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如果曾有噪音的话, 也离反抗甚远| IF NOISE EVER WAS, IT WAS FAR FROM REVOLT

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(原刊於藝術界 LEAP 2012 八月號中文英文

台湾的噪音是文化的剩余,开始于富裕青年世代的开始,结束于富裕世代的完成。

谈论台湾的噪音史,多半从1994年前后那些充满实验、反叛、政治冲撞、媒体化、小空间聚集与节庆开始,这是后学运世代,亦即,学运分子开始登上政治的天梯,而学运的“剩余分子”则在文化与媒体大展光芒,足以标记时代的音乐节庆、另类媒体、电影节、户外电音舞会、装置艺术、替代空间皆于此时产生。将(后)学运世代想成青年自主批判的世代,不是过于幼稚就过于阴谋,前者将青年创造时代(如同摇滚改变世界)变成童话般的天启主体,一代独立于历史条件的天才心灵,后者则想要借此批判光环来取得时代的权仗,推翻前辈压制后浪。文化上的丰腴展现以大学社团与大学周遭的空间为起点,在学运时代那些被连结的关系中,生出奇花异朵,学院的需要学院外的认可,菁英需要俗文化,反之亦然。

学运世代,实为资产阶级的接班人,口袋开始有钱买杂志与唱盘,是台湾历史上第一代无需担心温饱与工作的世代,经济富裕与政治逐渐开放保证了文化丰腴,有人摇滚、有人小剧场,有人女性影展,有人开始做创意广告。这些秀异竞争的浪头里,也有人开始搞点他们不甚清楚的东西,在美学品质上与政治正当性都不正确的事情—噪音,接续了台湾在解严后政治社会需要刺激的空间革命与声音美学革命。噪音实为文化丰腴的剩余,恰恰保证了文化丰腴的本身。

贾克·阿达利在《噪音:音乐的政治经济学》,以噪音被社会接受的进程来作为“被排斥”乐种晋升的过程,不能说不对,但没办法解释“噪音”作为一个文化的自主领域诞生的原因,况且台湾与西方世界的音乐史发展差别甚大。

1994 年,“零与声解放组织”在破烂节

 

用皮耶·布迪厄的说法更能揭示这个文化领域的生产,他在其《艺术的法则》里写道:“艺术家和作家以及更普遍的知识分子,是统治阶级中一部分被统治的人。”这些统治阶级里被统治的人必须透过拒斥已有的双重结构方能取得自主性。在台湾,噪音反对为商业资本服务的摇滚流行音乐,也反对为了社会议题或人民幸福而生产的民谣或者抗议歌曲,在结构中争取到一个非常特定的生产位置,其表演性开启了多元的、后现代需要的文化(以及市场)养分与刺激,保证了文化的丰腴,然而,这样的情况约莫在2000年前后当噪音变成亵渎节目之必要(例如晚期的浊水溪乐团)时,就已经结束了。文化的剩余变成再生产的资本,无耗费,即无噪音。

九零年代关于噪音的论述曾面对的政治与美学讨论都被搁置,现下被“挪用”来指涉政治正确与否的名词了。如最近在台湾出了一本由阳光时务筹划的《爱上噪音》一书,书里中港台三地的乐团与乐手只要具有社会意识,歌词上具有批判意识,就算是噪音了(无怪乎此书完全不能处理没有歌词的音乐)。用真诚来讨论摇滚与社会的论述方式大约就是埋葬噪音最坏的美学葬礼了。按此政治光谱,小清新、小确幸、愤青文青都爱噪音,谁不爱呢?

摇滚乐文化的真诚,强调自由、个人、独立的特性,是新自由主义最需要的社会伦理,如深爱摇滚乐的美国文化研究学者劳伦斯·格罗斯伯格所痛苦指出的那样,这样我们才能解释为何美国听摇滚乐长大的一群孩子在八零年代选出了里根与老布什。我们也才能理解为何资本主义与唱片工业愈发达之地,抗议之声就越容易生产、被听到、越容易成为全球偶像,噪音某种程度逃脱了这种论述框架,可又被台湾某些文化评论者去势,收在干干净净富有正义感盒装音乐里准备上架。

1995 年,《破报》对 “ 台北国际后工业艺术节”的报道版面

台湾噪音艺术的开创者林其蔚说的好,没有新的就没有旧的。他没估计到的是,当初的受事者变成今天的败事者。噪音终究培养出自己的最弱掘墓人,不但挖出的尸体腐臭不堪,还一次次卖上了市场,代表(霸占)了台湾光辉年代的纪事。

(学运世代指的是1966年前后出生的一代,历经1987年政治解严与社会运动的高潮,结束于1990年三月学运。之后,由学运打开的政治与社会缝隙空间埋藏着文化种子,在1994年开花。)

IF NOISE EVER WAS, IT WAS FAR FROM REVOLT

TEXT: HUANG SUN-QUAN / TRANSLATION: BILLY TANG/ CONNIE KANG

In Taiwan , noise is a surplus of culture. It began with a generation of well-to-do youth, and ended with that same generation.

The discussion of the history of noise in Taiwan likely dates back to sometime around 1994, to the experimentation, rebellion, political collision, media-ization, intimate gatherings, and festivals with which that period was saturated. This was after the student movement generation, when student activists started to ascend the political ladder. Basking in the light of media and culture, break-off “surplus activists” ushered in the current period of music festivals, alternative media, film festivals, outdoor raves, installation art, and alternative spaces. With these activities, the (post-) student movement wanted to transform itself into an autonomous and critical generation of youth. If it wasn’t overly naïve, then it was overly conniving. Where naïve, they sought to establish a new era, and independence from historically determined “genius”: a fairytale that inadvertently transforms into something momentous—an apt comparison would be how rock and roll once transformed the world. Where conniving, they sought a critical context to replace the existing mechanisms of power, overthrow the previous generation, and hold off any repercussions. The student movement was intricately connected to the fertile culture generated by university organizations and surrounding spaces, sprouting a multitude of exotic flowers. Just as universities need to be validated by the outside world, the elite presupposes popular culture, and vice versa.

The student movement generation were actually the new successors of the capitalist class—it is from these pockets that they drew money to buy their magazines and records. In fact, they were the first generation in Taiwanese history to be unencumbered by the anxieties of work and putting food on the table. A prosperous economy and a gradually open-minded politics safeguarded the vibrancy of culture, which came to encompass people in rock and roll, small theater productions, women film festivals, or people beginning to make creative commercials. On the crest of this wave of exceptional competition, there were people engaging in things of which even they would be hard-pressed to define—things that displayed an indifference to notions of aesthetics or political correctness. Noise had come to take up the revolutions in space and sound aesthetics necessitated by the political society of post-martial law Taiwan. Noise is essentially a surplus product of a fertile culture, and it is this very fact that ensures the fertility of culture itself.

In Noise: The Political Economy of Music, Jacques Attali writes that the process by which noise is accepted by society is essentially the process of promoting the “exclusion” of musical genres. One cannot refute this, but neither can one explain how “noise” continues to be an autonomous form of culture. Moreover, in this case, the differences between the music histories of Taiwan and the West are simply too great to ignore.

In The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field, Pierre Bourdieu reveals this field of cultural production more precisely, noting that artists and writers, in addition to common intellectuals, form one part of a ruling class who are themselves ruled by others. Only via the rejection of this existing duality can they regain their autonomy. In Taiwan, noise opposes commercial rock and roll and popular music, as well as ballads and protest songs that are created with societal issues or the enjoyment of the people in mind. Inside this “structure,” noise accedes a highly specialized area of production. Its “performativity” nurtures and stimulates the cultural (and market) needs of postmodernism and pluralism, furthermore ensuring the vitality of culture. However, this condition had already come to an end when around the year 2000 noise had become a sine qua non of “profanity” (an example of this being the now disbanded Loh Tsui Kweh Commune). Culture’s surplus had turned into a reproduction of capital—and no more consumption meant no more noise.

The aesthetic and political discourses with which the exegesis of noise was confronted in the 1990s have since been shelved. At present, they have been “misappropriated,” as indicators of political correctness. For example, iSun Affairs recently published a book in Taiwan titled Love Noise. The book featured bands and musicians from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, claiming that since they possessed social conscience and their lyrics, a critical mindset, they could be considered noise (unsurprisingly, the book was completely incapable of dealing with music without any lyrics). Such analytical methods, which discuss rock and roll and society under the guise of “authenticity,” essentially serve as the funeral for the malfunctioning aesthetics of real noise. On this political spectrum, everyone would love noise—the hipsters, the bohemians, the beatniks, the young and the angry…who wouldn’t?

The “authenticity” of rock and roll culture emphasizes freedom, individuality, and independence—the social ethics on which neoliberalism most depends. Ardent rock and roll fan and American cultural scholar Lawrence Grossberg painfully points out the reasons why the children who grew up listening to rock and roll would come to elect Reagan and Bush in the 1980s. Alas, we may finally understand where capitalism and the record industry have grown together: the sounds of protest are increasingly easy to produce, be heard, and turn into objects of worldwide idolatry. To a certain degree, noise has been able to elude this framework. But in Taiwan, it has been castrated by some cultural critics, and reassembled in shiny, “controversial” packaging to be put on music store shelves.

Taiwanese noise artist pioneer Lin Chi-Wei put it best when he said that if there is nothing new, then there is nothing old. What he didn’t predict was that those who undertook the task of yesterday would be the ones who would ruin it today. Ultimately, noise cultivates its own feeble gravedigger. Not only does it disinter an unbearably rancid corpse, but it also throws itself again and again at the market, epitomizing (seizing) the annals of Taiwan’s most glorious years.

(Referring to the generation born roughly around 1966, the “student movement” saw its peak following the lifting of martial law in 1987, and ended in March 1990. Politically speaking, the student movement ruptured a space in society to sow the seeds of culture that came to bloom in 1994.)

 

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