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思瑟*桃勒丝

2015-1-27 16:38| 发布者: 墙报| 查看: 2455| 评论: 0|来自: 艺术时代

本文发表在《艺术时代》杂志第39期

思瑟*桃勒丝

INTERVIEW
Li Zhenhua * Sissel Tolaas
Li Zhenhua= LZH
Sissel Tolaas= ST

LZH: Since I believe people have no idea about your work in China, I will ask you some basic questions. How would you describe yourself? As an artist?

ST: I call myself a professional ‘in-between-er’, because the sense of smell is universal and there is a world full of smells, and there’s a whole world to teach how to smell. Since I work all over the place, it’s hard to limit it to just… one… you know, niche, or a small niche category like art or creativity….all the other things I do are as important as what I do in a creative context– so my most preferred professional title would be, a professional in-betweener.

LZH: That’s cool, because you work a lot on yourself, on your own sense of smell; and you also work on other peoples’ sense of fear. So what do you think of this? I mean, as an artist, in a way you go in one direction - into the direction of discovering yourself - but in other ways you go another direction…

ST: I don't see myself as an artist, to get back to where we started, but rather as a curious human being. As long as there’re footsteps on the moon, the sky isn’t the limit for curiosity.

One of my main projects has been to look into smell molecules at all levels: in relation to the human body; and, on a much bigger scale, in cities, like a microcosm of humanity, you know. And the whole oeuvre of my research on the human body started off with myself, asking “who am I beyond the way I look?”

I have a smell ID as unique as my finger-prints, so why don’t I know about it? Why don’t I appreciate it? And, what if I started to use that as my kind of image to the world? You know, instead of sending out appearances of visual images.

So I started to collect my own smell, with the help of advanced technology, and then break down my smell ID to several molecules - as much as I could with the tools I had at my disposal.

And with that result, the outcome of that analysis, I reproduced my own body smell with the help of chemical components… As you know I have a laboratory containing some 3000 chemical compo-nents, with which I try to reproduce the smells that surround me, smells that are out there in the world I'm participating in.

And then the second part of that body project, the “body smell-scape” project, was that I got commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004-6 to investigate the sense capacities of new technology. In my work, as you know, the technology is not so much in the result, but rather in the process: the way I work, the way I obtain my smells, the way I reproduce my smell, is where high-tech is important. Nevertheless, the way I presents the results of my work is also pretty advanced technology - but it’s not technology in our usual definition. It’s like invisible technology… the technology I used to put replicated sweat on to was very complicated, for example.

Anyway, the MIT project was interested in seeing if I could smell that people were anxious. And this was during the Bush government, when the whole notion of terrorism was all over the US press, and everybody was anxious and paranoid. Whatever border you crossed, these were the issues. So I worked with 21 men that suffered a serious phobia towards other human beings – there were different reasons, some racial, but all kinds of sophisticated, complicated reasons, etc. These patients were provided by several psychiatrists and psychologists all over the world, from China to California, and from Norway to South Africa.

The reason I chose men in this project was not because of statistical reasons, but simply because men sweat more, and I was keen to get results as quickly as possible, so this project was dedicated more or less to men. So these 21 men wore a device of mine, that collected their body sweat whenever they had an attack of fear. The device would send me the information overnight, which I would analyse and then replicate with chemical components, so in the end you had reproduced sweat from these anxious men.

Then I contained this fluid, re-produced sweat, with the nano-technology called micro-encap-sulation. This allows smell to be packed in nano-units, and I developed a binding substance that allowed me to connect an adhesive to the binder. So I was able to put it onto surfaces, let’s say a wall, or I could print it on paper. In presenting of the fear project, the wall became metaphorical to skin: so you could touch a person’s skin - that is, the wall - and you released the person’s sweat. This is how I used that medium to show my invisible message.

LZH: I think that’s a visible message. You know, a lot of time when we talk about human beings as individuals, we imply their skin color, their wearing a certain kind of dress, their behaviour - but some of these are constructed by society, so it’s not really “you”.

I think it’s very important nowadays that we know that we have particular DNA, and we have particular smells: we have something that’s not transferable and can’t be copied, and I think that’s something very interesting…

ST: I mean, in most parts of the world - I’m not so sure about how it is in China - but in most parts of the world we are born to interact around the place with our hands, and so we communicate our smells to society with perfume ads. The marketing made use of whatever our physiology left behind, and smell is never an issue in terms of everyday conversation. We cover up our body, our smell, and we are covering up every smell in our surroundings: we sanitise, we deodorise, we sterilise everything.. Because we think we protect ourselves like this. But we are reducing so much information, by removing so much information which I think exists in smells. Smell provides you with information that you don’t see, but nevertheless it’s very important information in context.

LZH: If we are too much blended into this multi-layered information, smell, or whatever, by living in society, that also triggers issues, these collective issues today: being involved in that society, and being yourself.

ST: The fact is, the metabolism or the body’s hardware - I call the senses the “software” - they are working independently of all this.

The tricky thing is that some of the processing happens consciously, and some happens unconsciously. In the case of the nose, this process happens unconsciously in most humans, but also… one fact here, which is very, very important, is that the nose knows everything long before the eyes ever start to process. But since these processes happen subconsciously, we're not aware of what the nose is finding out, you know.

In my case, that’s different, be-cause I decided to be conscious when I smell, so I can pro-gram my brain to say: “No,the nose is doing a job and the eyes are relax-ing”, “No, now the nose and eyes are doing the processing, and ears are relaxing.” So I started to use my senses like… like on the computer I use different kinds of software for different purposes. And that is so amazing, it reveals qualities in life I never knew existed.

What it does, is that it brings back the whole playfulness which I think gets lost when we grow up, you know what I mean - this ability to understand the world from the point of view of play, and game, and joy… it has somehow become lost in all the serious issues we are confronted with everyday.

By bringing back the senses to where they’re supposed to be, in the beginning, one gets some amazing qualities back on track, you know.
LZH: You also work with the smell of the kitchen, and the smell of WWI, and the smell of someone’s mouth. For me that’s also very extreme, it’s a very personal kind of experience in the public area, especially when it’s related to culture and art. So what is really being triggered there? People barely see things, but they do smell and react… what kind of reactions do people have when you showcase yourself?

ST: With smell people will react immediately, whereas with images, you go to rendering process in a part of your brain…oh, do I know this? Is this familiar? Have I seen it? Do I like it? Do I not? And then you have the subconscious and you have a kind of emotional attachment.

With smell you im-mediately think something, you are like - oh! Got the touch - be it positive or negative. I took to be free in my research - I might have a Phd in chemistry, at the end of the day I might become a scientist, but, because smell is so much about life, breathing is my topic, I thought “it’s perverse to sit in a white square lab and do all the experiments with mice and rats”.

So, since at the end of the day, what I’m concerned with is humanity and life, I decided to use the creative world as my platform to show my research and to ask my questions. And by doing that, I've gained the freedom of subjectivity. In science, you play as “we” and you have to be objective: you write the paper, you hope somebody publishes your paper, and you go on and on… while in my case, I use myself to ask questions.
Thus, my research is placed in the context of art and design: generally speaking, the “creative world”, the platform of creativity, because nobody asks what I study as long as I deliver. And I have the right to be subjective, and have the right to ask some questions that I would never ask in science. But in this case I ask as Sissel, but not as “we”.

So that’s it, I’ve always been trying things out on myself before I try it out on somebody else.

LZH: Do you consider yourself like - nowa-days a very popular “identity” - an activist?

ST: No, I characterise myself as a sophis-ticated human being…

LZH: So you participate in the society in a very different way?

ST: Yes, I engage in society. I am not an activist at all, I am not a provocateur in terms of the definition of provocation. I’m provoking with my work yes, but that’s not for the purposes of provocation to make …disturbance. It is happening anyway, but that is not the main intention.
LZH: I understand your way is very scientific: you do a lot of research, you go to many places.

ST: The process is the product. The process is the most important part of my work: what you’ll see, what you hear, or what you read about…is just a long journey. My final conclusion is just a micro statement compared to all the materials which are there. So bits and bytes drop here and there, some in the creative world, science world, commercial world…the main research, which has to do with the nose and chemistry,and smell, is endless. It’s like a train that will never stop - you might stop to get petrol or food, but it goes on and on and on…
LZH: Do you consider yourself more …subjectively working or objectively working?

ST: I can only be subjective, and I decided to take that position. Otherwise I would have been a hardcore scientist, and super objective. In the subject of science you are not allowed to be subjective at all: you personally might ask a question, but you have to operate and to augment the research, not only for your own point of looking, but more generally. Yeah - that’s what science is.

Art just has to be subjective, and I need that freedom. Because there're so many unanswered questions, where the is nose is concerned. And I want to answer them by doing, and having that freedom that the creative world provides me with.

LZH: I remember very strongly in, about 2008, when we showed your work, in MUDAC, And I remember that a lot of people got offended immediately, and they were actually people who work in the field of art. So I was quite surprised because I think normally people give each other a kind of space, a kind of understanding, and somehow in the art world, there is no such…“compromise”.

ST: The art world is very stereotypical! Maybe it has changed now…that was 2006, one was in 2008.. it’s a long time ago, the world has become a little more tolerant since then and it goes very quickly. I'm becoming a bit more famous so people know who I am, but, still… I had a big, big project in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, so they invited me to do smell work. They knew my work, and I was happy to participate. I went to Tokyo, and after two days, they started to complain:

“Oh Ms Tolaas, it smells in your room.”

“You must be kidding… you think I came across half the world to produce a work that doesn’t smell when my work really is about smell? Why did you invite me?

“Oh yes, but I think we have to give people masks to enter your room…”

“I’m sorry?”

Yeah, there were all these issues… to make a long story short, I went back to Berlin, and after two weeks, they called me and said: “Ah Ms Tolaas, your room is smelly, it’s still smelly.” I said, “Ok, you call the guy who next to me, he had a big, big screen with thousands and millions of pixels, do you call him to say there’s too much to look at?” and I never heard back from them.

It’s not only about the administration or the curators, it’s also the institutions that are not updated enough for the time they’re operating in. You’re dealing with a lot of old fashioned institutions: “Art is to look at, art is maybe to hear but you have to be silent, you have to have headphones, you should this and that, you shouldn’t touch art” …you know all this conservative stuff!

So if you are so courageous to invite someone like me, at least you have to prepare the institution for what is coming! But most of these insti-tutions in the art world, they are not able to do that, for whatever reason.

LZH: I think that's a very interesting question, the po-int you raised. As I understand, there are a lot of institutions - from my point of view – that are supposed to be standing on a position of neutrality – making a bridge for art and truth to the audience, and bringing points from the audience back to art so that people can find ground for communication. But nowadays there are so many questions and “obligations” from the institutions… they do fulfill a lot but they become censors.

I had a similar experience in England, in 2009, people from the institution thought the art presented was too brutal, too bloody, too much killing… we always have to confront this kind of situation and find our way out. As you said, there’s more tolerance in this, but that triggers the issues in the art system - the system needs to change, but how are we going to change it? I’m also deeply impressed by the way you’re telling me: “Let’s change the world”. Let’s say, “let’s change the system”, but how can we do it?

ST: You have to make your own system. It’s tough to change the existing one, so you make your own - that’s one part of the solution - you know, otherwise it will take too much time or cost too much money – there are enough people around who are willing to do that. In the general art world, it’s so commercial - it’s all about … it’s becoming like the new IT bag. All the other…amazing art and creativity going on, it’s hard to have a chance to survive in that commercial context.

So I mean, it depends what you want to do. If you want to go on with an ambitious project and to put it in huge institutions like museums, it’s always problematic. I think in general, the MoMa is not as important as it has been, but they still use the argument: “Oh we don’t have any money, but you should be happy to be exhibited at MoMA.” That destroyed one of my most important pieces - the smellscape in Berlin, at MoMA, which they had for free. It is devastating, but that’s exactly what’s happening…they are not prepared for the smell.

Some of the audience wanted to smell, and the work fell down and got destroyed. MoMa said “You should be happy to be at MoMa”, I mean, be happy to be destroyed at MoMA?

It’s very often the case. More and more young people started to do their own presentations, their own way of showing their interest and their work, so I don’t see that as a problem. I am not so familiar with how it is in China but I have a feeling that more and more alternate situations are popping up. People you introduced me to - they are much more tolerant and much more creative and curious about how to present what for which kind of purpose, not just for the mainstream… I think it’s changing. I always find a way, somehow it’s strange, and I never really care so much.

LZH: I think it’s important, we can’t just tie ourselves up. We always have to reach the general public and communicate with other people. What you do with the kids? And to bring your work into the context of Olympics…it’s always reaching to and bridging a much broader public.
ST: Also most of all, my works concern children. I mean, generally, people are reactive: like I said before, they react to smell so quickly, and a lot of people to have fun. My experience is, wherever I do workshops with smells, be it for kindergartens, 6-12, or Mercedez CEOs, nobody leaves the lab without a big smile on their face.

The more extreme the smells are, the more fun people have. And that tells it all, having people getting upset about my work is because it’s so direct that sometimes people react immediately. If you get upset about a picture, they can at least leave the room and get reactive on the street. In my case they are reacting immediately, ‘cos smell is so quick. And that, I think, is a favour of smell, getting it out and moving on.

LZH: I think your works… it doesn't matter what kind of smell it is, it could be soap or cheese, but people do share it with their original human taste or sensors.

ST: Yes, it’s touching, and smell is emotional. Also people are really … since smell is so much related to one’s personal history, it reminds you of things: it triggers memory, it triggers the past - and these are qualities, these can be things - in both ways quality - that disturb or make you happy.

When I showed my smell project in Korea, I had very old man who was crying in front of the wall…and my translator told me that last time he smelt human sweat was during the Japanese-Korean war, and he was so touched by the piece. His grandson asked me, “Sissel, could you send my great-grandfather a small bottle of this sweat? He would be very, very happy.” And I did it, and I got this very amazing email back about how much his great-grandfather liked it. You know, these are small moments when you think “mission accomplished”.

Like, in MIT, one woman was passing by the wall, everyday on the way to work. And she was so obsessed by the scent, she was kissing the wall every morning for 3 months.

So sometimes the wall had red lipstick, some times it had violet or pink, and I spoke to her, and she said: “every time I stood in front of this guy (the abstract, invisible wall), he’s calling.” So she got a kind of relationship to this “person”. And you had other people who got disgusted - “oh, this is awful! Body sweat!”

Again, because we have no clue, we don’t have a chance to find out what the smell is. Especially in the US, where “smell” is kind of taboo, and often something to be too aware of. You have to deodorise everything. I mean…since my works are mostly contextual and site-specific, and sometimes some works travel and expand, or they’re displayed differently due to site conditions, it’s very very interesting to see where the work has been found or where I conduct my research. It’s very different if I make a work travel.

LZH: You do your work in a very long time process, what’s your method behind it? And what makes your interest continue with this kind of research?

ST: Since I use scientific models or methodology to find the result, I’m not just sitting around and doing abstract painting, or using metaphorical, abstract smells. So I can’t be sitting around and mixing smells, and saying:“Oh this is the sea…” “This is Berlin..” - that would be easy. I really pay lots of attention to the reality that I am in, and try to go beyond the surface with scientific tools to capture and make an image of the invisible…

I make an image of the invisible, I analyse the invisible, and I reproduce the invisible. That’s a long process, and primarily the long process is because nobody has done it. I need to find possibilities to do this, and find sponsors who would help me to do it. It’s a lot of work to break down smells into thousands of chemical components - I mean, who want to do that for free?

For me it’s very important to do it like that and that’s the way I work. Sometimes a process can take a month, sometimes 2 weeks, sometimes 5 years…and with the city smellscape projects, they always took longer, because the cities were far away and I couldn’t stay there continuously… Also because I’m after smells that are there permanently, and to really assure yourself that it’s “permanent”, you have to visit the smell at different times of the day, different times of the year…it’s not just “grab something and to pretend that this is the case”.

I really try to precise, even from a subjective perspective. Sometime it’s long, sometimes it’s short, all depends. After all these years, I’ve slowly built up some reputation and collaborations, with amazing companies that facilitate me to work quick and efficiently, to get things done in speeds that I was dreaming about 10 years ago. We are doing Istanbul and I have 2.5 months: I’m supposed to find neighbourhoods, smells, in a month.

The company who supports me set up a lab in Tel Aviv, in the Middle East, to facilitate me to do fun-damental research in a very complicated situation. These are qualities, and improvements of my working conditions - which are amazing.

Working in Detroit or Kansas City for 6 years is also down to that: I didn’t have time to go every month, it’s far away, and funding it… I wouldn’t say that to invite Sissel you need 6 years of planning. No, I can do it in a week. .if you have a million I’ll do it in a day, hahaha. I’ll turn the world upside down.

But the problem is…no, not the problem... I’ve been very keen on my life, and I want to contribute a better quality of life for everyone. That’s been the main drive of what I do, and I think about how I can achieve it, make people wake up, challenge people to use their bodies and senses in a different way, a more sophisticated way, or “proper” way. It’s not always related with money.

So I am now starting to see an opportunity to turn some of these amazing research works into commercial applications. To earn some fundamental money, that’s what I’m starting to do and that’s a completely direction for me. And it opens up completely new ways that I will approach my knowledge for different displays, in different institutions and locations, wherever the work is going to be shown.

I’ve worked with several hardwares and softwares, I’ve been making a lot of analog tools and this is fantastic. I never thought I would do it, I thought I was against the commercial world, but now the world is ready, and that’s what I say…I think the time is right now. I never had so much requests in my life as much as I had in last a couple months. It’s cool.

I think we can start to change the world now, get ready to start, start in China.

LZH: We can do that, China is definitely the place for you.

ST: The world is divided, for me it’s not a negative thing. However, in the Western part of that world, including US, people are so spoiled, they just want to consume, and there’s no more showing any passion or enthusiasm towards anything.

Going to China, going to Russia, going to India and going to the Middle East is like a wake-up call for me. People are so curious, and enthusiastic, passionate for what you tell them, it’s amazing, and that makes one wants to do more, contribute more, develop more and be creative. The context you do thinking is so important for your thoughts!

So being in Berlin where creativity is the capital of the city, it becomes alibi of doing nothing.

What do you do? I am creative? I’m working on a project, what does project mean? All these abstract words.. But if you go do Russia, “What you do?” “I am working on changing the world…” and people have ideas and they are doing it!

LZH: Different societies produce different attitudes, and I think a lot that if I continue do intellectual work, I could really produce something very solid.

ST: Absolutely, you need application, as long as you can combine it with some stuff, thoughts out there, your thoughts will also make sense.
LZH: Tell me more about your next action?

ST: Istanbul. Tel Aviv, and I’m doing these analog devices for Austria, I’m doing a project in London on the subject of Home, also another project in New York for the most innovative chemist of the year. I’m going to US for a week to do lots of talks. And I’m also doing a project in Geneva with dancers, in collaboration with Isabelle Luis…all stuff. And I’ll go to China.

LZH: One terrible question for you: how can you pass on your knowledge to younger generations?

ST: That’s easy, give me a situation I’ll transfer everything.

LZH: With your “hardware”?

ST: Not with my hardware: start with my own body.

If a young person comes to me, the first thing you have to go through is what to change in yourself.

LZH: Sissel, how did you start?

ST: I started with myself.

LZH: Where am I now?

ST: I’m working on you. Listen let’s be child again, let’s start to find out what the body can do, where are the censors, how do they work and how can they be absolutely maximal. 

Then, that’s the first step. there’s unlimited possibilities.

LZH: That’s why you teach a lot in univer-sities

ST: For me education is investment to the future. You’ve got to transmit your knowledge for your future purposes, I do a lot of workshops and yeah, that’s it!

LZH:(我假设中国的读者对你的作品还没有太多了解,因此我会从较为基本的问题开始)
简单介绍一下你的身份?

ST:我称自己为一个职业的“中间人”,这个世界充满了各种各样的气味,这个世界也应该教会人如何去闻这些气味。我的工作内容和地点多种多样,非常难以把自己局限在某种小众的艺术或者创意领域里,换句话说,对我来说在其他领域所做的事情跟在艺术领域里做的是同等重要的。因此我最希望当的是一个“中间人”。

LZH:非常有趣,我知道你的大量作品是关于你自己的气味的,你也创作关于他者的恐惧的气味作品。那么作为一个艺术家,你如何看待这种自身的向度,和他人、社会向度之间的关系?

ST:回到我们最开始所说的,我不认为自己是一个艺术家,我是一个“好奇者”。既然月亮上能有了脚印,天空便不再能限制人的好奇。我的主要研究方向是对气味分子的调查,尤其是它们如何联系到人的身体。另一个研究方向则在更广的城市维度,城市就像是“生命”的宏观版本。简单来说,我的作品从我自身出发,探讨的是 “ 除了可见的外表,我还是什么?”

就像我的指纹一样,我的气味也是独一无二的身份标签,但为何我并不知晓?为何我不懂得欣赏?如果我开始用气味来投射这个世界而非视觉图像,会有什么样的结果?

抱着这个念头,通过现代科技支持,我开始采集自己的气味。使用手头能有的科学工具,我尽可能地把我的气味(我的“标签”)分解为分子,并通过这一过程记录我的气味组成,进而用化学成分重新合成了我自己的味道——你知道,我的实验室里有超过3000中化学成分,我使用它们来复制和重现我身边的各种各样的味道,来自这个我们所参与的世界的味道。而这个项目的第二个层面,则是在更广阔的城市维度。我受到麻省理工学院的委任,在2004到2006年之间进行气味图景的工程,来深度调查科技和感官之间的课题。在我的创作中,过程中的科技要远远高于在展示中的科技,比如说,我寻找气味和重现气味的过程中要用到大量的非常复杂、尖端的技术,然而最后的呈现却不是“高科技”的。

在麻省理工的项目中,我希望找到人们紧张焦虑的“气味”。那时候刚好是布什政府执政,偏执和恐怖主义的气氛弥漫在媒体上,也弥漫在美国民众之间。那时候很多老百姓都有焦虑倾向,因此我找到了21个因为种族歧视或其他各式各样原因受到焦虑情绪困扰的男人,让他们参与我的创作。这些人的选择参考了来自加州、中国、挪威和南非的心理医生的推荐意见。

我选择男人参与这个项目的原因并非因为什么数据上的理由,而只是单纯因为男性流汗更多,因此我能获得更为明显的结果。这21名参与者腋下带着一个我的设备,当他们因为紧张、焦虑流汗时,设备会探测到,并返还给我。我通过这个设备来分析他们的汗水气味,并将其分解为化学成分,最后我得到的是男人紧张时汗水味道的复制品。

接下来,我使用一种叫做“微囊化”的纳米技术(将气味分子以微型胶囊方式封装,只有触碰才可释放)对这些液体汗味制品进行封装,把气味封存进纳米单元里。接下来我使用某种粘合剂,使得这个味道能被附加到物体表面上——比如说墙面或者纸张。所以在“恐惧项目”里,墙成为了人类皮肤的隐喻,你触摸一个人的皮肤——在这里时墙壁——这个人的汗水气味便会释放出来。这便是我展现我的隐形讯息的媒介。

LZH:我想这是一个有形的讯息...在很多时候,当我们讨论到人类作为个体时,我们会讨论他的肤色、着装风格、行为习惯,另一个角度来说,你也是由社会所塑造的,因此“你”并不是完全意义上个体的“你”,因此在今天,能够意识到我们有独一无二的DNA、独一无二的味道,一些无法被掩盖或转让、使得我们成为“个体”的特点,是非常重要的。

ST:我认为,在世界上绝大部分地区(我不完全确定中国的情况),我们生来虽与世界交流,但我们却使用香水传达自身的气味。 市场在使用科学的产物,而气味也不再是日常沟通的话题。我们掩盖自己的体味,我们甚至掩盖生活环境里的各种味道,我们使用除臭剂、清洁剂、清新剂……如是等等。我想,或许因为我们认为这是一种掩藏和保护自我的方式,但是除掉了气味,大量不可见却非常重要的信息也随之流逝了。

LZH:嗯, 如果我们过多地融合这些多层次的信息,这也引发了一些当下的集体化现象:你是要做自己呢?还是要充分地介入社会?

ST:事实上是,身体的代谢,或者说作为“硬件”的身体(我把感官称为“软件”)本身的运作是独立于社会的。其中微妙的地方是,有些身体的代谢或感知过程是有意识的,有些却是无意识或者潜意识的。对于嗅觉器官鼻子来说,它的过程是潜意识的——事实是,你的鼻子对世界做出的反应,要远远在你的眼睛之前。但是因为它的工作是在潜意识层面的,我们往往不能直接地意识到。

在我的创作中,这个情况得到了改变,因为我决定要对我的嗅觉产生自主认识,这样我就能给大脑“编程”:“嘿,现在我的眼睛需要休息,让鼻子来工作”,或者说:“哦不,现在是眼睛和鼻子一起工作,耳朵可以放松……” 用这种方式,我像用电脑一样运用我自己的感官,它们就像不同的程序,可以帮我达到不同的目的。这个过程非常的有趣,它揭示了很多我以前都没有留心过的细节。

我想,这个实验让我重新获得了在成长过程中所失去的那种游戏感- 那种通过玩耍、游戏和欢乐来理解世界的视角…它随着我们的成长,随着我们每日面临的严肃生活事务而渐渐流逝在了时光里。而我将这些敏锐的感觉带回来,回到它们与生俱来的位置,让它们重新称为我们感知世界的一个部分。

LZH:你的创作也关于各种各样的其他气味,比如说厨房的味道、一战的味道…在我看来这是非常有意思的,你通过这些项目,是想激发什么呢?在你的作品中,人们很难直观地看见,他们只能闻到,并通过嗅觉做出反应,能否告诉我,你的作品都得到过怎样的反馈?

ST:人们对于气味的反应是非常迅速的,对于图片来说,人们大脑会有一个处理过程:“我知道这是什么吗?我见过它吗?我喜欢或不喜欢它?” 接下来你才会在潜意识层面对图片产生一些情感关联。而对于气味来说,你可能来不及做太多反应,你的身体就会直接反应:“哦!”不论这种反应积极还是消极,它都不存在太长的处理过程。我认为这是一种自由,如果按照原来的职业规划,我可能已经是一个化学博士,最后成为一个科学家,但气味是如此的关乎我们的生活,呼吸是我感兴趣的主题,我觉得坐在一个白盒子一样的实验室里用老鼠们作实验不是我想要的。毕竟,我真正想探究的是关于人和生活的话题,所以我选择用创意行业来作为自己的发声平台,来展示我的研究和我提出的疑问。和科学不同,创意的行业给了我更大的自由。在科学领域,你必须扮演“我们”的角色,必须保持客观中立,你得写论文,还得有人发表你的论文,等等等等...在我的创作中,我代表作为“Sissel”的自我,而非代表“我们”来提出问题。

LZH:你会认为你自己是(这是一个现在流行的“身份”)激进主义者吗?

ST:不,我是一个智慧的人(笑)。

LZH:所以,你用和激进主义者不一样的方式介入社会?

ST:对,我不是“介入”而是“参与”这个社会。

我完全不是一个激进主义者,从激进主义的定义来说,根本不是。我的作品确实带有一定的挑动性,但其出发点并不是为了激进的目的。换句话说,我的作品的性质决定了它会激发社会反应,但“激进主义”本身和我的初衷并不相关。LZH:我认为你的工作方法是很科学的,你会走访很多地方,做大量的研究。

ST:过程即是产物。在我的创作中,过程是最重要的部分。展览本身,或者说最终呈现的成果本身只是一个大故事中的小句子,你看到的、听到的、读到的内容背后,还有大量的信息。一点一滴地积累,可能来自于创意领域、科学领域、抑或商业领域。我的主要研究——关于鼻子和气味化学的研究——是无止尽的。它仿佛是一趟永无终点的列车,它可能会停下来加油、补给,但是旅程会永恒持续。

LZH:你认为你的工作方式是偏主观多一点,还是客观多一点?

ST:我只能是主观的,并且我选择了主观。就像我刚才说的,如果不从事现在的工作,我可能会成为一个绝对客观的科学家。在科学领域里你不会被允许做一个主观的人,即使你提出了一些主观的命题,你的研究、推理和论证过程绝不可能只来自于你个人的视角,而要是客观而普遍的。

艺术则不同,艺术只能是主观的,而我需要这种主观的自由。关于鼻子和气味,有太多尚未被解答的问题,我希望从艺术的视角来探究这些问题的答案。

LZH:我还记得,2008年的时候你在MUDAC(瑞士洛桑)展出过你的作品。我记得当时很多人表现出了抵触情绪,令人惊讶地是,这些人几乎都是艺术领域的工作者。我当时感到非常惊讶,因为常理之下,普通的观众留给作品和人比较大的空间和理解,然而在艺术领域,理解和妥协却少很多。

ST:艺术世界是非常刻板印象的!或许现在有了改观,变得稍微多一些容忍,发展得也很快。当然我也有了一定的名气,所以可能人们知道我的作品因此变得更为容忍。尽管如此,改观却也没想象中那样大,我在东京当代美术馆展览过我的作品,他们邀请我去参展——这代表他们知道我的作品,我也很乐意参与,我去了东京,然而开展两天之后,人们开始向我抱怨:

“托拉斯女士,你的展览空间里闻起来有气味。”

“你一定在开玩笑吧,我的作品就是关于气味的,你们认为我飞了大半个地球过来,会去做一个闻起来没有气味的作品?那你们为何还邀请我参展?”

“啊,是,可是我认为我们应该给进入你展览空间的参观者发放口罩。”

“哈?”

我感到很惊讶,也感慨艺术界这样那样的事情依然时有发生。两周后,我回到了柏林,他们又给我打了电话,说:“托拉斯女士,你的展览空间依然有味道,还是有味道!” 我说:“好的,请给我隔壁展厅的哥们打电话,我记得他参展了一个巨大的荧幕,里面有成千上万个像素,你来找我抱怨我的作品有气味,那你也应该跟他说,他的作品要看的太多了,眼睛负担太大!” 后来,他们再也没有联系过我。这样的事情不是只是管理人员和策展人的问题,归根结底还是因为艺术机构们没有更新自我,来适应他们所存在的时代的现实。我们作为艺术家,在跟不少传统守旧的艺术机构打交道,他们认为艺术是用来观赏的,或许可以用来聆听但必须带上耳机并且保持安静,你应该做这个,做那个,你不应该触摸艺术品...等等等等保守的观念!

所以,如果你有足够的决心来邀请一个像我这样的艺术家,那至少你需要让机构准备好,知道参展作品的现实!但是很多艺术机构并不能做到这一点,不管是因为什么样的原因。

LZH:我认为这是一个非常有趣的问题,从我个人角度来看,艺术机构应当处在一个中立的位置,连接艺术和观众,并且将观众的想法和观点回馈给艺术,从而建立这样一种互通的机制。然而,当下很多艺术机构有太多所谓的“义务”,为了完成这些义务,它们从沟通的支持者变成了审查者。

2009年在英国,我遇到过一起类似的事件,机构邀请艺术家参展,看到展品时却认为它太残忍、有太多杀戮元素…因此作为艺术家,我们经常会遇到类似的情况,并且得从中找到出路。就像你说的,艺术世界有了更多的容忍,但问题依然存在,而这触发的其实不只是艺术机构本身,而是艺术系统的问题——系统需要更新,但是我们如何更新它?我深刻地记得你跟我说过:“让我们来改变世界吧”,试想,如果让我们来改变艺术系统,我们怎么做?

ST:你必须创造出自己的系统-去改变现有的系统你需要付出极大的努力和成本-我认为创造自己的系统未尝不是一种选择。在艺术领域里,太多商业的元素,虽然有很多优秀的艺术和创意在发生,但在这种艺术/商业的语境中生存也并不简单。归根结底还是看你想做什么,如果你很想顺从现有的系统,并以在大美术馆展出为志,你便需要适应很多东西。我个人认为MoMA在今天地位其实远不如前,但是他们还是会使用那一套理论:“哦,我们没有钱,但是你能在MoMA展出,就应该很开心了。”

事实上,MoMA几乎摧毁了我的一个作品,在柏林为他们免费展出时,他们根本就没有对气味做好任何的准备,那次展出的结果简直是灾难性的。MoMA认为,在它们那参展的艺术家应以此为荣——拜托,你们几乎毁了我的作品,还叫我以此为荣?

另一个角度,有越来越多的年轻人开始发掘他们自己的呈现方式,他们自己的展陈系统。我不是特别了解中国,但是我能感到在中国也有越来越多这样的“替代”系统正在雨后春笋般地出现。比如你介绍我认识的那些中国人,他们是如此的有创意、对世界是如此的有好奇心,他们有独到的展现自我的方法,并且拒绝跟随大流。我认为这是艺术系统正在发生改变的讯号。

LZH:我认为这一点非常重要,我们不能自我束缚。我们必须接触到大众,去跟观众交流。我认为在你的创作中,那些针对孩童的工作坊、或者奥运主题的作品,都是在试图链接你的艺术和大众。

ST:我的作品很多时候跟孩童有关。在我的工作坊里,人们对气味的反应被证明是如此迅速,参与者有时是小孩,有时是奔驰的CEO,但共同之处是,他们都度过了一段愉快的时光,离开实验室时脸上挂满笑容。

有趣的是,气味越是极端,人们越是感到快乐。很多人对我的作品感到不适,很大一部分原因是气味是如此直接的元素,人们会本能地产生反应。如果你对一张图片的内容感到不适,你可能会至少等到离开房间,走到街上才产生反应。但是在我的作品中,反应几乎是实时的。

LZH:我认为,在你的作品中,气味本身如何并不是关键,它可以是肥皂味,也可以是乳酪味,重点是人们对这些气味的反应是来自于人体感官的本能感知。

ST:是的,气味是感性的,因此这种反应也是能打动人的。尤其是气味很多时候是跟人的个体记忆有关的,它会激发你的回忆,这些都是有质感的东西-不论是带来烦闷的、还是带来快乐的气味,在情感上都充满了质感。

当我在韩国展出我的气味项目时,有一位百岁老人站在我的气味墙面前痛哭失声,他的曾孙告诉我,他上一次闻到类似的汗水味道是在日韩战争期间,因此这个味道触发了他久远的记忆。那个年轻人后来写信给我说:“Sissel,你能给我的曾祖父寄一瓶展出时使用的汗液气味吗?他一定会非常开心的。” 我寄了给他,后来他回复了很多感谢的邮件。你知道,在艺术创作中,有很多这样让你觉得“任务完成”了的瞬间。

我的气味墙在麻省理工展出时,有一位女士每天上半时都会亲吻其中的一款气味,在展出的3个月期间,她每天都这么做。我后来找到她问起原因,她说:“每次我站在这名男子面前(带有气味的墙仿佛是一个无形、抽象的男子),他都在呼唤我。”因此在三个月的时间里,她和这个“男人”产生了一种非常微妙的情感联系。当然同样的,也有人因为讨厌汗味,感到非常的不适:“天那!太可怕了!这堵墙散发出难闻的汗臭。”

在一堵空白的墙面前,我们没有任何线索来知道它散发出的气味到底是什么。尤其是在美国这样一个大家都掩藏气味的国家。

我的绝大多数创作都是情境化的、跟地理位置息息相关,有时候作品会巡回展出,再根据不同地点的情况进行修改或扩展。对我来说,作品所创作的地点、也就是我做研究的地点和它最后展示结果之间的关系是非常有趣的(就像在除臭剂盛行的美国,展示汗味时公众的反应)。

LZH:你的创作往往需要很长的时间,你的创作方法论是什么呢?又是什么让你持续地对这样的创作保持兴趣呢?

我的创作方法论和模型是基于科学的,我并不会坐在那里做一些抽象的幻想,或者使用隐喻性、抽象的味道。我不会坐在那里,混合各种气味然后说:“哦这是大海”,“这是柏林的气味…”,如果是这样的话,那也太简单了。事实上,我会花大量功夫来研究我所处的现实,并且透过科学工具的表面,来捕捉和重现无形的事物给普通大众。

我绘制无形者、分析无形者、甚至重现和复制无形者,这就是我工作的本质,而这样的工作是漫长的过程,因为没有先例。我需要研究要实现我的目的,有这样的可能性,并且需要寻找愿意支持我做这件工作的人。老实说,做气味分析和分解是巨大的工作量,谁愿意免费来做这些工作?

至于说我的工作周期,有时是一个月,有时是两周,有时却是五年,这完全取决于项目的性质。对于城市气味图景系列,它们往往要花上更长的时间,因为我无法持续性地居住在这些城市,但是为了寻找到“永恒”存在在那里的气味,我必须走访多次,在一天中的不同时间,一年中的不同时间,这个过程绝不是走马观花地逛逛,随便采集一些味道,就说这是这个城市的气息。

尽管我的出发点是主观的,我仍然尽量让过程准确。有时候久一点,有时候又很快。在这几年间,我缓慢建立了一定得名气,也寻找到了靠谱的合作伙伴,这些公司为我提供了迅速而高效率的工作环境,让我能以10年前做梦都想不到的速度进行工作。我现在在伊斯坦布尔做一个2个月的项目。而支持我的公司给我建立了一个在中东的实验室,来支持我做基础的研究工作。这是我在工作条件和环境上非常大的改善,而我也非常高兴。

另一边,在底特律和堪萨斯城的工作则断断续续地持续了六年,因为我没有可能每个月都去,同时资金的支持也不够…种种原因,这并不意味着要让我做项目就得花六年时间,如果我有一百万,我说不定一天就能做出来!哈哈!(笑)

我希望一直关注生活的质感,也希望能将这种质感带给每个人,这就是我做创作的最主要的动力:唤醒人们的感官,让大家用不同的身体感知来体验这个世界。这些驱动跟钱就没什么关系了。现在,我看到越来越多的机会能把我的创作也应用到商业中来,来获取一些非常基本的资金过日子。这对我来说跟艺术创作是完全不同的方向,却也打开了很多我之前没有料想到的机会,商业项目让我从不同的角度切入我的知识,从不同的方式展示作品,介入到不同的机构和环境中去。

我跟各种各样的硬件和软件公司合作,为它们提供各式各样的模拟工具——我从未想过这会成为我工作的一部分,我以为我是彻底反对商业世界的,但现在我感觉这个世界也准备好了,时机到来了。在过去的几个月里,我收到了前所未有之多的邀请。

我想,我们可以开始来改变世界了,我们可以从中国开始。

LZH:当然可以,中国很适合你!

ST:哈哈。我认为这个世界始终是分割的——这并不是一件消极的事。所谓西方的世界,尤其是美国,人们被宠坏了,他们的消费是如此的轻易,以至于他们很少再对事情有极大的热情和投入。

而去到中国、俄罗斯、印度和中东国家的经历,对我来说就像是一个醒钟。这些国家的人们是如此的充满好奇,他们拥有西方人已经流失的那种热情。这种热情让人想做更多、贡献更多、成长更多、变得更有创新。因此,你进行思考的环境对你产生的思想是至关重要的!

而在柏林这个创意是资本的城市,创意有时成为了不做事情的借口。“你是做什么的?”“我是创意界的。”“我在做一个项目”……项目到底是什么?你懂的,大家都用这些抽象的词。然而,如果去俄罗斯,你会发现声称自己在用创意改变世界的人真的在改变世界!

LZH:不同的社会环境会产生不同的态度,我自己也认为,如果我持续性地、不断的投入在知识工作中,最后我将会产出一些真正有价值的东西。

ST:肯定的,你也需要应用,你需要将你的思想和周边的环境、和这个社会的各种思想产生链接和沟通。

LZH:请告诉我你下一步的计划?

ST:我目前做的项目是在土耳其的伊斯坦布尔和以色列特拉维夫,同时也在为奥地利研发一些模拟工具。我之后会为伦敦的一个关于“家”的项目进行工作,也在参与纽约一个关于“年度最具创新化学家”的项目——因此我将会去美国一周,做一些演讲。啊,我之后还会跟日内瓦的一个舞蹈家(Isabelle Luis 伊莎贝拉·路易斯)进行合作,当然,我还要去中国!

LZH:这可能是一个极其糟糕的问题,你怎么将你的知识传递给年轻一代?

ST:那很容易,给我一个环境,我会传递我有的一切。

LZH:用你的“硬件”和“工具”还是?当然不是,我会用我自己作为传递的媒介。

ST:如果一个年轻人来找我,我将带他做的第一件事就是反思自己。

LZH: Sissel,你是怎么开始创作的?

ST:从自己开始?

LZH:我此刻在哪里?

ST:听着,让我们再一次变回小孩,让我们来寻找我们的身体能做什么,我们的感官都在哪里,怎么使用,怎样最大化我们对世界的感觉。

这便是我的第一步,它开启了无数可能。

LZH:这也是为什么你在大学教书了?

ST:是的,老话说教育就是投资未来。你必须把知识传递给下一代。

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