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鍾適芳(傳播學院助理教授兼中心主任)

 

青少年的我,坐在劇場,被壯大的布蘭詩歌、舞台上著緊身衣燈籠褲的群舞者節節逼近,最後被吞沒。肢體、情緒、表情、音樂、聲響、燈光,把隱藏底處的另一個我叫喚出來,既是黑暗中觀眾的共享,也是私密獨白。自始,現代舞予我,有著無法言喻的吸引力。舞台上的波瀾,掀動內心最劇烈的欲望、最幽微的悲喜。

第一次的現代舞經驗,是「雲門」的「薪傳」,還是少年的我,跟隨著媽媽、姊姊,沒有人懂舞蹈,但是創作者接納每一種觀眾。從看「雲門」起步,我們於是被引渡到現代舞的經典之路,不見得再回頭,卻無法逃避「雲門」曾為一個世代的台灣人所開啟的舞蹈視界。

作為少年觀眾,我不確定自己所看懂的,但隱約喜歡坐在「雲門」劇場中的朝聖儀式,不同於學校與電視提供的美感經驗。布與海浪、舞者的翻騰、跳躍、滾動,都在少年眼底留下影跡。生命史詩般,肢體承載了故事最重的能量,也推向個人心理的深層探索。抽象的、光影的、聲響的,建築起另一個真實的世界,以及另一種敘事。那是1970年代的台灣。

那時一切處於封閉,現實生活也還沒有樣態,很難想像藝術家如何突圍,追尋美學上的自由。媒體只輸送著蒼白思想的年代,卻有野草般粗生的藝術先鋒:張照堂的告別與開創、林懷民打開「雲門」、王墨林的身體批判、許常惠的「民族」與「現代」、周渝、吳靜吉、金士傑的小劇場拓荒…。狹小的孤島、壓抑的政治,他們如何汲取外來的知識,把孤獨化作養分,不計現實地實驗?

張照堂在1968年說起自己的創作動機,「荒謬與無聊」是「現代藝術的原動力」(黃華成,1968)。「無聊」也隱喻了那個時代的氛圍,以及藝術家不懈創作用以喘息的狀態。時代的侷限與荒誕,意外地為台灣當代藝術指向一個明確的地位。

2014年政大駐校藝術家系列活動,我們不僅向林懷民先生致敬,更為那時代飽滿著創作活力及渴求的實驗者起立鼓掌。他們所開創的,我們仍在仰望。那時代留給後生世代充足的養分與希望,讓我們勇於追求屬於自己的那道光。

*註:攝影家張照堂在1970年代寫下的一句話:「每一世代的人都追求一道光。」

Chasing the Light of a Generation…

 

Once as a teenager, I remember sitting in a theatre listening to “Carmina Burana,” while I watched the dancers intimately move closer and closer to the end of the stage, completely enveloped in the experience of it all. This experience of watching moving bodies, emotion, expression, music, sound, and light, beckoned a hidden part of me into existence. Although I sat in the audience where everyone could see, this transformation in myself was something that I alone witnessed. Since the beginning, modern dance enticed and intrigued me for reasons that I could not articulate. The momentum of the stage stirred my most acute internal desires and profound joys and sorrows.

My first experience with modern dance was a piece by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre with my mother and sister as a teenager. None of us understood dance, but the performance attracted every sort of audience member. After watching Cloud Gate, we were all absorbed into the world of modern dance with no hope of return. There is no denying that Cloud Gate opened a new field of vision for a generation of modern dance in Taiwan.

As a young audience member, I am not sure what I understood. But I do have a vague memory that making a pilgrimage to the theater for the ritual of viewing Cloud Gate was a much different experience than sitting in school or watching television. The textures and waves of the dancers’ surging, leaping, and rotating movements that I saw as a teenager have remained in my memory until this day. Like an autobiographical poem, the body wields an incredible potential for storytelling and guiding individuals to their own personal exploration. These abstract forms, lights and sounds constructed a different sort of real world with a different narrative voice. That was the Taiwan of the 1970s.

In those times, everything was closed off and there was no space for art in “real life”—it was difficult to imagine how an artist might be able to survive and pursue their artistic inspiration. Even in this time when society invested little energy in creativity, pioneering artists emerged like growing grass: Chang Chao-Tang’s photo exhibits, Lin Hwai-min’s “Cloud Gate,” Wang Mo-Lin’s theories of the body, Xu Chang-hui’s idea of “Modernity” and “Democracy,” as well as Zhou Yu, Wu Jing-ji, and Jin Shi-jie’s development of independent theatre. Living on this tiny island with a repressive government—how could they attain knowledge from the outside, nourishing themselves only with their own loneliness, and disregarding the criticisms of their home country?

In1968, Chang Chao-Tang spoke of his own motivation for creation. “Absurdity and boredom” were the “original force behind modern art.” (Huang Hua-Cheng, 1968) “Boredom” was a metaphor for the mood of the times and the situation for artists who relentlessly produced art to breathe fresh air. The limitedness and preposterousness of that era accidentally propelled Taiwanese modern art into a clear position.

For the 2014 Artist-in-Residence programming series, we wish to not only express our respect for Lin Hwai-Min, but also to applaud all artists and experimenters of that era who so passionately and creatively struggled for the sake of their artistic creations. We still look up to the creations they produced so many years ago. Artists from this decade left later generations a sense of hope and support, giving us the strength to pursue our own light.


Note: Photographer Chang Chao-Tang wrote in the 1970s: “People of every generation are looking for light.”

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