汪建伟 新作 New Work from Wang Jianwei www.wangjianwei.com

welcome to the desert of the Real 欢迎来到真实的沙漠

Welcome to the desert of the Real 欢迎来到真实的沙漠 from LAB on Vimeo.

a Wang Jianwei's art work and production, multi media theatre piece 汪建伟多媒体剧场作品 2010



September 15th, 2010 9月15日 巴塞尔 卡塞恩剧场 >>>Kaserne, Basel

Wang Jianwei @Kaserne, Basel from LAB on Vimeo.

Wang Jianwei's Q&A after his theatre work "welcome to the desert of the real" in Basel, September 15th, 2010



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就像拉康所言:真理来自于误认。人们努力去摆脱控制的行为,最终成为获取控制权的努力,人们努力去预设自己的命运,最终成为被预设的对象。“俄狄浦斯王”对预言真实的逃避,最终成为预言的牺牲品(真实的杀父娶母的故事)。
Jacque Lacan pointed that the “Truth lies in mistakes”. People are trying to break away from the behavior of control whereas they turned into the efforts of acquiring the power of control, and people are trying to architect and design their own fortunes while ultimately they become the targets of such efforts. “King Oedipus” eluded the truth of prophecy and ultimately he became the victim of the prophecy (The true story of murdering his father Laius and marrying his mother).

《欢迎来到真实的沙漠》仍然延续了如何在众多的关系中发展和建立一个现场的可能性。现场始终处于一种网络状态的关系中,呈现出多种系统并置,间离的叙事结构,展示了一个随着时间变化的矛盾主题。
“Welcome to the desert of the real” still followed the concept of “theatre”, i.e., to develop and build a possibility of a live scene out of the multitudinous relationships. “Welcome to the true desert” will all along keep the human body into a network of relationships, present a live scene with the display of multiple systems that demonstrate a conflicting theme along with process for the change of time.

首先,五个不同身份的人,用不同的方法讲述了五个彼此不同的故事(一个沉默寡言的少年、一个卖烧烤的妇女死在自己的家中、一个中年男人对周遭的冷漠、一个发生在网吧的突发事件、一个骑自行车的人的失控)。与此同时,一个事件正在发生,一个少年随打工的父母从农村来到城市,他努力的去寻找他自己的位置,但唯一给予他真实位置的是虚拟世界,他竭力逃避现实,,必须用虚拟来掌握自己真实的命运,用幻想去对抗恐惧,真实与幻想融为一体,错觉、假定、误认成为行为的依据,最终对真实世界的逃避使虚拟中的谋杀成为真实的事件。
The starting point of “Welcome to the true desert” is based on a true report: a 16 year-old teenager from the rural region of China went to the city with his parents, the city had been regarded as the symbol of his future and he was trying to identify the true position that could lead him to his future, however, only the fictitious world could give him a true position as well as internet games from where he could acquire his freedom. He tried his best he could to retreat from the realities, therefore, he had to rely on the fictitious world to determine his own destiny and he had to use illusions against fears, consequently, the reality and illusions were inosculated as a whole, and misconceptions, presumptions and misunderstandings were regarded as the behavioral foundations and in the end, his retreat from the realities incurred murder in the fictitious world to become a true incident.

我们会发现这个有关少年的事件与五个故事发生了关系,我们必须去猜想,是这个少年在他的电脑中虚构的五个故事?还是他自己真实的生活的反映?那一个更真实?虚构的现实;还是现实被虚构?
It will be found that there is a relation between the juvenile and the five stories, which will force us to suppose that they are five fictional stories written in his laptop or it is a reflection from his life. Which one is closer to the reality? A fictional reality or the reality has been fabricated?

现实被分离,同时被并置,这个过程既展示了我们日常生活的现实,也展示了我们如何去描述这个现实的方法。我们试图用这样一种方法去重新理解我们身处的复杂而不稳定的现实,并通过这种间离化处理,提供一个重叠的空间,一个真实与虚拟、现实与幻想互相缠绕的参照域,一个观众可以使用自身知识与经验去“剪辑”自己的版本,参与并行使自已的判断的现场。
The reality has been separated and concatenate at the same time, the process is showing us the reality from the daily life, and moreover, it is also showing a way of how to describe the realistic approach. We are always trying to follow this way to re-understand our complex and precarious living reality, and more important to offering an overlap space; a winding co-reference field with real and virtual, reality and fantasy; and a scene that the audience can clip their own version by using the knowledge and experience of their own, participate and judge, which is all through this treatment.

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WELCOME TO THE DESERT OF THE REAL 欢迎来到真实的沙漠
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By Slavoj Zizek, 09/15/2001 奇泽克

http://web.mit.edu/cms/reconstructions/interpretations/desertreal.html

The ultimate American paranoiac fantasy is that of an individual living in a small idyllic Californian city, a consumerist paradise, who suddenly starts to suspect that the world he lives in is a fake, a spectacle staged to convince him that he lives in a real world, while all people around him are effectively actors and extras in a gigantic show. The most recent example of this is Peter Weir's The Truman Show (1998), with Jim Carrey playing the small town clerk who gradually discovers the truth that he is the hero of a 24-hours permanent TV show: his hometown is constructed on a gigantic studio set, with cameras following him permanently. Among its predecessors, it is worth mentioning Philip Dick's Time Out of Joint (1959), in which a hero living a modest daily life in a small idyllic Californian city of the late 50s, gradually discovers that the whole town is a fake staged to keep him satisfied... The underlying experience of Time Out of Joint and of The Truman Show is that the late capitalist consumerist Californian paradise is, in its very hyper-reality, in a way IRREAL, substanceless, deprived of the material inertia.

So it is not only that Hollywood stages a semblance of real life deprived of the weight and inertia of materiality - in the late capitalist consumerist society, "real social life" itself somehow acquires the features of a staged fake, with our neighbors behaving in "real" life as stage actors and extras... Again, the ultimate truth of the capitalist utilitarian de-spiritualized universe is the de-materialization of the "real life" itself, its reversal into a spectral show. Among others, Christopher Isherwood gave expression to this unreality of the American daily life, exemplified in the motel room: "American motels are unreal! /.../ they are deliberately designed to be unreal. /.../ The Europeans hate us because we've retired to live inside our advertisements, like hermits going into caves to contemplate." Peter Sloterdijk's notion of the "sphere" is here literally realized, as the gigantic metal sphere that envelopes and isolates the entire city. Years ago, a series of science-fiction films like Zardoz or Logan's Run forecasted today's postmodern predicament by extending this fantasy to the community itself: the isolated group living an aseptic life in a secluded area longs for the experience of the real world of material decay.

The Wachowski brothers' hit Matrix (1999) brought this logic to its climax: the material reality we all experience and see around us is a virtual one, generated and coordinated by a gigantic mega-computer to which we are all attached; when the hero (played by Keanu Reeves) awakens into the "real reality," he sees a desolate landscape littered with burned ruins - what remained of Chicago after a global war. The resistance leader Morpheus utters the ironic greeting: "Welcome to the desert of the real." Was it not something of the similar order that took place in New York on September 11? Its citizens were introduced to the "desert of the real" - to us, corrupted by Hollywood, the landscape and the shots we saw of the collapsing towers could not but remind us of the most breathtaking scenes in the catastrophe big productions. When we hear how the bombings were a totally unexpected shock, how the unimaginable Impossible happened, one should recall the other defining catastrophe from the beginning of the 21th century, that of Titanic: it was also a shock, but the space for it was already prepared in ideological fantasizing, since Titanic was the symbol of the might of the 19th century industrial civilization. Does the same not hold also for these bombings? Not only were the media bombarding us all the time with the talk about the terrorist threat; this threat was also obviously libidinally invested - just recall the series of movies from Escape From New York to Independence Day. The unthinkable which happened was thus the object of fantasy: in a way, America got what it fantasized about, and this was the greatest surprise.

It is precisely now, when we are dealing with the raw Real of a catastrophe, that we should bear in mind the ideological and fantasmatic coordinates which determine its perception. If there is any symbolism in the collapse of the WTC towers, it is not so much the old-fashioned notion of the "center of financial capitalism," but, rather, the notion that the two WTC towers stood for the center of the VIRTUAL capitalism, of financial speculations disconnected from the sphere of material production. The shattering impact of the bombings can only be accounted for only against the background of the borderline which today separates the digitalized First World from the Third World "desert of the Real." It is the awareness that we live in an insulated artificial universe which generates the notion that some ominous agent is threatening us all the time with total destruction.

Is, consequently, Osama Bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the bombings, not the real-life counterpart of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the master-criminal in most of the James Bond films, involved in the acts of global destruction. What one should recall here is that the only place in Hollywood films where we see the production process in all its intensity is when James Bond penetrates the master-criminal's secret domain and locates there the site of intense labor (distilling and packaging the drugs, constructing a rocket that will destroy New York...). When the master-criminal, after capturing Bond, usually takes him on a tour of his illegal factory, is this not the closest Hollywood comes to the socialist-realist proud presentation of the production in a factory? And the function of Bond's intervention, of course, is to explode in firecracks this site of production, allowing us to return to the daily semblance of our existence in a world with the "disappearing working class." Is it not that, in the exploding WTC towers, this violence directed at the threatening Outside turned back at us? The safe Sphere in which Americans live is experienced as under threat from the Outside of terrorist attackers who are ruthlessly self-sacrificing AND cowards, cunningly intelligent AND primitive barbarians. Whenever we encounter such a purely evil Outside, we should gather the courage to endorse the Hegelian lesson: in this pure Outside, we should recognize the distilled version of our own essence. For the last five centuries, the (relative) prosperity and peace of the "civilized" West was bought by the export of ruthless violence and destruction into the "barbarian" Outside: the long story from the conquest of America to the slaughter in Congo. Cruel and indifferent as it may sound, we should also, now more than ever, bear in mind that the actual effect of these bombings is much more symbolic than real. The U.S. just got the taste of what goes on around the world on a daily basis, from Sarajevo to Grozny, from Rwanda and Congo to Sierra Leone. If one adds to the situation in New York snipers and gang rapes, one gets an idea about what Sarajevo was a decade ago.

It is when we watched on TV screen the two WTC towers collapsing, that it became possible to experience the falsity of the "reality TV shows": even if this shows are "for real," people still act in them - they simply play themselves. The standard disclaimer in a novel ("characters in this text are a fiction, every resemblance with the real life characters is purely contingent") holds also for the participants of the reality soaps: what we see there are fictional characters, even if they play themselves for the real. Of course, the "return to the Real" can be given different twists: Rightist commentators like George Will also immediately proclaimed the end of the American "holiday from history" - the impact of reality shattering the isolated tower of the liberal tolerant attitude and the Cultural Studies focus on textuality. Now, we are forced to strike back, to deal with real enemies in the real world... However, WHOM to strike? Whatever the response, it will never hit the RIGHT target, bringing us full satisfaction. The ridicule of America attacking Afghanistan cannot but strike the eye: if the greatest power in the world will destroy one of the poorest countries in which peasant barely survive on barren hills, will this not be the ultimate case of the impotent acting out?

There is a partial truth in the notion of the "clash of civilizations" attested here - witness the surprise of the average American: "How is it possible that these people have such a disregard for their own lives?" Is not the obverse of this surprise the rather sad fact that we, in the First World countries, find it more and more difficult even to imagine a public or universal Cause for which one would be ready to sacrifice one's life? When, after the bombings, even the Taliban foreign minister said that he can "feel the pain" of the American children, did he not thereby confirm the hegemonic ideological role of this Bill Clinton's trademark phrase? Furthermore, the notion of America as a safe haven, of course, also is a fantasy: when a New Yorker commented on how, after the bombings, one can no longer walk safely on the city's streets, the irony of it was that, well before the bombings, the streets of New York were well-known for the dangers of being attacked or, at least, mugged - if anything, the bombings gave rise to a new sense of solidarity, with the scenes of young African-Americans helping an old Jewish gentlemen to cross the street, scenes unimaginable a couple of days ago.

Now, in the days immediately following the bombings, it is as if we dwell in the unique time between a traumatic event and its symbolic impact - like in those brief moments after we are deeply cut, and before the full extent of the pain strikes us - it is open how the events will be symbolized, what their symbolic efficiency will be, what acts they will be evoked to justify. Even here, in these moments of utmost tension, this link is not automatic but contingent. There are already the first bad omens; the day after the bombing, I got a message from a journal which was just about to publish a longer text of mine on Lenin, telling me that they decided to postpone its publication - they considered inopportune to publish a text on Lenin immediately after the bombing. Does this not point towards the ominous ideological rearticulations which will follow? We don't yet know what consequences in economy, ideology, politics, war, this event will have, but one thing is sure: the U.S., which, till now, perceived itself as an island exempted from this kind of violence, witnessing this kind of things only from the safe distance of the TV screen, is now directly involved. So the alternative is: will Americans decide to fortify further their "sphere," or to risk stepping out of it? Either America will persist in, strengthen even, the attitude of "Why should this happen to us? Things like this don't happen HERE!", leading to more aggressivity towards the threatening Outside, in short: to a paranoiac acting out. Or, America will finally risk stepping through the fantasmatic screen separating it from the Outside World, accepting its arrival into the Real World, making the long-overdued move from "A thing like this should not happen HERE!" to "A thing like this should not happen ANYWHERE!". America's "holiday from history" was a fake: America's peace was bought by the catastrophes going on elsewhere. Therein resides the true lesson of the bombings: the only way to ensure that it will not happen HERE again is to prevent it going on ANYWHERE ELSE.
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