數字

Numbers

 

2020 / 彩色有聲錄像、投影裝置

2020 / video (color, sound), projecting installation

 

在蔡佳葳的這件〈數字〉錄像作品裡,藝術家用墨水在冰塊上書寫1到9的數字,這些數字的字跡,漸漸從清晰到無從辨識;隨後,和冰塊一起慢慢化成一灘水。最後,彷彿消失般地無影無蹤。然而,曾經存在的墨跡,即便隨時間流逝而乾涸, 仍舊在某時某地留下形跡雖難尋,但也無法完全抹除的印記。

 

蔡佳葳以「冰塊」作為隱喻,強調治理術的冷酷,無辜生命的被迫害與被消失,就如同冰塊的融化。藉由類似冰融成水的自然現象,暗喻統治管理合理化的暴力行為,手段冰冷而形跡可匿。「數字」所影射的不只是監獄內以數字為「識別碼」替代人個別的姓名,將人的價值貶低為不具有個別意義的抽象數字;同時,數字也代表天、月、年等「時間」的計量單位,等待審判,等待釋放,無數無辜者的生命歲月被禁錮在牢房內的時間;此外,數字還具有「數量」的意義,監牢內的政治犯或許可數,監牢外無數的「獄外之囚」數不勝數。

上述所言,屬於作品直面呈現的意涵。如果,從廣義的延伸含意來看,畢竟,外在物理性的「消失」,看似無影無蹤;然而,冰可以變成水,再變成水蒸氣,直到肉眼看不見,水蒸氣也可能再凝結成水,再次結冰。這是一種自然現象的反覆循環,也是顛撲不破的道理。同時,匿名性的人,可以是被剝奪主體性的囚犯,也可能是「諸眾的集結」,甚至「惡靈的聚集」,具有抵抗與重返的雙重意義。諸眾的見證與集結便是歷史創傷癒合、真相顯現這件〈數字〉和他的〈我們牽掛的歌〉形成一組對照作品,前者中匿名的、以數字為識別碼的人們,和後者歌唱的人們,有極其類似的生命處境。

Numbers is a work of video art by TSAI Charwei, in which she writes the numbers from 1 to 9 on ice cubes with ink. As the ice melts, these numbers gradually become illegible and end up in a blend of ink and water. These ice cubes eventually disappear without trace. However, the ink, which had once existed and now has dried, still leaves faintly discernible yet indelible imprint somewhere and sometime.

TSAI invokes the metaphor of “ice cube” to highlight the callousness of governance. Innocent lives were persecuted and taken in a way like the melting ice. Applying the natural phase transition from ice to water, the artist makes a veiled insinuation against the state monopoly of legitimate violence as merciless as anonymous. These numbers not only insinuate the dehumanization of prisoners who had no name but abstract numbers without specific meanings, but also represent the units of time such as day, month and year, viz., the amount of time that innumerable innocent inmates had spent waiting for trial and release. These numbers refer to “quantity” as well. The number of political prisoners in jail may be finite, yet the “prisoners outside prison” are too many to count.

This work has broader significance apart from the apparent connotation explicated in the description above. The external, physical “disappearance” seems to leave no trail. However, ice can melt into liquid water, and liquid water can turn into invisible water vapor, and vice versa. This is not only an endless natural cycle but also an indisputable truth. Meanwhile, the anonymous entities could be prisoners deprived of their subjectivity, the “aggregation of the multitude,” or even the “gathering of evil spirits,” which carries a double meaning of resistance and return. The multitude’s witness and assembly mark the recovery from the historical trauma and the moment of truth, while the return of the old demons implies that the cruel history may repeat itself. This work Numbers and her other work Songs We Carry (A short version of three projects) build a pair of contrasting works together. The life situation of the anonymous entities in the former work and the people singing in the latter work are identical.

特別感謝 Special thanks to:楊翠女士 YANG Tsui

我們牽掛的歌(三件作品剪輯段版)

Songs We Carry (A short version of three projects)

 

2017~2018 / 彩色有聲錄像 / 18分鐘

2017~2018 / video (color, sound) / 18 mins

 

在悲痛或欣喜的時刻,在貧窮或富裕的時代,我們都有牽掛的歌。不管我們來自何方,這點是所有人都共享。也許我們語言不通、來自不同文化,或擁有迥異的生命經歷,但當聽見有人唱歌,我們會立刻有所感受,我們能理解彼此的痛苦和喜悅,這便是這個計劃的目的。這三支影片捕捉了三種截然不同的情況與人的處境:尼泊爾流離失所的地震倖存者、英國的被拘留女性與尋求庇護者,以及高雄港停泊漁船上的工人,透過歌聲,他們彼此之間、和我們都建立了連結。

與慈仁建塘共同創作
三件原作品:

2017 尼泊爾奇翠巴蒂地震災民營之歌

2017 聽她歌唱

2018 高雄漁港工之歌

 

In times of tragedy or jubilation, in poverty or wealth, we all have songs that we carry with us. And no matter where we come from, all human beings share this. We may not speak the same language or share the same culture, and we may have come from vastly different experiences in life, but when we hear someone singing we immediately connect. We understand each other’s suffering and joy. This is the purpose of this project. The three videos showcase three vastly different situations and human conditions - displaced earthquake victims of Nepal, women detainees and asylum seekers in UK, and laborers on fishing vessels docked in Kaohsiung Harbor, but they are all linked to each other and to us through songs.

In collaboration with Tsering Tashi Gyalthang Three original videos:


Songs of Chuchepati Camp, 2017


Gear her singing, 2017

Songs of the Migrant Workers of Kaohsiung Harbor, 2018

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