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Art & END? AND… 結束或開端?朝非物質世界邁進

Author: Riccardo Caldura, 2013年12月24日 16時09分


Art&____專區,擔負的任務是長期關心日益溢出藝術框架的當代創作。繼基金會藝術總監李玉玲首發的「Art & 轉型正義」後,現又特別邀請威尼斯藝術學院 Riccardo Caldura 教授撰寫專文「Art & END? AND…」。Caldura教授同時也是著名藝術評論與策展人,專長領域為當代藝術與現象學。此篇文章提供藝術與物質世界、藝術與人類未來命運的深刻反省與可能。

The long term focus of the Art&____ Forum is contemporary art that increasingly transcends the bounds of the genre. Following the publication of “Art & Transitional Justice” by Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts & Culture Artistic Director Yulin Lee, the foundation has now invited Professor Riccardo Caldura from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, a renowned art critic and curator who specializes in contemporary art and phenomenology, to write an article titled: “Art & END? AND…” This article will present an in depth discussion on the possible future relationship between art and the material world, art and Mankind.


Riccardo Caldura 圖版提供|Riccardo Caldura

英文字end與連接詞and不僅拼法相似,發音也很雷同(或許其他語言中沒有這種巧合),而標點符號也會引領更多的對話,如果是疑問式的暫停,就表示談話尚未結束,事情未了結,或者仍有想法值得探究。換句話說,當我們不將end視為完結時,便有重新詮釋的機會,當end後不緊跟著句點,end的拼法與存在定義,便多了討論空間。或許有人認為這個議題不值得多加琢磨,可是長久以來哲學始終將end視為句點,用end來宣判人類生命的終止,彷彿end是死亡的同義詞(參考海德格爾於《存在與時間》中的精闢剖析),所幸許多當代藝術不再將end視為死亡的異音字(特別是人類的死亡,如你我的死亡),當代藝術開始將end視為某種未定、尚待確定的開端。

義大利藝術家費博洛(Luciano Fabro)以作品純正聞名,但是他將藝術比喻為「充滿垃圾場、荒涼無人的市郊」,令人再次省思end與and的關係。人們將事物的用途與可能性都消耗殆盡後,「垃圾變能源」的思維開始嶄露頭角,而藝術則扮演著焚化爐的角色,把物質轉化為非物質,賦予已經步入生命週期最終階段的物品,新的生命開端。除了費博洛,在第七屆「歐洲之聲」(Manifesta 7)當代藝術雙年展中,來自印度的瑞克斯三人組(Raqs Media Collective)也推出重要展覽,以「現在的殘餘物」為概念,讓世人再次關注被拋棄的事物如何被剝奪價值與存在權。其實事物不會因為已經被使用了或是缺乏效用,而來到生命週期的最終階段,瑞克斯三人組在「殘餘物」中看見的不是排除,而是進一步的可能性:「殘餘物形成一個開放空間,充滿尚未開發的他種可能; 殘餘物和未來的關係,是矛盾的相輔相成」(瑞克斯)。

費博洛受到1960年代貧窮藝術的影響,成為二十世紀早期藝術與當代藝術的橋樑,一般人回顧過去祖先、建立家譜,費博洛則沿著殘餘物往未來望去,利用當前環境預測未來。達達主義利用無價值的材料,創造出新的組合,顯示未來派藝術家讚賞的不再是科技的「功能性」應用,而是能探索未知領域的「非功能」性質。當馬里內蒂(Marinetti)於二十世紀初提出《未來主義宣言》(Futurist Manifesto)時,史威特(Kurt Schwitters)的《和圖畫》(Das Undbild,1919年)卻傳達出相反的看法。史威特的「梅茲」(Merz)照片,就如同梅茲結構與梅茲堡一樣,使用碎片、受外界支配的材料,在腐朽、分解、重組等創造新生的過程中,堅持「不丟棄任何東西」的精神。這種藝術實踐強調人類與環境關係應該更深入,避免消費主義,並關心貌似失去價值、受邊緣化、被扔進「文明垃圾場」中的事物(費博洛)。

這種藝術實踐之核心指的其實就是「回收」,將不被關心、備受忽略的事物重新帶回循環當中。人類逐漸在與事、與人的關係上都不斷追求功能最佳化,「回收」的概念開啟了一些新的可能性。正如鮑曼(Zygmunt Baumann)於《廢棄的生命:現代性與拋棄之物》(Wasted lives. Modernity and its outcasts,2004年)一書中所言,在生產效率當道的情況下,社會上逐漸形成一種驅逐過程,導致人類也可能像物品一樣,被視為無用而慘遭拋棄,遊走於社會邊緣。這種剝奪人類社會地位的過程才是名符其實的「去階級化」。當物品或人類不再具有實用價值之後,生活將變得死氣沉沉,猶如一灘死水,這種痛苦遠比肉體的死亡更難熬,但也同時矛盾地形成了一種解放。其實運作中的社會組織與垃圾場之間一直存在著緊張的拉鋸關係,兩者某種程度是相互依存的。在這種矛盾的情況之下,藝術可以催生一種「再轉變」的過程,發揮深遠的影響力,這不僅是比喻,更是具體的描述。這個垃圾場,你我多少都看得見,裡面的垃圾可能是事物,也可能是人,而垃圾場與社會間的拉鋸張力,全都肇因於商品化、消費與丟棄。

因此,只有當我們意識到殘餘物的積極性,意識到功能性不應是唯一的衡量因素時,殘餘物才能取得新面貌,成為一種新實踐論的核心,而此種新形態的實踐也就是—再概念化。其實藝術領域已經投入多時,正等待它擴展至人類與環境的關係。拉杜奇(Serge Latouche)的「互賴八原則」也就是將「再概念化」加上其他七項準則—「重新評估、重組、重新分配、重新定位、減量化、再利用、再循環」,這八項原則可推動和點燃「去成長化」的過程。

拉杜奇作為法國思想家和經濟學家,再三強調「圖像去殖民化」是轉變的唯一契機,能讓環境和社會建立新關係,而藝術於其中扮演的角色尤為重要。有人認為藝術「已經喪失所有人文主義意識,就為了享受實用主義的所有宣傳和經濟優勢」(費博洛),也有人認為藝術其實抵抗並反對了「平庸商品化」(拉杜奇)。儘管人們對於藝術的角色仍有其相對的看法,但事實上,正如《告別成長》(Farewell to Growth,2009年)書末引用王爾德(Oscar Wilde)的話一般,藝術已經在「無用」和「必要」之間建立起橋樑。

回顧拉杜奇的「圖像去殖民化」、費博洛提出與空間共存之「生物可分解性」(重拾人文主義思想最深刻的涵義,而不僅是人類中心主義或個人主義)、印度瑞克斯三人組的「位於當代核心的『現在殘餘物』」,這些都只是通往新概念的其中幾種可能,讓思考有所著力點。古希臘人說的Physis,通常翻譯成拉丁文是「自然」(nature),《梅茲》雜誌(Merz magazine)特別撰文探討人造物與自然造物之間的相似性,執筆者正是創刊人史威特和利西茨基(El Lissitzky),其主旨從標題便一覽無遺:「自然一詞源自拉丁文nasci,意思是『成為、來自』,是指所有透過自身力量發展、成形和運作的事物」,這表示他們已經意識到,自然不再是無窮無盡的儲存庫,不能被濫用生產,也不是存放生產廢物的匿名空間;相反地,自然應被視為廣闊的花園、「地球的花園」(克萊門特,Pierre Clément)。對於地球,人類尚未思考透徹,人類未來的命運,就銘刻於地球的殘餘物當中。正如同end可能代表and、代表開端一樣,人類未來生存的開端,有賴我們建立一個不同於當前主流價值的「非物質世界」。

 

END? AND…

that which is immaterial in this world  

Riccardo Caldura / critic, curator and teaches Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice

A phonetic and graphic similarity allows the juxtaposition in English (although it is not as successful in other languages) of the world /end/ to the conjunction /Ənd/. The punctuation creates a further dialogue, based on the suspension of the interrogative and the possible continuation of the discourse, a hint that something still needs to be expressed, like a thought being sought. It is a reference to the meaning of end, when it is no longer conceived as a completed whole, that is to say, when it is no longer defined, both orthographically and existentially, by a full stop. Though this might not be the place to dwell on it, philosophy has long considered the issue of “end” as a full stop to qualify or nullify human existence, as if it were a synonym of ‘death’ (consider the influential thoughts of Martin Heidegger in Being and Time). At the same time, various contemporary artistic experiences invite us to consider the end not as a different pronunciation of the word ‘death’, especially when it means the death of a person (‘me’ or ‘other people’). Rather, they invite us to consider it as a kind of opening, albeit undetermined, yet to be defined.

The Italian artist Luciano Fabro, despite the formal purity of his own artwork, reminds us of this when he compares art to the “fields on the outskirts of cities, where refuse is dumped, a kind of no-man’s land”. The exhausting of the possible use and usability of things makes the conversion of “rubbish into energy” possible, as well as considering art as a “kind of incinerator” which transforms from material to immaterial. Artistic practice seems to be intimately connected with the idea of a further opening, following the closure of a cycle of use. A few years ago, during Manifesta 7, Raqs Media Collective organised a seminal exhibition on the concept of the “rest of now”, focusing attention on all that is abandoned or thrown away, deprived of any value, and thus deprived of the right to existence. Not considering the cycle of things to be closed after their use, not considering their lack of utility to be a definitive end, means taking “what is left” as a further possibility, and not a preclusion: “Residue is a space of open, uncharted alterity. The residual and the imminent share a paradoxical working solidarity” (Raqs).

Fabro’s stance, in line with the thinking of Arte Povera shared by many artists of the 1960’s, appears to stand as a bridge between the conceptions and practices of today’s contemporary art and those of the early twentieth century. A kind of inverse genealogy that travels along the routes of residues and perceives the future inscribed in its condition. Dada’s re-use of materials without value in new compositions had already demonstrated the clear insight that it was no longer the functional efficiency of technology, lauded by futurists, but rather the dysfunctional nature that could open up uncharted waters.  Even the title of Kurt Schwitters’s Das Undbild (1919) points to a different direction from Marinetti’s Manifesto from the beginning of the twentieth century. The Merz pictures (just like the Merz structure, or Merzbau), made of fragments, heteronomous materials, moving from decay to de-composition to re-composition, are based on a procedure of ‘not discarding anything’, while at the same time seeking to create a new composition. What emerges from this artistic practice is a repeated solicitation to entertain a non-superficial and non-‘consumerist’ relationship with one’s surroundings. This attention is particularly directed at that which appears to have no value, at the marginal and discarded which has been thrown into the “dumping ground of civilization.” (Fabro)

It is the idea of recycling that these artistic practices refer to, intended as a literal re-introduction into the cycle of that which we had not paid attention to, that which we had neglected.  New possibilities open up, beside that of functional optimization that we use in our relationship with things and increasingly with people. As Zygmunt Baumann remarked in Wasted lives. Modernity and its outcasts (2004), people may also come to be considered as things which are no longer useful, to be abandoned at the edges of society in a progressive process of expulsion by the mechanisms of productive efficiency. They are literally de-classed, deprived of a definite social status. In this case the end of their, and our, utility creates a state of lethargy and stasis in terms of daily life, which is often more painful and distressing than physical death itself, which can paradoxically seem like a liberation. Artistic practice can trigger deep-reaching processes of reconversion, both metaphorical and concrete, in the tension between the functional organisation of the world we live in and the dumping ground that makes that apparent functionality possible. A more or less visible dumping ground, that is, and one for things or for people; the tension engendered by making things into commodities, their consumption and discarding.

Therefore the idea of non-inert residue, and that only at the ceasing of the mere functionality of things can a new vision of them open up, constitute the core of a new concept: a “re-conceptualisation” indeed, and thus a new practice. This practice has been operative in the art world for a while and is waiting to move into a more widespread concept of our relationship with what surrounds us. “Reconceptualise”, along with “Re-evaluate, Restructure, Redistribute, Re-localisation, Reduce, Re-use and Recycle” are for Serge Latouche, the “eight inter-dependent principles” that can trigger the process of de-growth  (dècroissance). 

The French thinker and economist stressed repeatedly that only through “decolonising imagery” can this necessary shift of paradigms take place, that can trigger a new relationship between the environment and society, and that art has a cardinal role to play in this change.  The matter being dealt with at this point is of great relevance. Either art, “as it stands, has forfeited all humanist sense in order to enjoy all the promotional and economical advantages of pragmatism” (Fabro), or it constitutes a form of resistance and opposition to the “banal commodification” (Latouche) for the very fact that it creates a relationship between being useless and essential, in the words of Oscar Wilde, as quoted at the end of “Farewell to Growth” (2009).

The “decolonisation of the imagery” that Latouche refers to, the “biodegradability” of working with space that Fabro referred to (regaining the most profound meaning of humanist thought, not a merely anthropocentric or individualistic one) and the “rest of now that lies at the heart of contemporaneity” envisaged by the Indian collective are but a few of the possible paths to a new concept of dwelling and of that which makes dwelling possible. A concept which the ancient Greeks called Physis, which we normally translate with the Latin word “nature”. The sense of closeness between human creation and natural creation was highlighted in a remarkable issue of Merz magazine, written by the founder, Kurt Schwitters and El Lissitzky, its thesis is clear from the title: “Nature, from the Latin nasci, means to become, to come from; that is to say, all that through its own force develops, forms and moves”. This is an understanding where nature is evidently no longer seen as an endless reserve to be raided for the production of goods, or as an anonymous space for the storage of the discarded as post production scraps. Physis, nature: rather it should be considered as a vast garden, a jardin planétaire (Pierre Clément). A place which has not yet been thoroughly thought through, a gamble on the future inscribed in that which remains. This is the same as saying that as well as the end, it is in fact all about the immaterial.

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