交陪_4_4

時間───2015年7月16日
受訪人───林書楷
參訪人───龔卓軍、陳莘、羅文岑、陳冠彰、林雅雯
地點───林書楷工作室
整理───侯昱寬
翻譯───藍文婷

「圖騰島民」、「陽台城市」到田野調查

在這兩、三年我的創作大概以島民文化及城市議題進行思考。「飄浮的島嶼與圖騰島民」系列目前已經是第五、六年,「陽台城市文明」系列則是第三年了。
在「陽台城市文明」系列中,我所面對的是當代城市給我的衝擊,我感覺每個人生活在城市中,所擁有的空間都大概一個陽台的大小,每個人在空間中都用電腦、臉書、部落格對外連結,一個城市它就像是許多個陽台去堆疊而成。
之前我很少提到為什麼從「飄浮的島嶼與圖騰島民」轉折到「陽台城市文明」,其實是我不想明說,想把憂愁或沉重的部分藏在圖畫裡。我家所住的社區是日治時期就有的老社區,因為以前沒有法規規定,所以大家都亂蓋。我家至今蓋了三十幾年,但法規下來後,我家就不合法要被拆。如果法院判要拆,就會拆到主結構的部分,也意味著整棟都要拆掉。我從小就住在這裡,除了去臺北讀書以外沒有真的離開過家,當意識到這個現實之後,突然覺得沒辦法繼續畫當時正在發展的「飄浮的島嶼與圖騰島民」系列。生活如此現實,我僅能回到自己所面對的現實中,開始發展「陽台城市文明」系列。
我讀書時很理想性,一直活在自己的世界裡。在臺北藝術大學時,大家每天都在聊藝術,家裡還會提供一點生活費,偶爾打工也是幫藝術家做些勞動活,沒有真的去公司上班或是得面對出社會的問題。當面臨到房子要被拆掉,需要去拜託人、被人欺負及羞辱時衝擊很大,我突然覺得這一切都跟以前的想像很不一樣。所以我前後兩個系列可以說一個是烏托邦、神話故事的世界,另一個是乍看很理想的世界,可是它背後有著被現實衝撞後的樣貌。
在「陽台城市文明」中,我畫城市用了很多重複性的線條,因為城市的磚瓦或堆砌的結構,其實是經由許多的人堆疊而被包覆在裡面的。這些重複性的線條,是我仿效當代人在城市生活的狀態。每天做同樣的工作、同樣的業務,或者是走同樣的路、講同樣的話,我就仿效那種感覺,那種當代人的精神狀態,然後再去堆疊成一個我重新塑造出的想像世界。現在圖像中沒有見到人或動物,是因為真實世界的人被包覆在建築物裡;我們不會一直在街頭,走到外面是為了進到下一個建築體裡面。在城市當中,人想要被包覆在建築體裡,所以我就把人符號化,整幅圖就是城市裡的精神狀態。
當代人是用Google Map在認識世界,Google Map讓我們身體越來越小。從前交通不方便,若要去新營,我們的移動很身體感,辛苦到達新營後又需要重新去認識那個地方。可是,今天我們對新營非常陌生時會上Google Map,或是上網搜尋新營的歷史、新聞,就已經先認識了新營。當我們去到那邊,沒辦法像過去一樣用身體去觀看,因為現在我們認識世界的方式已經跟過去不太一樣了。
我想每位藝術家感受的身體感是不一樣的,我的身體是自己作畫時的勞動性、精神性,不同於有些藝術家會不斷地走出去,例如做海邊的田野調查,他就必須不斷地去海邊進行很勞動式的巡查、與居民對話,或是跟某些人做連結,而我是把自己設定在一個空間去感受,像修行這樣子的狀態。我選擇的方式是經由繪畫的方式去連結,回到我自身。
「陽台城市文明」的創作概念是較為整體的,如同Google Map是一個個的區塊,是可以往外延伸的,而不是像在畫框裡的畫。就像我今天想要搜尋麻豆區,它會一個個分開來,但能連結成一個大的地圖。目前,我有一個計畫還在執行中,就是我要去畫城市,每個城市我要經由那些社區歷史發展的本質或是故事,再將之轉化成我自己的故事和傳說。這個計畫需要很多年,目前我設定先從臺南出發,因為臺南故事相對的多,然後巷弄也多,每處都有一個信奉的主神,獨特的社區結構與文化蘊含著豐富的故事。未來我想以這個計畫去畫出一本書,然後慢慢地擴散到臺灣,畫到世界。
為什麼現在我要去考查,是因為我希望經由真實的身體走出去。改變自己平常的作畫方式或者是看世界的方法。我並不是要依賴田野調查,對我來說創作所要做的田野調查不太一樣,我們有很多感受能去轉化,不一定要真實的描述,去蒐集和做田調是為了要用自己的語言去講另外的話。田調後會有更多的討論空間,對非藝術領域的人來說,他看到的東西一定會不太一樣,有時候我去社區訪問阿伯,在我發問及他對應的方式中,有很多不可預期的可能,將來這也會提供我創作上直接的養分。我不太會用文字去描述,因為圖畫本身就是符號,所以我處理的方式是把乍看是文字或符號的東西藏在畫裡面,以不一樣的角度去閱讀我的計畫,經由單純圖像符號的部分去描述我想像的城市樣貌或傳說。

信仰與創作結合的蓋廟計畫

因為我長時間在參拜廟宇或觀看遶境等信仰活動,發現在信仰與創作的結合之下,藝術家其實是自己在造神。
我創作時會持續處於很壓抑、痛苦、緊張的狀態,從掌握肉身之痛,去找到另一種解脫及救贖。像在基督教跟佛教裡,耶穌基督原是神的兒子,但祂被釘上十字架,代替人類去承受那個罪過,佛陀需靠修行或是藉肉身的痛苦去體悟到世界的狀態,都以肉身受苦去達到精神上的解脫及體悟。我想道教後來延伸出的乩童,也同樣是以肉身之痛去尋求精神性的解脫,也因為肉體之痛,我在創作蓋廟上,就會有比較強而有力的出口。
臺灣佛教、道教是兩個不一樣的脈絡,而且它們談的東西也完全不一樣。我後來發現其實道教裡有個很大的重點:它的起源是由人變成神,同時也有很多鬼怪或民間傳說。這點讓我覺得道教更貼近人。回到我的創作上,則比較像是回應環境或者是宇宙,一般人沒辦法去實踐的部分。藝術家則可以去創造,可以無限擴張想像,所以每位藝術家其實就是在造神、在蓋廟,那個廟其實就是他的小宇宙,他自己的世界,他在裡面可以有無限的想像,擁有不同的世界觀。
每種信仰、每位神明都有不同的世界觀,然而,因那個世界是看不見的世界。當進到廟裡我們不會知道神明的世界長怎樣,所以我覺得那種想像,其實是經由藝術家的手,從宇宙觀的角度去看,去創造出我們理想的狀態或是我們對未知世界的感受。這種天賦對我來說是很動物性的,譬如說天災要來前,或是環境的改變,動物都能感受得到,但為什麼人類明明是比較高等的動物,卻沒辦法感應到那個部分,我一直在思考這樣的問題。
在「陽台城市文明」裡,有很多天線、符號,因為人在這時代有手機、有衛星、有資訊,當把人的那種天線、那種感受力抽離掉,其實還是保有動物的狀態。而我進到現在的廟裡面,感受到它不只是一個信仰中心,同時也是個基地台,可以將許多人的能量或是訊號聚在一起,然後再向外擴散出去。未來在蓋廟的計畫中,我也會針對這一點,因為不只站在宗教的角度,而是站在當代、科學或人的本能的角度,廟它勢必就像基地台一般,能把許多人的訊號聚集在一起,或者視為向外擴散的平台,讓每個人可以去對話、去連結。假設今天沒有信仰中心,可能人還是分別獨立的個體,但進到廟裡,每個人就會被包覆在裡面,都是一體的。離開廟這平台後,我們依舊保有自己的主體,當我們再走進去,廟裡又是個基地台,許多訊號聚集在那邊,它又可以發送很多東西了。
最近我對這個概念很有興趣,因為談到信仰時,還蠻少人會講到這部分。這個社會結構其實更像聚落,很多時候我沒辦法像一般人能真實參與到聚落之中,一直會有自己沒辦法掌握進入社會的感覺,所以我留在自己的世界中創作作品,反而更能掌握自己想要的媒材或者是議題。我平常蠻自閉的,有時因長時間都在工作室內,自詡這也是在造神、在蓋廟、在創造自己的小宇宙,而當我去面對其他藝術家,去連結、對話時,就像是遶境一般。因為廟宇在臺南比較像是一個社區的中心,有個主神,固定時間有慶典祂就會去每個社區繞。我有時候去參加開幕,或是去藝術家工作室參觀,就好像是在遶境一般。藝術家對外連結時,所扮演的角色會比較像是連結到怎麼進行交流、怎麼對話,然後讓這過程成為一個活動,產生一些效果。
我蓋廟的計畫就是提出一個我的想像,然後讓更多人可以去連結到這一塊,在未來假如說有更多人連結,就會很類似慶典,我覺得那個慶典可以滿足到每個時代不一樣的人,那種精神性、那種狀態,唯有在慶典的活動中,所有的挫折、不滿都可以尋求到精神的慰藉,我也一直在尋找這樣的感覺。
如果從當代的角度來談藝術家的脈絡,我們看到的會是藝術家當下的表層樣貌,但如果站在宗教或是文明的角度來談的話,就會深入看到他有許多不同的養分、不同的脈絡,我們所看到的才會是整體樣貌。對我來說,我不是用迷信或者是用宗教的角度看待信仰,反而是回到人本身,人為什麼會去依賴,就是因為它能抽離出來另外再去看。
在蓋廟計畫中,我會傳達藝術家為什麼要造神。我覺得藝術家想要造神這件事情很有趣,比如說我們今天不像明星,偶像明星唱首歌唱紅了就會有很多粉絲,絕大多數人都會follow,但藝術家有可能做一輩子,都還是處在精神性的狀態,即使不紅或是沒有被人注意,還是會回歸到自己的精神狀態。以宗教來說,就比較像是宗教中的修煉,需要不斷地提煉自己。南傳佛教中的修煉方法或是身體的感受,跟我某一層面的身體感或是脈絡是類似的,所看到的樣貌是從小經歷不一樣的事物、看到不一樣的人逐步累積起來的。
另外,為什麼我會想要去廟宇或是進行蓋廟計畫,因為我覺得裡面有很多想像的故事及傳說很有趣。現在法拉利姐不是很紅,我就塑造出個法拉利姐形象,再為她編撰故事,回應當代我所看到的人、事、物,再去轉化成傳說;或是我聽鄰居講鄰居的八卦,再把這些故事蒐集起來創造傳說。所以我的廟裡會有一個由我創造的主神,而在這個世界裡,會有很多不同的形象或不同的故事被連結在一起,像是一部《封神榜》,會有很多不同的神。

雖然我還沒辦法預設廟的形體,我想像的是廟的概念,不是去考查、研究廟宇的結構,而是回應每位藝術家都在自己造神這件事情,所以最後廟會是怎樣的樣貌,我也不清楚,就跟我作畫一樣,我沒辦法構圖。十幾年前沒人能預測會有電音三太子的發展,其實很多建醮或是廟會,有趣的點就在於你沒辦法預設它每一年會多出什麼。信仰或者廟宇會隨著每個階段的狀況不一樣、感受不一樣而做調整、改變。可能我現在做好了,但未來還有一年多,也不知道會有怎樣的人生際遇或變化。
其實我最近很常去廟裡面拜拜,如果遇到一些不順的事,就會跑到廟裡去跟神明說話,祂有點類似長輩的角度。我最常接近玉皇大帝,比如說去天公廟或者是天公壇,我想玉皇大帝為什麼會成為眾神當中的頭頭,就是因為祂是看最多的,所以我跟祂講的祂都聽得懂。玉皇大帝雖然沒辦法回答,也沒辦法真的幫忙,我還是不管做錯什麼或者遇到什麼挫折都去找祂,每次我離開後都會感到很舒適,心靈放鬆下來,覺得找到一種可以抒發的方式。因為這種方式很直接,所以我很常去廟裡,對蓋廟有興趣。我想蓋廟計畫最大的目標是希望提供一個訊息、訊號,讓更多人能討論或是連結,我呈現廟或蓋廟這件事,勢必會提供一個訊息,讓人討論。在未來我可能會繼續做「訊號」這件事情,它很抽象,但在未來一定會有更多人加進來討論或是去連結,不管它的創作脈絡、選擇材料是什麼,多多少少一定會連結到的。


 

We Are All Creating Gods
───────── Shu-kai Lin

Time: July 16, 2015
Interviewee: Shu-kai Lin
Interviewers and Guests: Jow-jiun Gong, Hsin Chen, Mirr Lo, Guan-jhang Chen, Juliet Lin
Location: Lin’s studio
Compiled by Yu-kuan Ho Translated by Wen-ting Lan

From “Totem Islanders,” “Balcony City” to Field Research

In recent two to three years, most of my research reflects on islander culture and urban topics. The series “Floating Island and Totem Islanders” has reached its fifth or sixth year, and that of “The Civilization of Balcony City” is welcoming the third year.
In the series “The Civilization of Balcony City,” I was confronted with the impact modern cities had exerted on me. I think everyone living in the city possesses a space about the size of a balcony, using computers, Facebook, and blogs to connect with the outside world in her or his space, and a city seems to be piled up with many balconies.
Before the interview, I rarely talk about why I shift my topic from “Floating Island and Totem Islanders” to “The Civilization of Balcony City.” In fact, it is because I did not want to say it clearly, I wanted to hide the sorrow or heavy part in the painting. My family has been living in an old community which has existed since the Japanese rule. In the past, there were not laws and regulations governing buildings. Therefore, people built their houses as they wanted. My family’s house has been built for more than thirty years, but since the law came into effect, the house has been considered an illegal building and required to be torn down. If the court orders to demolish the house, we have to tear down parts of the main structure, which means to demolish the whole building. I have lived here since I was a child; I have never really left my home except going to Taipei for study. After I realized the fact, suddenly I felt I could not continue the series “The Floating Island and Totem Islanders” that was still under development for life came to me in such a realistic way, and all I could do was go back to face the reality and start to develop the series “The Civilization of Balcony City.”
When I was a student, I was pretty idealistic, always living in my own world. When I studied at Taipei National University of the Arts, people talked about art every day, and my family provided me with the cost of living. Occasionally I did some part-time jobs, but it was to labor for some artists. I did not work in a company, neither did I have to face the problems of building a career in the society. So when I was confronted with the fact that my house was to be torn down, that I had to beg others, got bullied and humiliated, I was in a complete shock. I suddenly realized that all these things were very different from what I had thought. So for the two series I created in a row, the earlier series can be considered a world of Utopia and fairy tales, while the later one depicts a world that seems to be ideal at first glance, but behind it lies a world clashing with the reality.
In “The Civilization of Balcony City,” I use lots of repetitive lines to draw the city because the bricks and piled structures in the city are actually piled up by people cocooned in urban buildings. With these repetitive lines, I imitate how modern people live in the city. They repeat the same routines, or walk down the same streets, speak the same words every day. I imitate the feelings and the mental state of modern people, and then pile up these feelings to reshape a world of my own imagination. You will not find any people or animals in the paintings, because people in the real world are cocooned in the buildings. We do not always walk down the streets. We go outside because we want to go into another building. While living in the city, people want to be cocooned by the buildings. Therefore, I transform people into symbols, and the whole painting is the mental state of the city.
Nowadays, people use Google Map to see the world, but Google Map is making our body smaller. In the past, transportation was not convenient. If we wanted to go to another place, say Xinying, we could sense the physical movement, and we have to know the place after a tiring journey. But nowadays, if we are a total stranger to Xinying, we use Google Map or go online to research its history and news. Then we know Xinying before we are actually there. When we really arrive at the place, we will not be able to experience the place through our body as we used to for the way we get to know a place is different from that in the past.
I believe every artist has different senses of body. I feel the body when I paint, it is a sense of labor, a spiritual feeling. In contrast, some artists keep going out to do field research on the seaside. They have to navigate the seaside physically, talk to the residents, or even connect with certain people. I, however, put myself in a space to feel it, like being in a state of spiritual practice. I choose to build connections through painting so as to return to myself.
The concept of “The Civilization of Balcony City” is more complete. Unlike paintings in a frame, it is like Google Map formed by different blocks that can extend outward. For example, if I want to search Madou District, the map will show me lots of separate blocks that interconnect with each other to form a large map. Currently, I have an ongoing project of city drawing. I will utilize the essence of historical development or stories about the community, transforming them into my own stories or legends. It will take many years to complete my project. The current plan is to start from Tainan, a place with more stories and alleys. Every corner of the city has a main god to worship. The unique communal structure and culture contain a wealth of stories. I will love to make the city drawings a published book and slowly expand the project to the whole Taiwan and then to the world.
The reason why I investigate is because I want to go outside with my own body. I want to change my regular way of painting or the way I see the world. I do not plan to rely on field research, which is slightly different from the creating process. We have many feelings to transform, and the descriptions do not have to be authentic. The reason of doing field research is to use our own language to say something about others. After the field research, there will be more room for discussion. People who are not in the art field are sure to see things differently. Sometimes when I go to a community to interview an elder man, I find many unexpected possibilities during our conversation, which will become the nutrients for my creation in the future. I rarely use words to describe because the painting itself is a symbol. So the way I handle it is to hide in the painting the things that appear to be words or symbols at first glance. I read my project from different aspects, that is, to describe the city or legends in my imagination through simple images and symbols.

Temple Building Project That Combines Religion and Creation

I have been visiting temples and participating religious events, such as pilgrimage parades, for a long time. That is why I find out that while combining religion and creation, artists are actually creating gods.
When I create, I constantly feel depressed, agonized and nervous. I can find relief and salvation in sensing the physical pain. The same examples can be found in Christianity and Buddhism. Jesus Christ is the son of God, but he was crucified on a cross to bear the sins of all men. Buddha understood the state of the world through spiritual practicing and physical suffering. Both of them went through the physical suffering to attain spiritual relief and awakening. I think jitong (乩童), the spirit medium originated from Taoism, also seeks spiritual relief through physical suffering. It is because of the suffering that I can have a stronger expression when I participate in the temple building project.
Taoism and Buddhism are placed in two different contexts in Taiwan, and their concerns are also very different. I came to realize a key point in Taoism: Before the gods gain their divinity they are the mortal, so Taoism involves many spirits or folklores. That is why I think Taoism is closer to people’s understanding. On the other hand, my creation is more like a response to the environment or the universe, some metaphysical concepts that others cannot concretize. But artists create. They can expand their imaginations to the infinity. That is why I say all artists are actually creating gods and building temples. The temples refer to their own small universe and small world. They have unlimited imagination and different perspectives of the world.
Each religion or god stands for a different perspective of the world. However, that world is intangible. When we step inside a temple, we do not know how the world looks like in the eyes of gods. I think the imagination of the world comes from the hands of artists and their perspectives of the universe, from which we create an ideal state or express our feelings about the unknown world. This talent is very animal-like to me. Animals can feel a change of the environment or a forthcoming natural disaster, which makes me wonder why human beings, obviously a higher-ranking kind of animal, fail to sense that.
In “The Civilization of Balcony City,” you see lots of antennas and symbols because people in this era have cellular phones and satellites to receive information. If you pull away people’s antennas, that is, their ability to sense, they return to animals. When I walk into a temple today, I find out it is not just a religious center, it is also a base station gathering people’s energy and transmits it outwards. I will also focus on this concept when working on the temple building project in the future. Because I know we should think temples not only from the religious viewpoint, but also from those of the contemporary, the scientific and human instincts. If so, a temple is surely like a base station, which receives signals from different people, or becomes a platform transmitting information outward, so everyone can communicate and connect. If we do not have a religious center, people are independent individuals, but when people enter a temple, they will be involved and become one. When we leave a temple, we still keep our own subjectivity. Next time when we go into the temple, it is a base station again, and many signals are received there to be transmitted.
I am pretty interested in the concept recently because few people talk about it when it comes to religion. The social structure is more like a cluster. Unlike most people who can join the cluster easily, I always have difficulty blending-in. That is why I stay in my own world to create and it allows me to have better control on the media or the issues I am concerned about. Usually I am pretty self-enclosed because I spend most of the time in the studio, claiming that I am creating gods, building temples, and establishing my small universe. When I connect and communicate with other artists, it is the same as participating in a pilgrimage. Temples in Tainan are more like a community center. They all have a main god who visits communities in a pilgrimage parade. I sometimes attend an opening or visit artists’ studios, this is like a pilgrimage to me. When an artist connects to the outside world, he focuses more on how to exchange, to communicate and to make this process an event with effects.
I plan to propose my ideas about a temple to involve more people in my temple building project. If in the future more people are involved, it will be like a festival that can meet the demands of various people from different times. The spirituality and the state of mind found only in a festival can eliminate all the dissatisfaction and frustration. It is also the feeling I have been searching for.
If we discuss an artist from a contemporary point of view, we only see the surface, but if we discuss him/her from the viewpoint of religion or civilization, we see what has defined the artist in different contexts, that is, in a comprehensive perspective. I do not equal belief to religion or superstition; instead, I think of belief from people’s point of view: people rely on belief to remain detached so as to examine themselves.
In the temple building project, I will explain why artists create gods.

I think the fact that artists want to create gods is very interesting. We artists are not like stars or idols, who attract many fans by singing popular songs. Artists dedicated to art may stay in certain spiritual state for their entire life. Even if they are unnoticed, they return to their spiritual world anyway. This is more like a religious practice. One has to keep improving him- or herself. The practice or the body sensation mentioned in Theravada Buddhism resonates to my body sensation or experiences. The different experiences I have had and people I have met since I was a child all build up the way I see the world.
Another reason I want to go to temples or start my temple building project is because I think there are lots of interesting stories and legends. For example, Ting-ting Chang is quite well-known now, so I will create an image for her and write a story about her as a response to the people, incidents and things I have seen, and further transform them into a legend. Or I will gather gossips from neighbors to create a legend. So in my temple there will be a main god, and in this world I create, different images or stories will be connected together, just like The Investiture of the Gods in which many different gods are created.
Although I have not got a prototype of the temple, I have a general picture of it based not on investigation or study of temple structure. but on the fact that all artists create gods. I do not draft so I am not sure what the temple will look like. A dozen years ago, no one knew there would be Electric-Techno Neon Gods (電音三太子 a dance performance combining Taiwanese folk dance and pop music). The interesting part about Taoist sacrificial ceremonies or temple fairs is that you never know what to expect next year. My idea of a religion or a temple changes in accordance with the different situations and different feelings I experience. I may be ready now, but there is more than one year ahead, so I do not know what experience or change I will have in this period of time.
I have been praying in temples lately. If something is not going well, I will talk to gods. For me, a god is like an elder. I am closest to Jade Emperor and frequent Tiangong Temple or Alter to find him. I think Jade Emperor becomes the leader of all gods because he has seen the most, and he can understand whatever I tell him. Although the emperor cannot answer my questions or physically help me, I just keep going to him when I do something wrong or when I have setbacks. Every time I leave the temple, I feel a sense of comfort and relaxed. It is very straightforward, so I go to the temple regularly and start to get interested in temple buildings. The main goal of the project is to propose a message and a signal for discussion and involve more people. The act to present or build a temple will definitely draw people’s discussion, and I will keep sending “signals”. It is very abstract, but it will involve more people to discuss and make connections in the future. Regardless of its context of creation or the material I choose, I believe the project will reach out and make some connections.

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