交陪_3_3

整理───陳冠彰 翻譯───黃暉峻

2008年某日清晨六點,我與朋友至大內天文臺看完日偏蝕後,回程經過頭社公廨便入內參觀,遇見一位人稱「和伯仔」的長者。那日他與我們聊天配米酒從早上直到下午,離開時和伯說晚上牽曲隊會在公廨前練唱,有興趣的話就一起過來。
是夜,公廨前的空間被古老的曲調環覆著,雖然我聽不懂曲意,但有那麼一瞬間彷若被捲入了不知年月的時空。那晚阿立祖藉尪姨之軀現身,一降臨便交代和伯,祭典期間要謹慎,不要飲酒誤事,同時也指示了祭典的流程。我除了對尪姨特殊的溝通方式感到著迷,也很好奇當天下午只有我跟朋友及和伯,他怎麼知道和伯在公廨喝酒?還是無形無體的阿立祖所見?
距此不久前我才剛結識西拉雅族的尪姨,這影響了我對創作的認知而開始轉向,同時讓我停下來思考,為何離西拉雅文化很近,竟對它如此陌生。開始研讀各類文獻後,我發現研究者的詮釋各有差異,由於自己跟西拉雅族同住一區,關於文獻、書籍的矛盾之處,我就直接去拜訪村人或找尪姨討論。還記得某次訪談的前一晚,我跟朋友很認真地列出問題。拜訪當天,尪姨直接開口說:「昨日兵將經過你住的地方,看見你跟朋友要訪談的提問,祂們覺得很有意思,因此昨晚我已經跟阿立祖討論訪談內容。」不需要我開口,尪姨就直接將問題依序回答完。我感到驚訝的同時,也發現「他」跟我們的差異。

他/祂的視界

近身跟著尪姨、透過他的眼睛去看,我發覺他所見的世界或地景樣貌很不一樣,因此我開始訪問他,除了好奇他身處的「薩滿世界」,也好奇他是如何成為「尪姨」。
有天尪姨和我在散步途中看到兩間「有應公廟」,他突然說第一間是「萬善祖」廟,裡頭有328位亡魂,代表是一位年長的男性;第二間是「萬姓祖」廟,住有女性108位。他清楚描述各項細節,且提到這兩間廟設立時,是由阿立祖會同土地公逐一清點亡魂後安置。尪姨還說「萬姓祖」廟,全為動物靈,其中的代表是女兔子精。祂原居當地,死後修煉成兔子精,因有德不隨便害人而升為「陰神」,接受村民朝拜,祂的腳力是一隻烏龜。廟裡頭還有兔子、蛇、貓頭鷹、烏秋、果子狸、花鹿等動物靈。他也曾指著村庄外圍窪地說,那是早年的祭祀場所,因此附近會有一些沒有尾巴的烏龜、兔子、狗……等「動物」出沒。牠們是祖靈變出來散步的,因為祖靈生前為「人」本無尾巴,因此變動物也不會有尾巴。
至於他是如何成為尪姨,就得從祖先的「祀壺」開始談起。那時重病的爺爺交代尪姨去找他臥房床下的皮箱,箱子被打開後,裡面是用泛黃紙包著的兩只形色各異的花瓶,從紙上的文字以及爺爺的說明推測,它們已有百年的歷史。一開始他以為是供桌擺放的花瓶,後來經阿嬤說明方知,這兩只是曾祖母從娘家帶來的。
當天晚上尪姨就看見一名女性站立於窗戶外,身影模糊、容貌不清,但可以看到她的頭髮長達腰際以下。接連幾天她都站在那緩緩地梳頭,一開始尪姨雖然很害怕,但之前偶爾也有看見另世界的經驗,幾週後倒也習慣她的存在。數日之後,那個人試著要跟尪姨溝通,可是她說的話仿若收音機的雜訊,讓人無法聽懂。直到有天家人請尪姨幫忙燒香,拿起香的那一刻,他才發現好像可以理解她在講什麼,「香」就像小叮噹的法寶「翻譯蒟蒻」,可讓不同語言者對話無礙。「香」暫時被當成是溝通的「媒介」,透過對話,尪姨知道「她」是他們家的「祖靈」阿立祖,不是來嚇他的。雖然可以藉由「香」來轉譯,但是尪姨偶爾還是會講母語(西拉雅語),且心想說「你講的語言我聽不懂,不然你來學我的語言(臺語)好了。」而她(祂)還真的點頭答應,所以就一起展開半年的語言學習之旅。
她(祂)進入尪姨的夢裡學習語言,數月後也開始教導尪姨咒語、曲調、草藥、舞蹈等。那時尪姨白天在學校上課,晚上一躺下來,她(祂)便出現,又開始學習課程,直到早上五點半她(祂)離開。我後來理解阿立祖會跟尪姨學習語言,實則是藉機跟他建立關係以及進一步認識。

說故事的方法

跟尪姨相處的這幾年,我記下許多故事,也一直在思考如何轉述這些故事。在翻讀文獻的過程中,《新港文書》引起了我的興趣,它是西拉雅族所流下來的土地買賣與租借方面的契約,文書的形式為左右兩邊分別以西拉雅語及中文(或他國語言)所寫立,中間則是簽名、蓋章,不會書寫者以按捺指印或是蓋手印代之。
那時我發現可以借用這個形式來承載我所記錄的故事,於是就先請語言研究者將故事翻譯成西拉雅語,再將故事的中文和西拉雅語以毛筆書寫於紙上,最後再請說故事的人,在故事中央蓋手印。我把這樣的形式稱為「田野故事多語文稿」,從中可見翻譯者、敘事者與記錄者構成的合作模式。
後來我受邀到高雄市立美術館展出,那時已經有影像以及四幅多語言故事文稿,我還在思考要用什麼媒材去輔助故事的敘說,想來想去,想到西拉雅的文化裡最重要就是「豬」。因為在祭典中儀式有拜豬、翻豬、點豬、尪姨食用豬血等程序,儀式都圍著豬在進行,公廨裡每年也都會掛上新的「豬頭壳」,所以我就想借一個「豬頭壳」去展覽。我也跟尪姨提說開始拍攝影片時會麻煩到大家,因此想在祭典裡獻一頭豬,尪姨想了一下回說,村庄每年的獻豬只要一頭,目前已排到明後年,今年我只要準備「豬頭五味」即可,是為:豬(頭、肝、尾)、雞、鴨、蝦、文蛤。
2014年4月26日祭典當天,我在現場拍攝,突然,阿立祖降臨用臺語喊「陳家子弟」過來一下,當下我沒有意識到是在叫我,祂叫了幾次之後便指著我要我過去,我嚇了一跳,以為冒犯了祂們的禁忌。基於禮貌走過去後,我便在祂面前跪了下來,等候說明。剛跪下來,祂立即蹲下拉我起來,直說站著即可,站著即可,然後說道:「你要借『豬頭壳』去展覽,尪姨有跟我三向稟明,暫借賜予你(山豬的豬頭壳)為眾人所看。你要切記,展覽完畢後,要依照儀式將『豬頭壳』送返公廨,掛在將軍柱上面。」
阿立祖很重視這次在高美館的展覽,祂說東西出去展覽要大器,所以尪姨和阿立祖準備一顆頭骨很大、獠牙很長的野豬「豬頭壳」。祂又交代一次,展覽完一定慎重歸還公廨,因為它是一個重要的法器(藥味)。當時我也跟阿立祖說,想請祂對我拍攝的影片給予指示,祂則要我私下跟尪姨約時間,也答應會親自現身討論。那時候計畫研究者剛好遇到翻譯的問題,我想既然阿立祖要現身,問祂本人即可,所以我就邀請西拉雅語譯者同行。
阿立祖一降臨便直接請我播影片給祂看,我將電腦螢幕朝向祂以及其他的「祀壺」,影片播完後阿立祖又要求再播一遍,然後開始下指示:牽曲這段只能放幾「葩」(首),拍到咒語的有些要剪掉……。祂交代了很多,也反覆看了數次。過去我對影片的討論,多從鏡頭敘事、剪接、配音等。但這次是一個特殊的經驗,因為跟我討論影像的是一位我看不到的神祇,同時,阿立祖的觀點是從宗教、禁忌上來考量。
確定影像修剪後,祂開始從客廳後方拿出東西來,有破掉的碗、兩個形色不一的花瓶、竹籃、竹刀等,全數置於桌上,然後突然坐下說,希望這個展覽可以順利地辦好,因此祂要在高美館的現場搭設一個臨時公廨,也會派兵將去守護展場。
「豬頭壳」與「臨時公廨」,作為物質的媒介,它們連結了村莊的人、尪姨、計畫團隊,甚至是阿立祖。當我意識到這時,我改用「我們」的「計畫」,來取代「我」的「作品」。從「我」到「我們」(村人、尪姨、阿立祖、研究團隊);從「作品」(符號象徵、形式語言、藝術性)到「計畫」(進入村落的區域脈絡思考、敘事),這樣的經驗開始改變了我。
高美館展覽開幕當天,有位藝術家把我拉到一旁很嚴肅地說:「冠彰,我朋友去你的展場被嚇到,他說那裡站著兩個黑黑小人,看起來應該是魔神仔之類」。我立刻答說,那是阿立祖派來的兵將,不會傷害人,不用擔心,同時心想:「阿立祖真的有派兵將來」。回家後打電話給尪姨,談起這件事情,尪姨連忙說阿立祖今天有去參加高美館的開幕,而且提到祂的祀壺被放反了,壺的正面對向牆角,因此祂是在面壁。他還轉述祂說的話:「陳家那個傻弟子,真的是很笨,正面、反面沒有注意看。」我心想完了,犯了一個大錯誤。我心裡很緊張,想說阿立祖會生氣,我問說面對牆壁會怎麼樣?尪姨說:「祂會卡住出不來啊!可是阿立祖說幸好祂很瘦,可以從旁邊走出來,然後一直說你傻。」那時我覺得很有意思,阿立祖不只是會討論計畫,祂還會開我玩笑。

移動中的對話與交換連結

在展覽現場,我同時接到北愛爾蘭策展人彼得.李察斯(Peter Richards)的邀請,前往北愛爾蘭展出作品。高興之餘,我也焦慮如何把這些物件(豬頭壳、檳榔、花環)帶去北愛爾蘭。我找尪姨聊這件事,討論用石膏模,或是提早去北愛爾蘭買豬頭,親自製作「豬頭壳」,但那時想的眾多方法都行不通,為了讓這些物件出國很傷腦筋。
直到有天尪姨說,昨夜阿立祖帶他去北愛爾蘭看過展場,已經討論好要怎麼處理。我看著尪姨納悶:「去北愛爾蘭看過展場了?怎麼去的?看到什麼?」。尪姨敘述他昨天做的夢:夢中的他來到某棟建築物前,遇見了一位老婆婆,老婆婆告訴他裡面有展覽,於是他走進去,看到一面牆上貼著一張在高美館展出臨時公廨的照片,前面擺放著三個透明的盤子,中間的盤子放有一瓶小罐的酒,酒瓶上有著圓形的標籤或是浮雕,上頭寫著「H」,酒的顏色接近琥珀色或是深褐色,左右兩邊的盤子分別擺放著蘋果以及類似桃子之類的水果。他離開展場後,走了一段路,來到一個石岸地形的海邊旁望著海面,旁邊有很多根石柱,忽然老婆婆出現,問他要怎麼回去,他回答說:「我睡著之後就來了,因此怎麼來就怎麼回去。」老婆婆告訴尪姨:「你只要慢慢向前往海面走,不要緊張,沿著海面持續往前走就會回到臺灣。」一開始他向前走,接觸到的是溫熱的海水,且還有些許的浪花打來,就轉頭問老婆婆:「水怎麼溫溫的,且還有浪花」,老婆婆說:「不用擔心,放鬆地向前走吧!」。他聽老婆婆的話持續向前走,走了幾步後,海面彷彿凍結成一面大玻璃,走著走著,等他意識到的時候已經離開岸邊很遠,在海中央了,而夢境也在這裡結束,他也醒了過來。醒來後,阿立祖說那是北愛爾蘭的展場,展覽用夢境的形式佈置即可。
要去北愛爾蘭展覽,我思考著兩件事,一是北愛爾蘭的主要信仰是基督教或天主教,原住民的泛靈信仰,或我們的計畫要怎麼跟他們對話?二是「地方性」的研究到國外展覽意味著什麼?他們會怎麼理解這文化,是否會以獵奇的觀點看待?
我到北愛後,開始跟那邊的人進行討論與對話,發現他們對原住民的部落故事或神話非常感興趣,還以卡洛斯.卡斯塔尼達(Carlos Castaneda)的書寫作為比對,因此我便從卡斯塔尼達的作品為起點,跟他們聊尪姨來北愛前所做的「夢」。
他們對「尪姨的夢」給了回應,各自從夢中的敘述解讀,我也同時問了兩個問題:一、關於酒瓶上的「H」,你們覺得指的是什麼?二、關於這個夢你們有讀到什麼?想到什麼?關於酒瓶上的「H」,一開始大家會去談酒的品牌。但從幾次訪談我聽到「H」會有發音 [ etʃ ] 跟 [ hetʃ ] 的差異,詢問當地的藝術家後,他們說明這樣的發音特色說明來自的家庭是「新教」或「天主教」,可以判斷政治傾向,支持北愛爾蘭獨立或反對。後來有幾位則都提到「H-Block」,那是北愛爾蘭專門關政治犯的監獄。另外他們也會把夢中岩石海岸,連結到當地傳統神話,因為在北愛爾蘭北方有個稱為「巨人堤道」(Giant’s Causeway)的地方,其地景樣貌跟尪姨描述很接近。
透過《尪姨的夢》作品連結當地的文化、歷史,從語言、發音、信仰到自我認同、文化認同,最後又回到我的作品上談論。在北愛的期間我開始一個新的計畫,《從尪姨的夢到H-Blocks》。我理解到藝術家也是文化的攜帶者,透過演講或者展覽,可以把臺灣的故事帶到不同的國家、文化圈,進行敘說與交換,反而是對於地方,或是個體的生命史研究到很細的時候,敘事的細節會自行串起一個新的連結,而那或許是可以跨越、文化、語言、國家、宗教的新關係。

A Journey with Ancestral Spirits:
from “Telling Stories” to “Exchanging Stories”
────── Guan-jhang Chen

Compiled by Guan-jhang Chen
Translated by Hui-jun Huang

Someday at six in the morning, 2008, I finished watching a partial eclipse with my friends in Danei Observatory, Tainan. On our way home, we paid a visit to Toushe kuwa (shrine). In the kuwa, we met an elderly nicknamed “Uncle Ho.” We had a nice chat with him, talking and drinking rice wine till the afternoon. When we were leaving, Uncle Ho told us that there would be a chorus rehearsal in front of the kuwa that night. He said we would join if we felt interested.
At that night, old songs reverberated in the kuwa. I did not understand the lyrics, but at one moment I was absorbed into a timeless space. Later, Alid revealed herself via the body of an ang-î (尪姨 “witch” or “shaman”). He ordered Uncle Ho remain cautious during the ritual and moderate his drinking to avoid troubles. Then She instructed how the ritual should go on. I was attracted to the unique way of communication, one that via ang-î, and I was really curious about how Alid knew Uncle Ho had been drinking since there were only us, my friends and Uncle Ho? Was it all seen by Alid, who had no solid form?
Not long ago, I had known another Siraya ang-î (shaman), and that had changed my thoughts on art creation. I stopped to think: why was I so close to Siraya culture but found it so foreign to me at the same time? After studying various documents, I found researchers had formulated variant theories. I lived with Siraya people, so I visited local villagers and discussed with the ang-î directly to better understand the contradictions between different theories. There was a time when my friend and I listed our questions for the next day’s interview. But when the interview really took place, the ang-î told us, “Yesterday some celestial soldiers (兵將) passed your house and saw your questions. They thought those questions were quite interesting, so they took them back to me and Alid, and we had discussed them already.” Then without being asked, he answered all those questions in sequence. It was a mystical experience, and I was shocked to find the difference between him and us.

The Vision of Ang-î/Alid

Staying close to the ang-î, I saw things through him and found the world and landscape were very different in his eyes. I started to have various conversations with him. I was curious about his “shaman world” and how he became an ang-î.
One day, when I was walking with him, we saw two temples of You Ying Gong (有應公 gods fulfilling wishes). He explained to me that one was a temple of “Wan Shan Zu” (萬善祖 god of ten thousand goodness), whose temple housed 328 spirits, represented by an elder man. The other was a temple of “Wan Xing Zu” (萬姓祖 god of ten thousand surnames), which contained 108 female spirits. He clearly described every detail, saying that when both temples were founded, Alid and Tudigong (Earth God) had checked all the spirits needed to be sheltered there. Ang-î also told me that in the temple of “Wan Xing Zu,” all spirits were animals, represented by a female rabbit spirit. She had lived in the place and became a superior spirit after her death. Because the rabbit spirit was virtuous, not hurting people without a reason, she was elevated to a “Yin Goddess” (陰神, minor gods originated from the countryside without being officially recognized) and was worshiped by villagers. Her mount was a turtle, and in the temple there were other animal spirits, including those of rabbits, snakes, owls, drongos, civets and deer. Moreover, he pointed the lowland outside the village and told me that it was the place for worship in early times, and thus some “animals” without tails would linger there, like turtles, rabbits or dogs. Those were ancestral spirits taking forms in animals to enjoy a walk. Those animal spirits did not have any tail because they were transformed from no-tail-attached human beings.
As for how he became an ang-î, it could be tracked back to “bottles of worship” inherited from his ancestors. When his grandfather was severely ill, he was asked to find a leather case under his grandfather’s bed. Inside the case were two totally different bottles, wrapped in old paper with stains. According to his grandfather and the texts on paper, they were at least one hundred years old. At first, he thought the bottles were vases on the altar, but his grandmother told him they were brought by his great grandmother from her family.
At that night, he saw a woman stand outside the window. Her figure and face blurred, but her hair was very long, reaching her waist. In the following days, she stood there, brushing her hair. At first the ang-î was very scared, but he got used to it because he had experienced seeing creatures from another world in the past. After a few days, the woman tried to communicate with him, but she could only make incomprehensible sounds like white noises from a radio. One day, his family asked the ang-î to help them light joss sticks. When he picked up joss sticks, he found to some extent he could understand what the woman was saying. The joss stick functioned as a bridge to connect them between different languages, just like the magical tool Doraemon has in his pocket. With the help of joss sticks, the ang-î learned that the woman was not there to scare him. Instead, she was their “ancestral spirit,” Alid. Although he could understand Alid via joss sticks, sometimes She still spoke in her mother tongue (the Siraya language), and he thought: “I cannot understand your language. Maybe you should try to learn my language (Taiwanese Hokkien) instead.” The woman (Alid) agreed, so they started to learn each other’s language for six months.
Alid entered the ang-î’s dream to learn his language. After a few months, she taught him some spells, songs, herbs and dances. At that time, the ang-î went to school at day, and when he slept at night, he listened to Alid’s lectures until 5:30 in the morning. Then I realized that Alid was trying to further build up their ties by this language exchange.

How to Tell Stories

After years with the ang-î, I had gathered many stories and kept thinking how to tell them properly. Among the documents I had studied, the Sinckan Manuscripts had stimulated my interest. The Sinckan Manuscripts was a compilation of real estate trading and rental contracts with the Siraya language written on the left side and the translated Chinese (or other languages) on the right side. At the center of these contracts were signatures or finger/hand prints of illiterate signers.
I borrowed this concept to record my stories: I invited a linguist to translate those stories into the Siraya language. Then I wrote those stories in Chinese and Siraya language on paper with a brush pen. After that, I asked the story teller, the ang-î to press his hand prints in the center. I named the form “multilingual manuscripts of stories in the field,” in which one could see the cooperation between translators, recorders and narrators.
Later, I was invited to organize an exhibition in Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts. At that time, I had four multilingual manuscripts of stories and related images. I tried to find a way to support my story telling, and I recalled that in Siraya culture, the most important icon was “pigs.” Siraya ceremonies were all about pigs: in a Siraya ritual, pigs would be worshiped, killed, turned upside down and checked, and an ang-î would drink the pig’s blood. Every year, a new pig’s skull would be hung in kuwa. I planned to borrow a pig’s skull for the exhibition and told the ang-î that I would need some help from the villagers to make a film, so I would like to give them a pig for the ritual to extend my appreciation. He pondered a while and told me that only one pig was needed every year in this village. Arrangements of pigs were done for the next two years. All I needed to prepare was “a pig head and other four kinds of meat,” which were pork (pig head, liver and tail), chicken, duck, shrimps and clams.
In the ritual on April 26, 2014, I was filming on the spot. Suddenly the ang-î was possessed by Alid revealed and ordered, “Come here, the child from the Chen family” in Taiwanese Hokkien. At first I did not grasp that Alid/ang-î was calling me, so She/he called me a few more times before pointing at me to summon me directly. I was in awe, thinking I had violated their taboos. Out of politeness, I walked to them and knelt down, waiting for instructions. But She/he crouched down immediately to pull me up, telling me that it was okay to keep standing. Alid said, “the ang-î has told me repeatedly about your plan to borrow a pig skull for your exhibition. Now one (pig skull) will be lent to you temporarily to be exhibited to the public. You must not forget that after the exhibition you shall perform a proper ceremony to return the skull in the kuwa and hang it onto the general’s pillar.”
Alid was very serious about the exhibition in Kaohsiung. She said the exhibition should be magnificent, so the ang-î and Alid prepared a huge skull of a boar with long tusks for me. Before the exhibition, Alid told me again that I must remember to properly return it to the kuwa because the skull was an important ceremonial item (and medicine). I also told Alid that I wanted to hear her comments about the film, and she asked me to make another appointment with the ang-î. She promised to discuss it in person. At the same time, the linguist also encountered some problems in translating the stories, so I invited the Siraya translator to join me in this discussion because I thought the best way was to ask Alid directly since She would be there, too.
After Alid came, She asked me to play the film for her. I turned the screen of my computer to Her and other “bottles of worship.” Alid asked me to replay the film after it finished and started telling me what should be done: some songs could not be shown, scenes with spells should be cut off…. She had many comments and watched the film for many times. I used to discuss films from narratives, cuts, and voice acting. But this time, it was a completely different experience to me, as the one who was discussing with me was an invisible goddess reviewing the film from the aspects of religion and taboos.
After all the changes were confirmed, Alid started to bring us things from the living room: broken bowls, two vases in different colors and shapes, a bamboo basket and a bamboo knife. She put all these things on the table and sat down telling us that She hoped this exhibition to be successful, so She would like to build up a temporary kuwa in Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and send celestial soldiers to guard the exhibition.
“A pig skull” and “a temporary kuwa” were media that connected villagers, the ang-î, the team of the project, and even Alid Herself. After I realized this, I started to change the wording from “my artwork” to “our project.” From “my” to “our” (which includes villagers, the ang-î, Alid and our team), and from an “artwork” (which was symbolic, lingual, structuralist and artistic) to “projects” (which is situated in the context of how a village community thinks and narrates), the experience had changed me.
At the opening of the exhibition, one artist pulled me away and told me seriously, “Guan-jhang, one of my friends was scared by your exhibition. I was told that two small black men were standing there, and they might be some evil spirits.” I answered quickly that he needed not to worry for they were soldiers of Alid, and they did not mean to hurt people. And I was thinking that Alid really sent Her soldiers here. After returning to my home, I made a phone call to the ang-î and talked about this, and he told me immediately that Alid was there in the opening ceremony. She said Her bottles were put wrongly, with the front facing the corner of a wall, and thus Alid was facing the wall as well. He told me this while quoting Alid, “That silly son of the Chen family was really empty-headed. He did not carefully check the fronts and backs of those bottles.” I was nervous about this huge mistake and afraid that Alid was angry about this. I asked the ang-î what happened if Alid was facing the wall, and he answered: “She would be stuck! Fortunately, Alid said that She was slim enough to walk out from the side. She keeps telling me that you are really silly.” So I found it quite funny: Alid would discuss a project with me, and She would also mock me in a humorous way.

Conversations and Exchanged Connections on the Move

In the exhibition, I received an invitation from Peter Richards, a curator from Northern Ireland, to stage another exhibition there. I was honored, but I was also worried much about how to bring these items (the pig skull, betel nuts and flower rings) to Northern Ireland. I discussed with the ang-î, and we mentioned many methods: using plaster models, arriving there earlier to buy a new pig skull and make it by myself… Yet none of those worked. It was really frustrating to find a way to bring those things abroad.
One day, the ang-î told me that Alid led him to the place in Northern Ireland last night, and they had decided how to solve my problems. I stared at him, wondering, “You have been there? How do you make it? What have you seen there?” the ang-î told me about his dream last night: he arrived at some unknown building and met an old lady there. The old lady told him that they had an exhibition inside the building. He entered and saw a photograph of the temporary kuwa at my exhibition in Kaohsiung. In front of the photograph were three transparent plates. A small bottle of wine was placed on the central plate. On the bottle was a piece of round label with an “H” written on it. The color of the wine was amber or sepia. On the plates on both sides were fruits like peaches or apples. Leaving the building, the ang-î walked for a while and arrived at a sea shore full of rocks and many stone pillars. He was looking at the sea when the old lady suddenly appeared again, asking how he would return to his home. The ang-î told her: “I came here after I fell asleep. I’ll go back in the same way.” The lady told him, “You can walk slowly toward the sea. Don’t be nervous. Keep walking forward, and you shall be back to Taiwan.” When the ang-î stepped forward, at first he felt the warm water, and some waves kept lapping toward him. He turned around, asking the old lady, “Why is the water warm? And there are many waves!” The lady answered, “Do not worry. Just relax yourself and keep walking!” He followed her words. After a few steps, the sea seemed to be frozen into a huge glass panel. He kept walking, and he suddenly noticed that he was far away from the shore and was in the middle of the sea. The dream stopped here and he woke up. After he woke up, Alid told him the building was exactly the place of the exhibition in Northern Ireland, and the exhibition could be arranged like what he saw in the dream.
About the exhibition in Northern Ireland, I had been thinking about two things: people in Northern Ireland mainly believe in Christianity or Catholicism, so how could we connect them with aboriginal animism and our project? In addition, what did it mean when a “local” exhibition went to another country? How would people in other countries understand this culture? Would they see it as an exotic, bizarre culture?
After I arrived at Northern Ireland, I struck various conversations and discussions with local people. I found they were interested in aboriginal stories and mythology. They even compared my works with Carlos Castaneda’s texts. Therefore, I used the texts of Castaneda as a base to discuss with them the “dream” that the ang-î had before I visited Northern Ireland.
They gave various responses and interpretations to his dream. I also brought up two questions for them: (1) “what do you think of that ‘H’ on the wine bottle?” and (2) “what do you think or interpret from this dream?” About the “H,” people thought of brands of wine at first, but I also heard in other interviews that “H” could be pronounced as /etʃ/ or /etʃ/. I asked local artists about this, and they said different pronunciations indicated whether the speaker came from a Christian or Catholic family, which then implied the person’s position in the politic spectrum—whether he or she supported Northern Ireland’s independence or not. Later, some people also mentioned the H-Blocks, which was a prison for political prisoners in Northern Ireland. They also connected the shore in the dream with local mythology because the ang-î’s description sounded similar to the landscape of Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
Via the artwork The Dream of An Ang-î, I connected local cultures and histories. We discussed languages, pronunciations, religions, and self-identities before returning to my work. In Northern Ireland I started a new project: From the Dream of An Ang-î to H-Blocks. From this experience, I learned that artists were also culture carriers. By giving lectures or staging exhibitions, one could take, tell and exchange stories of Taiwan to a different country or culture. When the research on a place or an individual’s life history was carried out to small parts, details of narrations would reach out to form new connections. These connections might be the key to new relationships that may go beyond boundaries of cultures, languages, countries and religions.

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