift in art industries moving from physical to virtual space. Crucially, the most urgent challenge in viewing an art show online is more than the lack of physical experience, but how the big data underneath (and collected by the cross-national big tech empires) are constantly calculating our minds, desires, and artistic evaluation. 

柏克萊加州大學美術館和亞太影像檔案館 (Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive)

©ArtCo Monthly Magazine, Aug. 2007 Gwen Kuan-ying Kuo.《今藝術》2007年8月郭冠英/文.


柏克萊加大美術館和亞太影像檔案館 (BAMPFA) 2016年後的新址
© BAMPFA, ArtForum

美國首座設東亞研究的知名大學柏克萊加大內的美術館,近幾年也頻頻推出當代中國藝術展。柏克萊加大美術館曾多次舉辦華人當代藝術展,如2008年「麻將:尤利‧席格收藏之中國當代藝術展」(Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection),由原瑞士駐華外交官及收藏家尤利‧席格所典藏包含96位藝術家141件的作品,藝術家包括艾未未、岳敏君、黃岩、王廣義、黃銳、歐寧、王克平、古文達、張培力、徐冰、耿建一、馬德升、張曉剛、石勁松等96位藝術家。

柏克萊加大美術館和亞太影像檔案館 2016年前就址


美國經濟在2008年跌到近半個世紀的最低潮,之後兩年稍有回溫,但美術館界裁員減薪不斷。如展覽好評不斷的舊金山亞洲美術館,十月下旬竟被JP摩根財務公司緊急商談而在媒體傳出負債一千二百萬美金的財務危機,以致館方尋求舊金山市長救急,許多藝術愛好者也於灣區守望報留言支持該館度過景氣寒冬,以保護此亞洲古文化珍寶的重鎮。另一個灣區重要空間也面臨景氣危機:全美最早創設「遠東(中日韓)研究」系所、也是亞裔精英匯聚的高等學府柏克萊加大,其附設美術館常有較深入的亞洲當代展,如2007年亞裔當代藝術展「Asian American Art Now」、2008年的「麻將-中國當代展」並請艾未未駐校、2009年的韓裔美籍女藝術家Theresa H.K. Cha的「坤/地」展,今年三至五月的「上海:革命前夕攝影展」,其間並有數個亞洲文化根源的佛教藝術展。然而也如全美大部分藝術機構,面臨財務緊縮狀況。

就在這樣的低迷氣氛中,加大美術館秋冬推出的前衛影像「極光」展(Radical Light),意外中有較高的參觀人潮頗令人振奮。此展和同屬柏克萊的亞太影像檔案機構(PFA:Pacific Film Archive)、舊金山Cinematheque合辦,配合專書發表,呈現橫跨半世紀(1945-2000)的影像運動,從40年代舊金山現代美術館開設延續九年的「影像藝術」(Art in Cinema)放映,及舊金山藝術學院電影系老師西尼‧彼得森(Sidney Peterson)的激進電影理論、喬治‧庫確(George Kuchar)帶領的造反影像運動(Transgression),這些視覺藝術背景的創作者運用影片媒材,開創出有別於傳統電影的敘事結構和剪接,產生新的動態影像美學。而六0年代的民權運動解放了美國相對弱勢族群(少數民族、女性、同志)的發言權,和性別議題的被討論,使得實驗影像開始有較大膽的以人體作為影像的敘述內容;有些畫家也嘗試錄像創作,產生新的視覺語言。七0年代至今更因技術創新、錄影器材垂手可得的推波助瀾下有了大量的獨立製片者,這些學院內外的低成本製片增添影像的多樣性。而今更因影像與電子數位的相容結合網路傳播的迅捷(如youtube),誠如策展人之一席德(Steve Seid)所說,獨立製片/視覺影像的魅力之一,在於與電子傳媒結合而直接推到大眾面前。

克利普森(Paul Clipson)的無題劇照,呈現其重疊拼貼的特色。©BAMPFA(柏克萊加大美術館提供)

在層出不窮的影像創作中,仍能看出嚴謹的作品所形塑的獨特實驗風格。重要藝術家如布魯斯‧康諾運用低成本電影的粗糙和實驗感,發展出特殊的影像詩意,克利普森(Paul Clipson) 觀念創新的重疊拼貼,以及成立25年致力於錄像創作、辦實驗電影節、今年更被舊金山大報票選為最佳媒體創作網絡的「藝術家廣電管道ATA」 (Artist Television Access),都在氾濫的影像創作中發展獨有的藝術性。「極光」展吸引橫跨視覺藝術和獨立製片兩界的人潮,為藝文經濟低潮期注入強心針。

Tara Donovan柏克萊加大的鉛筆「殖民地」

鉛筆出現在學校並不希奇,但一整個空間被鉛筆佔領就不太尋常。這是塔拉‧唐娜文(Tara Donovan)在柏克萊加大藝術中心進行的「殖民地:雕塑」創作。

塔拉‧唐娜文的鉛筆「殖民地」。© Tara Donovan



柏克萊加大美術館當代展室30週年慶 (The 30th anniversary of the BAMPFA’s Matrix) 

柏克萊加大美術館(Berkeley Art Museum)一向以重視全球多元族群、具學術研究特色的展覽為主,其中的當代藝術展室Matrix今年恰恰邁入第三十週年。五月該館特別請建築師庫德斯(Andrew Kudless)的設計工作室「媒材系統」(MATSYS :material system)邀請活躍於舊金山灣區和奧克蘭市的噪音搖滾樂團「鹿蹄」(Deerhoof)在開幕日演出。





三十年來共展出220檔展覽的Matrix空間在此學術重鎮柏克萊扮演特殊的角色,這個以當代藝術為主的空間為了與舊金山現代美術館作區隔,所選擇的藝術家在創新之餘、更強調加大系統學術研究的特質,並常邀請美國之外的藝術家參展。有些創作者在此展出後便在藝術領域佔有重要的一席,如德庫寧(William de Kooning)、蘇菲‧凱爾(Sophie Calle)、布魯斯‧康納(Bruce Conner)、辛蒂‧雪曼(Cindy Sherman)等。

車學慶 Theresa Hak Kyung Cha at Berkeley Art Museum

© Written by Gwen Kuan-ying Kuo © National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.國立台灣美術館數位藝術平台

我想成為觀眾的夢。」       – 車學慶〈哀哭的小麥〉創作理念 (1975)

「哀哭的小麥」,車學慶,於加州柏克萊 Worth Ryder Gallery個人表演,1975年. Picture©Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Trip Callaghan.

電子媒體與觀眾自決發聲的互動無遠弗屆,80年代在美國冤死的亞洲女藝術家車學慶也激起數位時代藝術界對她作品的詮釋,持續她的藝術新生命。車學慶,出生於韓國釜山,在美國、法國學習創作和電影理論,自柏克萊大學畢業後服務該校的太平洋電影文獻庫(Pacific Film Archive)並積極從事書寫和多媒體跨領域創作。在1982年11月著作Dictée 出版前一星期、同時也是新婚六個月後,她意外地遭陌生人殺害身亡。然而在31年短暫的生命結束後,車學慶的回顧展卻不斷出現在專業機構中,對她的藝術評價卻持續中,值得玩味。 


「口對口」,車學慶,錄影裝置,1975年完成。本圖為2012年德國Kunstverein Heidelberg展出之回顧展. Picture©Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Mousse Magazine.

車學慶生長在電腦尚未普及的年代,但她的拍攝、剪輯和處理影音和文字的技術,在作品所呈現的「開放結構」預示了數位時代的藝術特色。也因此紐約電子藝術機構EAI(Electronic Arts Intermix) 在她去世後展出單頻道錄像<再度出現>(Re Dis Appearing)和<口對口>(Mouth to Mouth),這兩件錄像呈現影像簡單、但激起觀眾的互動不斷,像手捧一碗茶、海洋…或者用韓文說一個字但聲音迴響成電視的雜訊聲,影像和聲音有時慢慢地淡出、淡入,在可拆解的影像和聲音元素的緩慢過渡之間激發觀者的意識流動。另一件<排列>(Permutations)則以快速的剪輯讓觀眾感受到不同影像和聲音的迅速變換,激起像夢境般的潛意識。車學慶把看似片段銜接的圖像、碎裂的文字並置,給欣賞者詮釋空間,釋放一連串的印象與感觸。

母親,我夢到您以便見到您。天堂在睡眠間落得更接近。母親,我第一個聲音,我第一個發出的聲音,我第一個概念。」 — 引自車學慶<口述>(Dictée )


「過渡/呈現」,錄影,1978年完成。本圖為2005年英國PEER展出之裝置。Picture©Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, PEER U.K.


不只藉由圖像和不同語文並置,車學慶也嘗試不同媒材(表演、攝影、錄影)的表現和觀眾溝通。在<其他被看見的事物,其他被聽見的事物>(Other Things Seen, Other Things Heard)表演裏,車學慶坐在舞台上、投影布幕前,觀看螢幕中的女子或用手掩嘴、或試圖說話的影像;在表演的同時,車學慶異化為觀眾的角色,隨後她站起來面向觀眾,她又成了演出者的角色。另一場行動藝術<盲‧聲>(Aveugle Voix)中,她把自己用頭巾把眼睛矇住,布上寫著「聲音」(voix),另一塊布遮住嘴,上書「盲」字(Aveugle)。從這些作品來看,車學慶的影、音、表演雖然抽象,同時具有電子媒體的「超文本」特色,也就是說她的影像符號 (signifier),所指的意義(signified)不受作者限制,而交由觀眾詮釋。就像電子界面上的文本,讀者可自行延伸關鍵文字的選讀。也讓她去世後作品可持續啟發新的創作者,進一步詮釋這些符碼的概念,使她的作品繼續活下來,車學慶的文本因而啟發更多女藝術家。2008年6月3位亞裔女性Soomi Kim,Suzi Takahashi和Jen Shyu於紐約DNA藝術空間 Choreolab表演的<口述>即是一例。

繆思哪 請跟我說故事 所有這些故事 女神哪 天神的女兒 從任何地方開始都好 請跟我們說故事」 — 引自車學慶<口述>

「盲‧聲」,車學慶,表演,1975年. Picture©Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, UC Berkeley MATRIX Program.



Other Things Seen, Other Things Heard, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, performance with 12 projected black and white photographs, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha)


「說甚麼?」,車學慶,黑白照片,1980年. Picture©Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.

Contemporary Chinese Art as a Commodity

“Contemporary Chinese art” is termed by the international marketing mechanism to describe all art currently made in Chinese-speaking regions, as the pervasive global capitalism systematically transforms natural values into commodities, including art production and cultural identity (Comaroff and Comaroff 2009; Baudrillard 1968).[1] The cultural value combining with the commercial mechanism helps to boost local economy. According to Baudrillard, commodities are subordinated into systems that are relevant to each other, just as language is understood only within a network of relationships that constitute meaning. In order to become an object of consumption, the object must become a sign; we consume the sign. In this sense, labeling a group of artists’ works as “contemporary Chinese art” is constructing a sign for the international art market to consume. Baudrillard also demystifies the “need” of consumption because the “need” is inspired by the denial of pleasure. The utility of a commodity is created not only by the producers (the artist) but also advertisements (the art market mechanism). For example, to persuade a female customer to buy facial products involves reminding her of her lack of fairer skin. The advertisement constructs a fantasy to compensate this lack by owning the promotional beauty product in order to achieve the dream. Consumers imagine that owning this product will transform them to achieve some dreams: more attractive or more successful. We believe in a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes with the magic social power, and the numbers of the stock market reflect our success. Similarly, in the art marketing system, the value of an artwork is enhanced by gallerists, art critics, collectors, and the connection among these agents. Collecting the newly emerged “contemporary Chinese art” helps the collectors to compensate their curiosity about Chinese art that is not merely traditional but up to date.

In today’s global capitalism, ethnicity can become a sign for marketing purpose. The term “Contemporary Chinese art” hints “Chineseness” that helps to create a branding image. Ethnicity can be packaged as a new form of cultural product as in Comaroff and Comaroff’s research explored. In the art world, more and more artifacts from around the world are no longer considered as primitive, but recognized as the objets d’art. One example is that Native American artifacts displayed in the museum, such making “indigenous” part of the modernist art project relates to the ideology of nation-building.[2] In the case of “contemporary Chinese art” being popular in the international art market, firstly supported by western collectors’ fascination of China’s avant-garde art movements – this will be further elaborated in Chapter Three – and then promoted by growing numbers of Chinese collectors since 1990s. “Contemporary Chinese art” has become a category in the art scene. Not only with many international exhibitions featuring artworks made from Chinese-speaking regions since the 1990s, but also the renowned Artforum magazine starts its Chinese webpage ( since 2000 that signifies the increasing volume of contemporary art produced in the Chinese-speaking regions. Moreover, Chinese government’s changing attitude, from restrained avant-garde art movements to adopt them for national soft power strategy, also contributes to the popularity of “contemporary Chinese art” in the global cultural economy. The Chinese art market takes a huge share of the global market and is promoted by the emerging, new generation of Chinese collectors.[3] An updated auction record shows that three contemporary Chinese artists’ works on the top thirty pricey list, and marks China a significant spot on the map of contemporary art market, in addition to the US and the UK.[4] The top thirty most expensive artworks are not only sold by familiar auction houses (Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Philip’s), but also include non-western auction houses – Poly Beijing and China Guardian, both located in China– joining the game.  Contemporary Chinese artists are now second to American artists who continually make record-breaking sales in the global art market (The Contemporary Art Market Report 2019).

[1] Cultural anthropologists Comaroff and Comaroff’s research explores that ethnicity can be packaged as a new form of cultural product. Through fieldwork research, they exemplify many cultural activities commoditized local traditions and cultural identities: such as Bafokeng Enterprise, the Zulu ethnic-theme park, Maori in New Zealand, Cajuns in Louisiana, Native Americans in the southeastern US, Scotland’s efforts to brand its own culture, to name a few. “[cultural] identity is increasingly claimed as property by its living heirs” (Comaroff and Comaroff 2009: 29).

[2] “Native American Treasures Head to the Met, This Time as American Art.” Randy Kennedy. New York Times, 2017 April 6th.

[3] The collection of contemporary art is essentially focused on four major cities: New York, London, Hong Kong and Beijing. These four cities alone account for 83% of global contemporary art auction turnover. (The Contemporary Art Market Report 2017)

[4] The record-breaking Chinese artists include: Liu Xiaodong’s Computer Leader, sold $6,659,000, top 21; Leng Jun’s View of the World No.3, sold $6,330,000, top 25; Zhou Chunya’s Chinese Landscape, sold $6,142,500, top 26. See <>


The aesthetic value system of contemporary Chinese art practice is very different from the Western model. “Conceptual art” was translated in Chinese as “guanian yishu,” meaning “idea art.” The “guanian yishu” artists in Chinese-speaking regions have gone through different innovative experiences than their western counterparts. (Gao 2011) In fact, throughout Chinese art history, the literati artists have always been creating water-ink paintings and calligraphy as “art for art’s sake” practice; There is no need to create the aesthetic autonomy as Peter Burger theorized in the western art history. Therefore, Chinese modern and contemporary art evolve in a different path than the western historical progression and aesthetic avant-gardism. The term “modernity” to Chinese artists is not about a new aesthetic as to western artists, but related to political connotation; that is related to constructing a new nation-state since 1911 the fall of the aristocracy in the Qing dynasty.

永遠不能用西方標準來判斷 中國1911年至今的文明進程. 首先, 現代化本來就不是西化. 就藝術來說, 中國文化早就有了“觀念藝術” 的實踐 (如: 文人山水畫 或草書 的抽象表現), 不像西方藝術到20世紀後才高喊 “觀念藝術” 並把抽象表現主義(abstract expressionism) 當作進步前衛的視覺表現. 而文化藝術的進展 通常反映一個社會的leading position. 先看看數千年累積的東方價值觀, 再看看 美國領袖們對只有200年的立國價值觀 感到的強烈不確定, 他們的現在慌亂也就可想而知了. (Text © Gwen Kuan-ying Kuo)

圖: 溥儒 (溥心畬) 的作品:寧 靜 高 遠 的意境. Picture©Puru.

鄭明河:女性書寫的力量‧鏡子間的無盡反射 (Trinh T. Minh-ha)

原文增修自: 版權所有©國立台灣美術館數位藝術平台,  2013 年 7 月出版,  作者:  郭冠英 (Gwen Kuan-ying Kuo)

為避免主體和客體凍結成僵化的教條關係 (無法改變的主動-被動模式),因此不斷顛覆的敘事必須一直延展下去。」 ——鄭明河[1]

「路徑」(Nothing But Ways),鄭明河、琳‧柯比(Trinh T. Minh-ha and Lynn Marie Kirby),舊金山芳草地藝術中心,1999年. Picture© Trinh T. Minh-ha.


鏡子間的反射是無止無盡的。鏡子的影像反映著另一面鏡子中的另一面鏡子中影像…… 這是鄭明河 (Trinh T. Minh-ha) 創作的主要觀念之一。


早期鄭明河曾嘗試結合詩、作曲、敲擊和電子聲音的實驗音樂創作, 而於伊利諾大學發表「電子音樂四部」(Four Pieces for Electronic Music,1975)和「詩、作曲和敲擊樂全集」   (Poems. Composition for Percussion Ensemble, 1976)。雖然之後她對文字與藝術的興趣逐漸取代了實驗作曲,但她持續運用數位技術於藝術裝置,並以文字分析「數位化」對當代人文、日常生活的影響。對鄭明河而言,數位藝術不在於承載作品的數位技術,而在於數位技術所形成的傳送藝術訊息的通道。為此鄭明河撰寫了《數位通道》(D-PASSAGE: The Digital Way,2013)一書加以論述,她認為新科技不只是媒介、更是方法。

在作品「路徑」(Nothing But Ways, 1999)中,鄭明河與琳‧柯比(Lynn Marie Kirby)合作,在舊金山芳草地藝術中心裝置一個由層層電影布幕所架成、可互透的投影空間。這個大型多媒體裝置所重疊投射出的是十二位女性的詩作,這些字句由電子投射出來變成片段、重疊,卻更詩意且發人深省:「我是陰鬱的文字英雄主義者」(I am a bleak heroism of words. )「種族。消除。」(RACE. ERASES.)透過這件作品,鄭明河表現她的意念:數位工具作為一個過程,而非終點,而這數位過程就是鄭明河藝術的關鍵。

在「沙漠正在看」(The Desert Is Watching) 中,鄭明河和她柏克萊加大的同儕、同時也是長期合作的尚保羅‧勃狄耶(Jean Paul Bourdier)創造沙漠景觀,他們數位攝影猶他州的沙漠,並用兩台DVD投影機、兩架幻燈片投影機、一道藍光、一道綠光等設備,將影像投在拉長的棉布上。觀眾感知到相互對應、不同色層的沙漠有著彩繪的人。對不同文化背景的觀眾,特別是對身處在沒有沙漠的國家的觀眾(比如說日本),沙漠有著不同的意味。沙漠可暗含冒險、危險、或甚至空無的意思。這些不斷變化的影像將觀者領到他們各自概念中的沙漠裡。在這作品中沙漠是變動的,可說是沙漠在看觀眾。

「沙漠正在看」(The Desert Is Watching),鄭明河、尚保羅‧勃狄耶(Trinh T. Minh-ha and Jean Paul Bourdier),京都藝術雙年展, 2003年. Picture© Trinh T. Minh-ha.

透過視覺和文字,鄭明河探究新科技的潛力和影響。她深究科技的潛力和影像、及其如何將我們傳輸到對事實的新感知,網際網路就是其中一例,將我們的感知在彈指之間達到地球另一端,這意味著感知到另一種不同的風土民情產生的文化(雖然只停留在虛擬空間)。網際網路對日常經驗產生一種極大的壓縮,數位成為承載資訊和意義的通路。如同鄭明河在「數位錄像事件」(The Digital Film Event,2005)一書中所說:「不斷在網際空間中穿梭的旅遊、虛擬實境和對無限制速度的夢想:這些都是科技改變我們對自我的感知。」而在她自己的創作中,她用文字 、聲音和視覺來探討身處在電腦主控的時代裡,人們傾聽和聽、觀看和了解的經驗。

在試著表達事情時,當她的聲音打破一牆的沉默,總是傾聽的女人、將自己聚焦成不透明的文字。寫作:是對語言的承諾。」 ——鄭明河[2]

在「他者散步」(L’Autre Marche/The Other Walk)裝置中,鄭明河拍攝亞洲、非洲、大洋洲和美國的景像,並將這些影像有節奏地投射在地上,用以對比布朗利河岸博物館(Musee du Quai Branly)本身以西方人類學觀點將不同種族的文物分門別類地陳列,她則創造了一個文化朝聖般的過道上讓觀者在上面走。如同鄭明河對這件作品的描述:「步行是無窮盡的經驗,每向前走一步,人得到開放而踏實的收穫,這是宇宙的賜予。」隨著觀者踏在投射的多元文化影像上,意義在步行中產生。這就是行旅的神聖儀式。

「重裝」(Reassemblage)影片,鄭明河拍攝於賽內加爾1982年. Picture© Trinh T. Minh-ha. Photo courtesy of  Bas Raijmakers PhD (RCA).

不論是影像或文字作品,鄭明河的敘事是非線性的。她挑戰既定的敘述中主體和客體的對應關係, 在既定的敘事結構裡,客體期待主體給予全知的、科學的聲音來引導故事。鄭明河則採用非線性敘述,她的非線性敘述可在影片「重裝」(Reassemblage)看得更清楚。該片拍攝於賽內加爾,原是她在柏克萊加大進行西非田野調查研究期間,在賽內加爾拍下她觀察到的女性影像,但鄭明河拒絕加入主導的聲音來解說影像或給予分類定義。


「姓越名南」(Surname Viet Given Name Nam,year), 影片照、裝置,鄭明河,於維也納「遁出」藝術空間(Secession)2001年. Picture© Trinh T. Minh-ha.Photo courtesy of Pez Hejduk.

鄭明河持續在作品中傳達女性的聲音。在「姓越名南」(Surname Viet Given Name Nam,year) 影片中,她訪問了五位當代越南婦女 ,並以分析而詩意的文句來反映這些受訪者的回答。2001年鄭明河在維也納的視覺藝術家協會「遁出」藝術空間(Secession)用裝置形式呈現「姓越名南」,並加上不同形式的文句表述。其中有一段文句顯示鄭明河對女性角色的關心和女性在今日社會面臨的挑戰:「我願意訴說,但你不能懷疑我的話。那是女人的影像,那是她的現實,有時候兩者並不能相容。」


[1] 鄭明河著, 《女性‧土著‧他者》, 印第安納大學出版社,1989年出版, 第40頁.  

[2] 鄭明河著, 《女性‧土著‧他者》, 印第安納大學出版社,1989年出版, 第79頁.

多重鏡像的妮基‧李: 數位時代中的自我扮演 (Nikki S. Lee)

版權所有©國立台灣美術館數位藝術平台,  2015 年5 月出版,  作者:  郭冠英 (Gwen Kuan-ying Kuo)

妮基‧李,<變裝皇后計畫>,1997年,富士相紙沖印. Picture© Nikki S. Lee.

細心打扮下,有著古銅健康膚色、染淡色的頭髮和桀傲不循的態度,妮基‧李是黑人饒舌歌手 Mobb Deep 最喜愛的黑女孩粉絲;而當她穿上皮衣皮褲、戴上頸鍊、黑色絲襪和銀色鼻環,妮基‧李成為不折不扣的龐克;她有時頂著一頭長捲髮、著運動上衣和拉丁裔同伴參加遊行;或者穿回刻板印象的東亞高中女生制服,和同學下課後握著手機聊男友談心事……這些都是妮基‧李的「自拍」,她自由隨興的扮裝自拍讓她順利地進入不同族群的文化景觀,她的影像受到藝術圈內外的成功回響,歸功於她的輕鬆不羈,跨越了敏感的種族議題;而網路數位時代人們隨手拍上傳社群網站分享「自拍」影像的文化,成了妮基手中方便的探索文化和自我認同的媒介。

妮基‧李,「嘻哈扮裝計畫」,2001年,顯色影像印刷,AP2版, 21 1/4 x 28吋. Picture© Nikki S. Lee, Edmund Hayes Fund, 2002.

她將自己置入各種文化, 包括嘻哈文化場景,也是一種宣示身體影像主權的做法。因此她的主體性並沒有被嘻哈文化的男性觀視 (male gaze)所掌控。」—德瑞克‧康科‧莫瑞 (Murray, Derek Conrad), 加州大學聖塔克魯斯分校教授.[1]

妮基‧李,「拉丁西班牙裔扮裝計畫」,1998年,顯色影像印刷,AP1/3版, 21 1/4 x 28 1/2吋. Picture© Nikki S. Lee, Edmund Hayes Fund, 1999.

作為她自己影像的導演,妮基掌握了 身為女性的她自己如何被觀看的角度。在嘻哈音樂瀰漫的男性氣魄和物化女性的視覺景觀中,妮基特意把自己扮成忠實粉絲, 並邀請 知名饒舌二人組 Mobb Deep 參與她創造的嘻哈影像,刻意呼應「保持真實」(keep it real) 的嘻哈精神,反轉影像主導權,並玩著挪用黑人文化的意義;然而事實上,Mobb Deep才是妮基‧李影像中的客人。除此之外,妮基的<扮裝計畫>系列 (1997-2001年) 順暢地介入拉丁族群、酷兒、龐克、舞孃、高中女生、白領上班族等各種文化和次文化的場域裡,永遠都會出現的妮基‧李在她創造的、有如紀錄真實景象的照片中,變成一種透明的載體,帶領觀眾的視線進出不同的文化景觀內不進行觀察。 

妮基‧李,「老年人扮裝計畫」,1999年,富士相紙沖印. Picture© Nikki S. Lee.

妮基‧李之所以看似無礙地轉進本質相異、甚至相衝突的文化場景中,在於她處理照片的隨意感,她用隨手拍或雇用業餘攝影者拍出自然的生活感,同時她刻意的照片場景有的故事感(嘻哈粉絲和偶像的互動、高中女生和同伴的友情、辦公室中正視而疏離的關係等)片斷定格的影像掌握了觀看者想窺視他人生活的好奇心,這也是自拍文化之所已盛行的原因。妮基挑戰了主流到次文化的界線,她的自拍的主角不是她自己,而是她在不同場景中的角色與其他人之間的關係,在於影像帶出觀者想像的文本和故事情節:社會角色、群體關係,甚至於文化認同…這些究竟是真實的? 是我們自己定義的? 或他人為我們所定義的?

妮基‧李,「高中女生扮裝計畫」,2000年,富士相紙沖印. Picture© Nikki S. Lee.

在這些照片中,妮基像是個後殖民時代的產物, 穿梭在不同文化的浪蕩子遊戲態度,瓦解了嚴肅的文化政治正確性,不論是主流或邊緣文化或彼此之間的意識形態差異,在妮基玩著、表演著隨手自拍 (或請他人拍) 的過程中,拍出一系列「在地」風情的生活照。妮基的藝術實踐呼應著當代生活方便的數位相機、手機照相的普及以及無線網路的無遠弗屆帶來即時上傳隨手拍的文化景觀。人人都在臉書、微信、LINE等社交網絡上展現他們的即時生活影像,好像我們真的存活在「動態訊息」上面。拍攝自己的生活已經成為一種考量觀者的「動作」,而不純粹只是為自己保留的「再現」回憶。

妮基‧李,「片段」系列,2002年,彩色印刷. Picture© Nikki S. Lee.


妮基‧李,「片段」系列,2003年,彩色印刷. Picture© Nikki S. Lee.

在<片段>系列中,妮基持續各種不同的打扮、扮演相異的人格角色以契合各式場景,如和男友逛著中國城的女孩、或嫁給猶太家庭的亞裔新娘、或在泳池和男友開心交談的女孩、或在不愉快感情中的女子。以 2002 年<片段>系列 一張照片為例,女主角僵硬的表情看向窗外,似乎不情願在這段關係中,而男子延伸的手臂碰觸她的肩膀更加強影像的曖昧性。其他的<片段>影像都環繞在一段感情的留影(手牽手逛街、在花園中微笑、在床上等待…) 被切了一半,切割這影像的主人明顯地想從回憶中除去另一個身影。而創作這些<片段>的妮基則試圖在僅存的一半殘像中創造懸疑的故事,如同<計劃>系列她自己的身影再度成為可穿梭的載體,探討女主角和影像中人的關係。 

妮基‧李,「片段」系列,2002年,彩色印刷. Picture©Nikki S. Lee.

在妮基的作品中她始終現身,以演員的姿態、同時也是個鏡頭後的導演,如同千面女郎一般在自撰的腳本中。但是,真正的妮基‧李究竟在哪裡?2006年妮基拍攝一部紀錄片<妮基‧李>,如同她的照片,這部紀錄片也是以她為主角來再現「現實」。如她在訪談中敘述:「這部紀錄片是有關於我扮演『妮基‧李』,由他人來拍攝我的記錄片、而我來拍攝『妮基‧李』的記錄片,這種想法既重疊混淆又很有趣……這都是在探索現實與非現實,探索演出與非演出之間的界線。」 妮基的照片有著電影的表演特質,同時她的記錄片又似乎更接近她的真實自我,但仍然是一場表演。妮基控制著她所在的場景和自己在其中的意涵。在記錄她自己影像的同時,在充斥數位自拍的文化裏,妮基‧李 進一步地掌控並模糊, 隱藏了她真正身為導演, 真為藝術家的真實面貌。

[1] 德瑞克‧康科‧莫瑞,加州大學聖塔克魯斯分校教授著 <嘻哈文化與高藝術> 《藝術學術期刊》15頁. Murray, Derek Conrad. “Hip-hop vs. high art: Notes on race as spectacle.” Art Journal 63, no. 2 (2004): 4-19.