Wednesday, December 19

[ARTS] 《閱讀‧李山》特展 Reading Li Shan

昨天和卡羅一起去看了台北當代藝術館的《粉紅微笑之後 閱讀‧李山》特展。展期自 2012/11/24 至 2012/01/20。此展覽以生物藝術為主題,運用大量生物形象/實體作為創作元素,根據李山在展覽中錄製的影片,他表示這些作品是用以啟發人類思考,當我們已經可以掌握這麼多生物技術,也能夠改變生物的基因模組,甚至自己「合成」生物基因組(Craig Venter),人是不是已經從造物的手中奪取了「造物的權力」?

The exhibition, Reading Li Shan, has another beautiful and dreamly name, After the Pink Smile. In fact, the name can be translated into both "behind" and "after", but since the arts exhibited this time were done after his serial works Yan Zhi, a kind of Chinese traditional cosmetics with pink or red color, I translated the name with "after". However, the name could also be "behind", as the works involve the reflection on the power of "creating organisms", which human beings are able to do now.

《來自準噶爾的記號—動物標本》(官網上有大部分作品的解析。)
Sign From Junggar—Stuffed Animals(The detailed interpretation and description are available on the official website.
本身是學生物的我,其實看不出來這些東西有什麼美感,所以以下可能會有大量噴文和情緒性文字(喂)。另外除了此主展,還一起看了 Lourdes Salcedo Tavira (邵曉露)《我看到了善惡》特展。(心得待補)

As a (sort of) biologist, I didn't see any beauty in these art works. Thus there must be MANY negative review and writings about this exhibition. Besides Reading Li Shan, we also went to another solo exhibition, Over Coating, by Lourdes Salcedo Tavira.

收入將全數捐至 Wikipedia


《來自準噶爾的記號—植物標本》攝影
此作品與驢皮標本放在同一個展間。說是遠古時帶的植物標本,但我有點懷疑遠古是多遠古,因為實體看起來比較像是乾燥花。當然李山所說的遠古可能是指起源很古老的意思。
Sign From Junggar—Plant Specimens photography

在官方網站上,介紹《閱讀‧李山》特展的敘述中有一句是「李山結合科學認知和藝術想像創作的100幅轉基因生物形象,簡直就是二十一世紀版的《山海經》怪獸大全集!」。看到的當下我簡直嗤之以鼻(卡羅應該有聽到我吐槽<誒)。山海經的神獸,根本不是轉基因可以做出來的。太多山海經與古神話裡的神物,在生理結構上就不符合生物力學。比方說刑天,臉長在肚子上,除非他跟章魚一樣腦袋和內臟都放在腹腔,並且習慣趴地行走,這樣的造型不太適合生長於陸地上。六足四翅的帝江、呼風喚雨的應龍,如果照著圖上的結構去設計和「組裝」至少在一大氣壓的地球陸地表面是難以生存的。再說《山海經》裡的神物多是與天地共存,但李山做出來的「藝術品」,只是突變的產物。就跟多了一隻指頭的人,或是多了一個體節的蒼蠅是一樣的。生物藝術如果要以基因改造為手段,必然有其限制,這個限制讓人與造物不同,李山在訪談影片中也有提到。

On the official website, there is a sentence describing this exhibition, "(...) the hundreds of images of transgenic creatures created by combining scientific knowledge and artistic imagination are truly the 21st century version of the monster extravaganza of the Shan Hai Jing, an ancient Chinese volume of whimsical stories!" I didn't agree with what is written. Shan Hai Jing is a book or collection of the imaginary creatures/chimeras of the ancient China. Ascending to the time this book was written, there was no biophysic concept in the mind of our ancestors. The creatures in the drawings could not live, at least on the earth, in an environment with pressure at around 1 atm and gravity acceleration at 9.8 meter per square second. In Shan Hai Jing, Xing Tien is a giant whose head was slashed off, and his nipples became his eyes and his navel became his mouth. Unless he has his brain mixed with his intestines and all the innards, he could not even move and process what he "receives" with his eyes. Di Jiang is a creature without head but has four wings and six legs. It's possible for it to exist, but less likely to be mammal (or at least with animal flesh). The image might origin from insects which have six legs and four wings, but the backbone of mammals or even birds should not be able to host four brachia and support all the muscles required for flying well. Moreover, in Shan Hai Jing, these creatures are "native" or "natural" while Li Shan's works are all artificial. The legendary organisms live harmoniously with the earth, they are able to "survive" well in the nature. Li Shan's idea could only generate mutants, and these mutants, possible but unlikely would become a new species. Bio-art has its limit, if we are only using the transgenic method to make the arts; these limitations make human beings different from "the creator", and Li Shan also talked about this in his interview.

《轉譯的錯誤》
李山此次展出的作品大多是用毛筆創作,卡羅說看他握筆和運筆的技巧,應該是很嫻熟於畫畫的人。確實,李山過去得油畫/丙烯作品真的很美,雖然也是 Pop 藝術,但是色調跟形象很美。
Mistake of Translation
Many (or most) art works exhibited this time were calligraphic. Li Shan use brush and color paper to finish this work. My friend Carol said, from the way Li Shan held his brushes, he should be someone very good at painting. After searching on the internet, I found many of his pop arts, and all of them are pretty with vivid color and fine lines.

李山說他在以基因改造的青蛙(看起來應該是用非洲爪蟾 Xenopus laevis 這種常見的模式生物)作品《隨機表達的可能性》和《隨機表達的可能性 II》中,希望科學家能破除所有基因表達的限制。就我所能想到的範疇,在不能改變所有 promoter 序列的狀況下,應該只能全部去甲基化(demethylation)?李山在展覽的訪談影片中提到,目前科學家沒有辦法將所有控制基因表達的因素去除,讓所有基因都「完全隨機」的表達。這確實以目前的科技是難以達成的,細胞一直隨著環境改變做出反應,全部去甲基以後隨機加上染色體修飾,也很難避免細胞不會因為環境壓力再自主甲基化。再則,能成功長大甚至分裂的卵,必須經過一定程序的基因表達,這是發育生物學上目前研究發現的結果。也就是說,李山的藝術實驗,其實本身就有「隱形的天擇」存在著,這個天擇便是生命掙扎求生的天性。

In his two works, The Possibility of Random Expression and The Possibility of Random Expression II, Li Shan said that he would like to use transgenic frog (seemly to be Xenopus laevis, a common model organism) to show how freely could a life express all their genes. He worked with scientists and hoped they could remove all the constraints encrypted in the genome. To the extent I can think of, this should be done with demethylation, as we are now still far from unraveling the functions and the control mechanism of promoters. Li Shan also said that scientists cannot remove all the factors controlling the expression of genes, and let all the genes are randomly expressed. Cells (like eggs in this case) are always changing in order to "be adapted to" the environment, with epigenetics. On top of that, those eggs which were able to develop and grow, must underwent a certain path. All the genes are chronologically controlled for their expression during the development. Thus, in his experiment, there was "invisable natural selection", which was the nature of a life to seek for or struggling to staying alive.

《閱讀系列-兩個老虎頭》
Reading Series—Two Tiger’s Head
李山是現代藝術家,原本念的是外語系,之後轉入上海戲劇學院舞台美術系,或許不是科班出身這點,讓他的作品《閱讀 17》的佈展過程影片令我跟卡羅有點(ry)。李山是請裸體的模特兒站在牆前,照著他的投影/輪廓,像小時後把手放在紙上那樣照著描一遍的。我跟卡羅看到的時候,非常驚訝。以光影和意涵來說,《閱讀 17》整體佈展的效果是非常好的。因為是裝置藝術,我們在觀賞時也沒有追究那些個人形有多麼扭曲乃至比例不太協調。但是看到佈展過程居然是用描的,我們簡直不敢想像,一個藝術家居然連最基本的人體速寫/想像乃至塗鴉都做不出來。再怎麼說,站立、爬梯、行走,這些動作既不牽涉到扭曲/想像的視角,也不是動作瞬間的捕捉,完全是非常日常基本的動作,居然需要用描的……(再吐槽下去我應該會爆粗口了)。李山在這篇訪談裡說他下輩子要搞生物不搞藝術,我有點(ry take 2)。(同一篇訪稿裡也提到李山對人體的關注更著重於「性」,這點我想應該是沒錯的,在所有展品中,都可以看到李山雖不刻意但是也未隱藏生物的第二性徵。)

My friend and I were shocked by the fact how Li Shan set up his art Reading 17. The light and the meaning behind his creation are beautiful, but when we saw he sketched the outline of the human body by moving his pencil along the body of his model, we felt it was unbelievable. An artists who doesn't know how to draw an outline of a person, even with simple movement (or even without movement). To stand and to walk, these should be very basic, why he needed a model? Li Shan also mentioned about his focus on sex in his another interview/talk. We were also able to see the sex characteristics.

《閱讀 17》
Reading 17

也許是因為己身經歷過的科學訓練讓我變成像李山口中那些「難以溝通的科學家」吧,我總覺得李山的作品,特別是那些看起來像是苦瓜/南瓜混種的「基因改造」作品,真心是沒有意義的。基因改造的過程可不像一般的混種成本那麼低,而且以李山所關心的「倫理」為考量,科學家問他:「你打算怎麼處理這些作品?」這些轉基因作物是不能隨意丟棄的,雖然他們可能在野外無法生存下去,但是重組過基因的植物如果有機會和其他野生型雜交,就可能把這些基因傳下去。李山說他希望他的作品保有生物的活性,能夠藉由「性」來再生,那麼這層倫理,不知道他是否考量過?

I may be "the scientists who are hard to communicate with" in Li Shan's point of view. I also think that his works are meaningless, especially for those balsam pear/pumpkin hybrids. If they were really transgenic plants, the cost-effectiveness was and must be too low. Even if I take his motivations of creating these plants into consideration, I still couldn't see how he expressed his care about the ethic of changing the life form? The scientists collaborated with him asked him once, "How are you going to discard these plants?" They cannot be disposed casually. These plants might not be able to survive in the wild, but by chance they can hybrid with other wild type plants, and the genes could be passed down to the next generation. Li Shan once said that he would like his bio-arts to keep the vigor, but I wonder if he ever think of how his arts could perturb the ecosystem  on the earth.

在上述的專訪裡,其中一為訪談者張洹說:「其实它出来之后,譬如它只活了三分钟,或者一秒钟就死了,一出来就死,那这种动物就象人能活一百岁,马能活十岁,狗能活二十岁一样,它活五秒钟可能就相当于人类活二十亿年,一个道理。」

In an interview (see reference), one of the interviewer Zhang Huan said, "In fact, after it (a new form of life) emerges, even if it only live for three minutes or even one second, or even die right after his birth, this animal has no difference from a human being with a hundred-year lifespan, a horse able to live for ten years or a dog living for 20 years. It lives for five seconds, but this could be an analogy to humankind with a history of two billion years. The same idea."

李山接話:「我们这些作品的鲜活性,不是文化意义上的鲜活性,而是生理意义上的鲜活性,这类作品是我们在这一阶段要完成的作品,我们回纽约之后就着手做方案,然后将这些方案在美术馆、博物馆或重要的画廊里展出,出版一本文献图录,以这种方式去筹集资金建实验室。我想我们会找到疯狂的投资人,也会找到疯狂的科学家。没有疯狂就没有发现,就没创造,我相信总会有那么几个有钱人和那么几个科学家有着与我们同样的思想和愿望。」

Li Shan continued, "The freshness of our works is not the cultural freshness, but physically. This kind of arts was what we needed to finish in this stage, so after we went back to New York, we started to do this project. Then we displayed these works in art galleries, museum or other important galleries. We published an illustrated catalog and by these way, we were able to raise funds for building a lab. I think we are able to find a crazy investor and also crazy scientists. Without craziness, we won't have discovery and creation. I always believe that there are some rich people and some scientists having the same idea and hope as we do."

《重組方案》
李山用合成照片的方式,用自己的嘴唇照片替換掉大部分生物的眼睛;用皮膚照片替換生物的翅膀;用舌頭照片替換掉甲蟲的殼。而我只想吐槽,人類唇與舌的顏色來自血,蒼蠅/青蛙/蜻蜓的眼色來自體表色素。
Restructing Plan
他想做的是創造新生命,紙上談兵容易,但真要做出活體,必得受到道德牽制。他說了一句我覺得很中肯的話:「为了提取药物,人类的基因已经在动物体上被使用,你不能说是因为提取药物就不违背伦理道德,而制作艺术就违背伦理道德。伦理道德这种玩意,你必须向它发难,去挑逗它,去捉弄它,去伤害它,它才会松弛下来,开始走样、变型。」又說(我沒有詳細考證法源,僅引述):「法律规定,胚胎发育到十六个细胞之前可以提取它的干细胞,发育到十六个干细胞之后就不可以提取,因为发育到十六个细胞之后就涉及到伦理问题了,我想问是谁划定的界线,根据再哪里,请示过上帝吗,为什么是十六,而不是八,不是三十二,人类的荒唐就在于够接受没有道理的道理,并从不去追问。」在這兩點上,我挺喜歡他的想法的。

What he wants to do is to create a new life form. It's easier said than done. If he wants to make a living creature, there must be ethic issues. He said something which is fair, "For extracting the drugs/medicines, we transformed the animals with human genes. You cannot say that this is not a violation of ethic because we do this for making medicine, but it is against moral if we use the same methods to do arts. Ethics and morals are what you need to revolt, to tease, to harm, and thus it could be relaxed, to be changed and deformed." He also said, "By law, the embryo before 16-cell stage can be used to collect stem cells, but the embryo beyond this stage cannot be used, due to the ethic issue. I want to ask who is the person defined this line? What's the base? Did anyone ask the God about this? Why sixteen, not eight, nor thirty-two? The ridicule of human beings is that we are easy to accept the rule without any reason and we never ask." I like his points of view a lot.

《南瓜計畫》方案草圖
南瓜計畫也是一直被我吐槽的展品。從他的筆記和他所畫出來的想像圖,我看不出一絲可行的關聯。他說要打亂基因序列,重組然後放回南瓜裡表現,我見識淺薄,想不出有哪種方法可以做全基因組的序列 shuffle,然後基因不會被打斷,表現不會被中斷。
《The Pumpkin Project》Program Sketch
The Pumpkin Project are a series of art works that I dislike (and a lot). I couldn't tell the relationship between his manuscripts and the imaginary pumpkins he drew. He must not have detailed plan on how to produce these pumpkins. He wrote that he wanted to shuffle the genes and change the codons in the genome and replaced the genome with the shuffled one. I don't know if there is any method could be used to do so, without interrupting the expression of the genes and keeping the transgenic plants similar to the wildtype.
《南瓜計畫》攝影
就成品看來,我覺得只是單純的苦瓜與南瓜混種而已。
《The Pumpkin Project》Photography
Somehow I felt that instead of transgenic pumpkins, these pumpkins are simply hybrids of pumpkin with cucumber or balsam pear.
除卻以上批評(根本是全部吧喂),門票和紀念印章倒是挺可愛的。門票是當代藝術館慣常使用的門票加上透明蜻蜓翅膀脈紋的貼紙,讓貼紙展現出李山鍾愛的蜻蜓形象。李山說他選擇用蜻蜓,是因為蜻蜓曾經是地球上最繁茂的生物之一(待考),遠古蜻蜓展翅幅度可以寬至兩米,約是一個成年人的高度;以此為契機,他用 3D 動畫做出一個上半身蜻蜓下半身人腿的動畫短片,作品名稱是《遭際》。那個展場很棒,我喜歡他在偌大展廳(應該有 10 x 6 平方公尺)放巨型螢幕加上使用經文歌(聽起來應該是歐洲而非中國的?)的設計。觀者應該很容易被挑起神聖的感覺。

Regardless of the above critics, the tickets and stamps are quite cute. The ticket is the outline of the MOCA building with additional wings mimicing a dragonfly. Li Shan said that he chose dragonfly as the key role in all the works in his Reading series because dragonflies were one of the dominant insect on the earth. The length of a dragonfly's two wings is about two meters, about the height of an adult. He did a 3D animation film with a chimera: the upper part of the body is a dragonfly and the lower part remains to be human like. This short film is called Misfortune. On a long (about 10 meters) screen, the film was projected. The background music was a motet, but I don't know its name. The room was huge, but there was no echo. This article made me feel holy and sacred.

《遭際》
Misfortune
門票和紀念章。蜻蜓翅膀居然是貼紙!
The ticket and stamps. The dragonfly's wings are make of plastic stickers.
整體來說,佈展和動線非常流暢美麗,作品的意涵也很深刻。但正如文章開頭所說,我真心看不出來這些作品有什麼藝術品(我認為必須俱備的)美感。展期到明年一月,就某方面來說,還是挺推薦去看看的,你會看到另一個世界

To wrap up, the exhibition design and path for viewing are extremely beauty and well designed. The thoughts behind the works were also quite profound. However, I still cannot tell any beauty, which I deem it as a necessity, in these arts. The exhibition will end by next January, and I still recommend it. You would see another universe.


References:
  • http://news.artxun.com/lishan-1595-7972195.shtml
  • http://news.artxun.com/lishan-1602-8008704.shtml

2 comments :

  1. 您好
    我們是新成立的粉絲團「特展」
    是個分享北中南各地的活動、展覽訊息的平台
    大家可以在粉絲團內分享展覽資訊並且做交流

    我們粉絲團會有心得文章的徵選
    經過小特的評選後
    若有分享到我們粉絲團上
    就可獲得『精美小禮物』一份唷
    歡迎您可以投稿私訊我們粉絲團!!

    謝謝您 : )

    特展
    https://www.facebook.com/artexhi
    (幫我們按個讚吧: )

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    Replies
    1. 謝謝告知XD
      已經按讚了!
      感覺是個資訊更新很快也很實用的社團.
      這篇心得文還沒有完全寫好, 如果寫完會(恬不知恥地<不)試著投稿看看 :)

      Delete