wmce6 2018.08.24 |黎肖嫻談粵語電影通俗劇的操作和吳子昆的媒體分解遊戲 | notes by Linda Lai on melodrama’s nature and Kwan Ng’s treatment

解說「象裡有象:通電造影」 之《全情定位漂浮系統》(2018年9月1日開幕)| The other introduction of Ng Tsz-kwan’s [G]Local Empathy System (opening 1 September 2018) at “Cinema Expanding: Visualizing the Unseen,” WMC_e6…

I once watched six Cantonese HK oldies from the early 1960s back to back and found myself wandering in a gigantic mansion with many doors between rooms. I wasn’t really lost, but I felt the house growing in size and volume; the more I walked (watched), the stronger my drive was to look at the house from outside, and better still from a high angle. Utterances repeat, bouncing off the walls of empty rooms, swirling into echoes that swell in the house’s atmosphere:

“How dare you… I’m sorry…” “How dare you… I’m sorry…”
“Never would have imagined you…”
“You heartless, shameless…”
“You have wronged me. You have mistaken me…”
“I owe you so much…”
“I’ve taken the wrong path.”
“I’m so sorry I can’t return your grace.”

And there is a lot of waiting. Waiting for… An hour. A few days. A few months, a whole lifetime. A matter of life and death. Suffering

“The rule of cheating and betrayal, misunderstanding and being misunderstood… holds all details together in a huge machinery of tricks and traps.” [1] The narrative process is populated with a trap door series opening to roller-coaster rides with “alternating swings of moral exaltation and pulsating pleasures of evil conspiracy, commanding a highly visceral experience.” [2]

A Cantonese film writer (from the 1960s) once said in an interview, qualifying film melodrama’s power on the viewers:

… I did manage to ‘hook’ them to my stories to make them want more. I would set up an almost impossible situation without  obvious solutions. 

What if we take away the interpersonal tug of war and just keep the single moment of affect? What if we remove all the lubricants, conjunctives and conjunctures we impose between scenes and postures? What is remaining?

The film melodrama installed in [G]Local Empathy System is also like a machine with a series of trap doors: they wait for you, you come close and fall or slip or bounce back in shock, like reading Alice in the Wonderland for the first time… Big and small. Far away so close. Up and down and siding off around. It is an arche-narrative with emotional overflow. Something seems to have happened, but nothing really happens.

[G]Locating Empathy System cuts through the many aspects of story-telling and story reception… It foregrounds the “pleasurable constructedness that displays itself, with an effect after Brechtian distanciation.” [3]

Each character is also his own multiples; each face the seed for stock, categorized emotions

How many movies are you watching all at once? This question marks the basic curiosity required to understand Ng’s installation as generative art. The search of the stories quoted in the show gradually becomes the shock encounter of framed emotions, which is also the artist Ng Tsz-kwan’s meta-narrative of moral shorthand of HK’s popular culture in the past.

Notes:

[1][2][3] Quotes from essay by Linda Lai (2005): “Between ‘I’ and ‘You’: an Architextual Construction of Li Wo’s Broadcast Drama as Film Adaptation.” in The Hong Kong -Guangdong Film Connection (Hong Kong Film Archive), pp. 184-201. Lai’s essay is the origin of her various single-channel videos and programmed projection normally known as the Door Games series. []

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起步:機關重重通俗劇

一個人在中午閒散的心情下連看了六部港產六十年大代粵語倫理通俗劇,像在一個不斷膨脹的大房子裡遊走,轉角有門,房間開不盡。一不留神踩進洞裡,「像在一把層層遞退往下探的階梯上一步一步的爬,風景越來越黑,相戀的情侶要暫別、惡大嫂逼婚、女子將要下嫁的垂死男子原來是愛人的長兄、下轎入門的一刻新郎氣絕、惡家姑以婦道為名強迫發毒誓不再見小叔、刻薄的寡婦生涯是挑粗重家務、逃跑、愛人發瘋、給找回來、逃跑、被騙被出賣、再一次被抓回來、被收禁、再一次被迫發毒誓、再逃跑、投江、愛人再度發瘋、再度給找回來……」

編故事的人步步催迫,導演也絕對不浪費時間。片子就像一部充滿暗門的龐大人情機器,滿佈機關,門一開,掉進去,最不可能的災難都會發生,千鈞一髮之際,最不可收拾的災難又都能瞬即化解。

一位1960年代的粵語片創作人曾這樣解說他的通俗劇技巧如何拉著觀眾:

…並不是我替他們[聽眾]打了嗎啡,而是我「鉤」著他們,令到他們一定想繼續聽。我會打一個幾乎沒有辦法解的結……

偌大的說書房子裡,空洞卻回音滿灌,是重重複複的申訴:展開的,是負心人的網路。網絡蔓延,是通俗情理的衍生式文法。

「想不到你……」
「想不到你…無情無義,下流無恥……」
「你冤枉了我……」
「要多久才回來?」
「辜負了你…」
「走錯了路…」
「不能報答你了……」
「為何你不早點告訴我?怪不得你說我不瞭解你。十年來,我一直不知道你有一個女兒。」
「哦!你那麼快就後悔啦。我看錯了你!……你走吧!」

等,再等……六部電影連著看,最令我驚歎不已的,是那些特愛「等待」的劇中人,他們所表徵的那些以等待標誌一生的活人,那個懂得、也甘心去等待的年代……

這些片子中的經常用語及情感語法模式可看成為一個可被再創造的資料庫。這個資料庫所呈現的,是以語言形式存在的文化思考、道德行為的標準與指向。電影於社會文化的關係,可從這個面向去開始辨說。

佈陣:通俗情理化開,通俗姿態的網絡蔓延

連看六部舊片的經驗速成了我的「通俗劇的大集成」的觀察。我想吳子昆的《全情定位漂浮系統》就是這樣的戲劇姿態的網絡的蔓延,通俗情理的衍生式文法。吳在展場擺設了一個路路不同的陣,又或說是崎嶇迂迴的遊走路徑,「重演」街頭巷尾大小屏幕撞臉蓋天的情境的同時,特顯通俗劇電影的哭笑怒罵如何也變成可循環和大量複製的商品。然而大小不一的屏幕以及屏幕與觀者之間的距離,構成撞擊高於和諧的觀賞旅程。觀者或拾得似曾相識的戲劇情感碎片;這兒一大片,那兒一小塊,像召喚訪者,又像把他們排拒於丈外。「膨脹電影」的活化作用,其基調在於播放媒體的物質條件在展場空間裡的調度,而觀者,就不能再被動的接收。

到訪《全情定位漂浮系統》的朋友們,花多少時間去瀏覽這個屏幕佈陣可按個人喜好。同一時候看了幾部電影?這就是踏進衍生藝術 (generative art) 的領域的最基本的好奇。本地過往的潮流文化中的倫理邏輯的速寫,引向數碼時代影像泛濫的指點。

註腳:

本文部分撮寫作者2005年的文章:黎肖嫻(2005),「李我/你、我:故事體外裏縱橫的眾聲喧鬧」,《粵港電影因緣》,黃愛玲編,香港電影資料館,184-201頁。該文章完成後,衍生了黎一連串的單窗錄像和膨脹電影創作