An Encounter with the Landscape in Dreams by Chihiro MINATO

I was treated with abundant, delicious local dishes at a diner in the indigenous village, Pacavalj. The gifts from the mountains and the ocean excited my palette. After returning to where I stayed, I soon felt very relaxed. Looking into the azure sky while lying down, I was overwhelmed with an intense drowsiness. Was it because of the millet wine? In the past, I would have taken my camera and gone out for a walk; but I was unable to resist the heaviness of my eyelids… After an either ten-minute or one-hour nap that felt like I had fallen into the bottom of a well, I seemed to hear someone calling out my name. It was not a whisper next to my ear but loud calls from an outdoor speaker… Why calling my name like this? Was I dreaming? No, it was not a dream. I was supposed to give a talk in the village. This was not the time for a prolonged nap! I got up in a flurry, grabbed my bag and headed out. Though my head was still half-clouded, but I was sure the venue of the talk was only a few minutes away on foot. When I arrived, I did not find an indoor activity hall. Instead, it was a place like a roofed plaza, with colorful stools scattered around in a casual manner. Per the request of the organizer, I started my talk about the topic of art festivals in Japan. During the talk, sometimes the children playing games in the back would accidentally kick their ball over, sometimes a dog would come and sniff my feet; and at one time, a scooter even drove through the audience that was listening to the talk. Was this really the venue of the talk? My sense of reality seemed to be splitting away from the very idea of an international art project and disappearing rapidly.

 

THE SPIRITUAL SOUTH

The Hidden South that I visited twice throughout its duration was a special and unforgettable art project. To be precise, I visited the art project prior to its opening and right before it closed, and I was rather amazed by both its content and scale. The approach of using an entire geographical region to curate an exhibition could be found around the world, including in Japan. However, it was indeed rare to see an art project with such agency given its incorporation of the entire landscape of Taitung, which was embraced by the mountains and the ocean. 

 

Its another achievement was to renounce large facilities like art museums and cleverly use the everyday space where people actually lived in. It is worth mentioning that, for people who visited the art project, these places were temporarily transformed into “classrooms,” where they could learn about different indigenous groups, including the Paiwan, Amis and Rukai peoples, as well as local culture and history. My statement would perhaps bring to mind the currently popular style that makes an emphasis on regional history and culture while associating contemporaneous expressions around the world, connecting the local and the global to produce glocalized value. However, The Hidden South was not steered toward this direction. It is unnecessary to deny that this art project did attract some tourists and produce a certain level of economic benefit. However, this was never the objective of the project. 

 

The art project not only showcased artworks, but also programmed a series of diverse events and activities, in particular, educational ones. It has indeed brought people to discover the local value. I encountered a wide range of vocabularies, lives and materials that I had never known before, but I did not discover the simplistic structure of quickly linking local culture with global contemporary art commonly found in some art projects. This became tangibly clear to me when I saw the mural, entitled Vuvu & Vuvu, which covered the school building of Dawu Junior High School. The black-and-white mural created by Dexter Fernandez seemed to engage Taitung’s people, animals and plants in a metamorphosis, unveiling a grand ritualistic fest, one that invited visitors to enter an inner world of one’s childhood rather than the global, external world. 

 

The Hidden South based the project on Taitung’s customs and landscape, but moved towards a direction opposite of globalization. To create the encounter between people and the forgotten yet existing “South” within everyone, the art project provided several methods to visit the alternative dimension. The artworks, performances and educational events, while achieving a balance between rationality and sensibility, formed a passage or loop leading to the innerscape. What was the art project all about? In this essay, I would like to offer my personal experience to reflect on the art project. 

 

PERCEIVING the DÉPAYSEMENT

The twenty artists participating in the art project were vastly different whether in terms of their background or creative style. The one they had in common, however, would perhaps be the use of “dépaysement.” In art history, dépaysement becomes widely known for surrealism. It denotes the non-everyday arrangement of objects or people to introduce a sense of disparity or a change of atmosphere. In terms of placing a site in an utterly different context, the art project’s information center fit the requirement. When I first saw Dawu’s decommissioned bus terminal, I really had the feeling that it was the center of the art project. Cudjuy Maljugau’s installation work, Ina's Garden of Memory, perfectly transformed this disused building into an art space—a “non-place” that did not evoke memory, nor express any characteristics. Through the furniture made of plants found in Taitung, the space was decisively turned into a “site” that combined nature and living. 

 

Two intriguing works could be found along the Provincial Highway No. 9. Hopping out of the car and looking towards the beach, something seemed to be protruding out of the sand. It was Chiu Chen-Hung’s The Balcony, which looked like a ship buried under the earth leaving only the deck above the ground; it also looked like a massive indigenous house being excavated out of the soil. One could seem to perceive the suspended history of the place. LuxuryLogico is an artist collective known for their media installations of technology. Their work installed on the road where Pacavalj’s rest station was located. It was the sculptural piece, Rebirth, made of concrete and steel taken from architectural ruins created by typhoons. It epitomized the mountain ridge lines of Pacavalj, delineating the elegant natural contour while embodying materiality and the struggling, laboring flesh with dripping sweat. Through the alternation of ordinary places that people would normally ignore, the artistic landscape re-directed our vision towards events that could have taken place in the past.

 

INTO the DIMENSION of DREAMS

Whereas these two works displayed the expression of dépaysement in public space, the project entitled Dream Inspired Millet Wine utilized a private space to show dépaysement. It was in a beauty and wellbeing salon called “Mei Mei” in the indigenous village, Aljungic. This project by artist Huang Po-Chih intended to initiate an exchange of dreams with the salon proprietor. If my understanding was correct, the phenomenon of the artist and the proprietor appearing in each other’s dreams was the essence of the artwork. With dim light, a unique ambiance mixing nostalgia and allure permeated the salon space. Some portraits were hung on the wall. A few bottles on the counter contained millet wine of different colors made of different materials. The female proprietor would pour the millet win into glasses. I did not have much knowledge of the process at the time. It seemed that the millet wine of different colors would induce different dreams. It was until the sunset of that day that I truly grasped the meaning of the work. 

 

It was by the river known as Daniao River. In a corner of the collapsed riverbank was a circular concrete platform. Scanning the QRcode with one’s smartphone, a little black person would appear and start mumbling. This was Wu Sih-Chin’s My Name? I Have a Lot of Names, a media installation created with AR technology. The work was based on the legend of the little black people passed down in the indigenous village. As I tried to listen to the explanation, my eyes shifted away from the phone screen and moved towards the flowing river; and it was at this precise moment that an incredible thing happened. 

 

The sun slipped westward, seemingly hiding into the mountains of Pacavalj. The western sky glistened with orange radiance, bouncing on the river water. The incessantly running river split into two, meandering separately and converging before eventually creating a symbol of “infinity.” Under that magnificent sunset and at that specific moment, I felt something seeped through the depth of my body. Somehow I found the scene, which I was seeing for the first time, extremely familiar. 

It was a landscape that I had repeatedly seen in my dreams for a long time. I looked down on the landscape of the majestic river in the embrace of towering mountains. The sky glistened in the sunset. I looked at this scene, feeling slightly lost even though I knew that I would soon travel to the distant end of this landscape. For me, a person who traveled constantly, I had interpreted the repeated dream as ordinary; however, it was right in front of my eyes at this moment. The shock kept me briefly immobilized by Daniao River. Whether it was because of the millet wine or not, I had been linked with another place through the dimension of dream. 

 

THE POWER of the SPIRITS

I did not immediately think of the last scene on the last day of the exhibition and what it meant. However, because of writing this article for the exhibition catalogue, I revisited the place in my memory and realized some things. My realization was not about the implication of the landscape but the reason why I had the feeling of déjà vu. As I said at the beginning of the article, I first visited the art project on the day before its opening; it was the first time I visited Taitung. The curator Eva Lin was to be blessed in a cleansing ritual, so we headed to bus terminal directly from Dawu Train Station. 

 

Two women who were called shamans performed the cleansing ritual, praying for the smooth progress of the project. The ritual was performed in a simple manner. Although the shamans used a different type of tree leaves, the ritual was not much different from that of Japan. While saying some spell, the chief dabbed Eva’s head and shoulders with beautiful green mulberry leaves before finally throwing the leaves into the air. Even without any explanation, the content of the ritual was quite clear. Most importantly, in my opinion, the ritual was performed in the now empty bus terminal. 

 

This was a place where the paths of travelers on the bus moving on the South-Link Highway intersected; it was a place that had witnessed countless encounters and separations. Dreams of all sorts were probably mentioned here. Those who were traveling to the cities had hopes or disappointments. There were perhaps residuals of memories. In between so many encounters and separations, the place kept the landscape of memory from people starting their journeys and those arriving at the place. Though the bus station seemed empty, it was in fact filled with people’s dreams and memory; it was, in short, a space that evoked people’s memory. 

 

On the last day, I serendipitously witnessed the same cleansing ritual at the same place. This time, the ritual was performed to express gratitude for the successful completion of the art project. The two chiefs again chanted the spell with faint voices, scattering the leaves into the air. Green leaves fell onto the floor of the space once visited by many visitors and travelers during the exhibition.

 

Upon seeing the view, I was wondering: were these leaves not epitomizing the inner landscape of people? Flying in the air were in fact the endless dreams of people traveling between stations in the past and the future. I believed that the landscape by the riverbank in my dream was encapsulated in one of the falling leaves. 

 

In the ancient time, long before human beings appeared, spirits had lent their powers to complete projects on this island. In a similar way, a southbound route, a spiritual south-link highway, was born within me, through which the moment of traveling to the next stop would soon arrive.

 

 

 

與夢中風景的邂逅

 

文 港千尋

 

我在大鳥村的食堂被招待了豐盛美味的鄉土料理。來自山與海的恩惠在舌尖上跳躍著,回到下塌處,不一會兒身體就放鬆了。邊眺望著湛藍青空邊躺臥下,強烈的睡意就此襲來。是喝了小米酒的關係嗎?依照往常這時我應該會手持著相機出去繞繞的,但實在是撐不住沈重的眼皮⋯⋯在不知道究竟是睡了十分鐘還是一個小時那樣彷若墜入井底般的睡夢中,我聽見了自己的名字。不是在耳邊的輕聲呢喃,而是從戶外的廣播器傳來的大聲呼喊⋯⋯為什麼要這樣呼喊我呢?我還在夢裡面嗎?不,這不是夢。對了,下午我要在村落裡進行演說,這可不是睡午覺的時候啊⋯⋯於是我慌慌張張地起身抓了隨身袋走出門。雖然腦袋還未完全清醒,但我確定舉行演說的會場距離下塌處只需要步行幾分鐘。抵達會場一看,那裡並不是一個室內活動廳,而是一個像是廣場一樣的地方,有屋頂,五彩繽紛的凳子隨意四散擺著。我按照被主辦單位邀請演說的內容,開始談起日本的藝術祭,一下子在後方遊戲的孩子們把球踢過來、一下子有狗靠過來腳邊、一下子有摩托車從坐在現場聽演說的聽眾們中間騎過去。會場真的沒搞錯是在這裡嗎⋯⋯我感到我的現實感在所謂國際藝術計畫這樣的語彙中被剝去,迅速地消失殆盡。

 

精神南向

在展期中到訪兩次的「南方以南」是一個特別到令人無法忘懷的藝術計畫。正確來說,我是在這個計畫準備開始的時候以及展期最後一天到訪,無論在內容抑或規模上都接連讓我感到驚訝。包括日本,地理式地使用一整個區域範圍策劃的展覽在世界各地皆有,但就使用被群山與大海給包圍在中間的台東風景整體這個點來看,能動性如此高的計畫並不常見。

 

而就不使用像是美術館一樣的巨型設施,而是巧妙地利用人們生活所營造的日常空間這個點來看也是成功的。值得一提的是,對於參訪這個計畫的人們而言,這些地方就如同暫時變成學習排灣、阿美、魯凱等原住民文化和歷史的「教室」。我這樣寫,或許會讓人覺得這是一種現正流行的風格,主打地域的歷史與文化,並且將同時代的國際性表現給連結起來,結合在地與全球使之產生全球在地化價值。然而,「南方以南」並不是朝這樣的方向。確實有些吸引觀光客以致達成經濟效益的活動,但這個計畫自始至終都不是那樣思考的。

 

不僅僅是展示作品,還包含各式各樣的周邊活動,特別是教育性的節目,這個計畫讓在地價值被發現是事實。我在那裡與許多從未知曉的語彙、生命和物質的形態相遇,然而我並未從中看見那種藉由計畫將其在地文化迅速地連結上全球化當代藝術的簡單結構。當我在大武國中的學校建築上看見壁畫作品《Vuvu & Vuvu》的時候,具體感受到了這件事。戴克斯特所描繪的這幅黑白壁畫,彷彿是把台東的人們、動物和植物變身,展開一場盛大的祭典一樣。這場祭典,與其說是全球性的外部世界,更像是邀請我們進入到童年時期的內部世界。

 

「南方以南」計畫以台東風土為根基表現,卻似乎朝向和全球化截然不同的方向。為了讓大家與自己個人內部那個被遺忘卻仍然存在的「南方」相遇,他們安排了透過幾個異次元的方法。作品、表演與教育節目,在感性與知性之中取得平衡的同時,也使朝向內部風景的通道抑或迴路成形。這究竟是怎麼樣的一回事呢?在這裡我想提及幾個屬於我的個人經驗來思考看看。

 

異境的感覺

參展的20位藝術家無論是出身背景抑或創作風格都各有不同,如果要說他們的共通點,或許就是「異境」的手法。異境(Dépaysement)在藝術史上作為超現實主義的一種手法被廣為人知,意思是將物件或人藉由非日常的配置,導引出違和感或者氛圍的轉換。從將原本的場所再配置進一個迥然不同的脈絡中的這層意味上來看,資訊中心即符合此條件。當我看見已結束營運的大武巴士站的時候,真的覺得這裡彷彿就是藝術計畫的中心點,謝聖華以《Ina的記憶花園》為題所創作的裝置作品,完美地將不美觀的建築物變成藝術空間。不具有記憶也不具有個性的「非.場所」,透過用台東的植物所做成的家具,已然變為結合自然與生活的「場所」。

 

台9線沿線的兩件作品非常有趣。從車上下來向海邊眺望時,可以看見從沙灘上似乎有什麼露出了一角。邱承宏的《陽台》看起來像是一艘被掩埋進大地裡只剩下甲板露出地面的船,也像是正在挖掘一間巨大家屋的樣子,讓人感受到懸置於此的歷史。豪華朗機工是一個因善於利用科技創作媒體裝置而受到矚目的藝術團體,沿著大鳥休息站旁的道路所設置的作品,是用從過去因颱風災害而變成廢墟的建築遺構中所取出的水泥與鋼筋所「再生」而成的雕刻作品。將大鳥的山脈稜線縮小成由鋼筋去描繪出來的型態優美,同時亦能感受到物質與奮鬥的肉身及其汗水。藉由將平時任誰也不會駐足的平凡場所異變,在那個風景中,能讓人將眼光投向過去可能發生的事件。

 

前往夢的次元

以上兩件作品是在公共空間的異境表現,而題為《夢啟酒》的計畫則是將異境表現置放於私人空間裡。那是一個在安朔部落社區中叫做「美美」的養生沙龍。藝術家黃博志的計畫是構築經營此沙龍的女主人與夢境的交流,若我理解的沒有錯的話,自己出現於對方的夢境中這樣的現象即是一種藝術工作。幽暗的沙龍空間中,瀰漫著懷舊與妖嬈混合而成的獨特氛圍,牆壁上掛著肖像。櫃檯上擺放著幾個瓶子,裡面裝的是加入不同原料所釀成的各色小米酒,女主人會將那些小米酒倒入玻璃杯中。這個部分我當時知道的並不多,似乎喝了不同顏色的小米酒,就會做不同的夢。直到當日的黃昏,我才真正理解到這個作品的意義。

 

那是在名為大鳥溪的大溪溪畔。在崩塌的溪岸一角有個用水泥建構的圓形平台。用智慧型手機掃描QRcode之後,便能看見一個小黑人出現,開始說些什麼。這是吳思嶔利用AR技術所創作的媒體裝置作品。名為《名字嗎?我有很多個》的作品,是以這個部落所流傳的小黑人傳說為根基所做。一邊聽著內容,我的目光離開手機屏幕往潺潺溪水望去。就是在那時,發生了不可思議的事情。

 

太陽西斜,彷彿企圖藏匿進大鳥的山稜中。西邊的天空閃爍著橙色光輝,倒映在溪面上。水流發出激烈地聲響川流不息著,分成兩路蛇行蜿蜒相疊,儼然流淌出了一個「無限」的符號。在那個壯麗的黃昏剎那,我感覺到從我的身體深處似乎流出了什麼。我發現我十分熟悉這個我應是初見的光景。

 

那是在很長的一段時間中,我不斷反覆夢見的風景。我低頭俯瞰著宏偉溪川被高聳群山包圍的風景。天空閃耀著。我抱著即便知道自己的旅路必須要朝向這個風景的遠處,卻稍微迷失在此處的心情眺望著。對於有著許多旅行的自己而言,我將其解釋為日常夢境,然而那卻在此刻躍上我的眼前。在大鳥溪畔,我因受到衝擊而暫時動彈不得。先無論是否是因為喝了小米酒,我藉由夢的次元,與他處的迴路有所相接。

 

精靈的力量

我並沒有立刻想到展覽最後一天所出現的最後光景為何。然而因為要書寫這本專書用的稿子,藉由再訪記憶中的那個場所,我明瞭了一些事。並非是明瞭了風景的意涵,而是明瞭了為何如此。如同我開頭所敘,我在這個藝術計畫開始準備的那天,初次到訪台東。因為策展人林怡華要接受淨化儀式,我們從大武車站直接前往巴士站。

 

兩位被稱作頭目的女性,為了祈求計畫能夠順利進行而行使淨化儀式。儀式方法十分簡單,雖然女巫手上的樹葉種類不一樣,但內容和日本並無顯著差別。頭目一邊囁嚅著咒文,一邊用漂亮的綠色桑葉輕觸林怡華的頭與肩,然後將樹葉撒向空中。儀式的內容即使沒有說明也一目瞭然,對我而言最重要的是,這個儀式是在已經不再使用的巴士站中舉行。

 

那裡曾是搭乘巴士移行於南迴公路上的人們往來交集的場所吧。在那裡曾有過無數的邂逅與無數的離別。各式各樣的夢曾經在那裡被提起吧。朝向都市的人有希望也有失望,記憶是有殘留下來的吧。在許多的邂逅與離別之間,有著從此處踏上旅程的人與抵達此處的人的記憶風景。看起來空洞的巴士站,實則充斥著那些人們的夢與記憶,是一個能使人想起的空間。

 

最後一天,偶然地我也在同一個場所見證同一種淨化儀式。這次是為了感謝計畫順利地結束。兩位頭目用著細微的聲音念著咒文,讓樹葉從空中紛紛落下。綠油油的葉子嘩啦嘩啦地撒落在展期中到訪許多觀眾與旅客的空間裡。

 

我看著那樣的光景想著。這一片一片的葉子不就刻畫著存在於人的內在的風景嗎。飄舞四散著的,是往來於車站與車站、過去與未來的人們心中無限的想像。我夢中的溪畔風景,也被摹寫進其中一片葉子當中了吧。

 

早於人類的遠古時代就已經在這個島上來去的精靈們借力完成的計畫,用這樣的方式讓我的內在也彷彿孕生出一條向南的迴路、一條精神性的南迴公路。在那之中,踏上往下一站的旅途的時刻也將到來吧。

 

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本文收錄於《a firetime story》(「南方以南」群記),2021年3月出版。
This article is featued in the book, a firetime story (notes to The Hidden South), published in Mar 2021.
 

Photography Etang Chen
攝影 陳藝堂