第73期 作为艺术主题的“媒体”(2011)

第73期 作为艺术主题的“媒体”(2011年)

学术主持:盛葳

主题:王友身 王度 杨千 张震宇 吴以强 薛滔 黎朗 陈曦 俸正泉

新作:薛松 施少平 周湧

Issue No. 73(2011)

Theme: The “Media” as the Artistic Theme

Academic Host: Sheng Wei

A.T: Wang Youshen, Wang Du, Yang Qian, Zhang Zhenyu, Wu Yiqiang, Xue Tiao, Li Lang, Chen Xi, Feng Zhengquan

A.N: Xue Song, Shi Shaoping, Zhou Yong

73

作为艺术主题的“媒体”

学术主持:盛葳

 

传媒业的发展使得今天的我们能够轻而易举地及时获悉世界每个角落正在发生的大小新闻,无论是利比亚战争、海豹突击队坠机阵亡、IMF总裁卡恩涉案被捕等千里之外与我们本毫无关联的事件,还是高铁问题、楼市调控、瘦肉精猪肉等与我们日常生活息息相关的事件,都时时吸引人们对媒体的强烈关注。媒体和传媒不仅构筑了一个强大的公共空间和话语平台,催生出具有高度同一性的全球大众文化,而且通过新的传播方式和传播网络,无孔不入地渗透进私人空间,并深刻地改变了我们的生活方式以及对外界和自我的看法。诸如《世界新闻报》“窃听门”这类事件,不但涉及个人信息安全、行业道德操守,更成为资本与权力博弈的现实表征。媒体和传媒已经与国家、社会、私人生活密切捆绑在一起,内化为当代社会生活不可缺少的一种机制。

在某种意义上,传媒是一种“艺术”,艺术也在不断地被传播,且越来越依赖于传播。艺术家、艺术作品和艺术界的大小事件,不仅永远处于这种传播流中,反过来,艺术创作也越来越多地在这个传媒时代将“媒体”纳入成为自己的对象、题材和主题,乃至将“传播”本身作为艺术作品。在现代艺术中,较早将“媒体”吸纳进自己创作的作品包括毕加索、达达和波普艺术家的报纸拼贴作品。他们将“报纸”看作一种外来的、非艺术的材料,企图用它来表达一种对精英和高级艺术的嘲讽,并推进艺术大众化的观念;博伊斯、杜尚和约瑟夫·科索斯等概念派艺术家在装置作品中大量运用报纸、书籍、招贴等材料,注重其物质性及其所蕴含的社会文化宏观象征意义;而更近的,诸如格哈德·里希特、马克·坦西等艺术家,通过绘画来讨论媒体、媒介在现代社会中所扮演的角色,反思其机制和影响,将“媒体”视为其艺术创作的“对象”,而非仅仅是材料。珍妮·赫尔泽等当代艺术家则利用档案、户外广告、车体广告、LED公告板思考信息、大众传播与公共空间的关系。

在中国1978年以来的现代艺术发展历程中,以“媒体”作为材料或艺术主题的艺术家和作品也相当丰富。在这个领域内,最早为人所认同的艺术家是王友身穿着“报纸套装”的行为艺术,“报纸套装”伴随他的一切公共和日常行为,占据他的一切生活空间。王度也是较早利用报纸、书籍等媒介进行装置艺术创作的中国艺术家,譬如在2008年上海当代艺术博览会主题展中,他展出的难以数计的报纸构筑的媒体空间,在阿拉里奥画廊展出数十个电视屏幕组成的电视墙,如同家电卖场中一般同时播放着完全无关的节目内容。杨千在第三届南京三年展上展出的《纸喷泉》,让观众随意在八百公斤各类杂志中挑选认为的垃圾文化进行粉碎,并通过喷泉装置喷出纸喷泉。张震宇则将不同报纸上印刷的内容字迹一个个擦掉,以空白的“报纸”反思传媒和媒体背后的话语权力。

类似于这样的作品重在以一种批判性的角度审视媒体的扩张、对私人领域的侵占、对个人意识的塑造,甚至将媒体看作一种外在的、强加的“暴行”。基于马克思主义的法兰克福学派的某些理论有助于理解这类创作。在阿多诺看来,“文化工业”是商品拜物教的直接结果,完全以资本逻辑生产出的大众文化以欢乐的假象进行欺骗,混淆现实和艺术的差异,夺走人们主动追求更有价值生活的能力。而同样依附于资本逻辑的传媒更深入地使千篇一律的大众文化无孔不入,成为资本主义意识形态的传声筒,让人们在愉悦的幻觉中接受他们。反过来,这种文化工业和传播霸权会直接影响和控制人们的行为模式,使人们逐渐习惯大众文化,丧失判断能力,并深陷其中,难以自拔。哈贝马斯同样认为文化产品的庸俗化与高额市场利润的追逐具有一致目标,电视、电影、广播等传媒更使得“公共领域”重新变得封建化,甚至不及早期沙龙的论辩。

一方面,全球化的大众文化在跨文化、跨时空的网状传播体系中,实现了宏观和微观的意识形态控制,各种媒体和传媒结构也因此构建出霸权化的传播机制与体系,并实现了自我循环和繁殖能力。这些资本逻辑的深层表征并不具备构建功能,它们构筑了一个“牢笼”,让观众、读者、参与者成为被动的、丧失主体性的“驯化者”。这种对媒介的批判性实践构成了媒介理论最重要的基础。另一方面,当代社会心理学则认为受众对信息的感知也许与信息生产者的动机有差异,法兰克福学派式的单项控制论也许并非真理。菲利普·施莱辛格等学者认为,媒体及其所传播的大众文化是一种公开的、参与性的文化,观众和读者在参与的过程中具有自我判断、批判和阐释的空间与能力,文本的开放性使得媒体变成一个意识形态控制机制与个体意识萌发的博弈空间。约翰·菲克斯所述“游击队式行为”同样认为参与者可以扮演一个“反抗者”的角色。与此相关,在艺术理论研究中,苏珊·桑塔格认为对阐释的关注往往导致对艺术作品感觉体验的忽视。

因此,尽管媒体和大众文化具有单向的强制性,但依然可以成为一个辩论空间。而相关的艺术创作,一方面可以建构一种宏观的、直接的反思性话语,另一方面也可以从微观入手,强调受众的主体性和能动性。俸正泉将自己阅读过或感兴趣的书籍用相机翻拍下来,再将翻拍的图像“原封不动”地再现到画布上。吴以强则从“篡改新闻”入手,对报纸上的大幅照片进行“再创作”,在版面上重构出一个个基于个人经验和知识结构的“新的”图像叙事,使其与文字内容的关系变得似是而非。

媒体、媒介是信息的物质性载体和传播工具,诸如“看报纸”、“看电视”一类指称实际上都在强调阅读传播媒介、信息载体上的内容,如新闻、电视节目,而非“看”传播媒介、信息载体本身,换言之,阅读和观看的对象是“信息”,而非“媒介”。作为一名传播学者,麦克卢汉与之前的同行更多关注传播的信息和内容不同,他更重视传播媒介本身及相关技术性话题,并提出了“媒介即讯息”的看法。该观点认为媒介是人体的延伸,不同媒介对应不同的传播内容,媒介方式的更迭将会改变人类社会和人类的生活、生产方式;同时,该观点还认为,一种媒介是另一种媒介的内容,如语言是文字的内容,文字又是印刷的内容,印刷又是电报的内容。在陈曦的《中国记忆》系列油画中,她将不同媒介、传播内容和个人记忆杂陈一体,节目是电视的内容,电视又是油画的内容,而油画自身也同样是一种媒介。与关注“内容”和“信息”不同,艺术家薛滔更关注他所运用的材料——“报纸”本身。他将报纸编成一根根绳子,做成报纸椅子、报纸房间,但更多时候是直接将它们拧成一堆没有形状的“东西”:香港回归时的报纸组成了红红黄黄的“一堆”,而汶川地震时的报纸则组成了黑黑灰灰的另一堆。由此,媒介本身变成了信息,即便是不阅读其内容,观众亦能直观地通过视觉观看获取信息。

如前文所述,艺术作品是一种媒介,能够承载各种不同信息,同样也可以成为其他媒介传播的内容。但与这种理论上的描述和总结不同,很多艺术家亦直接将“传播”及其行为、过程作为艺术作品或其一部分。1997年颜磊、洪浩邮递自己捏造卡塞尔文献展邀请函的《匿名信息》,杨振中、徐震、金峰、唐茂宏、黄奎等2004年发起的“62761232快递展”,王轶琼创作、制作的介于艺术与日常行为之间的作品《虚拟短信新闻》等,都是此类例证。他们所针对的问题和动机并不一定是关于“传播”和“媒介”本身,但都需要利用传播才能更好地完成。而诸如黄岩在20世纪90年代中后期创作的“邮件艺术”这类作品,则是有意地利用传播手段来思考“传播”行为自身。随着科技和传播技术的发展,包括个人电脑、因特网在内的新媒介也逐渐进入当代艺术家的创作。在这些新的作品中,新媒体艺术势头正猛,其中不乏将新媒体自身作为创作主题和思考对象的主题。艺术利用各种媒体传播,同时也对它们自身进行反思,从媒介批判理论的角度看来,这些艺术创作无疑是最佳的实践。

 

 

The “Media” as the Artistic Theme

Academic Host: Sheng Wei

 

Due to the development of the media industry, today it is as easy as pie for us to get all sorts of news from every corner of the world. Those events, whether they are irrelevant to us, such as Libya War, the Navy Seals killed by crash or the IMF CEO Kahn arrested, or whether they are closely related to our life, such as the problem of the high speed rail, the regulation and control of the real estate market, or the pork with clenbuterol, arouse our great concern towards the media, which not only constructs powerful public space and a word platform to hasten the delivery of global mass culture with high identity, but also permeates all-pervasively into private space and profoundly changes our life style and the way of looking at the outside world and ourselves through new mode of transmission and network. Evens like “wiretapping” from the News of the World extend from the security of private information and industry ethnics to the realistic representation of game between capital and power. Bound tightly with the nation, society and private life, the media has internalized into an indispensible mechanism of the modern social life.

In a sense, media is one kind of “art”. Transmitted continuously, art relies more and more on transmission. All sorts of events about the artists, the artistic works and the art world are always in this stream of transmission. In turn, more and more artistic creations gradually take “media” as their object, subject matter and theme, or even regard “transmission” itself as the artistic product in this media era. In the modern art, the earlier works which took “media” in included the newspaper collage creation of Picasso, Dada and Popp, who considered “newspaper” as a kind of outside and non-artistic material, and who attempted to mock the elite and high art and put forward the idea of the popularization of art. Conceptual artists like Beuys, Duchamp, Joseph Kosuth abundantly employed newspapers, books and posters in their device works, paying attention to the materiality and the macro symbolic meaning of the social culture embodied. Much closer to our time, artists such as Gerhard Richter and Mark Tansey talked about the media and its role in the modern society through their paintings, which introspected its mechanism and influence; thus, the “media” here was regarded as the “object” instead of the material of the artistic creation. Several modern artists like Jenny Holzer made use of files, outdoor advertising, Body advertising and LED billboards to think about the relationship between information, mass communication and public space.

Since 1978 in China, there have been a rich amount of artists and works that take the “media” as the material and artistic theme in the process of modern artistic development. In this particular field, the first artist recognized by people was Wang You with his performance art—“the newspaper costumes”, which accompanied his every public and daily behavior, and totally occupied his life space. Also in this early period, Chinese artist Wang Du used newspapers and books in his device artistic works. For instance, in the theme exhibition of the 2008 Shanghai Modern Art Expo, he exhibited the media space constructed by numerous newspapers; in Arario Gallery, a television wall constituted by dozens of television screens was displayed, broadcasting totally irrelevant programs just like that in the household electrical appliance stores. In the third Nanjing Triennial, Yang Qian put his “Paper Fountain” on display—the audience chose what they regarded as garbage culture from magazines of all sorts which weighed 800 kg at will and crushed them, and then the Paper Fountain spurted them out. And by erasing the content and characters printed in all kinds of newspapers one by one, Zhang Zhenyu reflected the discourse power behind the media through these blank “newspapers”.

Works like these focus on examining the expansion of the media, its invasion and occupation of the private areas and its molding of the individual consciousness; and they even look upon the media as a kind of exterior and imposed “act of violence”. In order to understand such works, some theories of the Frankfurt School based on Marxism would be helpful. According to Adorno, as the direct result of commodity fetishism, the “culture industry”, by completely relying on the mass culture produced by the logic of capital, cheats people with the disguise of happiness, confuses the differences between reality and art, and grabs people’s ability to purchase initiatively a more valuable life. And the media, which also rely on the logic of capital, work deeper to let the monotonous mass culture permeate everywhere. In this happy illusion, people accept this culture under the influence of the voice tube of the capitalist ideology. In turn, this culture industry and communication hegemony would directly influence and control people’s behavior model, thus making them gradually get used to the mass culture, loss their judgment and are pretty deep into it. Habermas also holds the opinion that the vulgarization of the culture product is in accordance with the pursuit of enormous market profits; media like television, movie and broadcasting make the “public area” which could not even be compared to the earlier salon become feudalized again.

On the one hand, in the mesh transmission system of cross-culture, and cross-space and time, the globalized mass culture has realized the control of ideology from both macro and micro perspectives. Accordingly, various media and media structures have built the hegemony of the communication mechanism and system and realized the ability of cycling and reproduction. Though these deep characterizations of the logic of capital do not possess the construction function, they actually constructed a “cage” to make the audience, readers and participants become the passive “domesticators” who have lost their subjectivity. The critical practice towards the media forms the most important basis of the media theory. On the other hand, according to modern social psychology, there might be differences between the receivers’ perception of information and the motives of the information producers, and perhaps, the single cybernetics of the Frankfurt School is not the truth. Scholars such as Philip Schlesinger believe that the audience and readers possess the ability to self-judge, estimate and illustrate in the course of participation, since the media and the mass culture broadcast are a kind of open and participative culture. Moreover, the openness of the text turns the media to be the game space of the ideology control mechanism and the emergence of the individual consciousness. The “guerrillas type behavior” illustrated by John Hicks also holds the idea that the participant could play the role of a “resistant”. To be relevant, in the artistic theory studies, Susan Sontag believes that the attention of illustration often leads to the neglect of the perception and feeling of the artistic works.

Therefore, although the media and the mass culture are one-way mandatory, they could still form a kind of debating space. And the relevant artistic creation can on the one hand build macro and direct reflective discourse, and on the other hand emphasize the subjectivity and activeness of the receiver from the micro perspective. By using a camera to copy the books read and interested, Feng Zhengquan keeps the photos intact in his paintings. Starting from “tampering with the news”, Wu Yiqiang “recreates” the big photos in the newspapers and reconstructs “new” image narrative based on personal experience and knowledge structure. Thus the relationship between this new creation and the textual content becomes obscure.

The media is the material carrier and communication tool of information. The behavior such as “reading newspapers” and “watching TV programs” does not refer to “read” or “watch” the media or the information carrier itself. In other words, the object of reading and watching is “information” instead of “media”. As a scholar in communication, different from his earlier peers pay more attention to the difference between the information and content in communication, McLuhan focuses more on the media itself and the relevant technical topics and proposed that “media is information”, the view of which believes that media is the extension of human body; different media correspond with different communication contents; and the change of the medium will change the life and life style of the human society. Meanwhile, it also holds that one kind of medium is the content of another. For instance, language is the content of character; character is the content of printing; and printing is the content of telegram. In her series of paintings “China Impression”, Chen Xi mixes various media, communication content and personal memory together: program is the content of television; television is the content of the painting; and painting itself is a kind of medium. Different from those who focus on “content” and “information”, artist Xue Tao pays more attention to the material he uses—the “newspaper” itself. He makes up the newspapers to be ropes, chairs or rooms. But most of the time, they are twisted to be a pile of shapeless “things”. The newspapers in the time of the Return of Hong Kong form a “pile” of yellow and red things; while those in the time of Wenchuan Earthquake, a pile of darkness. Thus, the media itself becomes information. The author could acquire information straight away visually even without reading its content.

As was illustrated above, the artistic creation is a kind of medium to carry various kinds of information and becomes the content broadcast by other media. However, many artists, instead of following the description and conclusion of this theory, directly regard “communication”, its behavior and process as the artistic work or a part of it. For example, in 1997, Yan Lei and Hong Hao mailed their “Anonymous Information” fabricated according to Cassell Literature Exhibition invitation; in 2004, Yang Zhenzhong, Xu Zhen, Jin Feng, Tang Maohong and Huang Kui launched “62761232 Express Exhibition”; Wang Yiqiong created and produced “Virtual SMS News” which was between art and daily behavior. The problems and motives aimed by them are not absolutely about “communication” and “media” itself, but they could not be finished without making use of communication. The series of works “mail art” created by Huang Yan in the middle and late 1990 deliberately used the way of communication to think about the behavior of “communication” itself. With the development of technology and communication techniques, new media including personal computer and internet are taken into the creation of the modern artist. In these new works, the new media art which also considers itself as the theme of creation and thinking object, are poised for a big jump. By making use of various media and communication and self-reflecting, these artistic works are undoubtedly the best practice from the perspective of media critical theory.

 

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