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drain (exhaust) 消耗[xiao hao]

没想过,不知道是什么样一个角色,说不上来,和其他人没什么区别,一样的,自己自己工作想法不同,做的工作也不一样,有时感觉是在消耗自己,每个人都一样,近看你做的东西和别人不一样,放远看没什么区别自己在做些事情,是为了维持能量,然后不断消耗,你不可能朝气蓬勃生活一天大部分时间都是无意义无聊的。

Never thought about that. I don’t know what sort of role it is; I don’t know. I’m not different from other people, we’re the same. We are all doing our own work, with different ideas and subject-matters. Sometimes you feel you’re exhausting yourself, but everyone is the same. From close by, you see yourself doing something different from others; from afar, it’s all the same. You do certain things to maintain your level of energy, and then you keep draining it. You can’t live your life energetically every single day. It’s insignificant and boring most of the time.

(摘自徐坦对刘仁华的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Liu Renhua)

Interviewed: Liu Renhua

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 14, 2007

Location: Eudora Station Cafe, Beijing

生活      life live            15

低级趣味  vulgar taste  vulgar  5

自己      self  own           22

态度      attitude             6

社会      society  social       7

别人      others other people  other   5

接受      accept  take                6

大众      public                      14

大众审美  popular aesthetics            3

审美      aesthetics                    7

时尚      fashion                     15

消耗      drain (exhaust)               5

关系,联系, 关联  relationship relation related  connections   6

不同,不一样    different                      10

制度  system     1

     take  7 

     circle  6

     sell   5

发展   development develops  6

无聊   boring bored   5

商业   commercialization business  commercial  4

国外   foreign countries  4

中国   China  3

形象   images  5

 

Source of keywords:

Q: First of all, would you please generally talk about the current state of contemporary art in China?

A: I think there is a healthy trend of development, but there are also many problems. For example, commercialization has gone a bit too far. Consequently, people often don’t even think about what to do or how to do it, because of the influence of the market. Perhaps this commercialization leads to many problems in the quality of the work. But it’s also good – in time, people will reflect on this issue, reflect on how to do things. I don’t have much of an opinion on this. I haven’t really thought about it that much. Take the view on the system for example. There is nothing we can do about the system, because a lot of things are pre-existent; we don’t have a well-built mechanism of art as foreign countries. The existing system in China certainly has an impact on the development of art. Without certain organizations, such as foundations, artists here still depend on commercial activities. Artists in foreign countries can apply for the funds to maintain their creation. They don’t have to depend on selling their works. But the artists in China have to rely on his own works to meet his needs in creation, that is, he must sell his work in order to pay for the production fees of his next work of art. That is the problem.

Q: What kind of image do you want your work to present to people?

A: It varies from year to year. Maybe it’s more focused now, unlike the last few years, where you see different images, different outlook, like videos, etc… using many kinds of material, with all different concepts. But now I want to be more focused – what kind of work do I want to do in this one year? Installation, perhaps. Which means, your concerns are more focused, and you even consider letting go of some of the works; whereas previously you do whatever comes to your mind. Now you might not do something even if the idea comes up, because it might affect the overall image of your work. Sometimes, the strategic aspects will also be reckoned with. For example, a work of art will put aside when it’s completed. One year later, it takes effect. But sometimes, you start with a good feeling and then find the work losing its effect a year later. Put all your work aside, good or bad, wait for a year or two and check if they are still effective. If so, then it means they are related to your previous development.

A: Visual impact is certainly essential, but not that kind of strong outward impact deliberately made. I’m interested in a basic sensation that people see everyday but fail to perceive. It’s an impact through a different medium – perhaps volume, perhaps something else.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the relationship between your art and social reality?

A: I don’t know what kind of relationship it is. I’m only searching for a point of excitement. I get an idea only when I see or feel something that excites me; I don’t get ideas out of the blue. Maybe some people come up with an idea first and then realize it. But my work comes from something I see and think about. It’s never a rational process of making works of art.

Q: Then, are there any obstacles in the communication between your art and the public?

A: Yes, of course. But it’s not too bad, and I know what the reasons are. When you have a conversation with someone, you cannot communicate with each other due to totally different values. You still know what the other person is thinking, which is totally different from your own thinking, and vice versa. From the public‘s point of view, sometimes they see the work and feel good, feeling that they can take it, because contemporary art still contains something that is most explicit. No matter how art develops, how conceptual it becomes, the explicit visuality, like beauty, always exist. That will never change.

As with communicating with the public, television is what the public likes. I don’t think there is much worth viewing on TV; it’s all just bullshitting and awful. Of course I can watch it too, but I think it’s just vulgar taste. Perhaps the more vulgar is, the more attractive to most people.

Q: And this is the difference between popular and elite culture?

A: Nothing is elite. I don’t like such mentality of regarding himself as infallible.

Q: What sort of influence does Beijing have on your art.

A: Maybe the climate, and something else. Beijing is not a very pleasant city. It can be summed up in one word – dark, which is pretty bad due to the climate like sand storms, etc. Usually I don’t have to go out during the day, and you have nowhere to go at night, unlike some cities in the south, where you can walk around comfortably at night. You can’t do this in Beijing, all you can do is stay home during the day, and go to entertainment spots, like pubs and teahouses at night. Basically there is nowhere you can go to enjoy something natural. But I’ve gotten used to this; maybe it’s related to aesthetics. I’ve completely accepted this grayish, somber landscape. I don’t think it ugly – it’s even rather pretty sometimes. Beijing is faster in pace, and creates more stress compared to other cities. It has more fun here. There’s all sorts of people here; any kind of people can survive here. There exist good idea and bad idea. You can do anything you like. They can all co-exist. Perhaps this is the tradition or customs here.

Q: A lot of artists think too many exhibitions in Beijing, many of which are too superficial.

A: Right. I usually don’t go to exhibitions, except those by very close friends. I don’t go to any other exhibitions.

Q: What’s your view on the art organizations like museums of art?

A: Basically I don’t have any connections with them. That’s PR activities, not what we do.

Q: So you don’t think art should engage into society, into life?

A: It’s not that. Some artists do it that way, and it’s fine, just not my style.

Q: Then what do you think is the role of the artists in society?

A: Never thought about that. I don’t know what sort of role it is; I don’t know. I’m not different from other people, we’re the same. We are all doing our own work, with different ideas and subject-matters. Sometimes you feel you’re exhausting yourself, but everyone is the same. From close by, you see yourself doing something different from others; from afar, it’s all the same. You do certain things to maintain your level of energy, and then you keep draining it. You can’t live your life energetically every single day. It’s insignificant and boring most of the time.

Q: Many other artists also feel negative.

A: It’s not negative. Being bored is not negative; perhaps it’s a state of being. Many things in this society are in this state, this current state. Maybe it has to do with your own judgment – on society, on life. But it’s not the state of nihility and negativity that make you not want to live anymore.

For example, popular aesthetics, just like TV and movies, is just boring beyond words. But everybody likes it. That’s why it can exist. It’s something with an extremely vulgar taste, but people like vulgarity. You can’t run away from it no matter what.

Q: What do you think is the relation between fashion and art?

A: Fashion is more popular, more real-life, and more guiding. Mostly it’s about this guidance – guiding your life – about what is good. It’s a sort of guidepost, leading the public to develop towards the direction it sets. Ultimately there is something good leading the popular aesthetics, whereas art has no such attribute. It doesn’t have to have an impact on everyone. It works by itself. It has an impact on a minority of people. It doesn’t rely on the public.

download, downloading, downloaded 下(载)[xia zai]

我举个极端的例子,你能不能下(载)到一个小孩,你说不可以,因为你不会针对一个小孩,而你会拍他的脑袋,和他聊天,晚上照顾他睡觉,那你是怎么知道这一切的?通过语言、触觉、听觉?如果这些东西都给你,那你就有了;我们说“下(载)到一个钢琴”,别人都不信,现在下(载)到一个钢琴算什么?而且还是某家著名音乐厅里面十八世纪的一个钢琴,这完全有可能,你工作时就可以随便下(载)到一个钢琴,因为你弹出来的是声音,声音以后,这架钢琴和那架一样,因为你要的是钢琴的声音,而不用管钢琴的木头怎么样,因为你不是收藏家,作为观众消费的是钢琴的声音,这声音是数字化的,自然可以“下(载)”;那么一个小孩有什么不可以下到?你会认为这可怕,完全是不可能的,这是感觉,如果你每天生活在这种感觉里面,每天受到感觉的刺激,这个程序会慢慢引导小孩不断地成长,每天上学放学,搞得相当累,你也生活了十年……从这一点来看,我觉得整个世界都是悲观的。

Let me give you an extreme example: can you download a baby? You’d say, no. Because you wouldn’t think of just a baby, you would pat it on its head, talk to it and see it go to sleep at night – then how can you be sure about all this? Through language, touch and hearing? If we give you all of these, then you have it. We say “download a piano,” and nobody would believe us. But now, what’s the big deal with downloading a piano? We can even download an eighteenth-century piano from a famous concert hall, which is totally possible. You can download a piano even at work. Because it’s the sound of the piano that you want, not the wood which makes the piano, because you’re not a collector. As an audience, what you consume is the sound of the piano, and this sound is now digitized, so of course it can be downloaded. So, why can’t a baby be downloaded? You would think that this is creepy, and it’s impossible. This is about feeling. If you live in these feelings everyday, and receive stimulation from these feelings, this process will slowly guide the baby towards growth, going to school and returning from school, day in, day out, and you’ve lived like this for ten years… From this point of view, I think the whole world is quite sad.

(摘自徐坦对冯顺华的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Feng Shunhua)

Interviewed: Feng Shunhua

Time: Afternoon, January 30, 2007

Location: Digital Media Studio, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing

made to order,  custom orders   11

观众 audience  6   ,

大众 public  9 

社会 social, society, sociality    21

媒体 media 10

媒介 medium   11

个人 personally, personal   11

美术馆 art museum, museum   6

古典  Classical  6

古典艺术 classical art  3

兴趣 interested, attention, interesting    22

创造性  1

自由 freedom    2

政治性politically  1

        hot   4

市场      market  29

关系      relationship 22

收藏家    collectors  5

        sell  7

       “do”, engage in    56

下(载)  download, downloading, downloaded   5

有用      useful  6

        money   16

中国      China   19

刺激      stimulation    11

Source of keywords:

Q: In your point of view, how to define an artist?

A: I think an ideal artist bears some relationship with his view on art and life. Personally, I believe that art should be useless. This is a basic belief; at least I think so. The highest –level art should be useless art. But with that said, we can go on to discuss other things. We can put what we’ve learned into use. The practical functions of art are all the same, whether social, political, market – it’s an abnormal mindset to take these as the basis of your understanding of art. Art is for art’s sake; nothing else.

Q: What’s your take on contemporary art?

A: Contemporary art is gradually turning into something of a microscope – taking every detail to magnify, and dissemble into all types of possibilities. It has become very extreme, or shortsighted in certain degree. That’s the situation. How interested am I in contemporary art? If I go to an art museum, it must be one about ancient art. Personally, I’m not that interested in the current contemporary art. I’d be more interested in technology or other developments. I’m pretty pessimistic about the development of art in the present age. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Q: Why?

A: Personality, I guess. I’ve seen exciting stuff, but they’re just so-so. I still prefer quieter things, which are ever-lasting like classical art. That’s more exciting to me.

Q: Then what do you think are the characteristics of contemporary art?

A: I don’t think I’m able to sum it up. If I had to, I’d say it’s pretty extreme, whether in its form of presentation or its desired goals – both appear to be very extreme. Of course, there are works in contemporary art that are stunning, or exciting, or works with long lasting meaning. No doubt about that; it’s just that they are really small in number. The masterpieces in classical art are the result of so many years’ accumulation; whereas most works of contemporary art seem particularly shortsighted. I participate frequently in contemporary art exhibitions; I have seen enough. So, if I go to a show, if I had the choice, I’d definitely go to a classical art exhibition. I don’t want to get anything. I just enjoy looking at classical art.

Q: Is the market an issue in creating art?

A: It’s a good thing for me. I kind of like it. Previously I never really thought about this market thing, and sometimes I even went against it. Now I think that was not the way to do it, because with the market so hot now, I feel it’s more interesting to take advantage of the market and do something. It’s better to make use of it rather than avoid or neglect it. In the past, when artists talk about creating, they invariably mention freedom – which has always been self-deceiving. An artist must have an imaginary market – I don’t necessarily mean money, but he must have an imaginary audience. Many artists have their own imaginary customers, and think about money. It’s not only in China, but also abroad; only nobody wants to admit it. I just make it clear; there is no need to hide it, to tuck it in. Market is market; made to order is made to order. In the past, made to order means we do exactly like the one that does well, the one that sells well; we follow it exactly, no matter what others say, because this is the market. Even though we don’t spell out that the content of the painting was agreed upon between so-and-so customer and so-and-so collector, in fact it was all agreed upon and must be followed with exactness. So we did not dare to change. Now, it’s perhaps better to discuss with the collector, because, who knows, you might get to change a few things. Actually all ancient paintings were made to order, whether private or otherwise. Not to mention western paintings– churches, courts – all made to order. Being made to order itself doesn’t necessarily constrain creativity, so I think it might as well give it a try and see how things are done according to the way of factories.

Q: What influence does the market have on your creativity?

A: It’s easy to make money, but custom orders for the market is only one of my projects. I have other projects too, such as media art projects, which have nothing to do with market concerns. So I have several directions, and market is only one of them.

Q: What kind of cultural symbol is useful to your art?

A: It’s like a filter. We all take in similar information – we go to the same websites for news – what kind of information attracts your attention? We go to museums, we read, we watch films – what’s being filtered out? What’s being kept? As for electronic games, that’s another filter. Whatever passed the filter and stayed are especially interesting. Electronic games are games first of all. I have been particularly interested in games ever since I was a child. These things are part of human nature; and not only humans, but all creatures, all animals love to play – provided that you play after filling your stomach. To be able to do something enjoyable once the hunger is satisfied is really a high state of ideal life, which I think is very natural. Playing game play is a very important thing for a child’s growing up. I have preserved this natural tendency, and ever since electronic games came out, I have felt it to be very natural. It’s a large toy, so there must be many different ways of playing, and many ideas came out; and then I thought wouldn’t it be fun if I could do something with it? So, starting from 1992 up till this day, my art pieces have basically centered on electronic games. This is such a filter; whatever is expressed through the medium of electronic games must have been sifted. Maybe some things like philosophy masterpieces and relatively sensitive and subtle emotional things are not suitable for such expression. But actions, images, sounds and rhythms – these coarse, more sensory things are more suitable for this medium, and that’s the rough-and ready filter I have been using over the years.

Q: So you make virtual things real – not only art, even contemporary culture is also heading towards this direction. Is this what drives you into such a role?

A: We are actually all sensory animals. All our pleasures, according to the idealists, are nothing but sensory stimulation; while according to the materialists, these things all exist. According to the idealists, everything is abstract. We all rely on our senses to feel this world. Of course, these senses can be real or false. Like now I see you here, but maybe you’re not here. I think our future world will develop more in the direction of the virtual. To put it simply, it’s similar to drugs. Like putting a [zinc tablet] CMOS chip in your body, and you might feel it to be a drug. Like you eat a piece of bread, but I tell you that it’s a fish, because I have injected you with this program; then how can you not believe it? There is no doubt that these things will be realized. Let me give you an extreme example: can you download a baby? You’d say, no. Because you wouldn’t think of just a baby, you would pat it on its head, talk to it and see it go to sleep at night – then how can you be sure about all this? Through language, touch and hearing? If we give you all of these, then you have it. We say “download a piano,” and nobody would believe us. But now, what’s the big deal with downloading a piano? We can even download an eighteenth-century piano from a famous concert hall, which is totally possible. You can download a piano even at work. Because it’s the sound of the piano that you want, not the wood which makes the piano, because you’re not a collector. As an audience, what you consume is the sound of the piano, and this sound is now digitized, so of course it can be downloaded. So, why can’t a baby be downloaded? You would think that this is creepy, and it’s impossible. This is about feeling. If you live in these feelings everyday, and receive stimulation from these feelings, this process will slowly guide the baby towards growth, going to school and returning from school, day in, day out, and you’ve lived like this for ten years… From this point of view, I think the whole world is quite sad.

Q: Does that mean many art organizations in the traditional sense of the word are declining in certain aspects?

A: Hard to say. But I have a personal wish: I wish that art museum can live on forever. Very likely, everything will be digitized in the future, but I hope art museum will still be there. I’m not talking about five or ten years from now… I’m talking about far, far into the future… about words, language, and so forth…

Q: Actually, either contemporary art or traditional art invariably involves commonly existing issues in the mundane society, are you interested in any of these issues?

A: Not interested at all. I really don’t have any interest at all regarding the so-called ethnic or national art. Art cannot cover these things, and it’s not the purpose of art, nor is it something art can achieve. Art can’t change anything. Instead of trying to change randomly with no success, one should rather just do one’s own thing, and solve one’s own problem. In terms of a piece of art work, just take care of that piece of work. That’s more interesting. You can have all kinds of excuses. Sociality? Eventually, this artist must be responsible for this single piece of work. We can talk about communication only under this premise. If you cannot even solve your own problems, how can you communicate with others?

doubt, suspicion 怀疑[huai yi]

所以说从宏观上来谈,我觉得可能现在总的来讲就是一个发展过程,因为我觉得这个过程就是由一个整体怎么过渡到去认识不同的艺术家和不同的艺术,我觉得远远还没有过渡到这一步,因为我觉得一个国家的当代艺术以国家形式出现可能有利有弊吧,有可能是会得到更多的人或更多的关注,不利的一点就是它只能以一个整体出现,那么对我来讲,我认为这是个问题,因为我觉得这也是传统艺术当代艺术的一个区别,你想想十几年前,欧洲对中国的艺术都有一个整体印象,如果我们继续坚持这个整体的话,可能它只是替换了某一种材料和某一种形象,比如说在一段时间是龙、是凤凰、是竹子,是陶瓷、丝绸,最可能用一些其它的材料把这些材料替代了,那么这就是作为一个整体你要冒的风险,我对集体是很恐惧的,因为我曾经当过兵,跟60多个人在一起住过好几年,我觉得它给我带来的遗产有两个,一个就是痛恨一致,我认为所有的东西,无论是内在的还是形式上的一致,对我来讲好像心里上都有一种天生的免疫,我基本上觉得这个肯定就是有问题的,第二个就是对集体保持一种怀疑

On a macro level, I think we are now in the middle of a process of development. And this is a process of undergoing a transition from seeing the total picture to getting to know individual artists and individual arts, a stage from which I feel we are still very far away. There are pros and cons when a country‘s contemporary art scene appears as a group. The good part is that it attracts more audience and more attention, and the negative part is that it can only appear as a totality. And that, to me, is a problem, which also points to the difference between traditional art and contemporary art. Think about it – over a decade ago, the image that Europe had about Chinese art was an overall impression. If we were to continue our insistence on this totality, it could end up replacing materials or images of one kind with those of another kind– for example, dragon, phoenix, bamboo, porcelain, silk were used in a certain period, which were, eventually, replaced by some other materials. This is the risk you have to take when you present yourself as a totality. I myself am frightened by collectives, because I used to serve in the military, and I lived together with over 60 persons for many years. I’m left with two aftereffects from that experience. The first one is my hatred for homogeneity. I think I’m naturally immune to all things homogenous, either internally or externally. Basically I think a positive view on homogeneity is itself questionable. The second one is my suspicion for collectives.

(摘自徐坦对汪关征的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Wang Guanzheng)

Interviewed: Sun Jin, Peng Yao

Time: Noon, January 29, 2007

Location: Sun & Peng Studio, 798, Beijing

社会                   society  social  socially   24

反应                   reaction (feedback  response  respond)  8

(不)接受             accept  acceptance  (take in rejected)    7

普通(人,观众)       ordinary (people / audience)  general public  9

公众                   general public     2

观众                   audience(s)       22

关系                   relation  relationship  has something to do with  11

机制                   system  mechanism    8

机构                   organization      5

美术馆                 museum    8

独立 independence    2

政府  government    5

政治 political        3

自由 free            3

和谐社会  harmonious society    9

       do  make           40

       do  engage in tackle   1

中国      China  Chinese      31

西方      the West  western     19

发展      development  drifting     5

成功      success  successful     10

商业()  commercialization  commercial  commercially    4

游戏     game    4

舒服     comfortable   3

学术     academic  academics  academically    11

农民     farmer       5

强奸     rape  raped    2

通奸     adultery     2

生效     effectiveness   effective   2

市场     market  marketing    5

投机份子  opportunitists   1

Source of Keywords:

Q: You just mentioned the public perception of your works and the natural influence thereof, I have the feeling that most of your early works are not as socially-conscious as the newer ones.

A: (Sun) Actually all the materials come from the society, it’s just that some of them come from the relatively private aspect of social life, and some are better-known materials, such as news subjects, social topics. Actually all topics are social topics, it’s just that the attention they draw are of different levels. Also, I don’t think I would go with the idea that currently all subjects derive from the society, I think a lot of them can still find roots in ourselves, but when they are confronted with the society, you’ll need an appropriate translation and conversion system, and then you’ll end up choosing relatively typical materials. It seems to me that you just can’t take the problem separately.

(Peng) In the early days when we were young, our relation with the society are not so complicated, or, shall we say, we were not yet an integrated part of the society, therefore the works we did and the materials we used are not so socially-conscious. But I reckon that anything could be used as material, and you are going to engage in the society more and more as you grow up, eventually you’ll choose those materials in the society that interest you. So I don’t think that subject is the key issue here.

Q: A lot of your works in the exhibitions are focused on the relationship with the society. Do you perceive any differences in China and the West in terms of audience’s acceptance and feedback?

A: (Sun) Yes, but I think the differences were more typical a few years ago, before and around 2000. The opening-up of China was still in its early phase back then, and most people did not accept what is called contemporary art, they were too impatient when watching. Now there seems to be a unified consensus, western and Chinese audience are aware of this (Chinese) contemporary art thing, they know there is a bunch of people doing weird stuff, and their first reaction towards them are “Ah! Another performance art! “Thus art is reduced to a term, when someone puzzles over something; he would call it performance art. He has this category in his mind, and can group it, and then it’s easy for him to take in.

(Peng) At that time the West was more interested in the political confrontational aspect, it has something to do with the whole Chinese ideology. The country was not open enough back then, and biennale still didn’t emerge in Shanghai……all the western audiences would interpret your work from the political perspective. There were two kinds of Chinese audience, and this is particularly interesting, the first kind is artistically-informed people, or people somewhat related to art and culture; and the other kind is people who has no relationship whatsoever with culture. As it turned out, the culture-savvy part happened to find our works incomprehensible, they even made a lot of protests or accusation against them. On the other hand, those who have no relationship with art or culture, including policemen……one of my exhibitions was banned, and I chatted with many ordinary people like policemen and persons in Residents’ Committee, you know, ordinary people, they all went to see the exhibition and found it super interesting.

And now governments are organizing biennales, contemporary art has become a card in their hands, something that everyone can and should take advantage of. So it’s like a slogan, a presentation used to impress the international community, and here’s when the game with the official starts.

A: (Peng) In the ’90s, before 2000, when something happens, you can calm down to observe your surroundings, to perceive the changes of everybody in detail. But now, especially in recent years, the whole atmosphere in the art scene is volatile. It has become difficult for me to try to understand the changes outside, and the situation is complicated now……take our studio in 798 for example, this place is so touristy now, it’s hard to position yourself. But we do work here as of today. Now the government is into contemporary art too, a lot of opportunitists are into this, and there’s the gallery frenzy, a dozen of new galleries would turn up here every day. You also witness the price of Chinese contemporary art skyrocketing on the international market, I have the feeling that many artists have lost themselves, they have become less pure; in the old days, underground is underground, the artists make art, and that’s it. Nowadays everyone collaborates with everyone, and you participate in their game more frequently, the game is getting more and more complex, Stage Two!

Q: So do you think that general public has become better connoisseurs of contemporary art?

A: (Peng) I think maybe they do find it easier to accept, but what art offers them, on the contrary, has decreased. Back then they would try to understand why these people do what they’re doing, now they get themselves a concept, like I tell you this word, ‘performance art‘, they go ‘Ah, so this is performance art!’, and there it is. Something is missing for the general public, the minute they are given a safe explanation, they are deprived of the thinking process.

(Sun) There are actually two sides of the coin. For the artist, I think they are also trying to figure out what kind of audience they have. In the ’90s there was this cynic group, you may want to call them early [Chinese] contemporary artist, they were the enfant terrible, going to the extreme when rejected by the public. By now, however, many artists have come to realize that in order to play the enfant terrible card you need to first have the endorsement by the audience. So both sides were moving towards each other, when the two reach a point of coordination, by which I mean they can work together seamlessly and feel free at the same time, that’s what you may call the harmonious society. Back then reform and opening were everything, people would do anything for breakthrough. Things have changed, now the overall structure is fixed, it’s a matter of coordination. This is in synch with the general situation of the country, the concept of harmonious society has posed a big question to art as well. Of course every era has its own issues, but the issues we are facing now in a harmonious society is of not much difference with those in the western countries. This is because harmonious society is commonplace in the West, and artists there feel free and suffocated at the same time. This is gonna happen in China at some point in the future, we’ll see.

(Peng) For instance, I’m initially exciting upon learning that certain large foreign organization is coming to Beijing to open a museum, because it means there will finally be a decent museum showcasing contemporary art in Beijing and in China. But soon I come to realize the potential crisis; I don’t know whether this thing would do any good to Beijing and to Chinese contemporary art as a whole, will it help pushing the scene towards the good or bad, healthy or unhealthy direction? There are two sides to these things. What the foreign museums try to do is to port the whole prestigious western museum system to Beijing, but if you take a look at exhibitions in the West, you’ll see how the corrupted museum system stifles the whole art scene. This explains all the buzz about the whole lot of Chinese artists participating in the Venice Biennale that year; they witnessed the potential of Chinese contemporary art in the West. But is there really any potential? Granted, you can’t say there’s zero potential, but the point is westerners realized that they could find new possibilities in China, and these possibilities are potential, energy, frightening stuff. While in the West, the whole system has provided a, in Sun Yuan’s word, harmonious society for everybody, people have to play by the rules and to strive for breakthrough in between. After some time, everybody ends up playing tricks, for me this is really not the ideal way of life. So I think the western museum system‘s coming into China will be a double-edged sword for the artists. Wouldn’t you kill a lot of possibilities if you bring in something lifeless? It helps us to operate under the rules and procedure, that’s for sure, and of course an oft-heard criticism on Chinese artists or the whole Chinese art market by western museums is the lack of rules and procedure, but this is precisely the characteristic and charisma of China. I prefer a lifestyle with lots of accidents, if Chinese contemporary art is drifting towards a completely expected, accident-free direction, I think it’s time for the artists to think about what they can do to stimulate the scene.

Q: Economic changes will have an influence on art and the relation between artists and the audience, but there are a lot of artists seem to ignore the audience, aren’t there?

A: (Sun) This is about knowledge being in synch with the government, in other words, a harmonious society is the end result of a peaceful evolution process. Commercialization and the participation of economics contribute to the realization of a harmonious society. There are rules, economic rules, that you would want to follow and to refer to as a kind of artist who cares not only about yourself, but also about the audience. One can’t deny the fact that all people regard economical success as the measurement of success in general, even artists themselves, so do the audiences. It’s a point of reference. So economics actually works as the coordinator and thus triggers the peaceful evolution. I’ll say that artists and audiences are not the sole driving force of the harmonious society, there must be some other interfering factors. So how to maintain consistency? How to reach the same coordinated point? Economics is being used as a reference point in many cases.

(Peng) Market and academic studies call for different approaches. Marketing guys take care of the market, scholars take care of academic studies, so it won’t do any good to have people like us to talk about issues without our range.

(Sun) Sometimes people say ‘academic is itself’, I’m not sure I agree with them on that: do you think about the question of success when doing academic works? If the question crosses your mind, then there shall be a point of coordination somewhere. When all the factors are mixed together in the optimized proportion, it will appear to be something successful and will generate some momentum for your academic studies. Here, the word successful means not only commercial success, but success in every dimension. Without this all-dimentional success as the point of reference, academic studies will be of no direction or value – it has no coordinated platform. Actually academics all work on a platform, there is the standard for measuring success, which is effectiveness, [commercial-wise and academic-wise] effective commercially or academically. There’s a certain value in it.

Q: Do you care about the negative part in the audiences’ feedback?

A: (Sun) The audiencesfeedback are exactly the thing I care about.

(Peng) But it’s not important how they respond to our works, as long as there is response at all. We don’t really care whether they are positive or negative, we care about the fact that they do have reaction.

(Sun) Or shall we say the best case is that we have mixed response; rape mixed with adultery, if you will. Being raped and yet reaching orgasm, committing adultery but with a bit of passiveness, that’s a good mixture. I’m not into pure compulsory stuff, but reaction is a must.

Q: I think one of the major differences between Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou is the different level of consciousness towards power. It’s the strongest in Beijing, weaker in Shanghai, and the weakest in Guangzhou. Do you have anything to say about this?

A: (Sun) I don’t particularly feel that way, this power thing you mentioned. I don’t know if there’s power or not, but the way I see it, power is of no relevance as long as you feel comfortable and happy. Because you are in the lower tiers of others’ power mechanism, you are not the top guy, you feel good being here, and you stay here, I think that’s enough. It’s not necessarily the same thing as the farmer‘s corporation, in which power is above everything, even daily meals are related to power, if you can’t get hold of this power, you are not able to survive……by power I mean a kind of dominate/subordinate relation, not necessarily political power.

“do”, engage in 做,搞,干[zuo, gao, gan]

1.当然它有很好的艺术家,有从开始到现在还在很有意思的事情的艺术家,但是这些艺术家,他们探讨的方式都没有得到主流社会认识,甚至连了解也谈不上,现在基本上就是乱七八糟的吧。

Of course there are pretty good artists, there are artists doing interesting stuff all along, but what they do and the way they do it never got acknowledged or understood by the mainstream society. Basically it’s all messed up.

2.那个时候就是改革开放突破,就什么事都现在就是很多事格局已经划分好了,就是看怎么协调了

Back then reform and opening were everything, people would do anything for breakthrough. Things have changed, now the overall structure is fixed, it’s a matter of coordination.

(摘自徐坦对孙原,彭禹的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Sun Yuan, Peng Yu)

Interviewed: Ai Dongming

Time: Afternoon, January 31, 2007

Location: Ai’s place at Caochangdi, Beijing

    “do”  engage in   25

可能  maybe possibility impossible perhaps  may  21

社会  society  social   19

问题  problem question  17

兴趣  fascinated interested uninterested interest 12 

个人  individual  12

方式  ways approaches  10

市场  market  9

价值  value   7

政治的   political  1

国家     country  state  4

自由    freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主    democratic  2

    circle   3

    money  5

时代  (information/Internet) age  5

    play   3

资金  capital  1

    poor poverty  4

弱智  retarded   2

    face  3

Source of keywords:

Q: What’s your understanding or impression about the current situation of contemporary art in China?

A: I wouldn’t pretend to know much. In spite of the fact that I’ve been living in Beijing all along and always partaking in curating, that we have the Chinese Art Archives & Warehouse, and make friends in the art circle, still I’m not sure I really understand it. Recent two years it seemed hot and bustling, but not very long before nobody apparently cared to take a look at it, so it feels to me more like a state of sudden ups and downs. Maybe put it this way: because contemporary art as a matter of fact has a quite short history [in China], and the modern life in China [this country] – although it did exist – was characterized to a great extent by political and economic patterns. In a highly institutionalized [environment] country as such, the freedom of individual expression, political background and living conditions, as well as the functions and possibilities of art and culture in the society, were basically limited, therefore the surfacing of the so called contemporary art in China didn’t occur until five or six years ago. Before that there were people doing a lot of things, but only in a semi-underground way – that is, it happened in a small circle, out of the sight of the public discourse, and its social impact was in fact also only limited to a small sphere. Once it surfaces, its major scene is in overseas exhibitions, foreign media or even in overseas auctions. It does look exciting somehow, but has nothing to do with the environment where the art originated, its social patterns and its meanings. Few people have tried to discuss and probe into these questions, so it’s still a strange structure. But we can’t say any structure is reasonable or not. Be it a tree, a vine, a ferocious beast, or a parasite, it each has its own reasons. Although Chinese contemporary art did not self-consciously try to build a connection with this society, it still somehow reflects a few problems of the past decades.

Q: What problems do you think it reflects?

A: The fundamental collapses of Chinese philosophy, aesthetics, ethics in the past decades, and the possibility of discussion is yet to be established for the new. Because this large scale or large part of the society is still denying, or disagreeing some basic facts, and debating of many problems in these areas is almost [out of the question] impossible. Democratic society is still a long way to go. There is much freedom in there, but it’s the freedom based on the collapse of the old, a freedom out of control, but proactive [one] freedom. The art is characterized by all these problems.

Q: What do you think of the public reception of contemporary art?

A: I don’t think there is real reception. It only becomes part of fashion. When magazines and newspapers talk about art, you see, they always miss the points, and are never capable of understanding it in any depth. I think it’s pathetic, somewhat like retarded. Chinese contemporary art is really acting [an under-developed] a retarded role. Of course there are pretty good artists, there are artists doing interesting stuff all along, but what they do and the way they do it never got acknowledged or understood by the mainstream society. Basically it’s all messed up.

Q: Do you think your curating activities could be of any help to this mess?

A:There are many exhibitions in China now, but hardly helping with anything and making any sense. They are just peddlers, the peddlers you see on streets where everybody hucksters the same thing and provoke and compete against one another. It’s designed completely for the market, and has nothing to do with art. All those exhibitions, and their curators – take a close look and you see few that are half decent, all with their evil and varied intentions. This in particular is what makes me look down upon Chinese academia and the intelligentsia. [The total shamelessness. The out-and-out and open shamelessness,] They don’t care for face, literally and openly declare that they don’t care for face, which is so rare even here and now. A Chinese old saying goes, poverty stifles ambition, which makes a very good point here. But it’s more than just being poor, those people are actually degenerate. Poverty is just an excuse.

Q: Since you mentioned market, please comment on the art market.

A:Anything can sell, and the exquisite thing as art is no exception. Art sells in that it decorates the [rich] homes of people with lots of money, so it becomes commodity, which is quite normal. The question is the percentage. I mean, in the whole cultural environment, is commodity the only role to play or not? Is it so fragile that once it becomes commodity, it can’t be anything else? I think that’s a major problem in Chinese contemporary art. The way I see it, it’s kind of funny, because it’s like that even the reason why you do art in the first place got changed, the reason and principles of your life got changed, and eventually transformed into some other value. Too much attention and discussions have been driven to the market – of course, if you are not an artist but a speculator, there’s nothing wrong with talking about market too much, but if you are someone still creating works, or if you got into art because you felt like to express yourself, or fascinated with certain ways of expression, instead of just money, capital or status, then there is something deeply wrong. Now it seems to me that everybody is talking about market, which is bothering me. From stock market to the pricing of brand names, there’s nothing to blame market itself about. You sell something for five cents of money, five thousand Yuan of money, or fifty thousand, and it’s fine. But behind this market, behind the pricing of a certain product, are other values diluted by this market price? This is a question.

Q: What interests you then?

A:Honestly, I’m not interested in anything in particular. I’m not particularly uninterested in commercial stuff or some other things. Really there are not too many things that interest me; perhaps I am passive. But generally speaking, art is a profession that I have some interest in. What interests me there is the people who are less utilitarian and more characteristic, and living some sorts of self-conscious lives. But what about now? You see no difference between [this art] people in this art circle and their neighbor who peddle. It becomes boring. But after all, I don’t really care, and concern. For example, this country lives or dies, I don’t really care either. It’s just that you asked me, like you ask me anything such as weather, windy or sandstorm comes, it’s something out of your control. It’s just what this country is.

Q: Say something about your blog.

A: Blog is fun. I will upload the pictures I took for you right away. I don’t know anything about my viewers, even though they are just a click away from me – this is what I feel so straightforward, so real and at the same time delusional, so I keep doing it.

Q: You mean it’s a way to communicate your own information.

A:I think the information age is the best time for human being so far. Before this, mankind was in the dark or on a chosen path, and now for the first time it provides technical possibilities for the so called freedom and individual will. You [can] may choose to play alone or with those whom you like to play with, which is hard to imagine before. I think everybody should be welcoming this new situation allowing free expression and individual approaches – sounds cliché but still very important. Things like new possibilities of communication, including the possibilities of reshaping, absorbing and utilizing the power of the society, are great things.

Q: Speaking of art, do you think there is a distinction between geographical center and margin?

A:I think not, especially not in this information age and Internet age. In fact this is for the first time that mankind has an opportunity and possibility to topple the traditional value system of central power. This possibility springs up suddenly after a long history of human struggle, and it’s such a great thing.

discourse 话语[hua yu]

其实我在1996年做那个作品《生产》的时候就在调查这个问题,我为什么去了很多现场,去了公共空间?他们为什么要在这个地方成天坐着倾听别人谈自己?实际上就是在分享一个日常话语,就是说某一种个人在这样的一种声音里面已经变得非常不重要了,或者他认为不安全,那么通过这种集体主义的这种场所集体的一种话语方式,潜在的就把某种个人的东西转换成一种倾向公共声音,这样的话,大家都分享一种公共话语安全

Why did I go to a lot of sites and public spaces? Why did they sit there all day and listen to the others talking about themselves? They are in fact sharing a daily discourse. In other words, certain individuals have become unimportant in such voices, or that they think it unsafe, so that through this collective site and collective discourse, certain individualistic things are transformed into a public voice with some [attitude] tendency. Thus, everyone shares this safety of public discourse.

(摘自徐坦对汪关征的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Wang Guanzheng) 

Interviewed: Sun Jin, Peng Yao

Time: Noon, January 29, 2007

Location: Sun & Peng Studio, 798, Beijing

社会                   society  social  socially   24

反应                   reaction (feedback  response  respond)  8

(不)接受             accept  acceptance  (take in rejected)    7

普通(人,观众)       ordinary (people / audience)  general public  9

公众                   general public     2

观众                   audience(s)       22

关系                   relation  relationship  has something to do with  11

机制                   system  mechanism    8

机构                   organization      5

美术馆                 museum    8

独立 independence    2

政府  government    5

政治 political        3

自由 free            3

和谐社会  harmonious society    9

       do  make           40

       do  engage in tackle   1

中国      China  Chinese      31

西方      the West  western     19

发展      development  drifting     5

成功      success  successful     10

商业()  commercialization  commercial  commercially    4

游戏     game    4

舒服     comfortable   3

学术     academic  academics  academically    11

农民     farmer       5

强奸     rape  raped    2

通奸     adultery     2

生效     effectiveness   effective   2

市场     market  marketing    5

投机份子  opportunitists   1

Source of Keywords:

Q: You just mentioned the public perception of your works and the natural influence thereof, I have the feeling that most of your early works are not as socially-conscious as the newer ones.

A: (Sun) Actually all the materials come from the society, it’s just that some of them come from the relatively private aspect of social life, and some are better-known materials, such as news subjects, social topics. Actually all topics are social topics, it’s just that the attention they draw are of different levels. Also, I don’t think I would go with the idea that currently all subjects derive from the society, I think a lot of them can still find roots in ourselves, but when they are confronted with the society, you’ll need an appropriate translation and conversion system, and then you’ll end up choosing relatively typical materials. It seems to me that you just can’t take the problem separately.

(Peng) In the early days when we were young, our relation with the society are not so complicated, or, shall we say, we were not yet an integrated part of the society, therefore the works we did and the materials we used are not so socially-conscious. But I reckon that anything could be used as material, and you are going to engage in the society more and more as you grow up, eventually you’ll choose those materials in the society that interest you. So I don’t think that subject is the key issue here.

Q: A lot of your works in the exhibitions are focused on the relationship with the society. Do you perceive any differences in China and the West in terms of audience’s acceptance and feedback?

A: (Sun) Yes, but I think the differences were more typical a few years ago, before and around 2000. The opening-up of China was still in its early phase back then, and most people did not accept what is called contemporary art, they were too impatient when watching. Now there seems to be a unified consensus, western and Chinese audience are aware of this (Chinese) contemporary art thing, they know there is a bunch of people doing weird stuff, and their first reaction towards them are “Ah! Another performance art! “Thus art is reduced to a term, when someone puzzles over something; he would call it performance art. He has this category in his mind, and can group it, and then it’s easy for him to take in.

(Peng) At that time the West was more interested in the political confrontational aspect, it has something to do with the whole Chinese ideology. The country was not open enough back then, and biennale still didn’t emerge in Shanghai……all the western audiences would interpret your work from the political perspective. There were two kinds of Chinese audience, and this is particularly interesting, the first kind is artistically-informed people, or people somewhat related to art and culture; and the other kind is people who has no relationship whatsoever with culture. As it turned out, the culture-savvy part happened to find our works incomprehensible, they even made a lot of protests or accusation against them. On the other hand, those who have no relationship with art or culture, including policemen……one of my exhibitions was banned, and I chatted with many ordinary people like policemen and persons in Residents’ Committee, you know, ordinary people, they all went to see the exhibition and found it super interesting.

And now governments are organizing biennales, contemporary art has become a card in their hands, something that everyone can and should take advantage of. So it’s like a slogan, a presentation used to impress the international community, and here’s when the game with the official starts.

A: (Peng) In the ’90s, before 2000, when something happens, you can calm down to observe your surroundings, to perceive the changes of everybody in detail. But now, especially in recent years, the whole atmosphere in the art scene is volatile. It has become difficult for me to try to understand the changes outside, and the situation is complicated now……take our studio in 798 for example, this place is so touristy now, it’s hard to position yourself. But we do work here as of today. Now the government is into contemporary art too, a lot of opportunitists are into this, and there’s the gallery frenzy, a dozen of new galleries would turn up here every day. You also witness the price of Chinese contemporary art skyrocketing on the international market, I have the feeling that many artists have lost themselves, they have become less pure; in the old days, underground is underground, the artists make art, and that’s it. Nowadays everyone collaborates with everyone, and you participate in their game more frequently, the game is getting more and more complex, Stage Two!

Q: So do you think that general public has become better connoisseurs of contemporary art?

A: (Peng) I think maybe they do find it easier to accept, but what art offers them, on the contrary, has decreased. Back then they would try to understand why these people do what they’re doing, now they get themselves a concept, like I tell you this word, ‘performance art‘, they go ‘Ah, so this is performance art!’, and there it is. Something is missing for the general public, the minute they are given a safe explanation, they are deprived of the thinking process.

(Sun) There are actually two sides of the coin. For the artist, I think they are also trying to figure out what kind of audience they have. In the ’90s there was this cynic group, you may want to call them early [Chinese] contemporary artist, they were the enfant terrible, going to the extreme when rejected by the public. By now, however, many artists have come to realize that in order to play the enfant terrible card you need to first have the endorsement by the audience. So both sides were moving towards each other, when the two reach a point of coordination, by which I mean they can work together seamlessly and feel free at the same time, that’s what you may call the harmonious society. Back then reform and opening were everything, people would do anything for breakthrough. Things have changed, now the overall structure is fixed, it’s a matter of coordination. This is in synch with the general situation of the country, the concept of harmonious society has posed a big question to art as well. Of course every era has its own issues, but the issues we are facing now in a harmonious society is of not much difference with those in the western countries. This is because harmonious society is commonplace in the West, and artists there feel free and suffocated at the same time. This is gonna happen in China at some point in the future, we’ll see.

(Peng) For instance, I’m initially exciting upon learning that certain large foreign organization is coming to Beijing to open a museum, because it means there will finally be a decent museum showcasing contemporary art in Beijing and in China. But soon I come to realize the potential crisis; I don’t know whether this thing would do any good to Beijing and to Chinese contemporary art as a whole, will it help pushing the scene towards the good or bad, healthy or unhealthy direction? There are two sides to these things. What the foreign museums try to do is to port the whole prestigious western museum system to Beijing, but if you take a look at exhibitions in the West, you’ll see how the corrupted museum system stifles the whole art scene. This explains all the buzz about the whole lot of Chinese artists participating in the Venice Biennale that year; they witnessed the potential of Chinese contemporary art in the West. But is there really any potential? Granted, you can’t say there’s zero potential, but the point is westerners realized that they could find new possibilities in China, and these possibilities are potential, energy, frightening stuff. While in the West, the whole system has provided a, in Sun Yuan’s word, harmonious society for everybody, people have to play by the rules and to strive for breakthrough in between. After some time, everybody ends up playing tricks, for me this is really not the ideal way of life. So I think the western museum system‘s coming into China will be a double-edged sword for the artists. Wouldn’t you kill a lot of possibilities if you bring in something lifeless? It helps us to operate under the rules and procedure, that’s for sure, and of course an oft-heard criticism on Chinese artists or the whole Chinese art market by western museums is the lack of rules and procedure, but this is precisely the characteristic and charisma of China. I prefer a lifestyle with lots of accidents, if Chinese contemporary art is drifting towards a completely expected, accident-free direction, I think it’s time for the artists to think about what they can do to stimulate the scene.

Q: Economic changes will have an influence on art and the relation between artists and the audience, but there are a lot of artists seem to ignore the audience, aren’t there?

A: (Sun) This is about knowledge being in synch with the government, in other words, a harmonious society is the end result of a peaceful evolution process. Commercialization and the participation of economics contribute to the realization of a harmonious society. There are rules, economic rules, that you would want to follow and to refer to as a kind of artist who cares not only about yourself, but also about the audience. One can’t deny the fact that all people regard economical success as the measurement of success in general, even artists themselves, so do the audiences. It’s a point of reference. So economics actually works as the coordinator and thus triggers the peaceful evolution. I’ll say that artists and audiences are not the sole driving force of the harmonious society, there must be some other interfering factors. So how to maintain consistency? How to reach the same coordinated point? Economics is being used as a reference point in many cases.

(Peng) Market and academic studies call for different approaches. Marketing guys take care of the market, scholars take care of academic studies, so it won’t do any good to have people like us to talk about issues without our range.

(Sun) Sometimes people say ‘academic is itself’, I’m not sure I agree with them on that: do you think about the question of success when doing academic works? If the question crosses your mind, then there shall be a point of coordination somewhere. When all the factors are mixed together in the optimized proportion, it will appear to be something successful and will generate some momentum for your academic studies. Here, the word successful means not only commercial success, but success in every dimension. Without this all-dimentional success as the point of reference, academic studies will be of no direction or value – it has no coordinated platform. Actually academics all work on a platform, there is the standard for measuring success, which is effectiveness, [commercial-wise and academic-wise] effective commercially or academically. There’s a certain value in it.

Q: Do you care about the negative part in the audiences’ feedback?

A: (Sun) The audiencesfeedback are exactly the thing I care about.

(Peng) But it’s not important how they respond to our works, as long as there is response at all. We don’t really care whether they are positive or negative, we care about the fact that they do have reaction.

(Sun) Or shall we say the best case is that we have mixed response; rape mixed with adultery, if you will. Being raped and yet reaching orgasm, committing adultery but with a bit of passiveness, that’s a good mixture. I’m not into pure compulsory stuff, but reaction is a must.

Q: I think one of the major differences between Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou is the different level of consciousness towards power. It’s the strongest in Beijing, weaker in Shanghai, and the weakest in Guangzhou. Do you have anything to say about this?

A: (Sun) I don’t particularly feel that way, this power thing you mentioned. I don’t know if there’s power or not, but the way I see it, power is of no relevance as long as you feel comfortable and happy. Because you are in the lower tiers of others’ power mechanism, you are not the top guy, you feel good being here, and you stay here, I think that’s enough. It’s not necessarily the same thing as the farmer‘s corporation, in which power is above everything, even daily meals are related to power, if you can’t get hold of this power, you are not able to survive……by power I mean a kind of dominate/subordinate relation, not necessarily political power.

different, difference 不一样(不同)[bu yi yang(bu tong)]

我认为好的、触动了我的艺术家,他的作品一般都是来自于自己生活印记,从这一点来讲,我觉得所有的人都没有区别,只不过个人生活痕迹不一样,呈现出来的结果一样

From this aspect, I think all people are the same, the difference is that they have gone through different kind of life, thus coming out with different result.

(摘自徐坦对胡小玉的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Hu Xiaoyu)

Interviewed: Hu Xiaoyu

Time: Afternoon, February 1, 2007

Location: Dushixin Hai’an Yayuan, Futong Xi Da Jie, Beijing

     woman female  41

女性     female  32

女性主义   feminism  4

       man   24

男性      male  18

男性艺术家   male artists   8

社会    society  38

生活(活着)  life   living    lifestyle   33

个人   personal individual    21

感觉 (觉得)  feeling     21

兴趣    interest    10

不一样(不同)  different  difference   9

责任    responsibility  9

关系   relationship    7

生命   life    5

感情(ganqing)  emotion   3

情感(qinggan) emotion emotional   4

方式   way approaches   19

自己   self own personal   13

现实   reality   3

介入   intervention involvement   7

时政 political  1

自由 freedom 1

无聊   bored   3

空虚    empty (spiritually)   2

 addicted   2

打交道  deal with      3

有意思  interesting    8

没意思  out the meaning   5

刺激    stimulation  stimulated  2

Source of keywords:

Q: Talk about your life, society, and sociality.

A: Art and life do not necessarily have so many conflicts, and you don’t have to think of it as being logical and sensible. [A ] I feel that a lot of things should be allowed to evolve naturally so that they will straighten out in the best way. I think maybe the society is choosing marginal things, things in the outer limit of social norm. I started out rejecting the society. Granted, I myself am supposed to be rejected but the strange thing is, my role as an artist has probably prompted the society to pull me back from the margin. If I were in a profession in which people are required to frequently deal with the society, I might as well get filtered out. After you gain from the society, despite your unwillingness, [it's time] you are bound to take some responsibilities, which means compromise: I begin to move closer to the society, which, in turn, offers me more. But I’m not sure about the future. First I rejected the society, maybe I’m still rejecting it a little bit now, but it’s not rejecting me, this is really subtle relationship. What I don’t know is, if one day I start to embrace the society, would it reject me then? It’s hard to tell, everything is random. I’m especially afraid of having too much contact with the society. I never work with assistant, if I have an assistant does all the work, what’s the point of living? I have to be hands-on in order to figure out the meaning of my life during that period of time. I don’t have social skills and I fear dealing with people. I had depression a while ago. If I can choose my destiny at will, I think maybe nunnery is the best for me, but I can’t. Also, like I haven’t chosen to live the life I’m having now, but I ended up like this anyway, so I was forced to accept something I rejected, after a while, I got addicted to it. This is just weird and contradictory. But I believe everything will straighten themselves out in the end, so now I just try to go with the flow and be less sensitive, letting myself being pushed by other things. I try to be passive, just sitting at home waiting, and when something comes, I work with it as long as I like it. In the very beginning, making art was a way and reason of existence for me, I felt it’s more interesting than other things. Now that I have gained some recognition, you’ll need stimulation. Because your interest wears off during the process, so you need to be stimulated in order to extend it. It’s like a trajectory which will be extended by external intervention.

Q: [Market.]Does market have any influence on your artistic creation?

A: Not interested. If someone comes to me and offers to buy my stuff, I will have to consider whether I should sell or not, and that’s it. I haven’t studied the market systematically, and I don’t really care. I’m doing [okay] with my living state for now, and that’s enough.

Q: The object of your works.

A: I think they are directly connected to my personal emotion and feeling. A large portion of them share a lot of similar things, after all they are all done by myself. But the emotional sources of each work are complicated, it’s not a simple thread. Usually, when there’s a certain point in life that touches me deeply, I would create a work based on that experience. So it’s not something could be easily explained in words, what can be say for sure is that my art works are all related to my personal life. Sometimes I’m also quite puzzled, like a while ago a male friend questioned me, he thought a lot of “female artists” – of course I never call myself that – have a narrow range of concerns: emotion, pedigree, etc. We had some serious quarrel. Speaking of myself, most of my works derive from my own life experience. If you have to accuse me of that, the only reason I can think of is that I am female, so that I’m only concerned with, work on, and interested in those stuff, all the recognizable references in my works have their roots in my personal life. I didn’t think about these in the very beginning. I don’t know what’s going on with others, but I take a look at myself and I know what’s with me. A lot of male artists say that they don’t understand my works. Without having studied the history of Chinese feminism in details, I nevertheless think that women go through a lot of development and changes in a given period of time. For instance, me and my brother are all that’s in my mum‘s mind, children and husband are all that’s in my grandma’s mind, but I feel I don’t want kids now: I don’t even understand what life is about, how can I take the responsibility of have a child? I’ve been thinking what’s the meaning of life, this is perhaps a primary driving force of my art. There has to be meaning (in my works), so I keep searching for it every day. This is a male-centric society, female artists usually have normal and objective view on male ones; the opposite is rarely true, male artists always say they don’t understand our works, there is really no surprise here. Women always choose their ways of expression passively, as the range of their life experiences is limited, so the above judgment is unequally-based. Men‘s involvement in social, political and economic issues are much deeper than women, so of course they are confident in expressing their viewpoint. Women, for sure, are not confident and afraid to talk about those topics, they can only talk about themselves and their emotion. That’s why works by female artists tend to be more personal and intimate, thus difficult for men to understand. Many of my favourite Chinese female artists are very traditional, they have inherited a lot of fundamentally ‘Chinese‘ nature. The problem is not technique but what you are trying to communicate, whether you have a complete system of your own, and whether you manage to touch upon my heart. In most cases, these feelings exist only between women and are hard to describe with words. But I can feel them, they are too personal, detailed, and trivial, they are to be felt, not thought. The society is changing, there are currently many male artists (or non-artist men) paying attention to female approaches, they begin to think about those approaches they failed to understand before. I believe things will be a lot more [different] changes fifty years from now, maybe the demographic proportion would then be in favour of women, who would have more involvement in social life. When that day comes, we can expect the adjustment of social proportion or the right of ownership.

Q: The function of the artist?

A: I don’t have the sense of responsibility, don’t know how it feels to be functioning. But I’m sure a lot of people hope to function in the society, it’s about ambition. But what kind of function? That’s hard to tell. Artists have different way of expression, or shall we say different way of existencedifferent not only from the average people, but also from each other. Those whom I would consider good, who has touched me, are usually artists that base their works upon slices of personal life. From this aspect, I think all people are the same, the difference is that they have gone through different kind of life, thus coming out with different result.

developement, develops 发展[fa zhan]

1.中国现在的机制肯定会对艺术的发展产生影响,没有基金会等的一些机构艺术家还是要一些商业方面的东西。

The existing system in China certainly has an impact on the development of art. Without certain organizations, such as foundations, artists here still depend on commercial activities.

(摘自徐坦对刘韡的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Liu Wei)

2. 有几个字(关键词):发展进步超越

key words for it (Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park): development, progress, surpass.

(摘自徐坦对陈斌的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Chen Bin)

Interviewed: Liu Renhua

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 14, 2007

Location: Eudora Station Cafe, Beijing

生活      life live            15

低级趣味  vulgar taste  vulgar  5

自己      self  own           22

态度      attitude             6

社会      society  social       7

别人      others other people  other   5

接受      accept  take                6

大众      public                      14

大众审美  popular aesthetics            3

审美      aesthetics                    7

时尚      fashion                     15

消耗      drain (exhaust)               5

关系,联系, 关联  relationship relation related  connections   6

不同,不一样    different                      10

制度  system     1

     take  7 

     circle  6

     sell   5

发展   development develops  6

无聊   boring bored   5

商业   commercialization business  commercial  4

国外   foreign countries  4

中国   China  3

形象   images  5

 

Source of keywords:

Q: First of all, would you please generally talk about the current state of contemporary art in China?

A: I think there is a healthy trend of development, but there are also many problems. For example, commercialization has gone a bit too far. Consequently, people often don’t even think about what to do or how to do it, because of the influence of the market. Perhaps this commercialization leads to many problems in the quality of the work. But it’s also good – in time, people will reflect on this issue, reflect on how to do things. I don’t have much of an opinion on this. I haven’t really thought about it that much. Take the view on the system for example. There is nothing we can do about the system, because a lot of things are pre-existent; we don’t have a well-built mechanism of art as foreign countries. The existing system in China certainly has an impact on the development of art. Without certain organizations, such as foundations, artists here still depend on commercial activities. Artists in foreign countries can apply for the funds to maintain their creation. They don’t have to depend on selling their works. But the artists in China have to rely on his own works to meet his needs in creation, that is, he must sell his work in order to pay for the production fees of his next work of art. That is the problem.

Q: What kind of image do you want your work to present to people?

A: It varies from year to year. Maybe it’s more focused now, unlike the last few years, where you see different images, different outlook, like videos, etc… using many kinds of material, with all different concepts. But now I want to be more focused – what kind of work do I want to do in this one year? Installation, perhaps. Which means, your concerns are more focused, and you even consider letting go of some of the works; whereas previously you do whatever comes to your mind. Now you might not do something even if the idea comes up, because it might affect the overall image of your work. Sometimes, the strategic aspects will also be reckoned with. For example, a work of art will put aside when it’s completed. One year later, it takes effect. But sometimes, you start with a good feeling and then find the work losing its effect a year later. Put all your work aside, good or bad, wait for a year or two and check if they are still effective. If so, then it means they are related to your previous development.

A: Visual impact is certainly essential, but not that kind of strong outward impact deliberately made. I’m interested in a basic sensation that people see everyday but fail to perceive. It’s an impact through a different medium – perhaps volume, perhaps something else.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the relationship between your art and social reality?

A: I don’t know what kind of relationship it is. I’m only searching for a point of excitement. I get an idea only when I see or feel something that excites me; I don’t get ideas out of the blue. Maybe some people come up with an idea first and then realize it. But my work comes from something I see and think about. It’s never a rational process of making works of art.

Q: Then, are there any obstacles in the communication between your art and the public?

A: Yes, of course. But it’s not too bad, and I know what the reasons are. When you have a conversation with someone, you cannot communicate with each other due to totally different values. You still know what the other person is thinking, which is totally different from your own thinking, and vice versa. From the public‘s point of view, sometimes they see the work and feel good, feeling that they can take it, because contemporary art still contains something that is most explicit. No matter how art develops, how conceptual it becomes, the explicit visuality, like beauty, always exist. That will never change.

As with communicating with the public, television is what the public likes. I don’t think there is much worth viewing on TV; it’s all just bullshitting and awful. Of course I can watch it too, but I think it’s just vulgar taste. Perhaps the more vulgar is, the more attractive to most people.

Q: And this is the difference between popular and elite culture?

A: Nothing is elite. I don’t like such mentality of regarding himself as infallible.

Q: What sort of influence does Beijing have on your art.

A: Maybe the climate, and something else. Beijing is not a very pleasant city. It can be summed up in one word – dark, which is pretty bad due to the climate like sand storms, etc. Usually I don’t have to go out during the day, and you have nowhere to go at night, unlike some cities in the south, where you can walk around comfortably at night. You can’t do this in Beijing, all you can do is stay home during the day, and go to entertainment spots, like pubs and teahouses at night. Basically there is nowhere you can go to enjoy something natural. But I’ve gotten used to this; maybe it’s related to aesthetics. I’ve completely accepted this grayish, somber landscape. I don’t think it ugly – it’s even rather pretty sometimes. Beijing is faster in pace, and creates more stress compared to other cities. It has more fun here. There’s all sorts of people here; any kind of people can survive here. There exist good idea and bad idea. You can do anything you like. They can all co-exist. Perhaps this is the tradition or customs here.

Q: A lot of artists think too many exhibitions in Beijing, many of which are too superficial.

A: Right. I usually don’t go to exhibitions, except those by very close friends. I don’t go to any other exhibitions.

Q: What’s your view on the art organizations like museums of art?

A: Basically I don’t have any connections with them. That’s PR activities, not what we do.

Q: So you don’t think art should engage into society, into life?

A: It’s not that. Some artists do it that way, and it’s fine, just not my style.

Q: Then what do you think is the role of the artists in society?

A: Never thought about that. I don’t know what sort of role it is; I don’t know. I’m not different from other people, we’re the same. We are all doing our own work, with different ideas and subject-matters. Sometimes you feel you’re exhausting yourself, but everyone is the same. From close by, you see yourself doing something different from others; from afar, it’s all the same. You do certain things to maintain your level of energy, and then you keep draining it. You can’t live your life energetically every single day. It’s insignificant and boring most of the time.

Q: Many other artists also feel negative.

A: It’s not negative. Being bored is not negative; perhaps it’s a state of being. Many things in this society are in this state, this current state. Maybe it has to do with your own judgment – on society, on life. But it’s not the state of nihility and negativity that make you not want to live anymore.

For example, popular aesthetics, just like TV and movies, is just boring beyond words. But everybody likes it. That’s why it can exist. It’s something with an extremely vulgar taste, but people like vulgarity. You can’t run away from it no matter what.

Q: What do you think is the relation between fashion and art?

A: Fashion is more popular, more real-life, and more guiding. Mostly it’s about this guidance – guiding your life – about what is good. It’s a sort of guidepost, leading the public to develop towards the direction it sets. Ultimately there is something good leading the popular aesthetics, whereas art has no such attribute. It doesn’t have to have an impact on everyone. It works by itself. It has an impact on a minority of people. It doesn’t rely on the public.

develop, development 开发[kai fa]

Interviewed: Guo Danxia

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 27, 2007

Location: The artist’s residence, Xi’an.

 

理解     comprehend  know  7

(画画  paint  drawing    199

知道  know         22

文化  culture      12   

文化层次 culture level  4

  healing    cure   11

  understand     8

清楚  clear         8

感觉    feel   15

白血病    leukemia  leukemic   6

白鳝   white eel   4

自己   self  own   20

别人  other people   others  18

感觉   feel   24

迷信 Superstition 2

中国     China Chinese 7

西方     the West Western  5

身体     health Body  physically  physical condition   8

       Qi (energy) 6

       spiritual   3

灵气     reiki  2

气功     Qigong  3

生殖器   genitalia  4

神秘     mysterious   3

科技     science  2

经济效益   1economic profit    1

女神    goddess  2

境界    level spiritual level   2 

谋杀    murder  2

智(慧)     intelligence  intelligent  4

开发   develop development   4

Q: How did you start painting?

A: May 21, 1989 – before that I had often been sick due to bad health. I had heard that even illiterates could write prescriptions, which amazed me, so I wondered if I could paint. That was how I started painting, ever since that day. What I painted was stuff related to healing: how do you cure leukemia? How do you cure toothache? How do you cure moodiness? I painted them out, and those works are still there. When painting leukemia, I felt I painted all the leukemic cells – that’s how it felt. I went to school in the 1950s; we were among the first group of students to wear the red scarf, and what we paint now are really interesting stuff. After that I could paint whatever comes to mind, and I’ve never put down my brush in the past 18 years. Now I paint whatever I want; I follow no rules; and sometimes I would even realize it after I finish the painting. I stopped going to work when I was forty, as I was always sick. I couldn’t help it, and then I opened a painting and calligraphy parlor to relax myself. Originally I was trained in chemical experiments chemical analysis; later I painted on paper and fabric scrolls. In 1991, there was an international imagery expo; they wanted to me participate, but I didn’t go. I later brought a few paintings over; and they were stunned, but I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t even know what I was painting myself; but sometimes you could figure it out, after you’ve finished painting it.

Q: Do you think there is any meaning to be discussed in your paintings?

A: There are some that I cannot explain, and some I do can explain. I used to think all the time about bodily spasm, about how to cure illness. Eventually I painted fetuses and the way the human body develops… Those paintings are composed with digits. So, since over ten years ago, I started to believe that the human body is made up of digits. And it was only recently that people started to say that chromosomes are made up of digits.

Q: Is your art influenced by tradition, or by something else?

A: I practiced Qigong before, which is a very good Chinese tradition. It helps develop your intelligence. Practicing Qigong is practicing the brain; but not everybody can succeed. I think I’m talented at this, because I’m totally honest – I’m not interested in ripping people off or making money; I just want to get into shape, and my body is in good shape now. To paint under such circumstances, I feel I could realize a lot. No matter what [people] others say, I feel I could paint the most important thing in my life. If I wanted to paint a brain, eventually I would finish painting a brain. I feel I’m too intelligent – learning by nurture is also a way to develop one’s intelligence. I never see this as superstition. It is a science.

Q: What kind of concept do you think contemporary art is?

A: I see contemporary art as very progressive, unlike painting from the past. I feel that they are all full of life, even though I don’t know much about traditional pedagogy in the field of art. But Western paintings of the nudebefore I painted, I felt that they were uncivilized. But after I painted myself, I understood that they were beautiful. More precisely, they reveal both the good and the bad.

Q: What do you think is the relation between art and society?

A: I feel we should study art with a tolerance towards all, whether it is traditional culture or anything else. As long as it exists in this society, it has value. I see this as the promise. I’m different from you guys: you people paint after you understood, and yet I understand only after I painted; that’s why I’m not interested in communicating with others. I paint whatever I want, especially things I don’t know about, which I paint best. I often watch science channels on television – those things that exist already in the West but not in China, I paint them. A guy from Taiwan once said that my paintings are frozen art, belonging to the highest level in art. I think there are very nice art in painting, but its value lies not in art, but something much better and deeper than art. For example, I paint whatever is in Xi’an, and I study whatever I paint; once a painting is done, there are still lots to be studied in the painting. When I painted Empress Wu Zetian’s tomb, the Shao Tomb, I painted a clown sitting on her navel, because “Shao Tomb” used to be “Xiao Tomb” (“Tomb of Laughter”), where a homophone was used to cover up the reality. Was this site chosen by her, or was it simply meant for her burial in the first place? I think there is a lot to study in this.

Q: What role do you think an artist should play?

A: I think an artist should cover all different aspects in his art. If you only paint the surface, without expressing the spirit, it’s not a good painting. I believe myself to be someone with multiple personalities, not simply a painter. Like I can diagnose myself; I can cure other people‘s illness through painting. I can also strengthen myself physically. I’m sixty-seven now, and in great shape. Many artists remain in good physical condition once they reach a certain spiritual level, and can live very long. They are also practicing the Qi (energy) to dredge their mind; that’s why painters have high spiritual levels.

Q: What function do you think artists have in a society?

A: Artists can express their own thoughts through painting, which propels the society forward. Stuff like contemporary art in particular, which I go see sometimes – I ask people, “What is Utopia“? They say it’s beautiful things. I feel my paintings represent eastern culture; they not only belong to me personally, but also to everyone else.

Q: Then do you care whether your art is understood by others?

A: I don’t. Everyone comes from a different cultural level. Some people of lower cultural levels can understand my painting, whereas those from higher cultural levels cannot. A director of an academy in Singapore once said that what I painted was genitalia, but I don’t even know how to paint genitalia. I hope to spread Chinese culture out to everywhere. I am someone with modern education; what I paint is contemporary painting. I’m not playing with feudalistic superstition.

A: Please describe the process of your creation.

Q: Like my painting a portrait of someone. I can paint someone just by writing his name once. With just a few strokes, I can paint with great resemblance, even people who I have never seen before. After I finish painting, I can even talk about that person. I can feel all these with my brush. These are what I receive from my subject. It’s not out of the blue. The world is too grand. Painting should include many things, including the universe. I want to paint everything that I know about, and after painting them I get to know something deeper about them, although not all. I’m curious to know about various things, especially things aesthetic. For example, the goddess in Hongshan culture – I’d like to know what that goddess looks like. We have is a long cultural history in Xi’an, and after the archeological site was discovered in Lintong, I did this whole series of paintings, to see whether it was really mysterious. Some painters really hate people asking questions, but not me. Whatever you want me to paint, I can do it; the less I know about something, the better I can paint it. For example, the pyramid in Egypt – only after painting it did I know that it was where the pharaohs were buried. I never knew that before painting it.

demolishing and rebuilding 拆迁[chai qian]

1.没有拆迁完的以后也是挺好的新农村。什么都有,篮球、娱乐场所,以后要开银行医院一切设施都有。

The part that has not been removed is quite neat new village, with all the facilities like basketball courts and other recreation places. Later we will have banks, hospitals and all other facilities.

2.要是拆迁户现在都有商品房生活环境也不错,换个新的环境,生活一天比一天好,跟过去完全不能相比。

The removed families have commercial housing. Their new life surrounding is quite nice, too. Life is improving day by day, totally incomparable with the past.

(摘自徐坦对林鸿男的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Lin Hongnan) 

Interviewed: Lu Sichen

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 30, 2007

Location: Fansi(Fancy) Restaurant, 4th Ring Road, Beijing

社会 social     18

市场 market    11

机构 institutions  organizations   11

边缘 periphery    7

居住 housing living          5

北京 Beijing        63

邻居 neighbors      5

符号 symbol      10

中国符号 China symbol     6

胡同 Hutong  alleys      10

国家    country    5

弱势群体   under-privileged groups     7

日本    Japan      6

热门  hot  3

老百姓 citizens residents 5

环境  context  13

拍卖  auction 8

价格  price, worth   5

价值  value  8

关系  relationship  21

人际关系  interpersonal relationship   2

拆迁  demolishing and rebuilding  3

西方  the West  4

建筑  building  9

位置  status  4

装修  decoration project interior decoration  3

  circle   1

Source of keywords:

Q: Could you please first comment on the current state of contemporary art in China?

A: This is quite a big question. I think contemporary art in China is now in a relatively good phase; it’s hot, and many institutions and collectors are very concerned contemporary art. Seen from this point, it’s a hot thing. But on the other hand, judging from the past two years, there have been very few really good works; so some people even think that we’ve reached the bottom point in contemporary Chinese art. This is rather difficult, because, for many artists, they really need to sell their works; while the social temptation is just too strong. Before, people would still care about how to produce good works and they would care about the academic side of things. Now, people talk about nothing but auctions, auction sale prices, and the market.

Q: Please describe what your art is mainly concerned with.

A: I think my work is mostly about the relationship between neighbors in residential quarters in old Beijing, the changes in the city, and learning about interpersonal relationship through the observation of these changes. There are so many artists in Beijing, but not many local professional artists. As a professional artist in Beijing, I‘m not saying I want to be an international artist. Living in Beijing, with all the surroundings, the neighbors in the Hutong alleys, the friends and relatives all around me, the street hawkers – all of these are sources of inspiration for my work. I have emotions towards all of them, so I see things under this context when working on my art.

Q: You care about relationship with the surroundings. Then, how is the interaction between your work and the audience?

A: I don’t even know. Even though I’ve worked so many years in Beijing, I feel that Beijing natives who have seen my work are quite few; the ones who really come to see my work are the persons in art circle. For example, when I do indoor or outdoor installation, the Beijing natives see them as decoration project. So I always feel like I’m doing decoration project whenever I start an installation piece. I have finished many related works in Beijing, but I think their impact has been limited.

Q: How do you think the West is regarding all these developments in contemporary Chinese art?

A: I’ve talked to some people about this. They feel that the present phenomenon is horrible. The price for art is very high, higher than what the market can take. It’s like a stock market.

Q: You’ve emphasized the close relationship with your surroundings. As an artist, what role do you play in the society?

A: Under-privileged group. All artists basically all belong to under-privileged groups. Maybe due to the recent market hype, or the higher prices at auctions, people have started to pay attention to artists, but nobody had any such concepts before. Contemporary art had no social status in the past, and it’s only because of the market prices in the past couple of years… People all care about one thing ultimately – how much [is it] does it worth? This is the level of artistic appreciation in China today.

Q: So, from your point of view, this society actually still has a very limited acceptance of contemporary art.

A: My feeling is that contemporary Chinese art, including the entire painting profession, has always occupied a decorative position in the Chinese society. A well-to-do family needs something to decorate their house, but the wealthy owners don’t know about the value of the art works, and they don’t need to know. They have the money; they can buy the paintings. So they hold the same right of speech as the artists. Other than that, they care about nothing. I think many people have gained various kinds of benefits from all this. Songzhuang is a typical example. It was previously a very poor village. Then some artists moved there, and the village leader gradually found out them. Then this thing became an event. Yet this leader was promoting art for his career gains. Now many private collectors and collecting organizations abroad have all gone there. And now that village has expanded its influence, and then this local leader became, overnight, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. When contemporary art links with certain things on the international level, it gets exciting. But do these people really care that much about culture? I think not.

I made a painting recently. I always find a topic interesting: “China symbol.” Many have debated on whether Chinese artists should deploy the “China symbol.” Its antithesis is the globalization symbol – I have no idea what that might be like; I only know of the concept. My feeling is that there is nothing wrong with the China Symbol. The Americans are flaunting their Symbol everyday, and nobody has any problem with that. Then why would you have problem with the Chinese using their own Symbol? I think I’m the kind of person who will take the China Symbol to the end. As a Chinese artist, what is your goal? To promote your own culture or to extinguish your own culture? That is the question. So I decide to do contemporary art using the most traditional Chinese methods. I painted a long scroll, about 50 meters in length, of the scenery along the Chang’an Boulevard in Beijing, recording each building alongside. The Chang’an Boulevard is about 15 kilometers in length, and I painted it at the scale of 1:300, so it turned out to be 50 meters. And at the same time, with the traditional way of ancient Chinese painting, I carved many seals, displaying the names of the Hutong alleys that have disappeared in Beijing. That is my latest work.

Q: And how did you turn it into an installation piece?

A: You can’t turn it into an installation. One of my installation pieces is one made in 2002 – a large sand table, about 100 meters; it’s roughly a model of the Second Ring Road in Beijing. I got this idea while looking at lots of apartment sales centers. They have all these models of high-rises, really beautifully made. So I made this sand table as a symbol for traps – a pit, a huge pit, where many people’s life-long savings are thrown in. I thought this trickery in the form of a sand table was really fun, so I made a sand table of the entire city of Beijing, because at that time Beijing was bidding for the 2008 Olympic Games.

In fact, I think that the government is using the “renovate and improve the citizens[living] housing conditionslogan to justify their massive scale of demolishing and rebuilding. I wrote a project plan once, in which I would evacuate all the residents from a certain Hutong alley and courtyard. I rent a building for them to stay in. Then I renovate their housing, without changing the exterior structures. And I would employ top interior designers to plan a new interior decoration. Then I invite all the residents back to their homes. So I think it is indeed possible to improve their living condition without changing their living habits. The method used by the government now is really assigned migration. In other words, the citizens are an under-privileged group. When they cannot face up to the government and the developers, they would have to move, far away. The government settles them by paying tens of thousands yuan as moving expenses, and thus throws them to the periphery of the city. I think a more ideal way of doing this is to do it as if it were a work of art – we find investors to invest some money, and then we change the living conditions of these courtyard residents completely. I used to have such a project proposal; it was something I really wanted to do at that time. If this work had been realized and had succeeded, then we’d be raising a question to the city planning committee. I thought that would be fun.

democratic 民主[min zhu]

映了中国近几十年中的哲学美学伦理学的彻底解体,新的甚至探讨的可能都还没有建立,因为这个社会仍然是处在大面积的或者主体地否认事实,或者说不承认一些基本的事实,在很多问题上几乎是没有争论的可能,它离民主社会还是很远,虽然它有极大的自由,但这种自由只是建立在旧体制瓦解上的自由,是没有能力控制下的自由,并不是一种很主动的自由,这些都给艺术一些特征

The fundamental collapses of Chinese philosophy, aesthetics, ethics in the past decades, and the possibility of discussion is yet to be established for the new. Because this large scale or large part of the society is still denying, or disagreeing some basic facts, and debating of many problems in these areas is almost [out of the question] impossible. Democratic society is still a long way to go. There is much freedom in there, but it’s the freedom based on the collapse of the old, a freedom out of control, but proactive [one] freedom. The art is characterized by all these problems.

(摘自徐坦对艾东明的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Ai Dongming)

Interviewed: Ai Dongming

Time: Afternoon, January 31, 2007

Location: Ai’s place at Caochangdi, Beijing

    “do”  engage in   25

可能  maybe possibility impossible perhaps  may  21

社会  society  social   19

问题  problem question  17

兴趣  fascinated interested uninterested interest 12 

个人  individual  12

方式  ways approaches  10

市场  market  9

价值  value   7

政治的   political  1

国家     country  state  4

自由    freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主    democratic  2

    circle   3

    money  5

时代  (information/Internet) age  5

    play   3

资金  capital  1

    poor poverty  4

弱智  retarded   2

    face  3

Source of keywords:

Q: What’s your understanding or impression about the current situation of contemporary art in China?

A: I wouldn’t pretend to know much. In spite of the fact that I’ve been living in Beijing all along and always partaking in curating, that we have the Chinese Art Archives & Warehouse, and make friends in the art circle, still I’m not sure I really understand it. Recent two years it seemed hot and bustling, but not very long before nobody apparently cared to take a look at it, so it feels to me more like a state of sudden ups and downs. Maybe put it this way: because contemporary art as a matter of fact has a quite short history [in China], and the modern life in China [this country] – although it did exist – was characterized to a great extent by political and economic patterns. In a highly institutionalized [environment] country as such, the freedom of individual expression, political background and living conditions, as well as the functions and possibilities of art and culture in the society, were basically limited, therefore the surfacing of the so called contemporary art in China didn’t occur until five or six years ago. Before that there were people doing a lot of things, but only in a semi-underground way – that is, it happened in a small circle, out of the sight of the public discourse, and its social impact was in fact also only limited to a small sphere. Once it surfaces, its major scene is in overseas exhibitions, foreign media or even in overseas auctions. It does look exciting somehow, but has nothing to do with the environment where the art originated, its social patterns and its meanings. Few people have tried to discuss and probe into these questions, so it’s still a strange structure. But we can’t say any structure is reasonable or not. Be it a tree, a vine, a ferocious beast, or a parasite, it each has its own reasons. Although Chinese contemporary art did not self-consciously try to build a connection with this society, it still somehow reflects a few problems of the past decades.

Q: What problems do you think it reflects?

A: The fundamental collapses of Chinese philosophy, aesthetics, ethics in the past decades, and the possibility of discussion is yet to be established for the new. Because this large scale or large part of the society is still denying, or disagreeing some basic facts, and debating of many problems in these areas is almost [out of the question] impossible. Democratic society is still a long way to go. There is much freedom in there, but it’s the freedom based on the collapse of the old, a freedom out of control, but proactive [one] freedom. The art is characterized by all these problems.

Q: What do you think of the public reception of contemporary art?

A: I don’t think there is real reception. It only becomes part of fashion. When magazines and newspapers talk about art, you see, they always miss the points, and are never capable of understanding it in any depth. I think it’s pathetic, somewhat like retarded. Chinese contemporary art is really acting [an under-developed] a retarded role. Of course there are pretty good artists, there are artists doing interesting stuff all along, but what they do and the way they do it never got acknowledged or understood by the mainstream society. Basically it’s all messed up.

Q: Do you think your curating activities could be of any help to this mess?

A:There are many exhibitions in China now, but hardly helping with anything and making any sense. They are just peddlers, the peddlers you see on streets where everybody hucksters the same thing and provoke and compete against one another. It’s designed completely for the market, and has nothing to do with art. All those exhibitions, and their curators – take a close look and you see few that are half decent, all with their evil and varied intentions. This in particular is what makes me look down upon Chinese academia and the intelligentsia. [The total shamelessness. The out-and-out and open shamelessness,] They don’t care for face, literally and openly declare that they don’t care for face, which is so rare even here and now. A Chinese old saying goes, poverty stifles ambition, which makes a very good point here. But it’s more than just being poor, those people are actually degenerate. Poverty is just an excuse.

Q: Since you mentioned market, please comment on the art market.

A:Anything can sell, and the exquisite thing as art is no exception. Art sells in that it decorates the [rich] homes of people with lots of money, so it becomes commodity, which is quite normal. The question is the percentage. I mean, in the whole cultural environment, is commodity the only role to play or not? Is it so fragile that once it becomes commodity, it can’t be anything else? I think that’s a major problem in Chinese contemporary art. The way I see it, it’s kind of funny, because it’s like that even the reason why you do art in the first place got changed, the reason and principles of your life got changed, and eventually transformed into some other value. Too much attention and discussions have been driven to the market – of course, if you are not an artist but a speculator, there’s nothing wrong with talking about market too much, but if you are someone still creating works, or if you got into art because you felt like to express yourself, or fascinated with certain ways of expression, instead of just money, capital or status, then there is something deeply wrong. Now it seems to me that everybody is talking about market, which is bothering me. From stock market to the pricing of brand names, there’s nothing to blame market itself about. You sell something for five cents of money, five thousand Yuan of money, or fifty thousand, and it’s fine. But behind this market, behind the pricing of a certain product, are other values diluted by this market price? This is a question.

Q: What interests you then?

A:Honestly, I’m not interested in anything in particular. I’m not particularly uninterested in commercial stuff or some other things. Really there are not too many things that interest me; perhaps I am passive. But generally speaking, art is a profession that I have some interest in. What interests me there is the people who are less utilitarian and more characteristic, and living some sorts of self-conscious lives. But what about now? You see no difference between [this art] people in this art circle and their neighbor who peddle. It becomes boring. But after all, I don’t really care, and concern. For example, this country lives or dies, I don’t really care either. It’s just that you asked me, like you ask me anything such as weather, windy or sandstorm comes, it’s something out of your control. It’s just what this country is.

Q: Say something about your blog.

A: Blog is fun. I will upload the pictures I took for you right away. I don’t know anything about my viewers, even though they are just a click away from me – this is what I feel so straightforward, so real and at the same time delusional, so I keep doing it.

Q: You mean it’s a way to communicate your own information.

A:I think the information age is the best time for human being so far. Before this, mankind was in the dark or on a chosen path, and now for the first time it provides technical possibilities for the so called freedom and individual will. You [can] may choose to play alone or with those whom you like to play with, which is hard to imagine before. I think everybody should be welcoming this new situation allowing free expression and individual approaches – sounds cliché but still very important. Things like new possibilities of communication, including the possibilities of reshaping, absorbing and utilizing the power of the society, are great things.

Q: Speaking of art, do you think there is a distinction between geographical center and margin?

A:I think not, especially not in this information age and Internet age. In fact this is for the first time that mankind has an opportunity and possibility to topple the traditional value system of central power. This possibility springs up suddenly after a long history of human struggle, and it’s such a great thing.

decoration project, interior decoration 装修[zhuang xiu]

例如我做室内或者室外装置,他们把它当成是装修来理解,所以我觉得做装置一开始就像是装修的,我在北京了很多跟这个有关的作品,但我觉得它的影响力还是很有限的。

For example, when I do indoor or outdoor installation, the Beijing natives see them as decoration project. So I always feel like I’m doing decoration project whenever I start an installation piece. I have finished many related works in Beijing, but I think their impact has been limited.

(摘自徐坦对卢昊的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Lu Hao)

Interviewed: Lu Sichen

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 30, 2007

Location: Fansi(Fancy) Restaurant, 4th Ring Road, Beijing

社会 social     18

市场 market    11

机构 institutions  organizations   11

边缘 periphery    7

居住 housing living          5

北京 Beijing        63

邻居 neighbors      5

符号 symbol      10

中国符号 China symbol     6

胡同 Hutong  alleys      10

国家    country    5

弱势群体   under-privileged groups     7

日本    Japan      6

热门  hot  3

老百姓 citizens residents 5

环境  context  13

拍卖  auction 8

价格  price, worth   5

价值  value  8

关系  relationship  21

人际关系  interpersonal relationship   2

拆迁  demolishing and rebuilding  3

西方  the West  4

建筑  building  9

位置  status  4

装修  decoration project interior decoration  3

  circle   1

Source of keywords:

Q: Could you please first comment on the current state of contemporary art in China?

A: This is quite a big question. I think contemporary art in China is now in a relatively good phase; it’s hot, and many institutions and collectors are very concerned contemporary art. Seen from this point, it’s a hot thing. But on the other hand, judging from the past two years, there have been very few really good works; so some people even think that we’ve reached the bottom point in contemporary Chinese art. This is rather difficult, because, for many artists, they really need to sell their works; while the social temptation is just too strong. Before, people would still care about how to produce good works and they would care about the academic side of things. Now, people talk about nothing but auctions, auction sale prices, and the market.

Q: Please describe what your art is mainly concerned with.

A: I think my work is mostly about the relationship between neighbors in residential quarters in old Beijing, the changes in the city, and learning about interpersonal relationship through the observation of these changes. There are so many artists in Beijing, but not many local professional artists. As a professional artist in Beijing, I‘m not saying I want to be an international artist. Living in Beijing, with all the surroundings, the neighbors in the Hutong alleys, the friends and relatives all around me, the street hawkers – all of these are sources of inspiration for my work. I have emotions towards all of them, so I see things under this context when working on my art.

Q: You care about relationship with the surroundings. Then, how is the interaction between your work and the audience?

A: I don’t even know. Even though I’ve worked so many years in Beijing, I feel that Beijing natives who have seen my work are quite few; the ones who really come to see my work are the persons in art circle. For example, when I do indoor or outdoor installation, the Beijing natives see them as decoration project. So I always feel like I’m doing decoration project whenever I start an installation piece. I have finished many related works in Beijing, but I think their impact has been limited.

Q: How do you think the West is regarding all these developments in contemporary Chinese art?

A: I’ve talked to some people about this. They feel that the present phenomenon is horrible. The price for art is very high, higher than what the market can take. It’s like a stock market.

Q: You’ve emphasized the close relationship with your surroundings. As an artist, what role do you play in the society?

A: Under-privileged group. All artists basically all belong to under-privileged groups. Maybe due to the recent market hype, or the higher prices at auctions, people have started to pay attention to artists, but nobody had any such concepts before. Contemporary art had no social status in the past, and it’s only because of the market prices in the past couple of years… People all care about one thing ultimately – how much [is it] does it worth? This is the level of artistic appreciation in China today.

Q: So, from your point of view, this society actually still has a very limited acceptance of contemporary art.

A: My feeling is that contemporary Chinese art, including the entire painting profession, has always occupied a decorative position in the Chinese society. A well-to-do family needs something to decorate their house, but the wealthy owners don’t know about the value of the art works, and they don’t need to know. They have the money; they can buy the paintings. So they hold the same right of speech as the artists. Other than that, they care about nothing. I think many people have gained various kinds of benefits from all this. Songzhuang is a typical example. It was previously a very poor village. Then some artists moved there, and the village leader gradually found out them. Then this thing became an event. Yet this leader was promoting art for his career gains. Now many private collectors and collecting organizations abroad have all gone there. And now that village has expanded its influence, and then this local leader became, overnight, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. When contemporary art links with certain things on the international level, it gets exciting. But do these people really care that much about culture? I think not.

I made a painting recently. I always find a topic interesting: “China symbol.” Many have debated on whether Chinese artists should deploy the “China symbol.” Its antithesis is the globalization symbol – I have no idea what that might be like; I only know of the concept. My feeling is that there is nothing wrong with the China Symbol. The Americans are flaunting their Symbol everyday, and nobody has any problem with that. Then why would you have problem with the Chinese using their own Symbol? I think I’m the kind of person who will take the China Symbol to the end. As a Chinese artist, what is your goal? To promote your own culture or to extinguish your own culture? That is the question. So I decide to do contemporary art using the most traditional Chinese methods. I painted a long scroll, about 50 meters in length, of the scenery along the Chang’an Boulevard in Beijing, recording each building alongside. The Chang’an Boulevard is about 15 kilometers in length, and I painted it at the scale of 1:300, so it turned out to be 50 meters. And at the same time, with the traditional way of ancient Chinese painting, I carved many seals, displaying the names of the Hutong alleys that have disappeared in Beijing. That is my latest work.

Q: And how did you turn it into an installation piece?

A: You can’t turn it into an installation. One of my installation pieces is one made in 2002 – a large sand table, about 100 meters; it’s roughly a model of the Second Ring Road in Beijing. I got this idea while looking at lots of apartment sales centers. They have all these models of high-rises, really beautifully made. So I made this sand table as a symbol for traps – a pit, a huge pit, where many people’s life-long savings are thrown in. I thought this trickery in the form of a sand table was really fun, so I made a sand table of the entire city of Beijing, because at that time Beijing was bidding for the 2008 Olympic Games.

In fact, I think that the government is using the “renovate and improve the citizens[living] housing conditionslogan to justify their massive scale of demolishing and rebuilding. I wrote a project plan once, in which I would evacuate all the residents from a certain Hutong alley and courtyard. I rent a building for them to stay in. Then I renovate their housing, without changing the exterior structures. And I would employ top interior designers to plan a new interior decoration. Then I invite all the residents back to their homes. So I think it is indeed possible to improve their living condition without changing their living habits. The method used by the government now is really assigned migration. In other words, the citizens are an under-privileged group. When they cannot face up to the government and the developers, they would have to move, far away. The government settles them by paying tens of thousands yuan as moving expenses, and thus throws them to the periphery of the city. I think a more ideal way of doing this is to do it as if it were a work of art – we find investors to invest some money, and then we change the living conditions of these courtyard residents completely. I used to have such a project proposal; it was something I really wanted to do at that time. If this work had been realized and had succeeded, then we’d be raising a question to the city planning committee. I thought that would be fun.

deal with 打交道[da jiao dao]

不会、害怕跟人打交道,前段时间我抑郁症

I don’t have social skills and I fear dealing with people. I had depression a while ago.

(摘自徐坦对胡小玉的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Hu Xiaoyu)

Interviewed: Hu Xiaoyu

Time: Afternoon, February 1, 2007

Location: Dushixin Hai’an Yayuan, Futong Xi Da Jie, Beijing

     woman female  41

女性     female  32

女性主义   feminism  4

       man   24

男性      male  18

男性艺术家   male artists   8

社会    society  38

生活(活着)  life   living    lifestyle   33

个人   personal individual    21

感觉 (觉得)  feeling     21

兴趣    interest    10

不一样(不同)  different  difference   9

责任    responsibility  9

关系   relationship    7

生命   life    5

感情(ganqing)  emotion   3

情感(qinggan) emotion emotional   4

方式   way approaches   19

自己   self own personal   13

现实   reality   3

介入   intervention involvement   7

时政 political  1

自由 freedom 1

无聊   bored   3

空虚    empty (spiritually)   2

 addicted   2

打交道  deal with      3

有意思  interesting    8

没意思  out the meaning   5

刺激    stimulation  stimulated  2

Source of keywords:

Q: Talk about your life, society, and sociality.

A: Art and life do not necessarily have so many conflicts, and you don’t have to think of it as being logical and sensible. [A ] I feel that a lot of things should be allowed to evolve naturally so that they will straighten out in the best way. I think maybe the society is choosing marginal things, things in the outer limit of social norm. I started out rejecting the society. Granted, I myself am supposed to be rejected but the strange thing is, my role as an artist has probably prompted the society to pull me back from the margin. If I were in a profession in which people are required to frequently deal with the society, I might as well get filtered out. After you gain from the society, despite your unwillingness, [it's time] you are bound to take some responsibilities, which means compromise: I begin to move closer to the society, which, in turn, offers me more. But I’m not sure about the future. First I rejected the society, maybe I’m still rejecting it a little bit now, but it’s not rejecting me, this is really subtle relationship. What I don’t know is, if one day I start to embrace the society, would it reject me then? It’s hard to tell, everything is random. I’m especially afraid of having too much contact with the society. I never work with assistant, if I have an assistant does all the work, what’s the point of living? I have to be hands-on in order to figure out the meaning of my life during that period of time. I don’t have social skills and I fear dealing with people. I had depression a while ago. If I can choose my destiny at will, I think maybe nunnery is the best for me, but I can’t. Also, like I haven’t chosen to live the life I’m having now, but I ended up like this anyway, so I was forced to accept something I rejected, after a while, I got addicted to it. This is just weird and contradictory. But I believe everything will straighten themselves out in the end, so now I just try to go with the flow and be less sensitive, letting myself being pushed by other things. I try to be passive, just sitting at home waiting, and when something comes, I work with it as long as I like it. In the very beginning, making art was a way and reason of existence for me, I felt it’s more interesting than other things. Now that I have gained some recognition, you’ll need stimulation. Because your interest wears off during the process, so you need to be stimulated in order to extend it. It’s like a trajectory which will be extended by external intervention.

Q: [Market.]Does market have any influence on your artistic creation?

A: Not interested. If someone comes to me and offers to buy my stuff, I will have to consider whether I should sell or not, and that’s it. I haven’t studied the market systematically, and I don’t really care. I’m doing [okay] with my living state for now, and that’s enough.

Q: The object of your works.

A: I think they are directly connected to my personal emotion and feeling. A large portion of them share a lot of similar things, after all they are all done by myself. But the emotional sources of each work are complicated, it’s not a simple thread. Usually, when there’s a certain point in life that touches me deeply, I would create a work based on that experience. So it’s not something could be easily explained in words, what can be say for sure is that my art works are all related to my personal life. Sometimes I’m also quite puzzled, like a while ago a male friend questioned me, he thought a lot of “female artists” – of course I never call myself that – have a narrow range of concerns: emotion, pedigree, etc. We had some serious quarrel. Speaking of myself, most of my works derive from my own life experience. If you have to accuse me of that, the only reason I can think of is that I am female, so that I’m only concerned with, work on, and interested in those stuff, all the recognizable references in my works have their roots in my personal life. I didn’t think about these in the very beginning. I don’t know what’s going on with others, but I take a look at myself and I know what’s with me. A lot of male artists say that they don’t understand my works. Without having studied the history of Chinese feminism in details, I nevertheless think that women go through a lot of development and changes in a given period of time. For instance, me and my brother are all that’s in my mum‘s mind, children and husband are all that’s in my grandma’s mind, but I feel I don’t want kids now: I don’t even understand what life is about, how can I take the responsibility of have a child? I’ve been thinking what’s the meaning of life, this is perhaps a primary driving force of my art. There has to be meaning (in my works), so I keep searching for it every day. This is a male-centric society, female artists usually have normal and objective view on male ones; the opposite is rarely true, male artists always say they don’t understand our works, there is really no surprise here. Women always choose their ways of expression passively, as the range of their life experiences is limited, so the above judgment is unequally-based. Men‘s involvement in social, political and economic issues are much deeper than women, so of course they are confident in expressing their viewpoint. Women, for sure, are not confident and afraid to talk about those topics, they can only talk about themselves and their emotion. That’s why works by female artists tend to be more personal and intimate, thus difficult for men to understand. Many of my favourite Chinese female artists are very traditional, they have inherited a lot of fundamentally ‘Chinese‘ nature. The problem is not technique but what you are trying to communicate, whether you have a complete system of your own, and whether you manage to touch upon my heart. In most cases, these feelings exist only between women and are hard to describe with words. But I can feel them, they are too personal, detailed, and trivial, they are to be felt, not thought. The society is changing, there are currently many male artists (or non-artist men) paying attention to female approaches, they begin to think about those approaches they failed to understand before. I believe things will be a lot more [different] changes fifty years from now, maybe the demographic proportion would then be in favour of women, who would have more involvement in social life. When that day comes, we can expect the adjustment of social proportion or the right of ownership.

Q: The function of the artist?

A: I don’t have the sense of responsibility, don’t know how it feels to be functioning. But I’m sure a lot of people hope to function in the society, it’s about ambition. But what kind of function? That’s hard to tell. Artists have different way of expression, or shall we say different way of existencedifferent not only from the average people, but also from each other. Those whom I would consider good, who has touched me, are usually artists that base their works upon slices of personal life. From this aspect, I think all people are the same, the difference is that they have gone through different kind of life, thus coming out with different result.

二奶[er nai(xiao mi)] concubine

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.  但改革开放以后,大量的西方文化的融入,对中国人的影响很大,再者是财富的快速分化,有财富的阶级他们的生活就自然打开,打开的标准之一,就是他婚姻之外有需要,外面可以有妓女情妇二奶

After China’s economic reform and opening to the outside world, Chinese people have greatly influenced by the widely imported Western cultures. Besides, with the fast division of social wealth, life of the rich has naturally opened. One of the standards marking the opening is that he could have lovers, prostitutes and “second wife” outside his marriage.

(摘自徐坦对野牛的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Ye-niu)

采访对象:野牛,地下及枪手作家(无出版署名劝,为他人代笔写作)

Interviewed: Ye-niu (mossback): an underground writer, and a writer who write for other persons without own signature.

时间:Time: January, 2007

地点:Location: Guangzhou

中国 China Chinese 24

社会 social society 19

生存 living live 10

生活 life 11

财富 wealth 8

知识分子 intellectuals 7

利益 benefit 7

身体 body 6

文化 culture 6

改革(开放) reform opening 5

知识 knowledge 4

制度 system 4

政治 political politic 5

矛盾 contradiction 4

直接 directly 4

 

自由 free freedom 5

妓女 prostitute 4

六四 June 4th 2

人权 human rights 2

卖淫 sell oneself 2

党禁 prohibition of parties 2

性服务 erotic service sexual service 2

器官服务 deal with one’s organ 1

性交易 make sexual intercourse 1

扫黄 anti-eroticism campaign 1

意识形态 ideology 1

 

市场(化) market 3

消费 consume 3

资本主义 capitalism 3

社会主义 socialist 2

传统 tradition 2

 

 

野牛:我们曾谈到这个问题,就是目前国情下知识分子启蒙已经没有了,已经没有太大的意义了。就是民间直接生存矛盾已经非常激烈了。像那个工人下岗,待业青年,包括大学生毕业面临综合性的失业。那么生存的第一性要求引出很多社会问题。远远超出我们所说的知识启蒙.比如一个妓女她有什么呢,没有什么,就好像扫黄中,她连买淫的权利也没有.一方面你不给她吃,她必须从农村山区跑出来,跑到城市来。你说她可以凭什么生存呢?她除了青春和身体,什么也没有.中国目前的这个社会问题,在改革开放中,财富私有化过程中出现的不公平。本来在去几十年的政治斗争中,它们财富创造是有限的。在快速的财富分割中不公平。那只有少数人能获得巨大利益。大多数民众没有获得利益。那种直接生存威胁感,和生存利益失落感,不需要谁教育,也就能明白。所以大量农民要造反游行抗议暴动。社会底层的矛盾已经非常尖锐,直接生存对抗,不像改革开放初期,包括六四时,生存矛盾还较小,社会财富两极分化较小,知识份子认为知识成一种公共性质的一种普及性质价值观,作为一种社会理想,普通老百姓不知道,只有一种呼吁,一种从政治改革,和从尊重人权角度,还有些意义。当年江泽民还提出维护所谓的生存权,你说那些打工的来广东,他连都没得吃,他连卖淫都不允可的时候,他还能这个社会吗?还能这个制度吗?不可能。这就让中国知识份子存在于一个很尴尬的社会地位,生活已经超越他们这些做为社会的进步力量了。

你刚才说这个社会已经很自由了,那么从党禁和新闻自由来看还非常有限。和文革比较,只是你现在能说了,但只是私人性的,你不能进入交流渠道,不能进入媒体渠道。身体是每个人的私有财产。在社会主义计划经济下,你什么也没有,有的只有你的身体。但这个身体也有很多限制不属于你的,你不能提供性服务,你什么都不能。因为违背道德,违背我们的治安条例。但改革开放以后,大量的西方文化的融入,对中国人的影响很大,再者是财富的快速分化,有财富的阶级他们的生活就自然打开,打开的标准之一,就是他婚姻之外有需要,外面可以有妓女情妇二奶。也就是说,他有能力有资格享受这种多元性的生活。他有这个需求,但作为那些到广东的打工妹,他们有什么呢?什么都没有。但为了活命,总该有点什么,要么有知识,要么有体力,什么都没有怎么活命?最终发现她有身体,她可以提供器官服务。在一方有要求,一方可以出售情况下,加上这旧社会已经有的这种生活,现在又被恢复了,全世界的人都在这么,为什么中国人不能这么呢?所以关于现在的中国,我认为你谈得很文雅,我认为70年代出生的这些20多岁的人已经不是这种看法。我们和几个中年女知识分子,著名女作家争论的时候,她们还在扭捏作态,而我说,你看这些十八十九的年轻人直接器官做交易了,你还在遮遮藏藏作甚么,谁会去找你呢。我认为和我们的文化传统关系很大,我们这个道德和伪道德的传统是很有害的。每个人都愿意男盗女娼,从自我出发,谁都是这样的。如果许可他男盗女娼,他一定男盗女娼。当面对别人的时候,当面对是第三者的时候,哪怕一个很开明知识份子,他都会用很尖刻的语言嘲笑你。譬如一个人他嫖妓,吃喝嫖赌他都来的。但他说别人的时候,他总会用很尖刻的语言,其实他比这个人还烂,我认为这是中国文化一个可悲的地方。

徐坦: 那你觉得这仅仅只是中国传统的问题了?跟共产主义运动没关系了?

野牛: 没关系,我认为共产主义意识形态强化了它。

徐坦: 我认为有关系吧, 比如60-70年代的党报元旦社论,就会谈到我们中国是全世界唯一一个没有妓女的国家。这是否跟共产主义原则有关系,否则这有什么好宣传的?

野牛:我认为生命是属于自己的,每个人都应为自己的生命负责负责也包含了他可以自由使用自己的身体伦理道德没有权力干涉。一个人为了生存性交易。像广州许多酒巴,很多中年男人和年轻女子,他们就是快速消费,你陪我喝茶,我买单,然后给小费。我认为这种交换是正当的,那些从农村来的女孩,知识文化都没有,她能给别人什么呢?她只能给别人抚摸肉体。 而那些中年男子他们有剩的财富,在那没有新鲜感的婚姻之外找另外的一种刺激。我认为是正当的,而它对社会带来的危害言之实,夸大了。搞专业的知识份子玩的那点小东西跟政治没有关系,经济利益没有关系,甚至跟老百姓

的观念也没有异议。譬如老百姓提出一个问题:当我只是一个打工的,我什么都没有的时候,我可不可以用我的器官来和你作交易。如果表达这样一种主题的,很多打工妹的都愿意看。因为他们都面临这个问题:我什么都没有,给你亲一下,你给我10块钱。一个人为了生存可以投降当叛徒的话,你在她的奶头上下有什么大不了的呢?况且首先你得先着,在自然界,为了活命任何伪装都可以做的出来的。

徐坦:而且我认为妓女不是一个肮脏的职业。因为我在8年前在上海和上海的一个艺术家争论这个问题。我并不会尊重某个国家总统超一个妓女。因为这个职业是干净,是单纯的。但作为某些总统,他只是一个政客。但我没说中国的总统怎样,因为都不在你的话题之内。

野牛:因为从社会需要的角度看,如果没有性服务工作者的话,大量的弱势阶层、老人,他们的性生活得不到满足,我们看到的更多是有钱的消费阶层为比消费。我们心里感到不平衡。譬如说一个瞎子没机会做,在毛泽东时代大量光棍没看到一个女人。中国的统治者为了所谓的社会稳定,他把他的权利看的太高太重要了,把他的己得利益太重要了,因此他给人民一点自由也没有。他有十个女人他也不会让你一个。

 

可以说六四以后中国智识阶层就所有文明开明方面的语词都使用尽了。中国政治体制上的笵式和理念可以说也很完备了。我认为关键在于,利益上他们,既得利益者不愿意真正把利益放给社会,放给人民。而不是没有观念,没有一种理想,没有一种可运用性的体制之类的东西,很多方案。像人大、政协,还有比较开明的,比较追求社会进步的知识份子提出了很多运用性很强的制度性东西。但实际上不能实施,就算拟了法也不能实施。我觉得中国还是个很的国家,财富有限,人们对风险这种概念也有限,我们有很多制度盲点,至少是制度理想盲点。大家知道应该怎么做,知道什么是天下为公,但很多人不敢那样去做,不愿那样去做. 我认为症结在这里。外国人看到中国变化,和中国人自己感到的变化,我想是有很大区别的。中国历来都崇洋媚外共产党批判洋奴哲学,大家对外国人有种看法,外国人在中国享受很多,譬如说社会待遇啊、人权上的认可啊、对他们的服务是很周到的。中国人自己感到一定两样的。另外我认为吸引外国人来中国是因为中国廉价肉体中国有大量人口人口是一种资源。一个老外中国就是认识几个中国女孩或妓女。作为一个普通观光者,别的东西,中国文化对他没太大的意义,而中国这个几千年文明的东方大国,她有很多东西可以看,有很多文化遗迹。另外我认为人种是一种资源。这样一些东方瓷娃娃对西方人正是有很大吸引。而不是我们的改革政策对他们的吸引。我们这些东西在他们面前没什么值得炫耀的,就是些泊来品。另外就是中国这个市场,它对那些大资本集团公司还是有吸引力,对后二十年的市场战略性投资,我认为它有它的道理。但你说的,中国现在社会莺歌燕舞?那倒未必。现有个非常矛盾的地方,就是生活已经前进了。譬如广州,我认为广州城市建设水准非常高了,就广州这个城市市场化程度很高了,它已经全球化了。它和资本主义国家的工业文明和后工业文明,没有太大区别。甚至在有些方面,因为“社会主义特色”有之而无不及。我记得96年有个资料显示,海口的妓女了日本。当然按百分比来计算的话,那还有问题,如果我们用其他的衡量标准看,比如说党禁这个角度,一个政党和社团不能自由形成,这个社会资本主义有很大区别。言论出版都受到限制一个社会,肯定不能用资本主义的概念来衡量。

赌博[du bo] gamble

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.上次我在北京的展览,“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”,表面是一个书画展,其实是以这个赌博做主题的,每天晚上都出鼠牛虎兔龙蛇,玄机重重啊。

Last time I did an exhibition entitled “Mouse, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon and Snake” in Beijing. Seemingly, it is an ink painting and calligraphy exhibition, but it’s actually about that gambling game. You see, “Mouse, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon and Snake” appear every day, it’s really esoteric stuff.

(摘自徐坦对郑国谷的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Zheng Guogu)

采访对象:郑广

采访时间:2007120日晚上

采访地点:于阳江郑家

 

设计 design 12

建筑 architecture buildings 15

drink 6

换(交换) exchange 11

(用地 基地 根据地) land(for certain purpose) base 11

朋友 friend 15

关系 relation 29

公共关系 public relation 8

搞关系 developing relation 6

generation 30

一代 their days 4

需要 need 5

游戏 game 7

部门 department industries

地方 provincial 13

 

违章(建筑) unauthorized (architecture) 3

平等 equality equal 5

自由 freedom 3

gambling 3

 

 

个人 individual 10

帝国时代*   Age of Empire 19

地主(斗地主*) landlord (fight against the landlord* ) 4

农业人口 agricultural population 1

活(活着 生活 活动 干活)  live life activity work 15

money 23

双年展 Biennale 3

线人 whistle-blowers 6

无产阶级 proletariat 2

无产阶级青年 proletariat youth 2

社会 society social 4

 

*帝国时代:微软游戏,简称“帝国”,Age of Empire: computer game by Microsoft

*斗地主:1,斗争地主,2,纸牌游戏, fighting against the landlord: 1, a communist activity 2, a card game

 

 

Q:你觉得艺术对于你的生活来说意味着什么呢?

A:就是把艺术融进自己的生命里面,每天着……什么都可以是作品

Q:在《帝国时代》(微软游戏)里,你看到了这样的一个艺术与生活的交点,那你觉得我们整个生活也处于一种游戏的状态吗?

A:应该是吧。其实我里的每个人,我弟弟,我妹妹都游戏里面,……每天连网打游戏——《传奇》(韩国网络游戏),连我妈妈、爸爸,又在另外一个叫“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”的网络游戏里,就是隔两天开一次的地下,可以在电脑上下注的,大家都游戏的世界里,的时候就觉得活在这世界里太了,但是的时候就要回到现实了,接受现实,明天要交了……有时会输得太了,付不起就觉得现实残酷,上次我在北京的展览,“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”,表面是一个书画展,其实是以这个做主题的,每天晚上都出鼠牛虎兔龙蛇,玄机重重啊。

Q:你刚才谈到的,生活与艺术工作都是混在一起了,那么你怎么看它们之间的关系?

A:我觉得通过赚工作,和帮别人干的经验,说不定哪天就会归纳到你自己的艺术创作上了,其实艺术很多都是来自于视而不见的东西,很多有意思的艺术家作品就是来源于生视而不见的东西。就是你要发现,很多一晃而过的东西,他留意到了和发现到了,就是他的东西了。

Q:你做一件双年展的作品和你为一个朋友做的定件有什么不一样?

A:不同之处只是在于在两个行业里面吧。双年展艺术……是进入策划人的情境里边的东西,而我为一个朋友设计是进入我朋友需要,我觉得都一样的,应该只是在两个不一样的情境。比如双年展主题,而我朋友设计也有主题,都有一个规划在里面,我觉得都是在接一单,一接手就都要为他着想,而他们都要付我制作费,我都是拿了别人做自己事情。有时候也会有很多可以流通的想法,比如这次帮朋友做的东西,下一次就可以流通到某个双年展里去了,因为我已经测试过的了,比如做一些空间的作品,我们觉得这样流通着做空间也比较有意思

Q:你是生活于阳江这样的地方,你在这里是个什么样的形象或是角色?你和周围的环境的关系如何?

A:我一般是在酒的地方面对各行各业的人,比如税务局的、警察、工厂的老板等,而我在这里就只是一个设计的角色,但是在那里就不管你是什么身份了,到一定的程度大家就都平等了,他们对“艺术家”这个词也都不了解,有时候我们要穿得像古惑仔一样——是一种很好的保护色,和黑社会有时候也在一起了。他们很多行规或者很多行业里外界不知道的事情,我都知道,要不是跟他们打交道,我也不知道他们的内心世界是这样的,有时一些很大的丑闻,我是从警察的口里知道的,这些都会刺激我的想象力。在阳江,刚发生的事情我很快就会知道了,因为我有很多线人在起作用,工商各部门……昨天发生什么事情,第2天我就知道了,

Q:为什么你会觉得做这种违章的建筑有意思呢?公共关系就是你和社会的这种关系吧,感觉整个社会像一个城堡或大厦一样复杂,那么你对这种社会对象有什么感受?

A:因为是一种挑战,也是一种公共关系或者跟社会交往关系积累,如果没有这种积累,我的《帝国时代》就根本没办法做,我建立的这种关系现在已经很不得了了,我已经认识了阳江部门的各大领导,全部关系已经稳定了,就为我的“帝国”的顺利建成铺了路,那里那是一种农民,是不能转换商业住宅的,这块转卖到我们这些农业人口的手里,城里的人就会关注你,你要在那里建立这么庞大建筑不可能的,根据什么规定就可以来你的,我就是突然有一天接到电话,要罚款……我马上要去公关,那些部门的人放了很多线人,都是线人起的作用,线人拿了的,为他们报信,比如你在家里秘密他也会知道,所以,被的人就还要付线人,我这个帝国时代被罚了好多,说这个东西是非法的,通过罚款,它就变成模棱两可的东西,这个部门,你收了我交的,就要承担一些东西,但是它也不能承认你,就被默认为是半合法的,所以得越多的越好。而我这些年面对的或者请客吃饭56人——当地的国土局规划局城建部门——我还知道城建部门有几个派系……真的把“帝国”做成了,那我在阳江就真的不得了了,以后就不知还会建什么了……,主要靠一种公共关系的建立。

Q:你刚才说了很多公共关系方面的东西,那你觉得和这些人打交道的这种状况会不会很荒诞?

A:是很荒诞,你不做这些就不会遇到这些东西,而你一跟他们接触了就很容易理解他们了……,比如开始你说是在建一个“猪栏”,怎么现在就变成一个“牛栏”了?——以前你说是建几个房子,现在突然看到你建了这么巨大的建筑出来,他就会来管,但是还是会默认你,就会和你商量怎么交差。

Q:你是很容易和周围的社会的人沟通和发生关系,那么你觉得做当代艺术这一点来说,艺术家是容易被人理解和接受的还是不容易的?

A:挺容易的,因为醉了就很容易把老底端出来了,我可以跟酒店或工厂的老板,跟武警小混混聊聊天,聊天的时候就会无意识谈到艺术展览,他们也会很好奇,所以我觉得很容易和他们沟通,这是小城镇的一种现象,只要你跟他建立了朋友关系,他很容易接受懂不懂没关系,起码他知道有这样的信息和状况。

Q:现在很多媒体、报纸都说公众对当代艺术不理解,你怎么看?

A:那只是一个表面的信息,一交了朋友就……说什么都会认可,他们也不是完全的了解你,只是好奇而已,反正他们也很闷,我经常会带一些朋友去看展览——他们去旅游顺便去看展览,比如说在展览上碰到很多老外,还跟他们合影,就觉得很新鲜,喜不喜欢都好,反正他挺高兴的,回来就很不一样了。

Q:他们对那些“恶心的”当代艺术作品有什么反应吗?

A:可能也都见怪不怪了吧,有什么比他们看到的更恶心呢?他那个行业里面那么真实的事都发生了,在他看来,一点也不会住他了

Q:你是在做这些建筑的时候玩公共关系的,但是你从来不跟那些策展人玩公共关系的是吧?

A:对,很多艺术家就把公共关系放在艺术方面了,但是我坚信一点,只要作品做得有意思,策划人是不会管这些东西的,因为他们太公正了。我们在艺术方面不要搞关系,一搞关系就觉得不好意思了,北京(的艺术家)应该挺会搞的,但是搞了那种关系其实也没用,一搞关系反而会被认为你有怎么样企图,因为我们和策划人都是平等关系,他需要我们,我们也需要他,配合好的话,对他来说更有好处, 我们在扮演什么样的角色他们都安排好了,所以不用去搞关系,搞了反而会

Q:以前搞艺术都是跑到中心的地方,而阳江作为比较边缘的地方,资讯也比较不发达……那么这个时代的所谓中心和边缘,以及乡下和城市这种问题,你能谈下你对这些问题的经验吗?

A:现在应该没有以前那么封闭了吧,慢慢地你发现可以通过网络,可以每天睡觉都不用管什么中心边缘了,因为中心也会,像毛主席也会派人来找到你,你有一个,有一个根据,中心知道你已经慢慢地建立了这样一个导弹的发射,你这个乡下导弹也可以发射到中心里了,不管是不是在乡下,你的思维也可以传达到中心或者跟中心在一起?……上一艺术家他们是怀着接近中心的愿望去的,他们不适合在家乡的周围动,而是必须离家出走的,他们是一代人,要是他们呆在他们家乡的话,可能就真的没有创造性,他们只能离家出走,跟着中心,看怎么玩,的,机会会多很多,可以马上向中心,向党中央靠拢,或者省很多时间,我们这种人就真的是黑灯瞎火,什么都看不清,只是有一种……我也不知道是不是一种创造力,我们也不管它是什么,但是拿出去之后别人会觉得很有创造性也有可能,我们乡下的嘛他们没有,反而他们会更喜欢乡下的也有可能。

A:以前,我还经历过计划经济的时代,那个时候都是用粮票换东西的,我每天早上都要着一袋米跑到很远的地方去排队粉皮——其实也都是米做的,把机器一过,就变成粉皮,但是到了80年代末期,就突然有了很多超市之类的,只要有就什么都可以消费了,我就觉得这个商品的交换自由了,我就提出了“消费就是我的理想消费解恨”,其实消费……你就认定一个产品,或者认定一个设计,其实我买一个东西,有时候还会觉得“这个东西怎么设计得这么好?”,所以说消费对我还是有一些启发,我每天面对这个产品的时候都有启发,因为它包含了设计的成分在里面——就摆脱了我那个时候的一种关于商品交换沉重感,但是这个记忆还是很铭心的,我永远都记得那时候每天都要驮一袋米去粉皮,还要6点多就起来了,起得那么早,但还是要排很长的队,现在再也不会干这种事情了……但是我妈妈那一代也是这样,就是说我爸爸和我妈妈是两个阶层的,我妈妈是那种地主妹,我爸爸就真的是那种种地无产阶级,说起来……我爸爸是耕完一天的田,没有东西吃,拍拍脚就上床睡觉了的那种阶层,但是我妈妈,在中国那个食物缺乏的时候,她们家里都还有洋参、鱼翅,吃不完倒进垃圾桶去,我爸爸说“哇,真是太幸福了”——真的是两个阶层的人,但是为什么他们两个人结合了呢?这是一种政治斗争的结果。阳春那边斗地主,是把地主捆绑起来,用棍子一敲,晕了,推到河里面,就流到阳江,也不知道这是不是当年阳春的一种做法,所有地主尸体都搁在那条河里面了,村里的人都不敢里面的水了,只喝从地心的井里挖出来的水……我妈妈那个时候还在读中学,听到消息之后就连夜逃跑了,因为一被抓起来也可能会被斗,就和我妈妈的妈妈逃出来起来了,然后说最好是给一个无产阶级的青年,然后就找到了我爸爸。

东方[dong fang] the East, the Orient

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.中国这个几千年文明的东方大国,她有很多东西可以看,有很多文化遗迹

China is a great oriental country with a civilization of thousands years where he can see a lot of things as well as many historical relics.

(摘自徐坦对野牛的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Ye-niu)

采访对象:野牛,地下及枪手作家(无出版署名劝,为他人代笔写作)

Interviewed: Ye-niu (mossback): an underground writer, and a writer who write for other persons without own signature.

时间:Time: January, 2007

地点:Location: Guangzhou

中国 China Chinese 24

社会 social society 19

生存 living live 10

生活 life 11

财富 wealth 8

知识分子 intellectuals 7

利益 benefit 7

身体 body 6

文化 culture 6

改革(开放) reform opening 5

知识 knowledge 4

制度 system 4

政治 political politic 5

矛盾 contradiction 4

直接 directly 4

 

自由 free freedom 5

妓女 prostitute 4

六四 June 4th 2

人权 human rights 2

卖淫 sell oneself 2

党禁 prohibition of parties 2

性服务 erotic service sexual service 2

器官服务 deal with one’s organ 1

性交易 make sexual intercourse 1

扫黄 anti-eroticism campaign 1

意识形态 ideology 1

 

市场(化) market 3

消费 consume 3

资本主义 capitalism 3

社会主义 socialist 2

传统 tradition 2

 

 

野牛:我们曾谈到这个问题,就是目前国情下知识分子启蒙已经没有了,已经没有太大的意义了。就是民间直接生存矛盾已经非常激烈了。像那个工人下岗,待业青年,包括大学生毕业面临综合性的失业。那么生存的第一性要求引出很多社会问题。远远超出我们所说的知识启蒙.比如一个妓女她有什么呢,没有什么,就好像扫黄中,她连买淫的权利也没有.一方面你不给她吃,她必须从农村山区跑出来,跑到城市来。你说她可以凭什么生存呢?她除了青春和身体,什么也没有.中国目前的这个社会问题,在改革开放中,财富私有化过程中出现的不公平。本来在去几十年的政治斗争中,它们财富创造是有限的。在快速的财富分割中不公平。那只有少数人能获得巨大利益。大多数民众没有获得利益。那种直接生存威胁感,和生存利益失落感,不需要谁教育,也就能明白。所以大量农民要造反游行抗议暴动。社会底层的矛盾已经非常尖锐,直接生存对抗,不像改革开放初期,包括六四时,生存矛盾还较小,社会财富两极分化较小,知识份子认为知识成一种公共性质的一种普及性质价值观,作为一种社会理想,普通老百姓不知道,只有一种呼吁,一种从政治改革,和从尊重人权角度,还有些意义。当年江泽民还提出维护所谓的生存权,你说那些打工的来广东,他连都没得吃,他连卖淫都不允可的时候,他还能这个社会吗?还能这个制度吗?不可能。这就让中国知识份子存在于一个很尴尬的社会地位,生活已经超越他们这些做为社会的进步力量了。

你刚才说这个社会已经很自由了,那么从党禁和新闻自由来看还非常有限。和文革比较,只是你现在能说了,但只是私人性的,你不能进入交流渠道,不能进入媒体渠道。身体是每个人的私有财产。在社会主义计划经济下,你什么也没有,有的只有你的身体。但这个身体也有很多限制不属于你的,你不能提供性服务,你什么都不能。因为违背道德,违背我们的治安条例。但改革开放以后,大量的西方文化的融入,对中国人的影响很大,再者是财富的快速分化,有财富的阶级他们的生活就自然打开,打开的标准之一,就是他婚姻之外有需要,外面可以有妓女情妇二奶。也就是说,他有能力有资格享受这种多元性的生活。他有这个需求,但作为那些到广东的打工妹,他们有什么呢?什么都没有。但为了活命,总该有点什么,要么有知识,要么有体力,什么都没有怎么活命?最终发现她有身体,她可以提供器官服务。在一方有要求,一方可以出售情况下,加上这旧社会已经有的这种生活,现在又被恢复了,全世界的人都在这么,为什么中国人不能这么呢?所以关于现在的中国,我认为你谈得很文雅,我认为70年代出生的这些20多岁的人已经不是这种看法。我们和几个中年女知识分子,著名女作家争论的时候,她们还在扭捏作态,而我说,你看这些十八十九的年轻人直接器官做交易了,你还在遮遮藏藏作甚么,谁会去找你呢。我认为和我们的文化传统关系很大,我们这个道德和伪道德的传统是很有害的。每个人都愿意男盗女娼,从自我出发,谁都是这样的。如果许可他男盗女娼,他一定男盗女娼。当面对别人的时候,当面对是第三者的时候,哪怕一个很开明知识份子,他都会用很尖刻的语言嘲笑你。譬如一个人他嫖妓,吃喝嫖赌他都来的。但他说别人的时候,他总会用很尖刻的语言,其实他比这个人还烂,我认为这是中国文化一个可悲的地方。

徐坦: 那你觉得这仅仅只是中国传统的问题了?跟共产主义运动没关系了?

野牛: 没关系,我认为共产主义意识形态强化了它。

徐坦: 我认为有关系吧, 比如60-70年代的党报元旦社论,就会谈到我们中国是全世界唯一一个没有妓女的国家。这是否跟共产主义原则有关系,否则这有什么好宣传的?

野牛:我认为生命是属于自己的,每个人都应为自己的生命负责负责也包含了他可以自由使用自己的身体伦理道德没有权力干涉。一个人为了生存性交易。像广州许多酒巴,很多中年男人和年轻女子,他们就是快速消费,你陪我喝茶,我买单,然后给小费。我认为这种交换是正当的,那些从农村来的女孩,知识文化都没有,她能给别人什么呢?她只能给别人抚摸肉体。 而那些中年男子他们有剩的财富,在那没有新鲜感的婚姻之外找另外的一种刺激。我认为是正当的,而它对社会带来的危害言之实,夸大了。搞专业的知识份子玩的那点小东西跟政治没有关系,经济利益没有关系,甚至跟老百姓

的观念也没有异议。譬如老百姓提出一个问题:当我只是一个打工的,我什么都没有的时候,我可不可以用我的器官来和你作交易。如果表达这样一种主题的,很多打工妹的都愿意看。因为他们都面临这个问题:我什么都没有,给你亲一下,你给我10块钱。一个人为了生存可以投降当叛徒的话,你在她的奶头上下有什么大不了的呢?况且首先你得先着,在自然界,为了活命任何伪装都可以做的出来的。

徐坦:而且我认为妓女不是一个肮脏的职业。因为我在8年前在上海和上海的一个艺术家争论这个问题。我并不会尊重某个国家总统超一个妓女。因为这个职业是干净,是单纯的。但作为某些总统,他只是一个政客。但我没说中国的总统怎样,因为都不在你的话题之内。

野牛:因为从社会需要的角度看,如果没有性服务工作者的话,大量的弱势阶层、老人,他们的性生活得不到满足,我们看到的更多是有钱的消费阶层为比消费。我们心里感到不平衡。譬如说一个瞎子没机会做,在毛泽东时代大量光棍没看到一个女人。中国的统治者为了所谓的社会稳定,他把他的权利看的太高太重要了,把他的己得利益太重要了,因此他给人民一点自由也没有。他有十个女人他也不会让你一个。

 

可以说六四以后中国智识阶层就所有文明开明方面的语词都使用尽了。中国政治体制上的笵式和理念可以说也很完备了。我认为关键在于,利益上他们,既得利益者不愿意真正把利益放给社会,放给人民。而不是没有观念,没有一种理想,没有一种可运用性的体制之类的东西,很多方案。像人大、政协,还有比较开明的,比较追求社会进步的知识份子提出了很多运用性很强的制度性东西。但实际上不能实施,就算拟了法也不能实施。我觉得中国还是个很的国家,财富有限,人们对风险这种概念也有限,我们有很多制度盲点,至少是制度理想盲点。大家知道应该怎么做,知道什么是天下为公,但很多人不敢那样去做,不愿那样去做. 我认为症结在这里。外国人看到中国变化,和中国人自己感到的变化,我想是有很大区别的。中国历来都崇洋媚外共产党批判洋奴哲学,大家对外国人有种看法,外国人在中国享受很多,譬如说社会待遇啊、人权上的认可啊、对他们的服务是很周到的。中国人自己感到一定两样的。另外我认为吸引外国人来中国是因为中国廉价肉体中国有大量人口人口是一种资源。一个老外中国就是认识几个中国女孩或妓女。作为一个普通观光者,别的东西,中国文化对他没太大的意义,而中国这个几千年文明的东方大国,她有很多东西可以看,有很多文化遗迹。另外我认为人种是一种资源。这样一些东方瓷娃娃对西方人正是有很大吸引。而不是我们的改革政策对他们的吸引。我们这些东西在他们面前没什么值得炫耀的,就是些泊来品。另外就是中国这个市场,它对那些大资本集团公司还是有吸引力,对后二十年的市场战略性投资,我认为它有它的道理。但你说的,中国现在社会莺歌燕舞?那倒未必。现有个非常矛盾的地方,就是生活已经前进了。譬如广州,我认为广州城市建设水准非常高了,就广州这个城市市场化程度很高了,它已经全球化了。它和资本主义国家的工业文明和后工业文明,没有太大区别。甚至在有些方面,因为“社会主义特色”有之而无不及。我记得96年有个资料显示,海口的妓女了日本。当然按百分比来计算的话,那还有问题,如果我们用其他的衡量标准看,比如说党禁这个角度,一个政党和社团不能自由形成,这个社会资本主义有很大区别。言论出版都受到限制一个社会,肯定不能用资本主义的概念来衡量。

 

抵押[di ya] mortgage

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1.你跑出去向别人借钱,找银行贷款也好,要拿资产抵押

If you borrow money for someone, or apply for a bank loan, you will need mortgage.

(摘自徐坦对艾伟的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Ai Wei)

采访对象:艾东明

采访时间:2007131日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

do” engage in 25

可能 maybe possibility impossible perhaps may 21

社会 society social 19

问题 problem question 17

兴趣 fascinated interested uninterested interest 12

个人 individual 12

方式 ways approaches 10

市场 market 9

价值 value 7

 

政治的 political  1

国家 country  state  4

自由 freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主 democratic  2

 

circle 3

money 5

时代 (information/Internet) age 5

play 3

资金 capital 1

poor poverty 4

弱智 retarded 2

face 3

 

Q:先请艾老师说下你对中国当代艺术现状的看法或印象。

A:我不能装作很了解这个事,虽然我一直在北京,经常参与一些策展,我们有艺术文件仓库,有很多艺术的朋友,但是我还不是很了解这个东西,但这两年好像很热闹,而前几年好像都没什么人去搭理它,所以我觉得好像它是一会儿发高烧,一会儿发冷的状态,我觉得可能像是这样,因为现代艺术这一块实际上时间也是很短的,中国实际上虽然有它的现代生活,但这个现代生活在很大程度上是已经由政治的经济的特征定下来的,是一个已经是什么样的体制下的国家了,那么这种个人表达自由政治背景生活条件,以及文化艺术社会中的作用可能,我觉得基本上都是已经限定下来的了,那么通常所称的当代艺术,实际上它能浮出水面,也只是近五、六年的事情,而之前很多人了很多事情实际上都是处在一种半地下的状态的,就是说只是一个很小的,没有被公众话语所关注,对社会的影响实际上也只是在非常小的范围内的,一旦浮出来之后,它主要是在国外的很多展览报导甚至拍卖,好像搞得很热闹,但是这些并没有涉及到这些作品生存环境和所表达的社会形态含义,这些问题探讨并不是很多的,所以它还是一个非常奇怪的结构,但是我们也不能说任何结构是否就是合理的,比如说有的是树,有的是藤,有的是自然界生猛的动物,有的是寄生的动物,而它们都有其自身的合理性,所以尽管中国当代艺术它不是主动有意识地去和这个社会建立某种关系,但是实际上它也反映了过去这几十年的一些问题

Q:你觉得它反映的是一些什么问题呢?

A:反映了中国近几十年中的哲学美学伦理学的彻底解体,新的甚至探讨的可能都还没有建立,因为这个社会仍然是处在大面积的或者主体地否认事实,或者说不承认一些基本的事实,在很多问题上几乎是没有争论的可能,它离民主社会还是很远,虽然它有极大的自由,但这种自由只是建立在旧体制瓦解上的自由,是没有能力控制下的自由,并不是一种很主动的自由,这些都给艺术一些特征

Q:那你怎样看待现在公众对当代艺术的接受方面?

A:我觉得没有什么真正的接受,它只是成为时尚的另外一个门类,杂志、报纸谈到这些问题的时候,你可以看到,它就只能三句五句的谈,但没有一句能够谈到点子上,也不能够深入下去,我觉得这个事儿挺可怜的,就有点像弱智了,中国当代艺术真是扮演了一个弱智角色,当然它有很好的艺术家,有从开始到现在还在很有意思的事情的艺术家,但是这些艺术家,他们探讨的方式都没有得到主流社会认识,甚至连了解也谈不上,现在基本上就是乱七八糟的吧。

Q:那你觉得你参与策划展览之类的活动能否对这种乱七八糟的状况有所作用呢?

A:现在中国展览很多,但是一点帮助和意义都没有,它变成了一些摊贩,就是说像你经常看到的一些摆摊的,一条街卖一样的东西,互相叫板,互相竞争,我觉得这个是为市场设计的,跟艺术没什么关系,完全是为市场设计的,那么这些展览,你仔细看看这些策展人,有几个是像样的?都是心怀鬼胎,怀着各种各样的目的,我觉得这是中国的学术界和知识分子最让人看不起的一点,就是总体不要,整个儿就是彻底的公开张扬不要,这也是少有的一件事,但是啊,就像中国人说的志短,说得太准了,“”还好听点,实际上就是人都很“”了,没什么问题,但它只是一个借口

Q:你刚才讲到市场,那请谈下你对艺术市场的看法。

A:什么东西都能卖,艺术这么高雅的东西当然也能,因为能卖就主要是为了装饰有的家,那么艺术品就成了一个交易的货品的东西了,这个本来挺正常的,只是这个比例有多大?就是在整个大的文化环境当中,它是否变成了唯一问题,是否脆弱到只要它一出现,其他东西就都消失了?我觉得这个是中国的一个很大的问题,当然……我自己这样看,这个事闹成这样挺好笑的,因为好像你这个事的理由都变了,这个东西让你生活的原则和理由都发生变化了,最后就变成好像转换成另外某种价值了,太多人谈论关心这个问题了,如果你不是一个艺术家,只是一个投机商,这个就很正常了,如果你还是一个创作的人,或者说你本来是一个觉得有话才去从事这个行业,觉得对一种方式兴趣——而不是说简单的财、资金和地位可以替换你的那些最早的东西,就不正常和奇怪了。现在我感觉好像都在谈这一块,是挺烦的一件事,市场本身就是不正常的东西,从股票到名牌定的价格,市场本身是无可非议的,一个东西卖五分和卖五千块和卖五万块都是无可非议的,只是说在这个市场背后,这个产品本身的其他价值是否被这个市场价格给彻底冲淡了?这是一个问题

Q:那你自己感兴趣的其实是什么?

A:说老实话,我没有什么兴趣的事,比如我并不是说不喜欢商业这一块或者说对别的什么东西感兴趣,我确实没有太多兴趣的事,可能是我还是比较被动吧,当然总的来说,艺术是我比较兴趣的一个行当,本来我比较感兴趣是因为这里的人比较不功利,比较还有自己的特征,还活得你是你我是我的,但是现在呢?你可以发现,这个艺术的人跟隔壁卖菜的农民没什么差别,上市之前抖点水啊,称的时候再抖两下,我觉得都差不多,这是让人觉得挺无聊的一件事,其实我才不在意这件事,我也不搭理它,比如这个国家是死是活,我也不太在乎,只不过你问到这个问题,就像你问我今天的天气如何,什么沙尘暴啊或者刮风啊,但是这种事又不是你能控制的,这只是国家的一个现状

Q:讲一讲你的博客吧。

A:博客很有意思,待会儿就把给你拍的照片放上去,然后很多的人我也都不认识,反正他们一点击就看到了,我就觉得这个是很直接现实同时又是很幻觉的一个事情,所以我就一直在这个事。

Q:就是说它是一个你传播你自己信息的途径?

A:我觉得信息时代是人类遇到的最的一个时代,是第一次给所谓的自由个人意志技术上提供了可能,在这之前,人类一直是在黑暗当中或者是在独木桥上,或者是在一个必由之路上,那么这个信息时代第一次让人有可能自己或者和愿意一起的人,这在过去是没有的,所以我觉得我们应该是很有兴致和很有机会进去这么一种状态,就是说它有几点是非常重要的:自由地表达个人方式。这听上去虽然很俗套,但是这个是很重要的事情,包括交流可能,包括把社会的力量重新地施以影响吸收运用可能,这是很了不起的一件事情。

Q:你觉得在艺术上有没有地域的中心边缘之分?

A:我觉得不存在,尤其是在这个信息时代网络时代就更不存在了,这是人类第一次有机会和有可能把这个传统价值,即所谓的传统的原始、中心和权利彻底瓦解,这个可能性确实是人类挣扎了很多年以后突然蹦出来的,这是一个很了不起的东西。

地下[di xia] underground

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.连我妈妈、爸爸,又在另外一个叫“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”的网络游戏里,就是隔两天开一次的地下赌博,可以在电脑上下注的,大家都游戏的世界里。

Even my parents are game addicts, they are obsessed with an online game called “Mouse, Ox,Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon and Snake”, which is about underground gambling, taking place every two days. You can bet via computer. So they all live inside the virtual world game.

(摘自徐坦对郑国谷的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Zheng Guogu)

采访对象:艾东明

采访时间:2007131日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

do” engage in 25

可能 maybe possibility impossible perhaps may 21

社会 society social 19

问题 problem question 17

兴趣 fascinated interested uninterested interest 12

个人 individual 12

方式 ways approaches 10

市场 market 9

价值 value 7

 

政治的 political  1

国家 country  state  4

自由 freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主 democratic  2

 

circle 3

money 5

时代 (information/Internet) age 5

play 3

资金 capital 1

poor poverty 4

弱智 retarded 2

face 3

 

Q:先请艾老师说下你对中国当代艺术现状的看法或印象。

A:我不能装作很了解这个事,虽然我一直在北京,经常参与一些策展,我们有艺术文件仓库,有很多艺术的朋友,但是我还不是很了解这个东西,但这两年好像很热闹,而前几年好像都没什么人去搭理它,所以我觉得好像它是一会儿发高烧,一会儿发冷的状态,我觉得可能像是这样,因为现代艺术这一块实际上时间也是很短的,中国实际上虽然有它的现代生活,但这个现代生活在很大程度上是已经由政治的经济的特征定下来的,是一个已经是什么样的体制下的国家了,那么这种个人表达自由政治背景生活条件,以及文化艺术社会中的作用可能,我觉得基本上都是已经限定下来的了,那么通常所称的当代艺术,实际上它能浮出水面,也只是近五、六年的事情,而之前很多人了很多事情实际上都是处在一种半地下的状态的,就是说只是一个很小的,没有被公众话语所关注,对社会的影响实际上也只是在非常小的范围内的,一旦浮出来之后,它主要是在国外的很多展览报导甚至拍卖,好像搞得很热闹,但是这些并没有涉及到这些作品生存环境和所表达的社会形态含义,这些问题探讨并不是很多的,所以它还是一个非常奇怪的结构,但是我们也不能说任何结构是否就是合理的,比如说有的是树,有的是藤,有的是自然界生猛的动物,有的是寄生的动物,而它们都有其自身的合理性,所以尽管中国当代艺术它不是主动有意识地去和这个社会建立某种关系,但是实际上它也反映了过去这几十年的一些问题

Q:你觉得它反映的是一些什么问题呢?

A:反映了中国近几十年中的哲学美学伦理学的彻底解体,新的甚至探讨的可能都还没有建立,因为这个社会仍然是处在大面积的或者主体地否认事实,或者说不承认一些基本的事实,在很多问题上几乎是没有争论的可能,它离民主社会还是很远,虽然它有极大的自由,但这种自由只是建立在旧体制瓦解上的自由,是没有能力控制下的自由,并不是一种很主动的自由,这些都给艺术一些特征

Q:那你怎样看待现在公众对当代艺术的接受方面?

A:我觉得没有什么真正的接受,它只是成为时尚的另外一个门类,杂志、报纸谈到这些问题的时候,你可以看到,它就只能三句五句的谈,但没有一句能够谈到点子上,也不能够深入下去,我觉得这个事儿挺可怜的,就有点像弱智了,中国当代艺术真是扮演了一个弱智角色,当然它有很好的艺术家,有从开始到现在还在很有意思的事情的艺术家,但是这些艺术家,他们探讨的方式都没有得到主流社会认识,甚至连了解也谈不上,现在基本上就是乱七八糟的吧。

Q:那你觉得你参与策划展览之类的活动能否对这种乱七八糟的状况有所作用呢?

A:现在中国展览很多,但是一点帮助和意义都没有,它变成了一些摊贩,就是说像你经常看到的一些摆摊的,一条街卖一样的东西,互相叫板,互相竞争,我觉得这个是为市场设计的,跟艺术没什么关系,完全是为市场设计的,那么这些展览,你仔细看看这些策展人,有几个是像样的?都是心怀鬼胎,怀着各种各样的目的,我觉得这是中国的学术界和知识分子最让人看不起的一点,就是总体不要,整个儿就是彻底的公开张扬不要,这也是少有的一件事,但是啊,就像中国人说的志短,说得太准了,“”还好听点,实际上就是人都很“”了,没什么问题,但它只是一个借口

Q:你刚才讲到市场,那请谈下你对艺术市场的看法。

A:什么东西都能卖,艺术这么高雅的东西当然也能,因为能卖就主要是为了装饰有的家,那么艺术品就成了一个交易的货品的东西了,这个本来挺正常的,只是这个比例有多大?就是在整个大的文化环境当中,它是否变成了唯一问题,是否脆弱到只要它一出现,其他东西就都消失了?我觉得这个是中国的一个很大的问题,当然……我自己这样看,这个事闹成这样挺好笑的,因为好像你这个事的理由都变了,这个东西让你生活的原则和理由都发生变化了,最后就变成好像转换成另外某种价值了,太多人谈论关心这个问题了,如果你不是一个艺术家,只是一个投机商,这个就很正常了,如果你还是一个创作的人,或者说你本来是一个觉得有话才去从事这个行业,觉得对一种方式兴趣——而不是说简单的财、资金和地位可以替换你的那些最早的东西,就不正常和奇怪了。现在我感觉好像都在谈这一块,是挺烦的一件事,市场本身就是不正常的东西,从股票到名牌定的价格,市场本身是无可非议的,一个东西卖五分和卖五千块和卖五万块都是无可非议的,只是说在这个市场背后,这个产品本身的其他价值是否被这个市场价格给彻底冲淡了?这是一个问题

Q:那你自己感兴趣的其实是什么?

A:说老实话,我没有什么兴趣的事,比如我并不是说不喜欢商业这一块或者说对别的什么东西感兴趣,我确实没有太多兴趣的事,可能是我还是比较被动吧,当然总的来说,艺术是我比较兴趣的一个行当,本来我比较感兴趣是因为这里的人比较不功利,比较还有自己的特征,还活得你是你我是我的,但是现在呢?你可以发现,这个艺术的人跟隔壁卖菜的农民没什么差别,上市之前抖点水啊,称的时候再抖两下,我觉得都差不多,这是让人觉得挺无聊的一件事,其实我才不在意这件事,我也不搭理它,比如这个国家是死是活,我也不太在乎,只不过你问到这个问题,就像你问我今天的天气如何,什么沙尘暴啊或者刮风啊,但是这种事又不是你能控制的,这只是国家的一个现状

Q:讲一讲你的博客吧。

A:博客很有意思,待会儿就把给你拍的照片放上去,然后很多的人我也都不认识,反正他们一点击就看到了,我就觉得这个是很直接现实同时又是很幻觉的一个事情,所以我就一直在这个事。

Q:就是说它是一个你传播你自己信息的途径?

A:我觉得信息时代是人类遇到的最的一个时代,是第一次给所谓的自由个人意志技术上提供了可能,在这之前,人类一直是在黑暗当中或者是在独木桥上,或者是在一个必由之路上,那么这个信息时代第一次让人有可能自己或者和愿意一起的人,这在过去是没有的,所以我觉得我们应该是很有兴致和很有机会进去这么一种状态,就是说它有几点是非常重要的:自由地表达个人方式。这听上去虽然很俗套,但是这个是很重要的事情,包括交流可能,包括把社会的力量重新地施以影响吸收运用可能,这是很了不起的一件事情。

Q:你觉得在艺术上有没有地域的中心边缘之分?

A:我觉得不存在,尤其是在这个信息时代网络时代就更不存在了,这是人类第一次有机会和有可能把这个传统价值,即所谓的传统的原始、中心和权利彻底瓦解,这个可能性确实是人类挣扎了很多年以后突然蹦出来的,这是一个很了不起的东西。

地(农业用地)[di (nong ye yong di)] land

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.那里那是一种农民,是不能转换商业住宅用地的,这块地转卖到我们这些农业人口的手里,城里的人就会关注你。

The land I have is originally for agricultural use, and it’s illegal to use it for commercial or residential purpose. So when people like me, i.e.: non-agricultural people, obtained the land, there would inevitably be some attention drawn to you.

(摘自徐坦对郑国谷的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Zheng Guogu)

采访对象:郑广

采访时间:2007120日晚上

采访地点:于阳江郑家

 

设计 design 12

建筑 architecture buildings 15

drink 6

换(交换) exchange 11

(用地 基地 根据地) land(for certain purpose) base 11

朋友 friend 15

关系 relation 29

公共关系 public relation 8

搞关系 developing relation 6

generation 30

一代 their days 4

需要 need 5

游戏 game 7

部门 department industries

地方 provincial 13

 

违章(建筑) unauthorized (architecture) 3

平等 equality equal 5

自由 freedom 3

gambling 3

 

 

个人 individual 10

帝国时代*   Age of Empire 19

地主(斗地主*) landlord (fight against the landlord* ) 4

农业人口 agricultural population 1

活(活着 生活 活动 干活)  live life activity work 15

money 23

双年展 Biennale 3

线人 whistle-blowers 6

无产阶级 proletariat 2

无产阶级青年 proletariat youth 2

社会 society social 4

 

*帝国时代:微软游戏,简称“帝国”,Age of Empire: computer game by Microsoft

*斗地主:1,斗争地主,2,纸牌游戏, fighting against the landlord: 1, a communist activity 2, a card game

 

 

Q:你觉得艺术对于你的生活来说意味着什么呢?

A:就是把艺术融进自己的生命里面,每天着……什么都可以是作品

Q:在《帝国时代》(微软游戏)里,你看到了这样的一个艺术与生活的交点,那你觉得我们整个生活也处于一种游戏的状态吗?

A:应该是吧。其实我里的每个人,我弟弟,我妹妹都游戏里面,……每天连网打游戏——《传奇》(韩国网络游戏),连我妈妈、爸爸,又在另外一个叫“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”的网络游戏里,就是隔两天开一次的地下,可以在电脑上下注的,大家都游戏的世界里,的时候就觉得活在这世界里太了,但是的时候就要回到现实了,接受现实,明天要交了……有时会输得太了,付不起就觉得现实残酷,上次我在北京的展览,“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”,表面是一个书画展,其实是以这个做主题的,每天晚上都出鼠牛虎兔龙蛇,玄机重重啊。

Q:你刚才谈到的,生活与艺术工作都是混在一起了,那么你怎么看它们之间的关系?

A:我觉得通过赚工作,和帮别人干的经验,说不定哪天就会归纳到你自己的艺术创作上了,其实艺术很多都是来自于视而不见的东西,很多有意思的艺术家作品就是来源于生视而不见的东西。就是你要发现,很多一晃而过的东西,他留意到了和发现到了,就是他的东西了。

Q:你做一件双年展的作品和你为一个朋友做的定件有什么不一样?

A:不同之处只是在于在两个行业里面吧。双年展艺术……是进入策划人的情境里边的东西,而我为一个朋友设计是进入我朋友需要,我觉得都一样的,应该只是在两个不一样的情境。比如双年展主题,而我朋友设计也有主题,都有一个规划在里面,我觉得都是在接一单,一接手就都要为他着想,而他们都要付我制作费,我都是拿了别人做自己事情。有时候也会有很多可以流通的想法,比如这次帮朋友做的东西,下一次就可以流通到某个双年展里去了,因为我已经测试过的了,比如做一些空间的作品,我们觉得这样流通着做空间也比较有意思

Q:你是生活于阳江这样的地方,你在这里是个什么样的形象或是角色?你和周围的环境的关系如何?

A:我一般是在酒的地方面对各行各业的人,比如税务局的、警察、工厂的老板等,而我在这里就只是一个设计的角色,但是在那里就不管你是什么身份了,到一定的程度大家就都平等了,他们对“艺术家”这个词也都不了解,有时候我们要穿得像古惑仔一样——是一种很好的保护色,和黑社会有时候也在一起了。他们很多行规或者很多行业里外界不知道的事情,我都知道,要不是跟他们打交道,我也不知道他们的内心世界是这样的,有时一些很大的丑闻,我是从警察的口里知道的,这些都会刺激我的想象力。在阳江,刚发生的事情我很快就会知道了,因为我有很多线人在起作用,工商各部门……昨天发生什么事情,第2天我就知道了,

Q:为什么你会觉得做这种违章的建筑有意思呢?公共关系就是你和社会的这种关系吧,感觉整个社会像一个城堡或大厦一样复杂,那么你对这种社会对象有什么感受?

A:因为是一种挑战,也是一种公共关系或者跟社会交往关系积累,如果没有这种积累,我的《帝国时代》就根本没办法做,我建立的这种关系现在已经很不得了了,我已经认识了阳江部门的各大领导,全部关系已经稳定了,就为我的“帝国”的顺利建成铺了路,那里那是一种农民,是不能转换商业住宅的,这块转卖到我们这些农业人口的手里,城里的人就会关注你,你要在那里建立这么庞大建筑不可能的,根据什么规定就可以来你的,我就是突然有一天接到电话,要罚款……我马上要去公关,那些部门的人放了很多线人,都是线人起的作用,线人拿了的,为他们报信,比如你在家里秘密他也会知道,所以,被的人就还要付线人,我这个帝国时代被罚了好多,说这个东西是非法的,通过罚款,它就变成模棱两可的东西,这个部门,你收了我交的,就要承担一些东西,但是它也不能承认你,就被默认为是半合法的,所以得越多的越好。而我这些年面对的或者请客吃饭56人——当地的国土局规划局城建部门——我还知道城建部门有几个派系……真的把“帝国”做成了,那我在阳江就真的不得了了,以后就不知还会建什么了……,主要靠一种公共关系的建立。

Q:你刚才说了很多公共关系方面的东西,那你觉得和这些人打交道的这种状况会不会很荒诞?

A:是很荒诞,你不做这些就不会遇到这些东西,而你一跟他们接触了就很容易理解他们了……,比如开始你说是在建一个“猪栏”,怎么现在就变成一个“牛栏”了?——以前你说是建几个房子,现在突然看到你建了这么巨大的建筑出来,他就会来管,但是还是会默认你,就会和你商量怎么交差。

Q:你是很容易和周围的社会的人沟通和发生关系,那么你觉得做当代艺术这一点来说,艺术家是容易被人理解和接受的还是不容易的?

A:挺容易的,因为醉了就很容易把老底端出来了,我可以跟酒店或工厂的老板,跟武警小混混聊聊天,聊天的时候就会无意识谈到艺术展览,他们也会很好奇,所以我觉得很容易和他们沟通,这是小城镇的一种现象,只要你跟他建立了朋友关系,他很容易接受懂不懂没关系,起码他知道有这样的信息和状况。

Q:现在很多媒体、报纸都说公众对当代艺术不理解,你怎么看?

A:那只是一个表面的信息,一交了朋友就……说什么都会认可,他们也不是完全的了解你,只是好奇而已,反正他们也很闷,我经常会带一些朋友去看展览——他们去旅游顺便去看展览,比如说在展览上碰到很多老外,还跟他们合影,就觉得很新鲜,喜不喜欢都好,反正他挺高兴的,回来就很不一样了。

Q:他们对那些“恶心的”当代艺术作品有什么反应吗?

A:可能也都见怪不怪了吧,有什么比他们看到的更恶心呢?他那个行业里面那么真实的事都发生了,在他看来,一点也不会住他了

Q:你是在做这些建筑的时候玩公共关系的,但是你从来不跟那些策展人玩公共关系的是吧?

A:对,很多艺术家就把公共关系放在艺术方面了,但是我坚信一点,只要作品做得有意思,策划人是不会管这些东西的,因为他们太公正了。我们在艺术方面不要搞关系,一搞关系就觉得不好意思了,北京(的艺术家)应该挺会搞的,但是搞了那种关系其实也没用,一搞关系反而会被认为你有怎么样企图,因为我们和策划人都是平等关系,他需要我们,我们也需要他,配合好的话,对他来说更有好处, 我们在扮演什么样的角色他们都安排好了,所以不用去搞关系,搞了反而会

Q:以前搞艺术都是跑到中心的地方,而阳江作为比较边缘的地方,资讯也比较不发达……那么这个时代的所谓中心和边缘,以及乡下和城市这种问题,你能谈下你对这些问题的经验吗?

A:现在应该没有以前那么封闭了吧,慢慢地你发现可以通过网络,可以每天睡觉都不用管什么中心边缘了,因为中心也会,像毛主席也会派人来找到你,你有一个,有一个根据,中心知道你已经慢慢地建立了这样一个导弹的发射,你这个乡下导弹也可以发射到中心里了,不管是不是在乡下,你的思维也可以传达到中心或者跟中心在一起?……上一艺术家他们是怀着接近中心的愿望去的,他们不适合在家乡的周围动,而是必须离家出走的,他们是一代人,要是他们呆在他们家乡的话,可能就真的没有创造性,他们只能离家出走,跟着中心,看怎么玩,的,机会会多很多,可以马上向中心,向党中央靠拢,或者省很多时间,我们这种人就真的是黑灯瞎火,什么都看不清,只是有一种……我也不知道是不是一种创造力,我们也不管它是什么,但是拿出去之后别人会觉得很有创造性也有可能,我们乡下的嘛他们没有,反而他们会更喜欢乡下的也有可能。

A:以前,我还经历过计划经济的时代,那个时候都是用粮票换东西的,我每天早上都要着一袋米跑到很远的地方去排队粉皮——其实也都是米做的,把机器一过,就变成粉皮,但是到了80年代末期,就突然有了很多超市之类的,只要有就什么都可以消费了,我就觉得这个商品的交换自由了,我就提出了“消费就是我的理想消费解恨”,其实消费……你就认定一个产品,或者认定一个设计,其实我买一个东西,有时候还会觉得“这个东西怎么设计得这么好?”,所以说消费对我还是有一些启发,我每天面对这个产品的时候都有启发,因为它包含了设计的成分在里面——就摆脱了我那个时候的一种关于商品交换沉重感,但是这个记忆还是很铭心的,我永远都记得那时候每天都要驮一袋米去粉皮,还要6点多就起来了,起得那么早,但还是要排很长的队,现在再也不会干这种事情了……但是我妈妈那一代也是这样,就是说我爸爸和我妈妈是两个阶层的,我妈妈是那种地主妹,我爸爸就真的是那种种地无产阶级,说起来……我爸爸是耕完一天的田,没有东西吃,拍拍脚就上床睡觉了的那种阶层,但是我妈妈,在中国那个食物缺乏的时候,她们家里都还有洋参、鱼翅,吃不完倒进垃圾桶去,我爸爸说“哇,真是太幸福了”——真的是两个阶层的人,但是为什么他们两个人结合了呢?这是一种政治斗争的结果。阳春那边斗地主,是把地主捆绑起来,用棍子一敲,晕了,推到河里面,就流到阳江,也不知道这是不是当年阳春的一种做法,所有地主尸体都搁在那条河里面了,村里的人都不敢里面的水了,只喝从地心的井里挖出来的水……我妈妈那个时候还在读中学,听到消息之后就连夜逃跑了,因为一被抓起来也可能会被斗,就和我妈妈的妈妈逃出来起来了,然后说最好是给一个无产阶级的青年,然后就找到了我爸爸。

 

电游(电玩)[dian you(dian wan)] electrical game

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.电子游戏,也是一个过滤器,被能过滤过来的东西都有趣,电子游戏首先是游戏

As for computer games, that’s another filter. Whatever passed the filter and stayed are especially interesting. Computer games are games first of all.

(摘自徐坦对冯梦波的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Feng Mengbo)

采访对象:冯顺华

采访时间:2007130日下午

采访地点:于北京中央美术学院数码媒体工作室

 

 

 

made to order, custom orders 11

观众 audience 6 ,

大众 public 9

社会 social, society, sociality 21

媒体 media 10

媒介 medium 11

个人 personally, personal 11

美术馆 art museum, museum 6

古典 Classical 6

古典艺术 classical art 3

兴趣 interested, attention, interesting 22

创造性 1

 

自由 freedom 2

政治性politically 1

 

hot 4

市场 market 29

关系 relationship 22

收藏家 collectors 5

sell 7

do”, engage in 56

下(载) download, downloading, downloaded 5

有用 useful 6

money 16

中国 China 19

刺激 stimulation 11

 

 

Q:你觉得要怎样来定位艺术家?

A:我觉得理想的艺术家,和他的艺术观人生观都有关系个人来说,我认为艺术应该是无用的,这是一个基本理念,我自己是这样认为的,最高级的艺术应该是有用的艺术,但在这个前提下我们可以讨论别的事情,我们可以学以致用,艺术的功用性都是一样的,不管是社会政治性市场,把这些东西作为艺术的基本认识的话,我觉得是不正常心态艺术就是为艺术,不是为别的目的

Q:你怎么看待当代艺术?

A:当代艺术正在逐渐地变成像显微镜一样的那种东西,把每个细节拿出来放大,再拆成各种各样的可能性,在相当程度上变得很极端,或变得短视,是这么的一种情况,我本身对当代艺术有多大兴趣呢?我要是去美术馆,一定是谈古代艺术的,从我个人来讲,我对现在的当代艺术没有浓厚的兴趣,我对技术或别的方面的发展会更兴趣,但对艺术当代的发展是比较悲观的,不认为是多么了不起的事情。

Q:为什么?

A:个性吧,刺激的东西我也见过,但也不过如此,还是喜欢比较安静的东西,像古典艺术那种磐石的东西,对我来说比较刺激

Q:那你觉得当代艺术有些什么样的特性?

A:我可能总结不出来,要说的话,我可能会认为比较极端一些,不管是表现形式,还是它想达到的目的,都显得非常极端。当然,当代艺术里面有非常震撼,或激动人心的,或具有永恒意义的作品,当然是有的,但真的是特别古典艺术是积累了那么多年以后才有这些杰作的,当代艺术,有大部分作品尤其显得短视的这种感觉。因为我经常参加当代艺术的展览,我已经看够了,所以如果要去看展览,如果我有选择,我肯定是去古典的,我不想得到什么,我只是享受古典艺术

Q:市场对艺术创作来说不是一个问题?

A:对我来说是好事,我挺喜欢的,我以前真的没有想过市场的事,有时候还反着干,现在我觉得这好像不是特别正常,因为我觉得现在市场这么,还不如用市场本身点事情更有意思,与其逃避或者忽略,还不如利用这个因素。以前艺术家创作的时候,都是说要自由——这本来就是自欺欺人的,艺术家一定有假想市场,我指的不一定是,但一定有假想观众,很多艺术家有自己假想顾客,就是想到的问题,不只是中国国外也是,只是没人承认,我就是把这事讲明了,没必要藏着、掖着,市场就是市场定做就是定做。以前这个定做是,哪个画得好、得好,我们就按照哪个画,我们就不动,不管别人怎么说我们就这样,因为这是市场,虽然没有点名说是和哪个顾客,哪个收藏家进行商量画面的内容,但实际这都已经是商量好的,所以不敢变化,现在我们就还不如收藏家商量,没准还有变化,其实古代的画都是定做的,不管是私藏品还是其他,西方的更不用说了,教堂、宫廷,都是定做的,定做本身不一定束缚创造力,所以我觉得不妨一试怎么按照工厂方式法来

Q:市场对你艺术创作起到什么影响因素?

A:赚容易,这只是我的一个项目——市场定做,但我还有一些别的项目,包括一些媒体艺术的项目,这些就和市场的考虑没有关系,就是有几个方向,而市场是其中之一。

Q:什么样的文化符号对你的艺术来讲是有用的?

A:就像是过滤器,我们接受的信息都是差不多,每天上一样的网站新闻,什么样的信息引起了你的兴趣……去美术馆展览、去看、看电影,什么东西被过滤掉,什么东西被留下来?关于电子游戏,也是一个过滤器,被能过滤过来的东西都有兴趣,电子游戏首先是游戏,我从小对游戏的东西特别兴趣,这些东西是人的天性的东西,不只是生物动物都有这个天性爱玩,必须是吃饱了饭的情况下去玩。能在吃饱了饭的情况下来干一件消遣的事情,那是一种很高的理想生活状态,我觉得这特别自然,对于一个小孩成长过程来讲,游戏是非常重要的一件事情,我一直保持了这个天性,有了电子游戏以后,我也觉得非常自然,这是一个大具,肯定有很多玩法,玩着玩着肯定有很多想法,就想能用电子游戏来事情那不是更有意思?所以从92开始,一直到现在,我基本上都是围绕着电子游戏作品。这就是过滤器,能符合电子游戏的东西来表达的东西一定是经过筛选来的,可能哲学著作等这方面的东西一定特别适合,还有一些比较敏感的微妙的情感方面的东西,但比如动作性影像声音节奏等这些比较粗的、感官性的东西就比较适合,长期以来就是这种粗线条过滤器

Q:你是把虚拟的东西成真的——不只是艺术,当代文化就朝着这个方向发展,就是它让你有愿望进入这种角色?

A:其实我们是一种很感官动物,我们的所有享受——按照唯心的说法,这些东西都是一些感官刺激;按照唯物主义的说法,这些东西都是存在的;按照唯心主义来说,什么都是的。我们都是靠我们的感官来感觉这个世界,当然这种感觉可能是也可能是的,我看到你在这,也可能你不在这,我觉得未来世界会朝着比较虚拟方向发展,简单地说就是类似于毒品这样的东西,比如一个锌片在你身体里面,你可能觉得是一个毒品,比如吃一个中餐的面包,而我告诉你这是日餐的一块鱼,因为我给你注入了这个程序,你怎么能不相信呢?这东西的实现是毫无疑问的。我举个极端的例子,你能不能下(载)到一个小孩,你说不可以,因为你不会针对一个小孩,而你会拍他的脑袋,和他聊天,晚上照顾他睡觉,那你是怎么知道这一切的?通过语言、触觉、听觉?如果这些东西都给你,那你就有了;我们说“下(载)到一个钢琴”,别人都不信,现在下(载)到一个钢琴算什么?而且还是某家著名音乐厅里面十八世纪的一个钢琴,这完全有可能,你工作时就可以随便下(载)到一个钢琴,因为你弹出来的是声音,声音以后,这架钢琴和那架一样,因为你要的是钢琴的声音,而不用管钢琴的木头怎么样,因为你不是收藏家,作为观众消费的是钢琴的声音,这声音是数字化的,自然可以“下(载)”;那么一个小孩有什么不可以下到?你会认为这可怕,完全是不可能的,这是感觉,如果你每天生活在这种感觉里面,每天受到感觉的刺激,这个程序会慢慢引导小孩不断地成长,每天上学放学,搞得相当累,你也生活了十年……从这一点来看,我觉得整个世界都是悲观的。

Q:那是不是意味着很多传统社会意义的艺术机构在某些方面衰退?

A:不好说,我个人有一种愿望:总是希望美术馆这种东西永远存在下去。非常有可能的是,将来什么东西都数字化了,但希望美术馆还在,我想的不是以后五年十年发生的,我想的是很久以后的……文字、语言等……

Q:其实当代艺术或传统艺术,都还是涉及到世俗社会里人的一般存在的问题,比如独立性,少数民族的事……实际上都是一种传统文化价值,而到今天怎么用它来艺术?你对这些没有兴趣

A:我一点兴趣也没有,对关于所谓的民族艺术真的一点兴趣没有,艺术也干不了这些事情,它也不是艺术的目的,也不是艺术能达到的,艺术什么也改变不了,与其改变不了去乱改变,还不如自己处理好自己的事情,那就是艺术家去解决自己问题,对一件作品就是解决这件作品事情,这还比较有意思,可以有各种各样的借口社会?最终还是这个艺术家对单独的这件作品负责任,在这个前提下才能谈交流,如果自己都不能解决这个问题,那怎么去交流?

 

(大)众[(da) zhong] the public

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采访对象:刘韡

采访时间:2007114日下午

采访地点:于北京亿多瑞站咖啡馆

 

生活 life live 15

低级趣味 vulgar taste vulgar 5

自己 self own 22

态度 attitude 6

社会 society social 7

别人 others other people other 5

接受 accept take 6

大众 public 14

大众审美 popular aesthetics 3

审美 aesthetics 7

时尚 fashion 15

消耗 drain (exhaust)               5

关系,联系, 关联 relationship relation related connections 6

不同,不一样 different 10

 

制度 system 1

 

take 7

circle 6

sell 5

发展 development develops 6

无聊 boring bored 5

商业 commercialization business commercial 4

国外 foreign countries 4

中国 China 3

形象 images 5

 

 

Q:请先大概谈谈你对中国当代艺术现状的看法。

A:我认为有一个发展趋势,也存在很多问题,比如商业有点太厉害了,导致有很多东西,根本不会去考虑做什么怎样做,因为经常受到市场影响,关于商业方面的一些东西,可能会造成作品质量上出现很多问题,但也是的,时间长了大家会很冷静的想这件事情,想怎么。我没什么太大的看法,没怎么想这个问题,比如对制度的看法,对于制度我们是没办法的,因为很多事情事先就是这样的,没有像国外那么完整的一个艺术机制中国现在的机制肯定会对艺术的发展产生影响,没有基金会等的一些机构艺术家还是要一些商业方面的东西,国外的一些艺术家可以不依靠作品,可以先申请到基金来进行创作,而中国艺术家必须要靠自己作品填补创作上的需要,就是自己作品掉了来支付下一个作品的费用,存在这样的一个问题。

Q:你的作品想以一个怎么样的形象呈现给别人

A:每年都不一样,现在可能会稍微集中一点,不像近几年作品会有很多种,不同形象的,不同面貌的,可能做录像……等,但用的很多种材质很多种,想法都是不一样的,而现在想稍微统一一点,一年可能一个怎么样的东西?比如装置类的,就是你关心的问题可能会统一一些,会考虑有些作品可以不做,以前是有想法就去做,现在是有想法出来的时候不一定去做,因为做了会对你整个面貌影响,也会考虑到策略方面的问题。比如一件作品做完以后,放在那里,一年后这个作品生效了,但有时候做作品,开始的时候感觉不错,做到一年以后发现这个作品失效了,把所有作品,不论是,先在这里,过一两年后,看这个东西是否还是生效的?还是存在的就因为它和你之前发展的都是有联系的。

A:视觉冲击力肯定是要有的,但不是故意去做外部表现力很强的那种,希望做最基本的、大家都忽视感觉,平时都见到的,通过另一种东西给你冲击力体积或其它的一些东西。

Q:你认为你的艺术创作和社会现实是一个怎么样的关系?

A:我也不知道是一种什么关系,只是在那里一个兴奋点,我总是看到了或者感受到令我兴奋的东西才会有想法,不可能凭空想个东西出来,可能有的人先想一个东西,然后来做,而我做作品来源于——就是我看到某个东西然后我去思考。不会是很理性的去做的这样一个过程

Q:那你的艺术创作同公众的交流会不会有障碍?

A:肯定会有,不过还好,也能知道是什么原因,假如你和别人谈一件事情,由于价值观完全是不同的,完全没办法交流,你也能知道他是在什么,和你完全不一样,对于对方来说也一样,他们也知道你和他的想法不一样有些时候作为大众来讲,他们看了后感觉,能接受,因为当代艺术有最直观的东西在里面,艺术无论如何发展,再怎么观念,总还是有视觉直观在里面,比如漂亮的,这个东西还是不变的,关于和大众沟通,电视大众喜欢看的东西,在我看来电视节目没什么好看的,都在扯淡,很糟糕。当然我也能,但我觉得可能比较低级趣味,可能有一种倾向,越低级趣味的东西吸引人。

Q:这是一种大众文化和精英文化的区别?

A:没有什么精英的东西,我不喜欢这种自以为是的感觉。

Q:北京这个城市对你创作有什么影响?

A:可能气候、或别的都有点影响北京不是一个非常舒服城市,北京就是一个字,实在有点糟糕气候——风沙之类的;一般情况下白天不用出门,到晚上一闭眼就不知道到哪去了,不像南方的一些城市,还可以很舒服的在街上走走北京完全没有这种可能性,只能是白天在家里,晚上到娱乐场所酒吧茶馆等地方,想享受一个自然的东西基本上没有,但这种东西我还比较喜欢,可能和创作审美有一点关联,因为我已经接受了这种景象,已经完全接受了,也不觉得很,有时候还觉得挺漂亮的,北京节奏相对而言也可能点,压力上可能会比其它城市大一点,北京是一个比较好玩的地方,什么人都有,什么样都能在这生存,无论是好想法的或是烂想法的,做各种东西都可以,可以串在一起,可能有这个传统或者习惯

Q:很多艺术家都说北京的展览太多太泛了。

A:是,但我一般不看展览,除非是很熟的人的展览,其他展览都不看

Q:你对美术馆艺术机构有什么看法?

A:基本上没什么联系,那属于公关活动,不是我们做的事情。

Q:那你觉得艺术不应该介入社会、介入生活?

A:不是,有一类艺术家是这样做的,也很好,只是我的想法不同而已。

Q:那你认为艺术家在社会里是一个怎么样的角色?

A:没想过,不知道是什么样一个角色,说不上来,和其他人没什么区别,一样的,自己自己工作想法不同,做的工作也不一样,有时感觉是在消耗自己,每个人都一样,近看你做的东西和别人不一样,放远看没什么区别自己在做些事情,是为了维持能量,然后不断消耗,你不可能朝气蓬勃生活一天大部分时间都是无意义无聊的。

Q:有很多艺术家也觉得消极。

A:不是消极,无聊消极,可能是一种态度社会生活上的很多事情都是这种状态,和现状,可能带有自己判断,对社会、对生活判断,但并不是什么都没有、很消极的那种,不是活不下去了的那种。比如,大众审美,就跟电视电影一样,太无聊了,没办法说,但是大家喜欢,它才能存在,就是一种很低级趣味的东西,但大家都喜欢低级趣味,不论怎么样你都无法逃脱这种低级趣味的东西。

Q:你认为时尚和艺术是怎样的关系?

A:时尚大众生活,有引导性,主要是引导性,引导你的生活——什么样的东西是好的?应该是标杆一样的东西,大众都会往这个方向发展,会引导大家,最终要有一个好的东西引导大众审美艺术没有这种性质,它不需要对所有的人起作用,它是单独作用,或对少部分人起作用,它的基础不是大众

当代(艺术)[dang dai (yi shu)] contemporary (art)

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中国当代艺术现在受到很多西方关注,其实不是因为它整个艺术的生态环境,而是因为它的社会文化特征,包括政治体系市场政治

So I’m thinking, the reason that westerners are paying a lot of attention to Chinese contemporary art has nothing to do with the art ecology as a whole, it’s the characteristics of our social culture (political system, market, politics) as manifested in art that intrigue them.

(摘自徐坦对张培力的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Zhang Peili)

采访对象:张杭

采访时间:2007125日下午

采访地点:于杭州贝尼尼咖啡馆

 

 

环境 environment ecology 8

电视 television 10

生活 life 10

时间 time 20

终极 ultimate 8

终极问题 ultimate question 7

语言 language 17

大众 the mass the public popular 12

社会 society 20

个人 individual(s) 8

灵魂 soul 9

边缘 edge 9

关系 relationship 17

媒体 media 6

文化 culture cultural 18

系统 system 8

无意义 meaningless 7

录像 video art 5

当代艺术 contemporary art 11

态度 attitude 8

作品 works 17

 

6,4      ‘June 4′ incident 1

天安门 Tian’anmen 1

社会主义 socialistic 1

政治体系 political system 1

政治 politics 3

意识形态 ideology 2

上层建筑 superstructure 2

 

play 7

hot 3

名气 成名 出名 知名fame (renowned famous reputation getting famous19

控制 control 2

新潮艺术 avant-garde art new art 2

马戏团 circus 4

技术 technique 4

机会 chance 2

圣人 saint 4

展览 the exhibition 24

中国 China 28

西方 West Western abroad westerners 14

变化改变 change shift 15

相对 relatively 10

new 17

快感 have fun 4

中国特色 Chinese characteristics 3

 

 

Q:你觉得当代艺术跟整个当代中国的社会现实是怎么样的一个关系?

A:80代现在来比较的话,很多人态度上面可能有很大的转变,包括我自己,我觉得可能在89年以前吧,就是北京的那个大展当代艺术或者说新潮艺术实际上基本上被看作是一种精英文化的一个标志,也就是说它是用来唤醒社会或者说唤醒大众的,是所谓的思想史或是文化的一部分;我想这样的一种幻觉打破是在“八九”年以,也就是“六四”以后,因为发现真正的艺术它只是艺术,而且艺术不是可以用来改造社会的,它只是这个社会的一部分,而且在很大程度上它是受到大众文化的影响,简单地讲,比如做录像,在西方中国一样,并不是先发明了录像艺术然后才有了大众文化大众艺术;是作为大众文化电视有了以后,然后才有了录像艺术艺术家利用了这个材质、这个媒介,然后试图利用它来批判大众文化;所以实际上不能说是你改变大众文化——当然到了后来有一个相互影响作用。所以我在想,到了90年代或者是21世纪以后,当代艺术的这种姿态态度状态,慢慢的就开始有了很大的变化,不是像原先那么的孤立、比较封闭保守,现在相对来讲比较的开放,比较愿意介入社会,比较愿意和大众对话,或者说比较愿意利用大众资源。我们去年和今年在杭州做的“出事”、“没事”两个展览,其实也是这样一个出发点,很多艺术家从北京、上海过来的,在一起做这样的展览,就是说这些艺术家可能也都有一个这样的共同方向,一个趋势

Q:谈到西方,你觉得现今中国的当代艺术和西方相比是很落后还是怎么样,这两者之间的状况你有什么看法?

A:能不能用“落后”这个词我不知道,好像这个字听起来有点刺激,也很难用,因为艺术上不存在先进落后这样的概念,它不是体育比赛——快五秒慢五秒,但我觉得是不同话语,也就是说在西方相对来说,它是在比较开放的一个环境里面,很多知识,或者个人社会碰撞融合的一种关系,但是在中国,基本上还是一种个人行为,相对来说比较封闭,一方面是所有人受到的这种教育背景比较封闭。比如说我们这一代,包括很多上了四十岁的人,几乎都是从那个时候美院出来的,当时的美院基本上只能学绘画,而绘画基本上都是写实,而写实基本上又是一两种风格,是由不得你的——然后从学校出来以后,实际上我们的知识背景是非常狭窄的,在语言上在媒介上的认识实际上是很狭窄的,很有限的,这点跟西方艺术家不一样,我们在学校的时候,自己选择空间是很小的,很有选择的可能性,基本上都是很压抑的,到了毕业以后,很多人都——新潮艺术最大的特点就是反抗不满,而这个反抗不满真正在语言上进行很理性自发批判的其实不多,这种反抗是很多因素混杂在一起,对于社会的反抗,对于文化的反抗,对于传统的反抗,对于教育反抗。整个80年代艺术亢奋情绪化现在,到了90年代以后,情况有点不一样,很多人出国了解了很多,也了解了国际背景,国内艺术院校教育相对来说也比以前宽松一点,又增加了很多学科,但是我觉得有一点还是没有改变,现在的艺术家有这样的一个概念——就是跨领域跨学科的一种工作意识,而在西方这种东西是越来越普遍了。我们知道现在西方有很多学校,它把不同领域的人员组合在一起,哲学的、心理学的、艺术设计的、工业设计的、电子的、动力的、生物的,所有人在一起工作跨学科,已经没有像原来那种——比如说我是艺术家,艺术家就是一个个人行为——很封闭意识了,但是在中国,基本上“一个艺术家”的这种意识、这种态度还是非常强烈,很多人是这样给自己定位的,而且的确是以这个东西感到骄傲的。所以我在想,中国当代艺术现在受到很多西方关注,其实不是因为它整个艺术的生态环境,而是因为它的社会文化特征,包括政治体系市场政治。它是作为全球文化描述过程当中一个区域性文化现象被关注,我们现在从艺术上讲,跟西方、南美、非洲……所有这些国家艺术层面上的对话不平等的,当然可能非洲也一样,也有跟我们差不多的问题,南美也有,一部分是自身的,一部分可能是外部的一些客观的原因。

Q:那你怎么看现在中国的艺术教育?

A:这是一个很沉重的事情,因为中国艺术教育西方体制完全不一样,中国的教育尤其是艺术教育,属于意识形态,是上层建筑,文化大革命为什么会搞起来?文化大革命最早就是从一个意识形态上层建筑开始的,学校红卫兵……。跟西方的教育比,中国的教育在一些具体的教育单位有一定空间权利问题,系统不一样,中国是极其有限的——就是说你可以做的事情是极其限的,但是我觉得在这样的一个有限空间里面,你还是可以做一些事情的,也不是完全无所作为,我们自己都是从学校过来的,那个时候其实就觉得这个系统是挺糟糕的,现在艺术教育的状态我觉得还是羞答答的、似是而非的一种状态,就是遮遮掩掩的,很多表面改进就是用很多技术概念替代系统改革,但是本质上没有多大变化,我到这个学校差不多有四年左右了,我在想,这个学校增加了很多学科,包括我现在的这个新媒体,其实在全国很多学校都这样,都不断的增加的学科,但是教育理念或者说方法模式上跟以前没有多大差别,所以这个是比较大的问题,我们只是在一块很小空间里面做一点小动作,一点自己认为可以的事情,然后一些国家计划的东西,我还不知道最后能怎么样,反正在这个小自留地里面玩玩也有点快感,当然很,因为你没有办法——你要跟整个系统交道,很多事情你身不由己,没有办法!我的看法的一个结论是,它基本是换汤不换药,现在基本上是这种状况,整个教育系统都出了问题,有很问题!这个系统如果不变,加多少学科没有用

Q:这里面跟整个中国当代文化现实是有关的吗?

A:不光是跟中国当代文化现实有关,也跟整个社会体制结构有关,中国是一个有中国特色社会主义,对不对?教育其实也是一样,就是中国特色的一个教育,什么东西如果是谈到有中国特色的、什么人如果讲有自己的特色,实际上就没有任何讨论余地!譬如说,我上课,一个学生将做的东西给我看,我觉得好像有些地方做的不是特别合适,就给他一些建议,他说:“我觉得很好啊,我就是想要这样,个就是我想要的,”那么我就没有话说了,如果那样就是他想要的,我怎么可以剥夺?对不对?没有办法谈!

Q:这种情况很糟糕啊。

A:中国现在有一大堆问题,一个是社会结构家庭伦理等等,文化教育,实际上都是相互之间有牵联的,中国家庭结构影响到了教育,这个也是很成问题的,然后又是一个社会系统,这个太复杂了!所以我觉得在中国教育是全世界最累的!真的!等于说你要跳进去是你活该,你活该你自找!你去任何地方——欧洲美国,你发现在学校当老师哪怕当个院长都没有这么!在美国当个院长都不比在这当个科长累。但是它有没有效率?很累!整天,但是没有效率的!

贷款[dai kuan] loan

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你跑出去向别人借钱也好,找银行贷款也好,要拿资产来抵押

If you borrow money for someone, or apply for a bank loan, you will need mortgage.

(摘自徐坦对艾伟的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Ai Wei)

采访对象:艾东明

采访时间:2007131日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

do” engage in 25

可能 maybe possibility impossible perhaps may 21

社会 society social 19

问题 problem question 17

兴趣 fascinated interested uninterested interest 12

个人 individual 12

方式 ways approaches 10

市场 market 9

价值 value 7

 

政治的 political  1

国家 country  state  4

自由 freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主 democratic  2

 

circle 3

money 5

时代 (information/Internet) age 5

play 3

资金 capital 1

poor poverty 4

弱智 retarded 2

face 3

 

Q:先请艾老师说下你对中国当代艺术现状的看法或印象。

A:我不能装作很了解这个事,虽然我一直在北京,经常参与一些策展,我们有艺术文件仓库,有很多艺术的朋友,但是我还不是很了解这个东西,但这两年好像很热闹,而前几年好像都没什么人去搭理它,所以我觉得好像它是一会儿发高烧,一会儿发冷的状态,我觉得可能像是这样,因为现代艺术这一块实际上时间也是很短的,中国实际上虽然有它的现代生活,但这个现代生活在很大程度上是已经由政治的经济的特征定下来的,是一个已经是什么样的体制下的国家了,那么这种个人表达自由政治背景生活条件,以及文化艺术社会中的作用可能,我觉得基本上都是已经限定下来的了,那么通常所称的当代艺术,实际上它能浮出水面,也只是近五、六年的事情,而之前很多人了很多事情实际上都是处在一种半地下的状态的,就是说只是一个很小的,没有被公众话语所关注,对社会的影响实际上也只是在非常小的范围内的,一旦浮出来之后,它主要是在国外的很多展览报导甚至拍卖,好像搞得很热闹,但是这些并没有涉及到这些作品生存环境和所表达的社会形态含义,这些问题探讨并不是很多的,所以它还是一个非常奇怪的结构,但是我们也不能说任何结构是否就是合理的,比如说有的是树,有的是藤,有的是自然界生猛的动物,有的是寄生的动物,而它们都有其自身的合理性,所以尽管中国当代艺术它不是主动有意识地去和这个社会建立某种关系,但是实际上它也反映了过去这几十年的一些问题

Q:你觉得它反映的是一些什么问题呢?

A:反映了中国近几十年中的哲学美学伦理学的彻底解体,新的甚至探讨的可能都还没有建立,因为这个社会仍然是处在大面积的或者主体地否认事实,或者说不承认一些基本的事实,在很多问题上几乎是没有争论的可能,它离民主社会还是很远,虽然它有极大的自由,但这种自由只是建立在旧体制瓦解上的自由,是没有能力控制下的自由,并不是一种很主动的自由,这些都给艺术一些特征

Q:那你怎样看待现在公众对当代艺术的接受方面?

A:我觉得没有什么真正的接受,它只是成为时尚的另外一个门类,杂志、报纸谈到这些问题的时候,你可以看到,它就只能三句五句的谈,但没有一句能够谈到点子上,也不能够深入下去,我觉得这个事儿挺可怜的,就有点像弱智了,中国当代艺术真是扮演了一个弱智角色,当然它有很好的艺术家,有从开始到现在还在很有意思的事情的艺术家,但是这些艺术家,他们探讨的方式都没有得到主流社会认识,甚至连了解也谈不上,现在基本上就是乱七八糟的吧。

Q:那你觉得你参与策划展览之类的活动能否对这种乱七八糟的状况有所作用呢?

A:现在中国展览很多,但是一点帮助和意义都没有,它变成了一些摊贩,就是说像你经常看到的一些摆摊的,一条街卖一样的东西,互相叫板,互相竞争,我觉得这个是为市场设计的,跟艺术没什么关系,完全是为市场设计的,那么这些展览,你仔细看看这些策展人,有几个是像样的?都是心怀鬼胎,怀着各种各样的目的,我觉得这是中国的学术界和知识分子最让人看不起的一点,就是总体不要,整个儿就是彻底的公开张扬不要,这也是少有的一件事,但是啊,就像中国人说的志短,说得太准了,“”还好听点,实际上就是人都很“”了,没什么问题,但它只是一个借口

Q:你刚才讲到市场,那请谈下你对艺术市场的看法。

A:什么东西都能卖,艺术这么高雅的东西当然也能,因为能卖就主要是为了装饰有的家,那么艺术品就成了一个交易的货品的东西了,这个本来挺正常的,只是这个比例有多大?就是在整个大的文化环境当中,它是否变成了唯一问题,是否脆弱到只要它一出现,其他东西就都消失了?我觉得这个是中国的一个很大的问题,当然……我自己这样看,这个事闹成这样挺好笑的,因为好像你这个事的理由都变了,这个东西让你生活的原则和理由都发生变化了,最后就变成好像转换成另外某种价值了,太多人谈论关心这个问题了,如果你不是一个艺术家,只是一个投机商,这个就很正常了,如果你还是一个创作的人,或者说你本来是一个觉得有话才去从事这个行业,觉得对一种方式兴趣——而不是说简单的财、资金和地位可以替换你的那些最早的东西,就不正常和奇怪了。现在我感觉好像都在谈这一块,是挺烦的一件事,市场本身就是不正常的东西,从股票到名牌定的价格,市场本身是无可非议的,一个东西卖五分和卖五千块和卖五万块都是无可非议的,只是说在这个市场背后,这个产品本身的其他价值是否被这个市场价格给彻底冲淡了?这是一个问题

Q:那你自己感兴趣的其实是什么?

A:说老实话,我没有什么兴趣的事,比如我并不是说不喜欢商业这一块或者说对别的什么东西感兴趣,我确实没有太多兴趣的事,可能是我还是比较被动吧,当然总的来说,艺术是我比较兴趣的一个行当,本来我比较感兴趣是因为这里的人比较不功利,比较还有自己的特征,还活得你是你我是我的,但是现在呢?你可以发现,这个艺术的人跟隔壁卖菜的农民没什么差别,上市之前抖点水啊,称的时候再抖两下,我觉得都差不多,这是让人觉得挺无聊的一件事,其实我才不在意这件事,我也不搭理它,比如这个国家是死是活,我也不太在乎,只不过你问到这个问题,就像你问我今天的天气如何,什么沙尘暴啊或者刮风啊,但是这种事又不是你能控制的,这只是国家的一个现状

Q:讲一讲你的博客吧。

A:博客很有意思,待会儿就把给你拍的照片放上去,然后很多的人我也都不认识,反正他们一点击就看到了,我就觉得这个是很直接现实同时又是很幻觉的一个事情,所以我就一直在这个事。

Q:就是说它是一个你传播你自己信息的途径?

A:我觉得信息时代是人类遇到的最的一个时代,是第一次给所谓的自由个人意志技术上提供了可能,在这之前,人类一直是在黑暗当中或者是在独木桥上,或者是在一个必由之路上,那么这个信息时代第一次让人有可能自己或者和愿意一起的人,这在过去是没有的,所以我觉得我们应该是很有兴致和很有机会进去这么一种状态,就是说它有几点是非常重要的:自由地表达个人方式。这听上去虽然很俗套,但是这个是很重要的事情,包括交流可能,包括把社会的力量重新地施以影响吸收运用可能,这是很了不起的一件事情。

Q:你觉得在艺术上有没有地域的中心边缘之分?

A:我觉得不存在,尤其是在这个信息时代网络时代就更不存在了,这是人类第一次有机会和有可能把这个传统价值,即所谓的传统的原始、中心和权利彻底瓦解,这个可能性确实是人类挣扎了很多年以后突然蹦出来的,这是一个很了不起的东西。

代(一代, 年代)[dai(yi dai, nian dai)] generation

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1.上艺术家他们是怀着接近中心愿望去的,他们不适合在家乡的周围活动,而是必须离家出走的,他们是那一代人,要是他们呆在他们家乡的话,可能就真的没有创造性.

The last generation of artists were aiming for the centre; they were destined to leave their hometown. In their days, it was probably a good thing to do so, as staying at home would have stifled their creativity.

(摘自徐坦对郑国谷的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Zheng Guogu)

采访对象:郑广

采访时间:2007120日晚上

采访地点:于阳江郑家

 

设计 design 12

建筑 architecture buildings 15

drink 6

换(交换) exchange 11

(用地 基地 根据地) land(for certain purpose) base 11

朋友 friend 15

关系 relation 29

公共关系 public relation 8

搞关系 developing relation 6

generation 30

一代 their days 4

需要 need 5

游戏 game 7

部门 department industries

地方 provincial 13

 

违章(建筑) unauthorized (architecture) 3

平等 equality equal 5

自由 freedom 3

gambling 3

 

 

个人 individual 10

帝国时代*   Age of Empire 19

地主(斗地主*) landlord (fight against the landlord* ) 4

农业人口 agricultural population 1

活(活着 生活 活动 干活)  live life activity work 15

money 23

双年展 Biennale 3

线人 whistle-blowers 6

无产阶级 proletariat 2

无产阶级青年 proletariat youth 2

社会 society social 4

 

*帝国时代:微软游戏,简称“帝国”,Age of Empire: computer game by Microsoft

*斗地主:1,斗争地主,2,纸牌游戏, fighting against the landlord: 1, a communist activity 2, a card game

 

 

Q:你觉得艺术对于你的生活来说意味着什么呢?

A:就是把艺术融进自己的生命里面,每天着……什么都可以是作品

Q:在《帝国时代》(微软游戏)里,你看到了这样的一个艺术与生活的交点,那你觉得我们整个生活也处于一种游戏的状态吗?

A:应该是吧。其实我里的每个人,我弟弟,我妹妹都游戏里面,……每天连网打游戏——《传奇》(韩国网络游戏),连我妈妈、爸爸,又在另外一个叫“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”的网络游戏里,就是隔两天开一次的地下,可以在电脑上下注的,大家都游戏的世界里,的时候就觉得活在这世界里太了,但是的时候就要回到现实了,接受现实,明天要交了……有时会输得太了,付不起就觉得现实残酷,上次我在北京的展览,“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”,表面是一个书画展,其实是以这个做主题的,每天晚上都出鼠牛虎兔龙蛇,玄机重重啊。

Q:你刚才谈到的,生活与艺术工作都是混在一起了,那么你怎么看它们之间的关系?

A:我觉得通过赚工作,和帮别人干的经验,说不定哪天就会归纳到你自己的艺术创作上了,其实艺术很多都是来自于视而不见的东西,很多有意思的艺术家作品就是来源于生视而不见的东西。就是你要发现,很多一晃而过的东西,他留意到了和发现到了,就是他的东西了。

Q:你做一件双年展的作品和你为一个朋友做的定件有什么不一样?

A:不同之处只是在于在两个行业里面吧。双年展艺术……是进入策划人的情境里边的东西,而我为一个朋友设计是进入我朋友需要,我觉得都一样的,应该只是在两个不一样的情境。比如双年展主题,而我朋友设计也有主题,都有一个规划在里面,我觉得都是在接一单,一接手就都要为他着想,而他们都要付我制作费,我都是拿了别人做自己事情。有时候也会有很多可以流通的想法,比如这次帮朋友做的东西,下一次就可以流通到某个双年展里去了,因为我已经测试过的了,比如做一些空间的作品,我们觉得这样流通着做空间也比较有意思

Q:你是生活于阳江这样的地方,你在这里是个什么样的形象或是角色?你和周围的环境的关系如何?

A:我一般是在酒的地方面对各行各业的人,比如税务局的、警察、工厂的老板等,而我在这里就只是一个设计的角色,但是在那里就不管你是什么身份了,到一定的程度大家就都平等了,他们对“艺术家”这个词也都不了解,有时候我们要穿得像古惑仔一样——是一种很好的保护色,和黑社会有时候也在一起了。他们很多行规或者很多行业里外界不知道的事情,我都知道,要不是跟他们打交道,我也不知道他们的内心世界是这样的,有时一些很大的丑闻,我是从警察的口里知道的,这些都会刺激我的想象力。在阳江,刚发生的事情我很快就会知道了,因为我有很多线人在起作用,工商各部门……昨天发生什么事情,第2天我就知道了,

Q:为什么你会觉得做这种违章的建筑有意思呢?公共关系就是你和社会的这种关系吧,感觉整个社会像一个城堡或大厦一样复杂,那么你对这种社会对象有什么感受?

A:因为是一种挑战,也是一种公共关系或者跟社会交往关系积累,如果没有这种积累,我的《帝国时代》就根本没办法做,我建立的这种关系现在已经很不得了了,我已经认识了阳江部门的各大领导,全部关系已经稳定了,就为我的“帝国”的顺利建成铺了路,那里那是一种农民,是不能转换商业住宅的,这块转卖到我们这些农业人口的手里,城里的人就会关注你,你要在那里建立这么庞大建筑不可能的,根据什么规定就可以来你的,我就是突然有一天接到电话,要罚款……我马上要去公关,那些部门的人放了很多线人,都是线人起的作用,线人拿了的,为他们报信,比如你在家里秘密他也会知道,所以,被的人就还要付线人,我这个帝国时代被罚了好多,说这个东西是非法的,通过罚款,它就变成模棱两可的东西,这个部门,你收了我交的,就要承担一些东西,但是它也不能承认你,就被默认为是半合法的,所以得越多的越好。而我这些年面对的或者请客吃饭56人——当地的国土局规划局城建部门——我还知道城建部门有几个派系……真的把“帝国”做成了,那我在阳江就真的不得了了,以后就不知还会建什么了……,主要靠一种公共关系的建立。

Q:你刚才说了很多公共关系方面的东西,那你觉得和这些人打交道的这种状况会不会很荒诞?

A:是很荒诞,你不做这些就不会遇到这些东西,而你一跟他们接触了就很容易理解他们了……,比如开始你说是在建一个“猪栏”,怎么现在就变成一个“牛栏”了?——以前你说是建几个房子,现在突然看到你建了这么巨大的建筑出来,他就会来管,但是还是会默认你,就会和你商量怎么交差。

Q:你是很容易和周围的社会的人沟通和发生关系,那么你觉得做当代艺术这一点来说,艺术家是容易被人理解和接受的还是不容易的?

A:挺容易的,因为醉了就很容易把老底端出来了,我可以跟酒店或工厂的老板,跟武警小混混聊聊天,聊天的时候就会无意识谈到艺术展览,他们也会很好奇,所以我觉得很容易和他们沟通,这是小城镇的一种现象,只要你跟他建立了朋友关系,他很容易接受懂不懂没关系,起码他知道有这样的信息和状况。

Q:现在很多媒体、报纸都说公众对当代艺术不理解,你怎么看?

A:那只是一个表面的信息,一交了朋友就……说什么都会认可,他们也不是完全的了解你,只是好奇而已,反正他们也很闷,我经常会带一些朋友去看展览——他们去旅游顺便去看展览,比如说在展览上碰到很多老外,还跟他们合影,就觉得很新鲜,喜不喜欢都好,反正他挺高兴的,回来就很不一样了。

Q:他们对那些“恶心的”当代艺术作品有什么反应吗?

A:可能也都见怪不怪了吧,有什么比他们看到的更恶心呢?他那个行业里面那么真实的事都发生了,在他看来,一点也不会住他了

Q:你是在做这些建筑的时候玩公共关系的,但是你从来不跟那些策展人玩公共关系的是吧?

A:对,很多艺术家就把公共关系放在艺术方面了,但是我坚信一点,只要作品做得有意思,策划人是不会管这些东西的,因为他们太公正了。我们在艺术方面不要搞关系,一搞关系就觉得不好意思了,北京(的艺术家)应该挺会搞的,但是搞了那种关系其实也没用,一搞关系反而会被认为你有怎么样企图,因为我们和策划人都是平等关系,他需要我们,我们也需要他,配合好的话,对他来说更有好处, 我们在扮演什么样的角色他们都安排好了,所以不用去搞关系,搞了反而会

Q:以前搞艺术都是跑到中心的地方,而阳江作为比较边缘的地方,资讯也比较不发达……那么这个时代的所谓中心和边缘,以及乡下和城市这种问题,你能谈下你对这些问题的经验吗?

A:现在应该没有以前那么封闭了吧,慢慢地你发现可以通过网络,可以每天睡觉都不用管什么中心边缘了,因为中心也会,像毛主席也会派人来找到你,你有一个,有一个根据,中心知道你已经慢慢地建立了这样一个导弹的发射,你这个乡下导弹也可以发射到中心里了,不管是不是在乡下,你的思维也可以传达到中心或者跟中心在一起?……上一艺术家他们是怀着接近中心的愿望去的,他们不适合在家乡的周围动,而是必须离家出走的,他们是一代人,要是他们呆在他们家乡的话,可能就真的没有创造性,他们只能离家出走,跟着中心,看怎么玩,的,机会会多很多,可以马上向中心,向党中央靠拢,或者省很多时间,我们这种人就真的是黑灯瞎火,什么都看不清,只是有一种……我也不知道是不是一种创造力,我们也不管它是什么,但是拿出去之后别人会觉得很有创造性也有可能,我们乡下的嘛他们没有,反而他们会更喜欢乡下的也有可能。

A:以前,我还经历过计划经济的时代,那个时候都是用粮票换东西的,我每天早上都要着一袋米跑到很远的地方去排队粉皮——其实也都是米做的,把机器一过,就变成粉皮,但是到了80年代末期,就突然有了很多超市之类的,只要有就什么都可以消费了,我就觉得这个商品的交换自由了,我就提出了“消费就是我的理想消费解恨”,其实消费……你就认定一个产品,或者认定一个设计,其实我买一个东西,有时候还会觉得“这个东西怎么设计得这么好?”,所以说消费对我还是有一些启发,我每天面对这个产品的时候都有启发,因为它包含了设计的成分在里面——就摆脱了我那个时候的一种关于商品交换沉重感,但是这个记忆还是很铭心的,我永远都记得那时候每天都要驮一袋米去粉皮,还要6点多就起来了,起得那么早,但还是要排很长的队,现在再也不会干这种事情了……但是我妈妈那一代也是这样,就是说我爸爸和我妈妈是两个阶层的,我妈妈是那种地主妹,我爸爸就真的是那种种地无产阶级,说起来……我爸爸是耕完一天的田,没有东西吃,拍拍脚就上床睡觉了的那种阶层,但是我妈妈,在中国那个食物缺乏的时候,她们家里都还有洋参、鱼翅,吃不完倒进垃圾桶去,我爸爸说“哇,真是太幸福了”——真的是两个阶层的人,但是为什么他们两个人结合了呢?这是一种政治斗争的结果。阳春那边斗地主,是把地主捆绑起来,用棍子一敲,晕了,推到河里面,就流到阳江,也不知道这是不是当年阳春的一种做法,所有地主尸体都搁在那条河里面了,村里的人都不敢里面的水了,只喝从地心的井里挖出来的水……我妈妈那个时候还在读中学,听到消息之后就连夜逃跑了,因为一被抓起来也可能会被斗,就和我妈妈的妈妈逃出来起来了,然后说最好是给一个无产阶级的青年,然后就找到了我爸爸。

 

打工(妹)[da gong (mei)] part time work

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现在是一个没有、或者不提倡社会,整个社会都不倡导这种价值观。我们从小受的教育是一种很虚假尊敬,我觉得这不是艺术的错误,因为整个社会导向错误的。

We are living in a society without love, or one in which love is not advocated as social value judgment. The education we had from the early years was only fake respect and fake love, so I don’t think art should take the blame – because the whole society is simply going into a wrong direction.

(摘自徐坦对曹斐的访谈  Excerpt from Interview with Cao Fei)

采访对象:艾东明

采访时间:2007131日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

do” engage in 25

可能 maybe possibility impossible perhaps may 21

社会 society social 19

问题 problem question 17

兴趣 fascinated interested uninterested interest 12

个人 individual 12

方式 ways approaches 10

市场 market 9

价值 value 7

 

政治的 political  1

国家 country  state  4

自由 freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主 democratic  2

 

circle 3

money 5

时代 (information/Internet) age 5

play 3

资金 capital 1

poor poverty 4

弱智 retarded 2

face 3

 

Q:先请艾老师说下你对中国当代艺术现状的看法或印象。

A:我不能装作很了解这个事,虽然我一直在北京,经常参与一些策展,我们有艺术文件仓库,有很多艺术的朋友,但是我还不是很了解这个东西,但这两年好像很热闹,而前几年好像都没什么人去搭理它,所以我觉得好像它是一会儿发高烧,一会儿发冷的状态,我觉得可能像是这样,因为现代艺术这一块实际上时间也是很短的,中国实际上虽然有它的现代生活,但这个现代生活在很大程度上是已经由政治的经济的特征定下来的,是一个已经是什么样的体制下的国家了,那么这种个人表达自由政治背景生活条件,以及文化艺术社会中的作用可能,我觉得基本上都是已经限定下来的了,那么通常所称的当代艺术,实际上它能浮出水面,也只是近五、六年的事情,而之前很多人了很多事情实际上都是处在一种半地下的状态的,就是说只是一个很小的,没有被公众话语所关注,对社会的影响实际上也只是在非常小的范围内的,一旦浮出来之后,它主要是在国外的很多展览报导甚至拍卖,好像搞得很热闹,但是这些并没有涉及到这些作品生存环境和所表达的社会形态含义,这些问题探讨并不是很多的,所以它还是一个非常奇怪的结构,但是我们也不能说任何结构是否就是合理的,比如说有的是树,有的是藤,有的是自然界生猛的动物,有的是寄生的动物,而它们都有其自身的合理性,所以尽管中国当代艺术它不是主动有意识地去和这个社会建立某种关系,但是实际上它也反映了过去这几十年的一些问题

Q:你觉得它反映的是一些什么问题呢?

A:反映了中国近几十年中的哲学美学伦理学的彻底解体,新的甚至探讨的可能都还没有建立,因为这个社会仍然是处在大面积的或者主体地否认事实,或者说不承认一些基本的事实,在很多问题上几乎是没有争论的可能,它离民主社会还是很远,虽然它有极大的自由,但这种自由只是建立在旧体制瓦解上的自由,是没有能力控制下的自由,并不是一种很主动的自由,这些都给艺术一些特征

Q:那你怎样看待现在公众对当代艺术的接受方面?

A:我觉得没有什么真正的接受,它只是成为时尚的另外一个门类,杂志、报纸谈到这些问题的时候,你可以看到,它就只能三句五句的谈,但没有一句能够谈到点子上,也不能够深入下去,我觉得这个事儿挺可怜的,就有点像弱智了,中国当代艺术真是扮演了一个弱智角色,当然它有很好的艺术家,有从开始到现在还在很有意思的事情的艺术家,但是这些艺术家,他们探讨的方式都没有得到主流社会认识,甚至连了解也谈不上,现在基本上就是乱七八糟的吧。

Q:那你觉得你参与策划展览之类的活动能否对这种乱七八糟的状况有所作用呢?

A:现在中国展览很多,但是一点帮助和意义都没有,它变成了一些摊贩,就是说像你经常看到的一些摆摊的,一条街卖一样的东西,互相叫板,互相竞争,我觉得这个是为市场设计的,跟艺术没什么关系,完全是为市场设计的,那么这些展览,你仔细看看这些策展人,有几个是像样的?都是心怀鬼胎,怀着各种各样的目的,我觉得这是中国的学术界和知识分子最让人看不起的一点,就是总体不要,整个儿就是彻底的公开张扬不要,这也是少有的一件事,但是啊,就像中国人说的志短,说得太准了,“”还好听点,实际上就是人都很“”了,没什么问题,但它只是一个借口

Q:你刚才讲到市场,那请谈下你对艺术市场的看法。

A:什么东西都能卖,艺术这么高雅的东西当然也能,因为能卖就主要是为了装饰有的家,那么艺术品就成了一个交易的货品的东西了,这个本来挺正常的,只是这个比例有多大?就是在整个大的文化环境当中,它是否变成了唯一问题,是否脆弱到只要它一出现,其他东西就都消失了?我觉得这个是中国的一个很大的问题,当然……我自己这样看,这个事闹成这样挺好笑的,因为好像你这个事的理由都变了,这个东西让你生活的原则和理由都发生变化了,最后就变成好像转换成另外某种价值了,太多人谈论关心这个问题了,如果你不是一个艺术家,只是一个投机商,这个就很正常了,如果你还是一个创作的人,或者说你本来是一个觉得有话才去从事这个行业,觉得对一种方式兴趣——而不是说简单的财、资金和地位可以替换你的那些最早的东西,就不正常和奇怪了。现在我感觉好像都在谈这一块,是挺烦的一件事,市场本身就是不正常的东西,从股票到名牌定的价格,市场本身是无可非议的,一个东西卖五分和卖五千块和卖五万块都是无可非议的,只是说在这个市场背后,这个产品本身的其他价值是否被这个市场价格给彻底冲淡了?这是一个问题

Q:那你自己感兴趣的其实是什么?

A:说老实话,我没有什么兴趣的事,比如我并不是说不喜欢商业这一块或者说对别的什么东西感兴趣,我确实没有太多兴趣的事,可能是我还是比较被动吧,当然总的来说,艺术是我比较兴趣的一个行当,本来我比较感兴趣是因为这里的人比较不功利,比较还有自己的特征,还活得你是你我是我的,但是现在呢?你可以发现,这个艺术的人跟隔壁卖菜的农民没什么差别,上市之前抖点水啊,称的时候再抖两下,我觉得都差不多,这是让人觉得挺无聊的一件事,其实我才不在意这件事,我也不搭理它,比如这个国家是死是活,我也不太在乎,只不过你问到这个问题,就像你问我今天的天气如何,什么沙尘暴啊或者刮风啊,但是这种事又不是你能控制的,这只是国家的一个现状

Q:讲一讲你的博客吧。

A:博客很有意思,待会儿就把给你拍的照片放上去,然后很多的人我也都不认识,反正他们一点击就看到了,我就觉得这个是很直接现实同时又是很幻觉的一个事情,所以我就一直在这个事。

Q:就是说它是一个你传播你自己信息的途径?

A:我觉得信息时代是人类遇到的最的一个时代,是第一次给所谓的自由个人意志技术上提供了可能,在这之前,人类一直是在黑暗当中或者是在独木桥上,或者是在一个必由之路上,那么这个信息时代第一次让人有可能自己或者和愿意一起的人,这在过去是没有的,所以我觉得我们应该是很有兴致和很有机会进去这么一种状态,就是说它有几点是非常重要的:自由地表达个人方式。这听上去虽然很俗套,但是这个是很重要的事情,包括交流可能,包括把社会的力量重新地施以影响吸收运用可能,这是很了不起的一件事情。

Q:你觉得在艺术上有没有地域的中心边缘之分?

A:我觉得不存在,尤其是在这个信息时代网络时代就更不存在了,这是人类第一次有机会和有可能把这个传统价值,即所谓的传统的原始、中心和权利彻底瓦解,这个可能性确实是人类挣扎了很多年以后突然蹦出来的,这是一个很了不起的东西。

 

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