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采访对象:杨如海/Interviewed: Yang Ruhai

采访对象:杨如海

采访时间:200722日下午

采访地点:于北京西通县门

 

(农)村 (countryside) village 9

认可() recognition (acceptance level) 8

尝试 attempt (try experiment) 5

大众 the masses (public audience) 5

小众 small Circle of People 2

感觉 feeling feel 16

思考 思维 思想 thinking way of thinking 4

宽容 tolerant 8

宽容度 level of tolerance latitude 5

坚持 hold on to insisting 8

真诚 sincerity 7

感兴趣 interest interesting attracts 3

生活 live life 14

生存 living existence 6

状态 condition state the way 15

拍(摄) shoot filmmaking

 

中国 China 15

体制 system 17

改变 转变 变化)   change 16

标准 standard 11

影像 moving image video 12

现实 reality 3

流浪狗 stray dogs 1

circle 9

 

 

Q:请先谈一下你刚完成的作品拍摄的一些情况。

A:是刚在河北完的一个片子,大概算是一个多屏录像装置,是关于农村主人这样的一个主题的——可能很多依赖人生活农村,它们有生老病死,也有的被抛弃贩卖,在农村周围,除了人之外,像流浪狗,它们也有另外的一种生存状态,就基本上是这样的一个片子。

Q:就是说把主要关注点放在农村,是对人和动物之间生存状况的一种关注对吗?

A:对,其实这是从拍摄方面来讲的一个想法,另外一方面,可能针对的是形式上的,比如说对“记录片”的解释,什么才是一种生活记录?现在我可能会用另外一种概念去做,因为以前没有尝试过,另外,从生活中来讲的话,现在关注的东西可能离所谓的艺术圈远了一些吧,那些东西可能会更有意思,就是想,可以敲开一种感觉尝试一些不同宽容度的东西,这对我来说可能更感兴趣,而未必是绝对针对性的——未必是针对艺术圈来做东西。远离一种状态,可能更接近一种生活,自己对这种东西可能越来越感兴趣了

Q:在农村拍录像的时候,村民认为你们是电视台的,就是说和他们的沟通是不可能的?

A:不是说沟通不可能,其实我认为艺术这一块还是很小众的,很多时候是针对很小的受众群,所以有时候希望做一些宽容度更大的东西,哪怕一些跟艺术不相关的东西,去尝试做一些别的,这些东西可能带来另外的一种快乐。现在感到,在艺术思维之内去做东西很受局限,在很多方面无能为力,如果抬到一个所谓“乌托邦”的高度——其实很多时候是一种无能为力的乌托邦的概率,或者说是一种无能为力的乌托邦状态,但这样其实会延续很长时间,但是又有一个无法解决感觉

Q:你觉得主要还是呈现出你个人的一种什么样的状态?

A:这个不是太好说,作品呈现出来是由观众的,作品很难说是为而做的,做出来以后,自己随着时间的推移,会学着慢慢做完一个作品就遗忘一个作品,但作为观众方面,我不好说,观众可能会看到这个作品会而忽略掉它——很难说得非常准确,因为这可能是一个非常自由事情

Q:能讲下你去农村拍摄猫狗,和团队以外的其他有关人员交流的一些情况吗?

A:很简单,和他们交流的时候要忘记你的工作,你就是一个普通人,你跟他就是简单的认识,包括一些司机农民……他们家日常生活就这样,很人之常情的事情,不能因为你有某种想法,你做某些事情,你就是另外的一种感觉,而就是要入乡随俗

Q:谈一下你对现在一些艺术展览或艺术机构的一些看法。

A:现在各种展览越来越多,各种机构也越来越,都想做一些事情,但它们做事情和若干年前做事情的状态不一样,好像神没了,可能展览能做得很,像很多国际展览一样做得轰轰烈烈,热热闹闹,但很多东西没有精神了,但它可能在其他方面可能会更一点,某些展览里面有些个别艺术家做的作品是很的,但从整体来讲,就像审美……

Q:刚才都谈了你的创作和成长方面的问题,那么现在我们评论一些其它的事情,比如说“当代艺术”、“艺术”,还有“影像艺术”,你觉得它们对社会有些什么样的意义和作用?

A:这个问题真不好说,问题有点大,比较表面的说法,我觉得当代艺术一块,这么多年来其实有些人一直在,他们很多的都有一种思想改变,可能更多的是在思想思维意识上,还有很多的是在观念上做很大的努力改变了——比如中国教育学术艺术方面的很多东西,在这二三十年,大家的变化很大,大家的思维接受能力变化很大,之前说的“宽容度”和几十年前就有很大的不一样。我更感兴趣或者说自己挺感慨的一点,是自己从上学的时候看别人在做当代艺术,到自己感兴趣,然后参与,现在就是其中一份子,我感觉是很庆幸的,庆幸的是中国还是有这么一批人做当代艺术,我认为这些人是坚持自己理想的人,可以说他们是“知识份子”,或者说是“艺术家”,有这么一批人在做,至于他们做得成功与否?或所谓的达到什么状态?我觉得这个是其次,其实就好像是有另外一种“建筑”——可以说是一种无形思想建筑,它们在一砖一瓦的建起来,虽然很难说这个建筑盖到什么状态,但其实现在已经有这么一个东西在成立,这是一件挺感慨的事情,和几十年前有很大的变化

Q:影像艺术和当代艺术还有不同,它和社会的联系会否更紧密一些?

A:单从艺术来说,我觉得有一点——就是需要改变一点:“什么是影像”?在中国很多大家谈到电影的时候,都有一个基本的电影审美标准中国是一个所谓的叙事大国,很的电影是习惯性讲故事的电影——包括一些优秀业绩的中国电影,很多都是从叙事的角度的,但反过来说,在中国是不是有一些其它影像存在?就是说在大家认可的一种所谓标准电影,包括大家极力推荐形成的一种商业电影之外,很难说有没有另一种影像存在,它的生存可能性是不是有?这种东西要解决是靠意识,现在已经有很多进步的地方,我认为慢慢的大家已经不满足表面上、体制内存在的一些电影,大家满足不了了,慢慢地在改变,大家可能需要另外的一个雏形,到现在为止,我认为恰恰很多艺术家就在做这方面的尝试,他们做出来的影像作品未必是特别成熟的,但可能恰恰是起到一个承上启下的作用。

Q:别人会把你归纳在艺术电影里面是吧?

A:有人开玩笑说我是属于找骂的那种——在艺术圈说自己是电影的,在电影圈说自己是搞艺术的。我觉得都有问题,艺术也是强行的在坚持录像艺术标准,它所容纳的东西还是和电影区别的,反过来说,电影吸收了录像艺术,很多有先决意识的电影导演从艺术圈吸收了很多好的东西,包括商业片,很多商业广告都从艺术的艺术家的想法当中吸取了很多养分,但电影更类似工业产业,它需要一个制作过程,以前有人说电影落后于艺术若干年,其实是有道理的,从想法呈现出来到针对大众,它需要一个过程,但艺术家可以不闻不问,可以先知先做

Q:大家都面对这样一个问题,也就是从体制里往外走,是做好思想准备往里走,你对这种情况有什么看法?

A:大家有时候也会聊到这个问题,包括体制接纳,从根本上说很多东西没有太大改变,这种互相接纳接触或者说互动,用有些哥们讲的很硬的话说,在某些方面,比如进入体制内导演电影,如果你不改变自己就没有人能改变你,所以有很多坚持的东西可能会改变,做出来的东西其实是另外的一种东西,原来的初衷已有所改变改变之后就很难说,包括在体制内电影,我认为这是个误区,关键在于创作者本身的认可度在哪里?其实挺难的。

 

Interviewed: Yang Ruhai

Time: Afternoon, Feb. 2, 2007

Location: Beijing

 

 

(农)村 (countryside) village 9

认可() recognition (acceptance level) 8

尝试 attempt (try experiment) 5

大众 the masses (public audience) 5

小众 small Circle of People 2

感觉 feeling feel 16

思考 思维 思想 thinking way of thinking 4

宽容 tolerant 8

宽容度 level of tolerance latitude 5

坚持 hold on to insisting 8

真诚 sincerity 7

感兴趣 interest interesting attracts 3

生活 live life 14

生存 living existence 6

状态 condition state the way 15

拍(摄) shoot filmmaking

 

中国 China 15

体制 system 17

改变 转变 变化)   change 16

标准 standard 11

影像 moving image video 12

现实 reality 3

流浪狗 stray dogs 1

circle 9

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: Would you please first talk about the shooting process of your recently completed film?

 

A: It’s a film that we just finished shooting in Hebei province. You can probably call it a multi-screen video installation. It’s about a village farmer and his dog. Maybe a lot of dogs live with people in the villages; they experience birth, old age, illness and death, and some are abandoned or sold. Around villages, besides people, are these stray dogs. They have their own kind of living condition. This is basically what the film is about.

 

Q: In other words, the main focus is on a village, and it’s a portrayal of the care for the living condition of men and animals, right?

 

A: Yes. Actually that is seen from a [filmmaker's] filmmaking point of view. On the other hand, what we are concerned about might be the form, such as an interpretation of the genre of “documentary” – what is a documentary of life? Now I might approach it with a different concept, because I have never tried it before. Besides, from the point of life, what I am concerned about now might have become less related to the art circle. But those things might be more interesting. I mean, I can open up some feelings to try something that has a different latitude. Personally, this might be more interesting. It doesn’t have to be aimed at the art circle. Getting away from a state of mind, I might be getting closer to a certain kind of life, and this kind of thing more and more attracts me now.

 

Q: When you were shooting in the villages, the villagers thought you guys were from the television station. Does it mean that it was not possible to communicate with them?

 

A: It’s not that communication was not possible. Actually I think this art is intended for a small circle of people, and often we are only targeting this very small audience group. So sometimes I wish to do something with wider latitude, even if it’s something unrelated to art. Try to do something different, which might bring us a different kind of pleasure. Now I do feel the limitation within the realm of aesthetic thinking; you’re quite helpless in many situations. If we elevate to a level of the so-called Utopia – very often it’s a helpless state of Utopia, which can last very long, and leave you [seeing] feeling no way out.

 

Q: So what kind of personal state do you think is presented?

 

A: It’s hard to say. A work is presented for the audience to see; it’s hard to say for whom you are making the work. After you finish it, with the passing of time, you learn to forget it once you finish it. But from the audience’s point of view, I can’t say… the audience might see it and ignore it – it’s difficult to put it into clear words, because it’s a very free thing.

 

Q: Can you talk about and how you communicated with people outside of your crew, when shooting those cats and dogs in the villages?

 

A: It’s very simple. You have to forget your work when communicating with them. You’re just an ordinary guy, and you are just an acquaintance with them, including drivers, farmers… You stay in their houses. Just routine daily life, very natural and normal. You shouldn’t feel yourself different from them just because you have some ideas or you do certain type of work. You’ve got to do as the Romans do.

 

Q: Please talk about your view on some of these art shows or art organizations today.

 

A: Now we have an increasing amount of exhibitions and art organizations. All of them want to do something, but the way they do things are different from several years ago. It seems that the form is still there but the spirit is gone. Maybe the exhibitions are big, and as dynamic and vigorous as many international exhibitions, but many things have lost their spirit. Maybe they are stronger in some aspects – some works by certain individual artists might be very good, but, on the whole, like aesthetic…

 

Q: You’ve talked about your art and the development in the realm of art. Now let’s talk about other issues, such as “contemporary art,” “art,” and “art of moving images” – what significance and function do they have for the society?

 

A: This is really hard to say. The question is a little too big. On a superficial level, I think some people have been devoting themselves to the field of contemporary art all these years. Most of them have changed in terms of their ways of thinking, and many have made much effort to change conceptually, such as many aspects of education, academics, and art in China. In the past 20 or 30 years, people have changed drastically, and their degree of tolerance in terms of way of thinking has also changed considerably. The latitude that I mentioned earlier is now very different from a few decades ago. What I’m more interested in, or maybe what I am touched, is that I have been very fortunate – from watching others involving contemporary art when I was in school, to the present moment where I’m one of them. It’s fortunate that there is such a group of people doing contemporary art in China. I think these people are people who hold on to their ideals. We can call them intellectuals or artists. As for the question of whether they are successful, or what they have achieved, I think these are secondary. It’s as if there is another kind of “architecture” – you might call it an invisible architecture of ideas, which has been built brick by brick. Even though you can’t really say how far it has gone in terms of construction, but indeed there is such a thing being established. This is something that touches me, and it evidences a large change from decades ago.

 

Q: Does the art of moving images have a tighter connection with the society?

 

A: From the vantage point of art, I think one thing needs to be changed: “What is moving image?” When people talk about film in China, they have a basic standard of film aesthetics. China is a so-called “Narrative Giant.” Many Chinese films just tell stories habitually, including some Chinese films with successful box office– they are all shot from a narrative point of view. But on the other hand, are there other kinds of moving images in China? That is to say, outside of the so-called standard films, including the kind of commercial films that have been highly promoted, it’s hard to say whether other kinds of moving images exist. Is there any possibility for such existence? Solving this problem really requires will power. There has been progress in many areas. I think people have slowly grown to be dissatisfied with the superficial films made within the system. People can no longer be satisfied and they are slowly changing. People might have a demand for an alternative embryo. Up till now, I think many artists are doing exactly this type of experiments. The [images] video works that they produce might not be very mature, but they function as a connecting link.

 

Q: People would classify your film as “art film,” right?

 

A: Someone once made fun of me by saying that I was the type of person who is asking for criticism – that I say I’m a filmmaker in the art circle, and say I’m an artist in the film circle. I think there are problems both ways. The art circle has been insisting on a standard of video art by force; what they accept is still different from films. On the other hand, film has absorbed video art, and many conceptually advanced directors have learned a lot from art circles, including commercial film directors. Many commercials have gotten nutrition from artists’ ideas. But film-making is more like an industry; it requires a production process. People used to say that film lags behind art by several years. It does make sense, because from the presentation of ideas to facing the public audience, you need a long process. But artists don’t have to face that, they can know first, feel first, and do first.

 

Q: Everyone is facing this same problem, i.e., walking out of the system is getting psychologically prepared for going inside it. What do you think of such a situation?

 

A: We often talk about this, including the acceptance by the system. Essentially, lots of things don’t change much. This kind of mutual acceptance, contact, or interaction – as some of my buddies very harshly put it: as you go inside the system as film directors, if you don’t change yourself, then no one can change you. So a lot of things that you hold on to will be changed. What you produce will come out being something different. Your initial ideas are changed, and it’s hard to predict once they change, including filmmaking inside the system. Therefore, I see this as a long-standing misconception. The thing lies in where the artists acceptance level is. It’s tough.

 

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