18 May 2006
17 May 2006
15 May 2006
14 May 2006
This is the question a friend posed to me last night during a dinner. Being a simple person with no political sense, I was first stuck and then tongue-tied, scattered some utterly meaningless words in French: "I don't believe in it. Democrarcy - idea - good, in practice - not good. The Division - three powers - good. Election -in practice - not very good. I choose - democracy." What a disasterous political statement! My friends gave me their startled fish-face expressions: popping eyes with a big wide "O" mouth, then melt into a lenient smile. See, here is the exemplar of HK's non-democratic education system! Students are trained not to take and defend their stance but to repeat words from textbook! Before I could realise what I had had said, they jumped to another topic. Les français!
No one has asked me something like this before, not even in the HKAL examination papers. But given that I am in France, where this kind of questions passes from one dinning table to another, and that as a Chinese, I know I am an easy target for this kind of "How you see the future of China?" "How do you think about the pollution / corruption problem in China?" "What's you comment of factory workers / miners situation in China?" "Is the political freedom improving in China?" "Why the Shanghai mayor renounced the "One-child policy"? "Do you know China is consuming 1/4 of the metal resources of the world?" "Do you support the independence of Tibet?" ... ...
Huh.... Suddenly, I become our Madame la Prime Minister in an international press conference. Then I am in panic. Should I quote some 10-digit figures on this and that like Wen Jiabao to convince them and comfort them? Should I frown and slap on the table to give disapproval for the "misdeeds" of my country like Zu Longji in order to win their sympathy? or should I just shrug my shoulders and tell them I am not from the Mainlands but HK? (this will probably be followed by questions such as "Is there any big change after 1997?" "Why people go to street on 1/7?" "Is HK or Shanghai a better city?" "Why the government cleared the Aberdeen boat peoples?" This is the worst answer then!), or should I simply pretend that I speak "No French!"
So last night, before I went to bed, I asked myself once again, seriously, "Do you believe in democracy?"
Let's now flashback to the dinner table in a Buffalo restaurant opposite Moulin Rouge in the 18eme of Paris. Action! and here comes the script:
"Well, (with a frown) I don't believe in Democracy (yes, be consistent, keep my line here, please!). What's Democracy? (yes, a good anti-question, that makes me sound a scholar!) It's a beautiful concept that people dream to share an approximately equal power among them, that they enjoy freedom and liberty, embracing the "rights & obligation" equation. On ideological level, it's beautiful, but everything is beautiful before they are put into test. Communism is the utopia, Republica is the ideal (oh, please don't ask me what Plato has exactly said of his Republic). But they fail in execution since they all requires a sublime human nature. Power is corruptive (who says this? I can't remember), I don't believe in Democracy because I don't believe in power (is this the only statement I am making here?). We live in a society considered democratic and we believe that we are better than the other, but do we really are? Look, we go to supermarket, we take a trolley and we are free to choose whatever we want. We are given choices, this is a selection process. Like here, we have the menu, we can choose our own combination of food, so we think we enjoy greater freedom and democracy here compared to the canteens where choices are almost non-existing. But is this steak with french fries really the food that you wanted to eat tonight? This is false Democracy (who says this?). Look at the recent farces of presidential elections in the US, in Taiwan, in France. Isn't the system of election becoming absurd? Does “democracy” exist in these elections? Do they really represent the people when they won by 52% to 48%?
In Japan, in India and in the Philippines, for example, people’s power won over the presidents, prime ministers. The rule of the country is in a constant state of changing presidents and PMs. Policies announced today are distinated for replacement tomorrow, leaving the countries in chaos. Long-term social reforms are aborted, politicians shout for votes not for deed. In the West, women are mute, void of political bargaining power.
In those "dictatorial" states, who can say that the people there won't vote for the same dictator if they are given the right? What people are looking for is a "great leader", no matter in monarchy, in dictatorial states, in democracy, in religion, etc... If people in the US, for example, really believe in their "democratic system", there would be no Superman, no Batman, no Spiderman, no Catwoman....
What I believe firmly is the three divisions of power, legislative, executive and judiciary from Montesquieu (don’t forget to give sweets to the French, cultural pride is definitely their favourite dessert). There is no one single system that’s good. Since we are all subjects to choice not to real freedom, I would still choose democracy.”
So my friends will give me the same startled fish-face looks. After a fabulous speech in French as fluent as in English, you still can’t find my stance, simply because I have no stance in politics. This is just my usual statement of negation of everything.
A piece dedicated to my dinner-mates last night who forced me to think twice.
13 May 2006
11 May 2006
I hated myself of being always 15-min late. This inborn disease has already ruined my youth that from time to time, from occasions to occasions, I made my theatrical appearance at the wrong timing! Surprise and a followed look of dismay! Always being late… my disease… that I ended up empty-handed and empty-hearted at my twenties.
Given that my professeur has rescheduled the class from 9am to 9:30am to accommodate my disease, my turning up in the class at precisely 9:30 + 15 would be a fatal defeat to both him and myself. For he simply doesn't understand that the disease is not a physical syndrome but a psychological miscalculation, which, according to the latest medical discovery, we the "latecomers" are given political-correctness as the "timely impaired". A term derived from "vertically impaired" (for the not-too-tall-ones) and "horizontally impaired" (for the not-too-slim-ones). Since you can't accuse me for being not-too-tall or not-too-slim, you can't equally accuse me for not sharply on time. Anyone befriended with me has to take in my disease, for it is part of the package, included in the deal. And yet I still feel sorry for my professeur and awfully ashamed for myself. Oh, my dear, I wish I have had given up my 15 mins of lingering in the bed for just being on time! Well, I do really hope so at this moment.
So, the beautiful sunshine illuminated me at this important second to make a clever and wonderful decision: I-am-not-going-to-class-this-morning! Yap… cowardice, it might seem to huh… But for me, it’s one of the glorious acts that make me more parisienne. I would love to go to a café, sitting under the sun, contemplating the passersby, smiling to the handsome French guys while pretending to read the most philosophical book from my bookshelves. But this is not a budget-wise choice. I mean you have to make the most out of a paid coffee. Say, a cappuccino of 5 euro will directly translate into 5 hours of enjoyment in a chic parisien café. Given that I have only two hours, I decide to benefit from the easement gratuit (free) offered by the generous city of Paris. The Opera House is within 3-min walk westward from where I am, and the Palais-Royal is 4-min walk eastward. If I have a picnic sandwich in my bag I would opt for Palais-Royal. But in the early morning I would like to immerse myself in the most cosmopolitan part of the world. So I head westward, amidst the hustles of traffics and passersby, to the Opéra.
To sit gratuitement (for free) in front of the extravagant Opéra, you have to pay your cost. Now, no matter willingly or not, you are part of the mobile scenery for touristique photos. Quite unprepared today, I know my mistake the moment I sit down at the stairs: my sharp rosy cardigan! Wow… a nightmare for any film director to have an extra in sharp rosy cardigan! Helplessly, I put on my sunglasses.
It's an unexpected beautiful sun and I am happy that I have made a wise decision at the "right timing". Oh, thank God, I am finally on the right timing! I love Paris for the reason that it is free. Free in both the senses of "freedom" and "for free", and now I am enjoying both: Freedom for free! Stretching in front of my eyes is the generously wide Avenue de L'Opéra and the spectacular blue sky of Paris! "One thing I can't understand is that why there are always white clouds in the Paris' sky when it's blue" (Quote from C.A.)
I take out my book and start reading. The kid next to me is so cute that I fall for his charm. He has a pair of lovely big blue eyes and two sweet little lips ornamented with chocolate. This little angelic monster keeps proving himself the most athletic bébe in the world by running away from his mother. It's not that he doesn't love his mother but that for this little parisien, everything but his mom in the outside world is seductive. Well after all, you can't marry your mom, can you? He is pretty consistent in his taste that he keeps running in the same direction, taking the right of the Opéra towards the road. Yeah, quite a suicidal act for a bébe of 20 months! His mother shouting "Larry, Stop! Larry, Stop!" in vain. She should have known that for a 20-month bébe who hasn’t yet learnt to speak, words are meaningless to him. They are just sounds of excitements and urgency. "Stop! Larry, Stop!" might just as well be "Hurry! Larry, Hurry!" or "Bravo! Larry, Bravo!" to him. Whether they are encouraging or discouraging shouts, it's difficult to say. For him, in order to be a responsible kid, as all adults are, the only sensible thing to do then is just be happy, so those who love him dearly would be equally happy. He makes his heroic act by continuing his expedition to the wild world of crazy traffics!
He might as well find himself in a jungle for the reason that he's wearing sun cream on his face and neck and that people around him (such as his mom and me) having sunglasses. What's so wrong then that one takes a little adventure of going to the wild when one's in a jungle? He wishes that he had the swiftness and long arms of a monkey so that he can escape his mom’s grasp. It true that every time his mom's big hand arrives neatly on time to grasp him back. Yet, in each run, he manages to explore a bit further into this huge jungle. One time he nearly succeeds in escaping should there not be a Monsieur-passerby who hooks at his back collar with two fingers. Up! He is in the air! Well, finally he secretly enjoys himself being a monkey hanging to a tree!
In a "pirouette en air", he sees his mom rushing exhaustively to him with a relieving and apologetic smile on her face. In one of the most solemn exchanges of salutations and souvenirs, neatly performed in the setting of a Third Republic's opera house, the bébe is back to his mom's arms. Instead of being tied to a tree truck, his mom imprisons him in his mobile jail, fixes firmly the locks of the belt to make him and the world safe.
So there he is, starring at me from his jail, pleading for innocence and international intervention for his injustice. With a seductive angelic smile, he bribes me with his black 2007 model BMW. Bébe fatal! In order to avoid a scandal which will probably end up in another national crisis after the Clear-Stream (though I am not a Taiwanese, being a Chinese is enough to be part of the game), I have to decline his generous offer and come out clean-handed. Desperately, he hides away the BMW for his next potential savior! And his mother drives away his mobile jail, crosses the grand Boulevard Hussmann.
9 May 2006
6 May 2006
聽到「洛杉磯」這三個字，我腦中呈現的是八十年代的電視廣告。那時香港正值經濟豐收期，高檔消費品成為身份象徵。電視上看到的是一個浮華世界，名酒、香煙、跑車、名表…… 印象最深刻的是，洋女人在機場悶悶不樂，洋男人百般遷就，女人改變主意，說要去羅馬，男人亮出一張運通卡，女人笑逐顏開，背景音樂響起︰「All the sunshine in your hands…美國xx，一卡在手，世界通行﹗」不知為甚麼，在我的小腦袋裡，這一切和美國洛杉磯畫上了等號。可能認識洛杉磯的人都會告訴我，這是個美麗的誤會。
與這座城市的第二次「邂逅」，是1994年轟動世界的O.J. Simpson一案。那時我剛好為應付公開試而吃力地啃著莎士比亞的《Othello》，黑人將軍Othello誤信讒言，妒嫉火中燒，最後殺死英俊的白人手下和心愛的白人妻子。幾百年前的故事情節在二十世紀末的洛杉磯上演真人版。黑人球星Simpson懷疑其白人前妻Nicole Brown與當時薄有名氣的荷里活男演員Ronald Goldman有染，有人在愛恨交纒中將兩人殺害。當我讚嘆著莎翁的魔力時，我發現原來這座大家口中的City of Angels並未得到天使的眷顧，在荷里活和迪士尼的夢幻熣燦背後，隱藏的是一個罪惡之城。1997年因« 幕後嫌疑犯 (L.A. Confidential) »一片而認識其原作者James Ellroy。洛杉磯出生的Ellroy寫了一系列關於洛杉磯罪案的文學報告，作品 « My Dark Place » (圖一)便是以其母Jean Ellroy於1958年被姦殺而至今仍無法破解的案件為背景，1994年作者嚐試與當年的偵探再次翻查案件，揭開的舊檔案中，一宗宗的連環姦殺案在這個黑暗之城重演著，令人膽戰心驚。
要數洛杉磯的連環殺手，不可不提由Charles Milles Manson組成的殺人家族 Charles Manson’s Family。這名失意於流行樂壇的癮君子，聲稱於六、七十年代殺害了三十五個無辜的受害者，其中最著名的是導演Roman Polanski (« The Pianist» 2002) 的妻子Sharon Tate。有趣的地方是，Manson 於1970出唱片«Lie : The Love & Terror Cult » (圖二) 來籌錢打官司，其中還收錄了他為Beach Boys寫的« Cease To Exist»一曲。如果我們暫且忘記他的過去，靜聽他的音樂，你會發現一個蠻有才華的人。而Manson及其家族成員，人人能文能「武」，在網路上可找到他們創作的詩、畫和散文、小說等作品。Manson雖終生囚於鐵牢，但他每年收到近六萬封的fans信，無數為他而設的網站，他就是流行文化的Evil Cult，代表對社會的叛離和反擊。對我來說，Manson並不可怕，他只是這個極端城市的最極端化身。在這個urban legend的最佳背景裡，流行文化、 前衛藝術、毒品罪惡各種張力正同時間拉扯著洛杉磯人。美酒香水中夾雜著血的腥味，夢工場的鎂光燈照不及的角落，一具具棄屍正腐爛發臭；陽光從棕櫚樹間折射出洛杉磯人內心深處的不安。
這種不安和社會階層的互相碰撞又在Alison Lurie的小說«The Nowhere City » (圖三) 中表現得最透徹。去年在教授的介紹下閱讀這本書，也是這本書立體地把洛杉磯的都市面貌展現在我眼前，我忍不住要打開google map，十秒間從外太空 “zoom”入洛杉磯，看到了，看見洛杉磯了。書的名字充分體現洛杉磯態度︰「不為過去、不為將來，只要here & now」，William Whyte稱之為「當代主義」，Ortega則指為「野蠻主義」。由東岸移居洛杉磯的Paul和妻子Katherine視這座城市為借宿地，哈佛歷史學家Paul受聘為某企業寫歷史，對於一個沒有歷史感的城市，他的稿件最後只有付諸流水。Katherine在UCLA工作時捲入了心理學家Izm及他荷里活小明星妻子的三角關係中，而Paul因碰上在咖啡廳兼職的beatnik畫家Ceci而走進了洛杉磯的另一個世界Venice。六十年代的Venice是beatnik(或稱Beat Generation)作家、詩人、藝術家、爵士樂手和毒品的集散地。這些藝術家過著波希米亞式的生活，把收藏家和畫廊視為糞土，作品只在朋友間展示或相贈，晚上則在爵士樂和毒品中渡過。當時的幾間畫廊，如於1962年為Andy Warhol舉行首次個展的Ferus Gallery，亦只屬半商性質。小說中的beatnik代言人Ceci說，不為錢作畫，情願當侍應，她的前夫Walter Wong (罕有地在外國文學中碰到中國人)是哲學家，屬Venice「對抗文化」的一份子，他則選擇在比華利山為名流們洗窗，順手做點小高買。女詩人Philomene Long曾這樣形容Venice︰「如果美國是一塊大餐布，你拿起一角，搖一搖，食物殘渣都掉到Venice來了」。然而就是從這個最混濁的地方開始，洛杉磯成為了美國第二個文化藝術重鎮。
最近，我的雙眼從巴黎跨越大西洋，再次遇上洛杉磯。我嚐試透過龐畢度中心的大型展覽 «洛杉磯 (1955 – 1985) 一個藝術之都的誕生» 來認識這個城市，最後我發現，原來我以前在書中、電影中、報紙上，以至google map裡「看」到的洛杉磯，正鬼影幢幢地浮現在這350多件作品中。 上世紀五十年代是洛杉磯經濟和文化的起飛期。當紐約藝術家正認真思索著美學、傳統、藝術的意義等大道理時，洛杉磯的藝術家就顯得反規條、不買藝術史的賬。他們自視為世界邊緣藝術，挑不起任何歷史或美學重擔。但在這種真空下，他們的創意更見澎湃，由五十年代的拼貼藝術、六十年代的L. A. Pop、Minimalism、光與空間至七十年代的概念藝術、行為藝術和女權運動等，前衛藝術運動一浪接一浪地從洛杉磯激起，由Venice滾滾直衝向東岸，加州陽光灑滿遍地。洛杉磯好不寂寞。
在洛杉磯藝術界，Ed Ruscha (b. 1937)是最典型的一位Pop art人物，最廣為傳曉的作品有Back of Hollywood (圖四) 和 20th Century Fox。其另一作品The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire (圖五) 是於1965年應博物館開幕之邀而做的作品，畫面鉅細無遺地繪畫出LACMA，左角則出現「火燒後欄」的景象，藝術家幽了LACMA一默，在其開幕上質疑當代美術館的建制和存在價值，在批判社會精英文化的同時，讓人想起了當年在黑人貧民區Watts引發的洛杉磯暴動。六十年代洛杉磯的汽車業、太空工業發展迅速，用於汽車、滑浪板上光滑鮮艷的高科技工業物料亦為藝術家帶來創作靈感，成為了「L.A. Look」(或稱為Finish Fetish)的藝術風格，畫筆的痕跡、畫家的指模全都消失了，取代的是高度工業感的抛光效果，如Billy Al Bengston (圖六) 及Craig Kauffman(圖七 / 左圖)的作品。部份「L.A. Look」藝術家後來專注研究光線和物品的關係，形成了light and space一派，最著名的為Robert Irwin的disc光學折射作品(圖八)。
洛杉磯當代藝術的興起與其多首藝術學院有密切的關係，如最早的Otis、著名的CalArts (California Institute of the Arts)及UCLA等。這幾所藝術學院領導著七十年代的藝術發展，催生了概念藝術、行為藝術及女權藝術等運動。John Baldessari為CalArts的老師，他引介了多位概念藝術家如Douglas Heubler及Michael Asher到學院教授，形成了一股洛杉磯概念風潮。他在錄像作品I am Making Art (1985) (圖九)中，直立在攝影機前十八分鐘，僅以雙手作伸展運動，而口中不斷重複「I am Making Art」。另一較早期作品Teaching a Plant the Alphabet (1972) 是重複為植物及觀眾誦讀字母，I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art (1971) 的三十分鐘錄像中，藝術家一遍又一遍地罰抄著「I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art」。Baldessari的概念藝術將所有創作變得荒誕無稽，同時挑戰我們的「認知」能力。另一邊厢，女權主義者Judy Chicago亦於CalArts引入女權藝術課程及創作，作品The Dinner Party (1974) (圖十、十一) 以四十八尺長的三角形餐桌建構一晚宴，綴以細緻的蝴蝶圖案的瓷器、織布等女性化物品，以傳統歌頌男性的氣魄來宣揚世上39位女權分子的貢獻。
 Beat generation 一詞首先由Jack Kerouac於1948年提出，帶有較為正面的「on the beat」的時代形象。Herb Caen於1958年改為Beatnik，對應1957年冷戰期間前蘇聯製造的第一枚人造衞星「Sputnik 一號」及當時美國反共產主義的McCarthy政治。Beatnik代表一股對抗主流文化的力量，他們鄙視物質生活而注重個人精神修行，六十年代的Pink Floyd及The Beatles的音樂亦帶有beatnik的影子，後來的嬉皮族亦深受它的影響。
Centre Pompidou, Paris & http://en.wikipedia.org
Skyline of L.A.
(圖一) James Ellroy, My Dark Place (New York: Vintage, 1996)
(圖二) Charles Manson, Lie: The Love & Terror Cult $15.98
(圖三) Alison Lurie, The Nowhere City (NY: Owl Books, 1997)
(圖四) Edward Ruscha, Back of Hollywood, 1977 Musée d’art contemporain, Lyon © Edward Ruscha © Photo Blaise Adilon
(圖五) Ed Ruscha, The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire, 1965-1968 Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
(圖六) Billy Al Bengston, Busby, 1963 油料、聚合體及油漆、纖維版 Courtesy Chevron Gallery, Irvin, Californie © Billy Al. Bengston
(圖七) Craig Kauffman, Untitled Wall Relief, 1967, 力克、壓克力及樹脂玻璃, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
(圖八) Robert Irwin, Untitled, 1967-1968 Coll. Centre Pompidou, Mnam © Adagp, Paris 2006 © Ph. Craig Kauffman © 2006 Museum Associates/LACMA John Baldessari, I will not make any more boring art Video, (32:21) 1971
(圖九) John Baldessari, I Am Making Art,1985Video (18:46)
(圖十) Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, (1974 – 79)
(圖十一) The Dinner Party featuring the Ishtar and Kali Placesettings © Judy Chicago - Photo © Donald Woodma
3 May 2006
This equation makes the 10-minute time when you have to shut your ears, or find a place to hide. A cry with a mechanical voice breaking through the air, a sad voice, like a pig's final plead for mercy. And it reminds me of London and Shanghai...
The two badly bombed cities during the wars.
I had never experienced an air raid, yet, every month in Paris, at this hour, I want to find a place to hide.
The first time I heard of this was last November when I was new to this city, and I turned to the girl next to me... "Is this a commemoration of the end of WWI?" I gave her a question mark. Given that this is a girl from the prestigeous Ecole Normale Superieure, I expected something superior relating to this city, to this school and this solemn moment of silence and cry... I was wrong.
This is nothing more than the monthly rehearsal of the Parisien fire alarm system!!
Wo..wo..WO... It continues its mourning... Wo..wo...WO... "now I want a place to hide away, oh, yesterday, came suddenly!"
2 May 2006
山東農業大學文法學院[ 簡體 ]
講師, 李華 徐敬 丁燕燕...
中國傳統文化促進會[ 簡體 ] 趙晨浩、張慧敏、鄒智媛、楊凱、丁燕燕. ....
中山大學學報論叢020522[ 簡體 ]
丁燕燕(1958-),女,助理 研究員. 作者單位：丁燕燕（中山大學校報編輯部,廣東,廣州,510275）.
丁燕燕的詩集--發哥的博客[ 簡體 ]
我的詩(席慕容家族的) 水調歌頭 席作詩 八角亭 二零零六五月六日 瀟灑浦江岸，風流上 海灘。魚龍騰躍，潮起潮落江海間。
保健酒，成功營銷4大步[ 簡體 ]
作者：藍哥智洋國際行銷顧問機構於 斐丁燕燕 ...
中國藝術搜索[ 簡體 ]
丁燕燕(整理). ( 21/11/05 ). 沒有梭角的戲劇準度. 鄧正健. IATC即時評論( 19/11/05 )....
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姓名. 身份證號. 准考證, 041100036. 姓名, 丁燕燕. 所在單位, 盲人學校. 身份證號, 370602630612104. 職業(工種), 按摩師. 級別, 三級. 理論成績,
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表演團體：日本杯杯線樂團 演出日期：30.7-1.8 評論人：丁燕燕、草木...
柏斯的小天地Paksze Wonderland - paksze - Yahoo! BLOG
29 + 1 ︰這是一個責任問題文︰丁燕燕(旅居法國，藝術文化人)《 詳文 》 ...
丁燕燕. 日期：. 2005/4/5 下午11:18:25. 內容：. 現就貴團於五月到美國作「慾望城國」巡迴演出一事 ...
男士內衣[ 簡體 ]
晉江宏藝鞋業公司. 主營:運動鞋,休閒鞋. 丁燕燕. 86 0595 138507 ...
自我 google，你試過未？最慘烈的結果，就是如我這樣，goo 了一大渣別人出來﹗
1 May 2006
沒有準備下看了一個忘記要看的展覽 -- 「我們的故事 notre histoire」法國當代藝術展，包括王度和林明泓 (Michael Lin)兩位華人藝術家的作品。在一位法國藝術家 Laurent Grasso的錄像作品《 Radio Ghost 》中，我意外地遇上了香港，33分鐘﹗但它是一個我重未見過的香港，一個有天空的香港。這個錄像是 Grasso 乘坐直昇機，在香港上空盤旋，拍攝如密集積木的石屎森林。但radio播放的不是香港的介紹，而是數位香港朋友以英文形容他們的「鬼夢」或「靈異」經驗。