The Fabled Shoots

Su, Hui-Yu
The Fabled Shoots - Freeze | C-print | 2007

The Fabled Shoots – Freeze | C-print | 2007

The Fabled Shoots | Video | 2007 (still of the video)

The Fabled Shoots | Video | 2007 (still of the video)

The Fabled Shoots - A Warming | Video | 2007 (screen-clip from the video)

The Fabled Shoots – A Warming | Video | 2007 (screen-clip from the video)

“Politicians use fear to control people, lawyers need threats in order to file suits and make money and the popular media needs frightening stories in order to draw the public.”

Michael Crichton, State of Fear

These words didn’t come from a philosopher’s mouth, but rather from a popular novelist’s. This demonstrates that topics concerning various kinds of fear, even if they aren’t philosophical, are still in urgent need of discussion especially in today’s era of expanding terrorism. These issues are closely linked to each of us, however what is terrorism?

“When we define terrorism, the basic problem we face is that terrorism is a fully political concept. The concept of terrorism has been utterly complicated by lofty political stands as well as conflicts over profits. The often heard phrase, 「 one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,」 reflects this predicament. What seems like just a semantic problem, is actually the clashing of divergent ideologies. Whether we view a situation as terrorism or not, depends on our political point of view.”

Beau Grosscup

This is a definition of terrorism that comes from political science. The impact terrorism has on human beings and their philosophy is more than I can bear and something I could never have imagined before. The above quotes are all related to my current work.

The inspiration for The Fabled Shoots came from movie gun battles, but since terrorism is increasing, I happened upon a bigger inspiration. Looking back at the history of movies, gun battles belong to special genre in terms of their methodology. They have been put to use in various film genres like westerns, police, science fiction and war movies. Shoot-outs are always an indispensable element of these kinds of films and repeatedly appear in different forms using different rhetorical devices. Although shoot-outs are already considered a cliché and predictable, they are still readily produced and consumed. In many different genres of film gun battles are exactly the same, and always attract people with the same series of expressions, sounds and sparks as the bodies charge ahead through the hail of bullets. The Fabled Shoots is about the bodies that never die as they stare down the barrel of a gun. I am not talking about how the bodies never die because the actors are playing dead, but rather the philosophical significance of the accumulated images of these bodies never disappearing or dying away. It seems every Hollywood movie is filled with people firing guns and getting hit by bullets, but as far as I am concerned they never die.

The concept of The Fabled Shoots originated in 2005 but wasn’t fully formed until 2007. The concept in its earlier stages attempted to address gun battles in a traditional way. In my experience, gun battles are extremely entertaining, but only in Hollywood movies, not in reality. When I was forming this concept in 2007, the shocking Virginia Tech massacre took place in the United States. The perpetrator of this incident, along with planning out the massacre, sent a threatening video tape to a television station. The makes me think of the prevalence of the use of video along with terrorist attacks after 911. In these videos, firearms are usually brandished as a means of intimidation, or even more seriously, the terrorists will tape the live execution of a hostage. Watching these kinds of news reports fills people with a 「hyper-real fear.」

At this point, I realized that people in real life are also more or less threatened by guns, yet are fascinated by gun fire, hitting targets and bodily injury. This point can explain why gun battles in movies, gun battle games and news reports concerning guns and injuries are always good business opportunities; moreover many people like the feeling of shooting and hitting a target, and are fascinated by terror (which have similar plots to horror movies).

As in my earlier series, I am very interested in movie history and the underlying logic of movies. The Fabled Shoots takes the significance of this genre of film and reproduces it, not only to make allegorical criticisms of film, but also to pay closer attention to the complex relationships between movies, reality and life. In today’s climate of expanding terrorism and interest in horror movies, I can’t deny that my interest is motivated by curiosity and a desire for stimulation, but the interest is also somewhat inevitable and introspective. No matter what, I want to use these feelings of extreme anguish, cruelty and agitation to create a dialogue with the situation in the popular media.

“Terrorism: The intention to threaten or coerce government, the people or other organizations to achieve political and social goals. To use unlawful force or violence against people or property.”

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation Terrorist Research and Analytical Center

It seems we never really die under a hail of bullets.

 

 

「政治家需要恐懼來控制人民,律師需要危險來興訟、賺錢,媒體需要可怕的故事來吸引觀眾。」—麥克.克萊頓,《恐懼之邦》

這段話並非出自哲人之口,而是暢銷小說家。這顯示在當今,即便是在非哲學的主題下,關於「恐懼」的種種也仍是迫切需要討論的課題,特別是在這個恐怖主義興盛的年代,這些問題與我們息息相關。然而,什麼是恐怖主義呢?

「我們在給恐怖主義下定義時,面臨的基本問題是,它是一個充滿著政治性的概念,是一個被政治優位觀點,以及利益爭論搞得混亂不堪的概念。常見的說法『一個人的恐怖主義者是另一個人的自由戰士』,反映出這種困境。一個看起來只是語義學的問題,本質上卻是不同意識形態的衝突,意味著我們是否把某個事件視為恐怖主義,取決於我們的政治親點」。—博格羅斯庫珀

這是從政治學處理出來的恐怖主義定義,而恐怖主義對人們的影響與哲學衝擊,竟遠大過我所能承受與想像的狀況,這是我所始料未及的一件事。以上所引述的種種,都跟我這次的創作有關。

「槍下非亡魂」的靈感源自槍戰電影,卻因恐怖主義的興盛而獲得更大啟發。回過頭來說,在影像的歷史裡,「槍戰」屬於一種獨特的類型,方法上它自屬一類,被應用在其他類型中,諸如西部電影、警匪電影、科幻電影與戰爭電影等等。在這些不同的類型中,「槍戰」是永遠不可消失的元素,它以各式形態和修辭技法不斷出現著。儘管已經成為一個「老朽的傳統」,那些可以預見的效果、情結與動態,仍然持續地被製造與消費著。一如許多類型片一般,槍戰的意像永遠能夠吸引觀眾,那幾組表情、那幾組聲音與那幾組火花,「身體們」一一在槍林彈雨中持續前進著。「槍下非亡魂」,簡單地講,就是在槍口下這些身體「從未真正死亡過」。這裡指的不是戲劇技術上的「假死」,而是指影像持續堆疊之後,這些身體在哲學意義上的「不曾消失」。看遍了好萊塢槍戰電影,裡面開槍的開槍,中彈的中彈,但是對我而言,這些身體「不曾真正死去」。

「槍下非亡魂」這一概念起始於2005年,直至2007年才正式成形。原初的構想企圖針對「槍戰」這一傳統進行思考,其中包括兩個課題──槍戰電影中的「暴力美學」與「身體哲學」。槍戰本來在我的經驗裡是非常娛樂性的,但它們僅止於好萊塢片,無關於現實,直到創作構思期間(2007年),發生了震驚世界的美國「維吉尼亞理工學院槍擊事件」,該事件的元兇不僅有計畫地殺人,甚至寄送威脅影片到電視台。這使我不斷想起911之後大肆流行的恐怖攻擊事件與「恐怖錄影帶」,內容經常都是以槍枝火力的展示做為威脅的來源,更嚴重者甚至是人質殺害的實況。透過這類新聞訊息,人們感受到了「超真實的恐懼」(hyper-real fear)。

此刻我發現,現實生活中人們或多或少都處於被槍擊的威脅,但人們對於槍枝「擊發」、「命中」與「傷害肉體」又都是充滿好奇的。此點可以解釋為何槍戰電影、槍戰遊戲與「關於槍與傷害的新聞」總是有其商機,因為很多人喜歡「射擊」與「命中」的感覺,同時他們更好奇於「恐懼」這件事情(此點跟恐怖電影也許有著類似的情結)。

一如我前期的創作「所以我們反覆呼喊」系列,我對影像歷史與其潛在邏輯的高度關切一樣,「槍下非亡魂」將對類型片的文化意義進行一次再生產,但是這次已不再僅止於對類型片的諷喻或者批判,而是更加關心影像、現實與生存的複雜關聯。在恐怖電影與恐怖主義同樣盛行的今天,我的這些想法,不可否認地帶有好奇與追求刺激的動機,但也有著一點無奈以及反省,然而無論如何,我都想要帶著這種極端痛楚、殘忍與挑臖的情緒,針鋒相對地與這個媒體情境對話。

「恐怖主義:為推進政治和社會目的,意圖威脅或者脅迫政府、平民或其他部分,而對人或財產非法使用武力或暴力。」—美國聯邦調查局恐怖主義研究中心

在槍林彈雨中,我們似乎不曾真的死亡。