we are all “A Clockwork Lai Chi”
The aim of founding Landescape1823 was to extricate artists from the shackles of the system. The ruins granted us space and abundant nourishment for creation. On one hand, we are free from all bureaucratic authority, and on the other hand, we need not be bound by capitalists, who make us worry about materials and space. In a deserted land, the land and the artists complement each other. We have always been living and creating in a systematically established city. Sociologist Richard Sennett pointed out that the regular urban environment allows us to stay in our infancy period perpetually and isolate ourselves in our own communities. After being occupied by artists, the abandoned site became an art space, which interfered with the entire system and played a role of disorder. The existence of abandonment is not a space for us to escape, but to make the city more diverse.
A trend in the art market has caught my attention: artwork tends to be "socialized" in order to obtain governmental funding (socialization is to bring individuals into an existing social order without questioning its order). The artist’s role in the artwork has gradually become subservient. Therefore, landscape1823 downplayed the interaction between artists and audiences in previous events. Landscape1823 is labelled as site-specific art instead of public art. In "Notes on Sculpture: Part II”, Robert Morris pointed out that “The better new work takes relationships out of the work and makes them a function of space, light, and the viewer's field of vision.” Site-specific creation is not purely defined by physical location. But also through contact with the scene full of contingency, which includes the audience. After three events in the abandoned site, Landescape1823 has strived for a space that could facilitate interactions with audiences. By chance, I was fortunate to receive MOST’s curatorial invitation and venue arrangement. I am also very grateful to our generous sponsors, including Pure Art Foundation, Professor Professor Mayching Kao Fine Arts Fund, Museum of Site (MOST) and OM, which allow 2021 Landescape1823 Project: A Clockwork Lai Chi to present bold, new works by artist representing a broad range of identities and perspectives which might not otherwise be seen in Hong Kong, connecting audiences to boundary-pushing ideas, experiences, and expressions through direct access to artists.
The predecessor of the Jockey Club Creative Arts Center building was the "Shek Kip Mei Factory Building" completed in 1977 and has now been revitalized into an art village and art center. After the exit of factory workers, the artist walks in. Do the artists in residence maintain the entire art ecology in the role of a worker? In a Macroscopic view of contemporary art, scholar Diana Crane pointed out that the art market is becoming more and more capital and labour-intensive with a large-scale of production. The "post-factory" art production mode has alienated the identity of the artists. Even if we return to the public space with uniform, can we get rid of the factory model of art production?
Jeremy Bentham invented a circular prison design -- panopticon, whose power dominance model permeates all walks of life, including factories, and even the entire society and our everyday life. The ultimate goal is to induce in the inmates a state of conscious visibility. The exhibition uses CCTV to explore the boundaries of seeing (public space on L5) and being seen (green space on L7), creating a space for domestication, correction and education. Anyone can feel the gaze of an invisible object (ghost) . Hence, audiences and artists will experience (Michel Foucault) Michel Foucault's bio-power, which involves intervening and manipulating our thoughts And body.
The public space of the JCCAC is not laid abandoned. Landescape1823 has been pursuing to get rid of regulations and restrictions. But why should we walk into a managed place? In the past, even we went to ruins, artists were portrayed as the weak for creation, sneaking into (or trespassing on) a place. In fact, we have cleverly used strategies to confront the institution and through creation, we have different interpretations of the language of a place and transformed it into a brand-new space. In the words of De Certeau, we adopted the practice of "time for space", infiltrating a place in a circuitous way, and seizing the time to turn everything into opportunity (de Certeau, 1984: xix). Here, rules and restrictions become the stepping stones of creation. The space that is seen and not seen stimulates isolation, which can also draw the viewer's gaze.
Why do I describe ourselves as the vulnerable one? It is because we are never the owners of space. Moreover, who has given me the power to lead the artists into a venue? By extending this question, another question has quickly come to my mind: Who has granted the authority to the venue owner? Actually, the proper question should be: Does “state of nature” exist in the room of creativity? To me, “State of nature” only takes place in a Thought Experiment. Unless the Big Bang happens tomorrow, and the entire universe has only left you and me. At that moment, it would be a primitive society with no laws and order. In reality, even if I live on my own and do not interact with others, does it mean that we do not have the obligation to abide by the law? (Editor’s note: Artists also set a lot of restrictions for their solo exhibitions). We consider ourselves that we have the ability to get rid of rules and regulations, but could we break away from them? Philosopher John Locke once pointed out that due to the theory of Tacit Consent, people would obey the law in an unconscious manner, notwithstanding the fact that we have never agreed to abide by the law in our mind. Take the following as an example of Tacit Consent: From the time we step into JCCAC, we are made to comply with the rules and regulations, just because we have enjoyed the resources here in the Centre. “Free” and “Not free” is an opposing idea, and so does “Agree” and “Disagree”. Human beings should have the choice of “Disagree”, so that the choice of “Agree” could only be meaningful. However, in the absence of choice, could our behaviour be deemed as “Agree”?
Looking at Hong Kong, we are all “A Clockwork Lai Chi” .
Landescape1823 的成立宗旨在於擺脫制度束縛並回歸藝術於藝術家身上。出走廢墟所帶給我們的是創作空間和饒裕的養份，一來脫離了所有制度上的權威，二來不受資本家的束縛，不必為物料和空間而煩惱。在荒廢的土地，土地與藝術家相輔相成。我們一直以來都在一個個系統建立的城市中生活和創作。社會學家理查・桑內特（Richard Sennett）指出，規整的城市組織使我們永遠停留在幼年期，把自己封閉在自己的社區裡。廢墟在藝術家佔用後，成為一個藝術空間，干擾了整個系統，發揮了無序之用。廢墟的存在其實不是給予我們一個逃避的空間，而是使城市更無秩序，更多樣化。
自從接觸多了政府的公共藝術計劃，我很在意坊間許多藝術單位為了獲得資助，而逐漸被「社會化」（社會化是把個體帶進一個現存的社會秩序中，且不讓他質疑這個秩序），藝術家的作品演繹反而卻變得謙卑。 因此，landescape1823在過住的計劃裏，藝術家與觀眾的互動成為了其次。雖然創作是在公共空間進行，但我不會主動稱Landescape 1823為公共藝術（public art），反而是以場域特定藝術（site specific art）來標籖。《雕塑筆記之二》中， 羅伯特‧莫里斯（ Robert Morris）指出特定藝術作品要「脫離作品的關係，使之跟空間、光和觀眾的視域發生關係。」場域特定創作不單純以物理位置去界定，而是通過接觸充滿偶然性的現場，其中包括了觀眾。Landescape1823 在廢墟舉辦了三次活動後，我便爭取能夠方便與更多觀眾接觸的空間來進行。機緣巧合下，我獲得了MOST的策展邀請以及場地安排，同時亦十分感激我們慷慨的贊助單位，包括Pure Art Foundation， 高美慶教授藝術發展基金，Museum of Site (MOST) 以及OM，使藝術家能大膽呈現新穎的作品，與觀眾分享經驗，共同感受。
賽馬會創意藝術中心大樓前身是1977 年落成的「石硤尾工廠大廈」，現時已活化成為藝術村兼藝術中心。當工廠工人離去，藝術家走進，駐場的藝術家是否以工人的姿態維繫整個藝術生態？宏觀當代藝術的創作模式，學者戴安娜‧克蘭Diana Crane指出藝術市場中的作品愈來愈趨向高額資本、勞力密集的大型製作生產模式。「後–工廠化」的藝術生產模式，也使藝術家在個人手藝和工廠生產的發生過程中，身分發生異化。就算回到公共空間，當藝術家穿上了制服，就能擺脫工廠模式的創作嗎？
邊沁（Jeremy Bentham）發明的監獄設計──圓形監獄（panopticon），它的權力宰制模式滲透各行各業，其中包括工廠，甚至是整個社會和我們日常生活與實踐，最終目標是在囚犯中營造一種有意識的可見狀態。展覽利用監視器分離了看（5樓公共空間）與被看（7樓綠色空間），創造出一個馴化、矯正和教化的空間。 任何人都可以感受到看不見（ghost）的東西所凝視著，藝術家和觀眾都能經歷（米歇爾·傅柯）Michel Foucault 所說的生命權力（bio-power），介入和操控著我們思想和身體。
JCCAC大樓的公共空間不是廢墟，Landescape1823 一直追求擺脫規條和限制，我們又為何要走進一個受管理的地方呢？以往就算是到廢墟，藝術家都是以弱者的姿態創作，偷偷摸摸（或無視限制）地闖入場作。事實上，我們巧妙利用了戰術（strategies） 對抗制度， 透過創作對場所（place）的語言進行不同的闡釋，轉化為全新空間（space）。德塞圖的話來說，我們採用「時間換取空間」的操作方式，迂迴滲入場所，並把握時機，將一切扭轉成機會（de Certeau，1984：xix）。 在這裏，規條和限制成為創作的踏腳石。 看見和不被看見的空間激發離析（isolation）也能引起觀者的注視。
為什麼我說我們是弱者，因為我們從來不是空間的擁有人。再者是誰賦予權力給我帶領藝術家走進場所，又是誰賦予權力給場所負責人？或者問：究竟有沒有一個原始社會（the state of nature）的創作空間？ 除非宇宙大爆炸，地球只剩你和我，那一刻就是一個無任何法律限制的原始社會， 否則就只能在思想實驗裏看到。就算一個人生活不與任何人交集，又是否沒有義務遵守任何法律？（編者按：藝術家的個人表演也為自己定立不少規則）。我們自以為有能力擺脫規條和限制，但其實又是否真的能完全脫序？哲學家約翰·洛克（John Locke）指出我們即使沒有在思考上同意服從法律，但基於默許同意（tacit consent）理論，我們不自覺地守法。就如當我們進入了JCCAC後，因為享用了在地提供的資源，就默許同意去遵守這裏的條款和規則。「自由」與「不自由」是相對的，「同意」與「不同意」 亦然。 人應該要有選擇「不同意」的機會，「同意」才會有意義。但是在沒有選擇的情況下， 我們的行為能稱得上是「同意」嗎？
放眼香港現今的政治環境， 在這片土地上，我們都是「 發條麗姿」。
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