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Rockbund art museum – an opera for animals

June 22 @ 8:00 amAugust 25 @ 5:00 pm CST

Para Site Hong Kong- An Opera for Animals

Para Site is delighted to present the large-scale group exhibition, An Opera for Animals, curated by Cosmin Costinas (Executive Director/Curator) and Claire Shea (Deputy Director). Running from 23 March to 9 June 2019, the exhibition is a prelude to Para Site’s partnership with Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai. Between June 22 to August 25, 2019, at Rockbund Art Museum, and September to December 2020 at Para Site, the two institutions will develop and present together with two related exhibitions.

The exhibition looks at the histories and principles of classical opera present in European, Chinese and other traditions, using this high art form to investigate its relationship to lingering colonial traces as well as to the ways in which contemporary society is staged, constructed, and performed. It recognizes a clear overlap between the golden age of Western opera and the maximum extent of the European colonial era, at the end of the 19th century, and tracks the complexities of how the colonial project was being furthered and celebrated through the spectacle of opera.

Perhaps one of the richest art forms, the western term ‘opera’ has been used as the name to describe very different traditions of performance from around the world. An Opera for Animals interprets and reimagines ‘opera’ and these multi-faceted definitions, deconstructing operatic language and its numerous components to discover how these devices shape our contemporary landscape. Several works examine animals as symbols or devices of representation exploring our interrelated histories and how these relationships manifest in our world today.

Modernity, in close connection with the colonial project, also changed the physical, emotional, and symbolic relationship between humans and animals, in drastic contrast to ancient beliefs and indigenous systems of knowledge and value. Today, the animal spirits are more present in our global contemporary culture than it seems, connecting ancient beliefs with the fear of a future colonized by artificial intelligence.

The world of technology also continues to draw influence from the unique characteristics of certain animal species, enforcing this connection. The conflicts of staging, controlling, hiding, and repressing that occur within the operatic space are at the very core of contemporary reality, a world in which we are defined by constructed truths, digital parallel universes and the promise of new technological innovations in artificial intelligence.

The exhibition also seeks to highlight previously overlooked connections between European classical music and other musical systems, and, more extensively, the different acts of staging that have been crucial to the imagination of modernity.

The exhibition explores the way in which the future is now projected less as the rational thinking commonly remembered from previous decades – the advanced machinery, design, and utopian social forms—but once more as a place of fear, of animals that might take over in the artificial landscapes of tomorrow’s virtual reality.

「歌劇」一詞常用於描述發生在世界各地的表演、社會活動、娛樂、信仰等傳統。這些傳統大多歷史悠久且迥然不同,然而它們仍被籠統地稱為「歌劇」,稱為這一(相對年輕的)西方模板的地方形式。這種殖民歷史所遺留的簡單分類法促使我們重新反思歌劇作爲最高藝術形式的地位,以及與之密切相關的歐洲殖民歷史。從時間上來看,西方歌劇的黃金時代與歐洲的版圖擴張都發生在十九世紀末與二十世紀初,兩者幾乎完美重合——然而這並不僅是時間上的巧合,從 《杜蘭多》到《蝴蝶夫人》,再到爲蘇伊士運河落成而特別創作的《阿依達》,在歌劇中,以異域渴望為核心的敘事在歌劇中時常可見。

作爲一種藝術形式,歌劇試圖透過對每個細節、橋段的控制來主導觀眾的體驗,這種野心與當時歐洲認爲自己可以掌控並重組世界的自負密切相關。但是,即使是那些歌頌帝國征程之榮光的歌劇作品,也不僅是一種布爾喬亞的娛樂。當時的劇院的華麗建築常建於曾經矗立著教堂的城市地標之上,社會成員按照階級的劃分被分佈在建築四周,面對着舞臺精美的場景,一如某種準宗教式的體驗。在這裏,歐洲的榮光不僅僅是表演的對象,也是一種集體的崇拜與狂歡。

彼時的歐洲正沉浸在對自身現代理性的驕傲之中,而被他們佔領的「泛靈論」世界則被視為這種理性的反面。這些與殖民計劃息息相關的現代觀念也從物理、情緒與象徵層面改變着人類與動物間的關係。這種觀念將人的地位不斷抬高,繼而與許多本土知識與價值系統形成根本的差異。然而,歐洲歌劇也包含着揭露這種假象的線索,因爲它遠非官方所宣稱的那種用於娛樂現代社會的世俗奇觀。歐洲帝國的幽靈、怪獸與神聖動物一直揮散不去地縈繞著歌劇院,它們在那裏被獻祭、被召喚,並被呈現於現代性的聖祠之中。

展覽《百物曲》感興趣的是, 隨著殖民時代的消亡和西方歌劇全盛時期的結束,上述的複雜性何以仍然生生不息。作爲平行討論,展覽也涵蓋了一個此前鮮有討論的問題,即歐洲古典音樂與其他音樂體系之間的關聯。同時,是次展覽也在更加寬泛的語境中,考察那些對我們的現代性想象至關重要的、不同的演出行爲。歌劇空間中有關演出、控制、隱藏與抑制的衝突正是我們所面對的當代現實的核心,例如那些人造的「替代」真相、數字平行世界、個人身份的自我表演,以及在智能領域愈發顯著的新科技轉向。因此,是次展覽以一種更加寬泛的方式來理解歌劇以及與它相關的「演出」與「舞台」等問題,並藉助這些術語來描述現今世界所想象並生成的合成風景。同樣地,動物之靈也連接着當下依舊可見的古老信仰與一種充滿未來感的恐懼,即新形式的非理性與智能對未來的殖民。與此同時,技術世界繼續從不同物種的特性中汲取靈感,進一步強化著這種關聯。

今天預見未來的方式已從戰後常見的理性思考——先進的機器、設計與社會制度——再次轉變爲某種無法預料的恐懼,以及可能被動物之地以及接替人造景觀的動物之境。未來,或許會再次成爲「百物曲」。

《百物曲》由康喆明及謝清策劃。

展覽空間設計: Wkshps + Leong Leong展覽識別與圖像設計:Wkshps

展覽《百物曲》(2019年3月23日-6月9日)為香港Para Site藝術空間與上海外灘美術館合作計劃的序曲。在兩個機構的共同推動下,該項目將於2019年6月22日至8月25日(上海外灘美術館)和2020年9月-12月(香港Para Site藝術空間)舉辦兩場相互關聯的展覽。

Details

Start:
June 22 @ 8:00 am
End:
August 25 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:

Venue

Rockbund art museum
20 Hu Qiu Lu, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China + Google Map
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