Interview for No One River Flows exhibition

Q: Ron Hanson (WHITE FUNGUS)

A: Kuo-Wei LIN

Q: You are producing a “walking sculpture” for this exhibition which will involve several people who don’t necessarily have any artistic training or skills. How does this notion of “social sculpture” differ from traditional sculpture? How much control do you expect to have over your materials?

A: Walking is one of the fundamental self-controlled human activities; there is a need, a desire or a goal which bring us to walk in and out of a space. According to “Asphalt bokeh”, I invite people to experience rolling an asphalt coating sphere in street. It’s similar to driving a vehicle; when you are on the road, the street circumstance demands huge concentration and you are forced to react at any instant; you need to draw attention on collective’s harmony and personal walking rhythm. In this work, I’m not only seeking the social sculpture aspect but a “détournement” to address passer-by, to use asphalt as a paradox or camouflage on the street. People lead it to an unknown “parkour” and taking over the risk.

Q: In your work you often attempt to locate the ex- traordinary in the ordinary or seemingly mundane. Walking is something we do everyday, obviously, unless we are unable to walk, and it is an activity we can easily pass little thought to. Why have you chosen to focus on this particular activity for your work?

A: To distinguish the extraordinary from ordinary routine is part of my art practice, to find out all the critical points in relation to my daily life. I’m attracted by walking rhythm and motorbikes in the rush hours in Taipei. Living in a crowded city can change your human rela- tion as well as the space perception. Michel de Certeau mentioned: “The walker is never fully determined by the plans of organising bodies, taking shortcuts in spite of the strategic grid of the streets.” I found his remark very interesting. I would like to measure those possible inter- sections between “non fully determined zone” and “ways of operating” by observing a process of making art.

Q: You often explore notions of the “public” and “public space” in your art. As a Taiwanese artist, you re-located to Paris in 2000 and resided in Germany and Taiwan afterwards. How has this experience of living abroad and returning to Taiwan influenced your thinking towards this notion of the public sphere?

A: The experience of living aboard has a strong impact to my practice. I feel more a foreigner or an alien both in Germany and Taiwan. I’m familiar with but also extremely aware of my surrounding; I accumulate and stratify those experiences to absorb and convert things in ordinary life. Being aboard as a foreigner artist who goes off and comes back to himself is to look from a distance with his own life, and to be able to overlap, juxtapose various living experiences, repositioning in and out of social order.

Concerning my project in Kuandu in public space, I’m interested in the topographical reading of the Kuandu mountains and the coexistence between the artificial and natural. My attempt is not to reduce or simplify the specificity of site, but to configure and interrupt the site (street) with sharable, translatable intervention. There is a knowledge production to reinvestigate with audience. I want to place people into the core of this exercise. Besides, I see there is a give-and-take relationship existing in different public spaces; even in nature, questions of value, economy and time are complex but universal. Artists interact with those issues and lineup an unconventional life mode through art practice; it leads to a distribution of a sensible relationship, to take things and bring them back to the context again.

無河不流,有河必流 展覽訪談

: Ron Hanson (WHITE FUNGUS 白木耳獨立藝術雜誌)

: 林國威

: 你正在為這場展覽製作一件「行走雕塑」, 它將涉及一 些不必然受過藝術訓練或具有藝術技巧的人。這個「社會雕塑」的概念和傳統雕塑有何差異? 你預期對所用的材料 具有多大的控制力?

: 行走是基本的人類自我控制的活動之一; 有著某種需求、欲望或目的, 令人想走進或走出一個空間。在這次作品 柏油散景(Asphalt Bokeh)中,我邀請人們體驗在街上滾動一個表面覆有柏油的球。這類似於開車; 當你在路上, 街道的情況使你必須很專心,你被迫在任何時刻做出反應; 你必須專注於集體的和諧以及自身的行走節奏。在這件作品中,我不僅探求社會雕塑的面向, 而也探求某種『轉向』 (détournement),針對路人,運用柏油作為某種矛盾或街 頭的偽裝。人們帶著球體朝向某個未知的路線, 並負擔其中的風險。

: 在你的創作中,你經常試圖從看似世俗的事物中探求不平凡的東西。行走顯然是我們天天都做的事,除非我們不良於行,而我們可能輕易地對這項活動不假思索。你為何選擇將這項特定的活動作為你的作品焦點?

: 從日常慣例中區分出特殊的事物,這是我的藝術實踐的一部份:找出關於我的日常生活的所有臨界點。在台北的行走節奏和尖峰時段的摩托車很吸引我。住在一個擁擠的城市(台北)會改變你和人的關係以及對空間的感知。米榭爾•狄•塞杜 (Michel de Certeau)曾提到:「行走者從不全然被組織體的規劃所定奪, 他走捷徑, 不顧街道的策略性矩陣」。我覺得他的評論很有趣。我想透過觀察創造藝術的過程,估量「未全然確定的地帶」和「操作方式」之間的那些可能的交集。

: 你經常在藝術中探索「公共」和「公共空間」的概念。 身為台灣藝術家, 你在2000年遷居巴黎之後住在德國和台灣。旅居國外、再返回台灣的經驗如何影響你對公共領域的概念的思考?

: 住在國外的經驗對我的藝術實踐影響深遠。在德國和台灣,我都覺得自己更像是外來人或異類。我對於我的週遭環境感覺既熟悉又充滿自覺; 我累積那些經驗,並將它們分出層次, 以吸收和轉化日常生活的事物。在國外、身為外國藝術家, 離開又回到自身, 這是從和自身生命的一段距離之外來觀看, 並能交疊、並置各種生活經驗,在社會秩序之內和之外重新定位。

關於我在關渡的公共空間計劃, 我感興趣的是關渡山區的地誌式解讀, 以及人工和自然的共存。我試圖不去減低或簡化地點的特性,而是藉由可以共享、轉譯的介入來安排和阻礙地點 (街道)。其中有著某種知識生產, 要和觀眾一起重新審視。我想將人置於這番存在的核心。此外,我從中看到存在於不同公共空間的某種供應和獲取的關係; 甚至在自然界, 那些價值、經濟和時間的問題都很複雜,但這在任何地方皆然。藝術家和那些議題互動,並透過藝術實踐來鋪排一種不合常規的生活模式;這造成對某種感性關係的傳送,從環境中取出東西、再置回其中。

“ Asphalt Bokeh “

2013 Mixed media, Ø 180 cm

Supported by The Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs, Grants for the arts.