Object-Subjectivities: a Techno-art Saga 東西遊戲:科藝漫遊 (2018)

Linda LAI Chiu-han 黎肖嫻 with Winsome WONG 黃慧心, FUNG Wing-lam 馮穎琳,  Tobias TANG 鄧志韜 & Winnie YAN 忻慧妍 (HK|香港)

Data visualization and interaction using Processing
8-metre long wall installation with 2 projectors, 4 wireless mobile joysticks
東西遊戲科藝漫遊(自行尋索版) (2018)
數據視覺化及互動 (用 Processing 編寫)
8米長牆面裝置,2 部投影機,4個無線流動遊戲搖桿

map with words for reference_final-01
Deep Time, longue duree, a possible map of connectivity 深沉的、持久的…長時間地圖

Synopsis 簡介

Object-Subjectivities: a Techno-art Saga is an 8m long interactive digital chronology mapping all the artworks in the show Algorithmic Art onto a broader history of art and technology, based on assumptions in media archaeology. The making of this chronology adaptively combines Erkki Huhtoma’s topos study approach, and Siegfried Zielinski’s “deep time” perspective, built into Lai’s ongoing experiments with notation systems and chronological visualization. In Huhtoma’s terms, topos study emphasizes “cyclically repeated motifs and processes, but does not deny progress,” and each artwork in the show is the focal point of a topos, such a work can imaginably form a unique landscape with the individual artist’s ongoing practices. The varied assembled landscapes of the 14 artworks in this show together accumulate into a geography for topoi analysis, attending to recurring discursive concepts, visual or audio, that can be traced cross-historically and, to various extents, cross-culturally. Lai finds such a broad view emphasis compatible with what Zielinski would call “deep time,” which is a distributive model, looking at objects and events (i.e. “media attractions” as he calls it) that are plottable on a chronology system equally as much as the vast silences and blankness of what is in between points.

The chronology presented here marks an initial step in examining the “dynamics between continuity and change” and attempts a deeper more interconnected understanding of past traces of media art situated in Hong Kong. The research-chronology exercise does not hide the fact that it has been by and large a keyword search relying on Wikipedia, which is the reality of how knowledged is handed down to us, here and now in Hong Kong and Asia. Visitors can access the data nodes on the point-line graphical map using a wireless joystick set, and explore the links in whatever way their curiosity leads them.

++The written texts on the 300+ slides on the chronology are primarily drawn or rewritten from Wikipedia sites connected to the keywords, unless otherwise specified.++

建基於媒體考古的前設下,《東西遊戲科藝漫遊(自行尋索版)》把《演算藝術:劃破時空》中所有藝術作品以至它們的器物前身綜合成廣闊、跨越時段和文化地域的8米長的數碼互動時間線,展示藝術想像與科技創新的長時間對流。這個時間線的建構參考了Erkki Huhtoma 的「場域」研究方法 (topos study approach) Siegfried Zielinski 的「深層時間」研究法,進一步推進黎肖嫻對標記系統和年表(時間線)於實驗性歷史書寫的持續研究。以 Huhtoma 的用語,「場域」研究強調題旨和過程的循環重複,同時不否定進展(的出現)」。《演算藝術》展覽中的每個作品都是一個場域的焦點,與藝術家的前作或持續的創作行動形成各自的風景。如是,這14件展出作品的出現、所構成的獨立風景,在同一個時空上聚集而形成了獨一無二的地理圖誌,作為場域研究的對象,展示跨代跨界跨文化地域的追溯的分析起點,當中是話語概念、影像和聲音的反覆出現。黎肖嫻認為這種廣闊的視點與 Zielinski 所稱的「深層時間」具共同性,重視的是「媒體吸引點」在時空上的分散式的著陸,把器物與事件(他稱為「媒體景點」) 和在時間線系統上不分等次的平等看待,也對點與點之間茫茫的靜默與空白產生好奇。

這裏所呈現的時間線或者不全客觀或科學,卻執著於考究「變與延續性之間的張力」,並嘗試對媒體藝術在香港的過往痕跡作一個更深層更強調多方連結的理解。取個宏觀的角度,這個科藝漫遊的資料彙集毫不掩飾我們大量依靠維琪百科這事實 – 因這大概就是知識如何傳遞到我們此時此地香港亞洲的現實。時間線的創造有點想打開一些新的門,看主詞科技史的追蹤如何可以加進中國、韓國、日本等文化源流的碎片。觀眾能利用無線遊戲搖桿去「遊歷」這個作品所展示的千萬年的器物拼圖,連接圖像點線圖上的資料節點,往遠古探尋,步步追蹤, 從令一種角度去欣賞當下的展品,用時間的點線面去想像媒體藝術故事的宏度。

ALB_0247RC
on-site view

Concept

The need for a “deep time” perspective is explained in Siegfried Zielinski’s Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means (2006). “Don’t we need more scientists with eyes as sharp as lynxes and hearing as acute as locusts,” he asks, in the presence of great changes, “and more artists who are prepared to run risks instead of merely moderating social progress by using aesthetic devices?” This speaks to researchers like Lai who are also artists. She is encouraged to be confronted by the “tension between imagination and calculation” and “the deep time of media constellation.” Lai’s response is no mere contemplation, but concrete actions of digging, collecting, documenting, locating and hypothesizing on potential relations. Erkki Huhtamo, in Tracing the Topoi, A Media Archaeologist’s Notes, describes topos “as a persistent cultural formula that appears, disappears and reappears, gaining ever-new meanings.” Topos study is thus “a way of understanding the dynamics between continuity and change.”

Within a range of imaginative, artistic constructions of a chronology of desires, Lai focuses on the act of excavation, visibly plotting, in particular, forgotten moments and objects made without an obvious connection to contemporary technology. This chronology is only the beginning of a long-term research process whereby criticality grows as she looks increasingly in the direction of not only forgotten moments, but also purposefully neglected and even suppressed histories. In putting together a tentative topoi-deep-time chronology, much effort was made to ensure there was always inclusion of how technology evolved and was experimented with in China, from ancient times onwards; to search for connective layers that might enable a broad complex worldview that includes a Chinese lineage in media arts. In a limited timeframe, this is necessarily a modest initial attempt, but nevertheless a start has been made. The chronology presented in Algorithmic Art is, therefore, intended to facilitate future topos study, that is to understand those “dynamics between continuity and change” and to delve further than accepted historical narratives to enable a deeper more interconnected understanding of past traces of media art situated in Hong Kong.

The 8-metre long wall projection of Object-Subjectivities: a Techno-art Saga allows visitors to access the points (data nodes) on the point-line graphical map using a wireless joystick set. By default, the wall shows a combined view of the 14 artworks and their criss-crossing points of convergence and deviation, chronologically and conceptually. The x-axis timeline reaches all the way back to 20,000 BCE and covers the centuries up to today, 2018, i.e. from when tally sticks, a form of mnemonic device, were in use as counting aids (near the (0, 0) coordinates) up to the most recent artworks here in the exhibition. The y-axis moves upward from what is more empirical toward grandeur and abstraction, from “visualization of the unseen,” “networks,” “surfaces with a view,” “fire and flickers” to “immortality” and “cosmology.” The story of art in this work is told as the history of technology; it is also a story of hypothetical relations, linkages, and desires as longue durée (long duration). The plotted points (the dots) are derived from keyword searches based on the conceptual and technical research purposes presented by the artists or implied in their works. Thanks to Wikipedia, we were to assemble collated information from their platform within a short time, followed by the editorial team’s summary adaptation. Visitors can use the pre-programmed mobile consoles to explore the works in the show at their own pace and following their own lines of curiosity. The work allows visitors the freedom to concentrate on tracing the genealogy of individual artworks, or to see how they crisscross each other in their conceptualization and purposes.

On a conceptual level, Object-Subjectivities: a Techno-art Saga continues Lai’s research-creation-in-progress of attending to the hidden lives of objects and technics. It openly experiments with discursive formation as the practice of historiography, producing self-consciously selective but factually grounded accounts pertaining to lived experiences. Like her former work Object-Subjectivities (2016) on media art in Hong Kong, this current iteration is a compound chronology asserting facts of making, no matter how fragmentary the documents are. As a chronology that seeks out the many links between each artwork’s socio-cultural history, it is fractured, elliptical, recursive, with distributed yet uneven pockets of thick descriptions. This chronology seeks out isolated local details as much as postulates a broad longue durée view across centuries and continents.

The future is conceived as the present. In order to project into the future, we look back in time to find traces of the desires that have driven technological advancement.

The process of dreaming up this chronology is somewhat like oneironautics, the ability to walk through lucid dreams of concrete objects, half certain half awake, half faith half imagination, in grasping the past of the future that is yet vividly present.

Siegfried Zielinski 的 Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means (2006) 解釋了對於「深層時間」視點的需求。在面對巨大轉變下他策問:「我們不正需要更多眼睛如猞猁般敏銳、聽覺如蝗蟲般靈敏的科學家,又或更多敢於冒險,而不只是以美學手段緩和社會進程的藝術家嗎?」這番話啟發了如黎肖嫻般同時是藝術家的研究者 — 應對「想像與計算之間的張力」的衝擊和「媒體群的深層時間」的挑戰是創作與理論的必須。黎肖嫻的回應並不侷限於思考,而是對潛在關係尋索、蒐集、紀錄、定位和假設作出實際行動。Erkki Huhtamo 在Tracing the Topoi, A Media Archaeologist’s Notes 中形容場域 (topos/topoi) 為「一種出現、消失並重新出現,獲得新的意義的持久文化公式。」場域研究因此是「理解延續和轉變之間張力的一種方法。」

在眾多建構想像力與藝術性、追蹤人類慾望的浮沉的時間線創作的可能性當中,這回黎肖嫻專注於挖掘以及視覺上的點記,尤其專注於與當代科技沒有明顯關聯的被遺忘的時刻和事物。這道時間線只是一個長期研究過程的開端,往後期望越趨批評,捉住更多被遺忘的時刻,追塑遺失的權力語境,甚至給蓄意壓抑的歷史,時間線亦隨之關鍵性地擴張。在整合 topoi 深層時間展現之時,她花了不少心機確保時間線涵蓋了在中國科技如何演變和被實驗,由古代開始;去搜索有可能容許更寬闊而錯綜複雜而且包括中國媒體藝術脈絡發展的世界觀的關聯層。在有限的時間裏,有必要做一個謙卑的初次嘗試,至少作一個開端。因此在「演算藝術」所展現的時間線是為了推進未來的場域研究-理解那些「延續和轉變之間的張力」以及超越那些已被納入為合法歷史的敘事, 為媒體藝術在香港的過往痕跡尋找更深層和多向的理解。

《東西遊戲科藝漫遊(自行尋索版)》8米長的牆面投影讓觀眾能利用無線遊戲搖桿連接圖像點線圖上的點(資料節點)。在預設下,這個8米長的互動裝置時間性和概念性地展示14件藝術作品以及它們匯合與偏離的縱橫交錯點線。時間線的 x 軸追溯到公元前20000年直到今天的2018,亦即是,由 tally stick-一種用來輔佐計算的記憶器 (近 x=0 座標),一直到展覽中最嶄新的作品。而 y 軸則由較為經驗性的往上推展到更宏大抽象的概念-由「顯現界」、「模控結鏈」、「鏡象」、「火花」到「不死之身」以及「日月星辰」。此作品中藝術的故事被述說成科技的歷史;也是持久的長時段 (longue durée) 視野,假設性的關係、關連和慾望的故事。那些標記下的資料節點源自基於藝術家自己或作品意味著的概念及科技研究目標的關鍵詞研究,主要來自 Wikipedia 的累集資訊,再由編輯組重寫或撮寫。觀眾可以利用已用程式編寫的流動操控臺按照自己的步伐和好奇心的導向探索展覽中的作品。作品讓觀眾自由專注於追溯各個作品的譜系及軌道,又或者探索作品如何在概念化和目標上縱橫交錯。

在理念層面上,《東西遊戲科藝漫遊(自行尋索版)》是黎肖嫻持續式的研究與創作的最新的迭代,專注於物件與科技潛在的生命上。它是複合的時間線群,打開話語構成的可實驗性,作為歷史書寫的批評性遊戲,連結生活經驗的過程裡,自覺時間線的選擇性而不失素材的必須建基於事實。如同她有關於香港媒體藝術的舊作《東西遊戲》(2016),2018年的這個時空遊戲同樣強調過去「製造/創造」的事實,無論得來的資料文獻有多斷碎。作為一個強調跨越、連線的篇連記,點線面多有騰空、斷裂,它們是零碎的,關係是隱晦的、遞迴的,具有分佈但不均勻的層層濃厚描述,這也許就是面對歷史的一種態度,化為方法,實踐理念。 尋找關乎本地創作的細節,同時牽引出跨越世紀和大陸的寬廣持久的視野。

未來被構想成當下。為了投想未來,我們回顧從前以追溯有關引發科技衍化的慾望的痕跡。「夢」著這個時間線的過程某程度上就像夢航-具體的器物、媒體事件栩栩如生清晰可見,卻又半夢半醒。是確信還是真的看見?是想像還是信仰?試圖伸手觸摸之際,牽引未來的過去正懸浮於此時此地,歷歷在目。

References 參考

Siegfried Zielinski. Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means. MIT Press, 2006.

Erkki Huhtamo. Tracing the Topoi, A Media Archaeologist’s Notes. Lecture given at the Media Archeologies Institute at SAIC, October 21, 2013

Bio

Linda LAI Chiu-han 黎肖嫻 is a research-based interdisciplinary artist. Her videography has been shown in over 20 cities, including 3 times at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, and as solo features at EXiS (Seoul) and EXiM (Macau). Her artistic practices are theoretical extensions of her doctoral training in Cinema Studies, and concern the politics of narrativity via the art of montage and experimental historiography. Since 2012, she has taken a spatial turn and created several large-scale installations, including two solo shows and one commissioned work for the Shanghai Biennale, the latter now part of the Power Station of Art permanent collection in Shanghai. 26 of her video works (2005-2014) are archived at the Video Bureau (Guangzhou and Beijing) for research use. She founded the Writing Machine Collective (2004 – ) and Floating Projects (2015 – ) with the Floating Projects Collective. She was the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Artist of the Year in Media Art 2017. Lai is currently Associate Professor at the School of Creative Media; her range of research articulates meaningful extension of her doctoral training in Cinema Studies to intermedia and media historiography.

黎肖嫻是一個以研究主導創作的跨領域藝術家。 她的實驗性錄影、數碼或混媒的裝置曾於歐美和亞洲的20多個城市展出,包括三度於德國奧柏豪辛國際短片節展出,以及於首爾實驗電影錄影節和澳門實驗錄像活動的個人放映。於紐約大學電影研究系取得哲學博士之後,她不斷尋究由電影延展開去的相關藝術和理論探索,尤其關注透過蒙太奇藝術敍事的政治性,以及實驗性編史。自2012年開始,她放眼與空間上並創作了數個大型裝置藝術,包括兩個個人展以及作品《1906-1989-2012》為第九屆上海雙年展 (2012)受委參展作品,《1906-1989-2012》現為上海當代藝術博物館永久館藏。她其中26件錄像作品 (2005-2014) 亦被收納於錄像局(深圳和北京)檔案庫作研究用途。她創辦了香港為基地的新媒體群體「文字機器創作集」,以及與句點藝術群體創立「據點。句點」。她亦榮獲香港藝術發展局年度藝術家獎(2017)。現為香港城市大學創意媒體學院副教授,學術研究環繞跨媒歷史和媒體藝術創作的研究,尤其敘事於新媒體創作中的展現。

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TIMELINE_rough_image
A past experimental chronology by Linda Chiu-han Lai. Sample sketch from Linda Lai’s Object-Subjectivities (2016): digital prototype of published experimental chronology (332 BCE – 2016) in which she imagined possible genealogies for media art in Hong Kong, based on a media archaeological paradigm, at “No Reference: A Revisit of Hong Kong Video and Media Art from 1985,” fringe exhibition of ISEA 2016. 黎肖嫻過去的實驗性時間線。黎肖嫻的《東西遊戲》(2016) 原稿印象:媒體考古練習,發表於「沒有先例:一次重塑香港錄像和新媒體藝術敘述的嘗試」,ISEA 2016外圍展覽,為香港的媒體藝術想像可能的譜系及軌跡(公元前332年-2016年6月-7月),由錄影太奇策劃。

IT elements
HTML5 / Unity / Processing