评论|冯晨个展

文/丁博

冯晨,“冯晨个展”展览现场,2017.

冯晨,“冯晨个展”展览现场,2017.

冯晨在胶囊上海个展中的核心部分是一组各自独立又相互关联的录像装置作品:它们分布于画廊的不同房间,看似各自为政,但却保持着某种完美的同步。这组作品源自冯晨对声音与图像之间关系的反思。在这种反思与回应的中心处,一个暂且可被称作“自然主义”的观点认为,声音和图像的初始关系是自然和谐的,因为世界是和谐的,它们只是在媒介的再现中发生了变形或者缺失——这是一种“技术之罪”;而另一种观点则认为,世界本身就是一种“再现”,声音与图像之间并不存在稳固的关系,我们通过感知获得对于世界的某种“猜测”和“模拟”。冯晨显然对后者更加感兴趣。

如果录像不仅是一种记录,录像创作也不仅是对素材的拍摄和剪辑,那么更重要的是去创造一种生产声音与图像关系的机制。以此次展览中的一件场地特定的作品《光的背面》为例,整个作品的创造过程实际上也是一个规则设定的过程,借以解剖录像中视觉听觉之间的同步,再通过作品将之重新连接:艺术家先是利用声音控制镜头焦距的改变来进行拍摄,再为拍摄下来的影像配上新的声音,最后借新生成的声音控制房间内百叶窗的开合(其本身也发出新的声音),造成室内光线的变化。

声音控制运动,再由运动产生图像,然后借图像引发声音。在“运动-声音-运动-图像-运动-声音-运动-图像”这样的循环中,信息在不同的时空和媒介中不断进行着转化,并最终呈现为一段看似平平无奇的视听片段。除此之外,在作品的呈现方面,同一件作品被安排到了空间里不同位置上的屏幕,而同一块屏幕则依次循环播放着多件作品。随着观看的脚步,头戴无线耳机的观众会在空间的不同位置听到特定的声音。人们很难分辨他们所经历的哪些部分是被修改过的,也很难判断不同部分之间的关系如何。《震颤》中人体皮肤和肌肉不自主的机械颤动、《无题》里镜头的焦距变化、以及房间里不同位置发出的声音,一道构成了另一个世界。而在百叶窗开合的当口,随着室外光线的进入,两个世界融合了——那个虚拟的、想象的、设计的世界通过数据的转译改变了观者正在经历的现实。我们不禁开始怀疑,现实何在?

冯晨,《7本真实存在的魔法书-第二次催眠》,2017,碳纤维,100×90×200cm.

冯晨,《7本真实存在的魔法书-第二次催眠》,2017,碳纤维,100×90×200cm.

类似的询问在《7本真实存在的魔法书 - 第二次催眠》里以一种更加直接的方式被提出:图像是否有可能“如实”记录现实?当下被图像捕捉到的现实是如此的不稳固,以致于一旦转换视角,便会产生新的图像并带来新的现实。继续想下去,如果视角无限多,现实是否也会一样拥有无穷可能呢?实际上,“看到”这件事本身也不过是我们对外界信号的一种解读而已,是大脑对从视神经传来的信息组合形成的一种“意义”。从小患有白内障的人,因为缺少了这种组合的能力,即使手术之后,也无法把看到的视觉信息组合成为有意义的影像,而只能看到一大片杂乱的光线。认为我们可以客观的观察并描述世界实际上是一种催眠,让我们相信“眼见为实”,而艺术家利用这一催眠效果对观众进行了“二次催眠”。

如此说来,任何事物在被观察到之前都应该处于不确定的状态,而感知成为一种“测量”,使它们坍缩成为某种确定。在表达、感知和真实三者之间,存在某种微妙的联系和互动。今天,我们都生活在各种各样的图形和声音界面之中,习惯了种种被调制过的感知经验,冯晨的作品提示我们去留意这其中媒介的力量。甚至,我们也许需要重新定义现实与我们的关系。一种被唐纳德·霍夫曼(Donald Hoffman)称为“意识现实主义”的观点告诉我们,我们感知到的世界到底是什么并不重要,重要的是我们对感知到的事物的感受和反应。换句话说,我们对现实的感知其实都是“幻觉”。在我们的经验之外,并不存在一种独立的现实。因此,经验才是存在最核心、最真实的部分,它是现实的终极本质。

(本文原载于《艺术论坛中文网》,转载请联系授权)

English Version

The core of Feng Chen's solo show at Capsule Shanghai is a group of video installations that each stands alone, but also correlates to one another. Placed in different rooms within the gallery, each work seems to be independent, together they maintain a perfect synchronization. This group of works is originated from Feng Chen's reflection on the relationship between sound and image. One central view on such a relationship – let’s call it “naturalism” for the sake of simplicity – suggests that since the world is harmonious, the relationship between sound and image is naturally harmonious; yet both sound and image become distorted or incomplete in their representations through various mediums, thus embodying “the sin of technology”. Another view sees the world itself as a form of representation. There is no stable relationship inherent to sound and image; human beings can only speculate about and simulate the world through cognition. It is quite evident through the exhibition that Feng Cheng is more interested in the latter view.

If video is more than a form of recording, then creating a video piece goes beyond shooting and editing materials, but creates more importantly a mechanism to produce a relationship between sound and image. Let’s take Feng’s The Darker Side of Light, a site-specific work for the solo show as an example. Its creation is in fact also about establishing rules – with the help of the rules, the synchronization of the visual and auditory senses in a video is dissected and then reconnected in the artwork. Using sounds to change the focus of the lens, the artist first shot images, then dubbed them with new sounds; as the final step, he used these new sounds to drive the blinds in the room to flap, again making new sounds and causing light changes.  

Sound controls movement, movement creates images, and images trigger other sounds. In the looping of “movement – sound – movement – image – movement – sound – movement – image”, information constantly undergoes transformation through various time, space and mediums, finally represents itself as a seemingly unremarkable short audio-visual sequence. The same piece of work is shown on several screens placed in different spots in the gallery while one screen plays multiple pieces on loop. Viewer wandering around the gallery and wearing a wireless headset would hear specific sounds depending on where they are. It is almost impossible for them to tell which parts of their experiences have been altered and how each part relates to the others. The involuntary mechanical quivering of human skin and muscles in Convulsion, the ever-changing focus of the camera in Untitled and the noises resounding in the rooms of the gallery – together they form another world. As the blinds flash open, light from outside enters, merging the imagined and designed virtual world as created by a manifold of transformation and translation of data, with the real world as experienced by the viewers. We can’t help but wonder, which one constitutes reality?

A similar question was proposed more directly in the work 7 Real Magic Books – The Second Hypnosis: can images truthfully document reality? Currently, reality, as captured by images, has become so unstable that as soon as perspectives change, new images appear and bring about new realities. If we further pursue this train of thought, would it be conceivable that reality could host endless possibilities since there seems to be an endless array of perspectives? In fact, seeing itself is no more than our interpretation of external signals. It is our brain that combines the all those bits of information transmitted by optic nerves to form a meaning. People born with cataracts are not able to perform such a task. Even after an operation removing their disabling physical condition, they still can’t put incoming visual information into a meaningful image, therefore, they only see lights in disarray. We hypnotize ourselves into believing that we can objectively observe and describe the world, into believing that what we see is real. The artist, however, makes use of this false belief to hypnotize us for a second time.

Consequently, the existence of all things should be deemed as indefinite as long as they are not observed. The human perception serves as a kind of “measurement”, making them collapse into some definite state. Expression, perception and reality bond to and interact with each other in labyrinthine ways. We live these days among varied graphic and audio interfaces and have gotten used to modified experiences, but Feng Chen’s work reminds us to be aware of the power of medium in operation. Perhaps we even need to redefine how we stand with reality. According to what Donald Hoffmann calls as “conscious realism”, what matters is not what the perceived world really is, but how we feel and react to what we have perceived. In other words, all our perceptions of reality are,in the end, “illusions”. There is no independent reality beyond our experience. Therefore, experience is the most essential and authentic part of existence and the ultimate nature of reality.  

(Bruce Ding's Text, translated from the Chinese by Ken Zhao & Zoey Wan and proofread by Eva Zhao, was originally published on Artforum website and Wechat account.)