南山未了
Incomplete Finale

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    -- 以誌亡母李鑽銘 –

    – In memory of my mother, Lee Chuen Ming –

     

    展覽 Exhibition:

    二零一二年四月至五月,聲音掏腰包,香港 | Apr-May 2012, soundpocket, Hong Kong

     

    空闊的房間,十數隻喇叭,播放母親自確診癌症至過身,為期一年多的聲音。聲音重塑一個記憶、情緒的空間和時間,梳理母親、癌症、死亡、家人和我等的種種關係。

    A room occupied by sounds of my mother’s last days from the diagnosis of cancer to the very last minute. The room documents and reconstructs the memories and emotions in the period, unravelling the complex relations between mother, cancer, death, family and self.

     

    incomplete-finale

    背景及錄音

    二零一零年四月,家母證實罹患第四期肺癌,並已擴散至腦部等其他部位。當時,醫生預計,母親只剩數年命。

    自此,不知是想分神、懷念、貪玩,抑或記錄她因腦內癌細胞而不清的口齒,每次我跟母親吃飯、看電視、覆診、相聚,我都把錄音機擱在一旁,讓它靜聽這段最後時光的一分一秒。每段和母親相處的時光,都產生一段錄音。日積月累,錄音數量漸多,成為母親、我和家人在這段時期的記錄。不幸地,這亦是個癌症和死亡的記錄。

    起初並未想過錄音的「用途」,也沒想過錄音何時結束。後來,在母親在世時展出這個記錄的想法萌生,卻已來不及。錄音隨母親於二零一一年十月逝世告終。留下的,是三百多段錄音。

     

    重聽錄音

    這段重要但含糊混亂的時期過得太快,變得太急,很多事都不明不白、糊里糊塗的過去。過了良久,我打開一段段錄音,細聽這段不復再的時光。

    錄音盛載的,是另一個遲早會被丟淡,甚至遺忘的人和時間。雖然,那是我確切深刻感受過的時間,但這三百多日的錄音,更像一個未知的世界,力圖獨立於所有記憶和情緒,蘊藏有待細嚼的殘留。原先依稀的傷心和痛苦,都因重聽這段時期變得具體、實在。在死亡漸近的陰霾下的喜、怒、哀、樂,母親的願望、教訓、歡樂、離愁等,都被這些聲音喚起。這些情感不單是她的,也是我的,也是家人和身邊所有人的。錄音是母親的另一件遺物,甚至比其他遺物都實在。錄音使母親和這段時間成為沉思的對象。

     

    組成裝置

    我藉憑記憶和粗疏的日記、筆記,在逾三百段錄音中尋找、聆聽:母親做加馬刀、最後一餐做冬等。最明顯的變化,是母親的發音、聲調,隨病情惡化而轉變。

    我發現,錄音內藏着不斷重覆的對話模式、內容,代表這段時間的各種面向,以哀傷、對罵、希望、看病、訓話和日常閒談等交織。我把錄音分割成一段段對話,按這些模式分類,順時排列,變成十三段同是展現這段時期的聲帶,每段長數小時。

    每段聲帶,都是這段時期的遺物。它們真實而各具個性,有些囉嗦長氣,有些歇斯底里,也有些聽似無關痛癢。這十多條聲帶,佔據一間房間。每段聲帶各居於一個喇叭之中。喇叭的外形、大小、位置和音量,都按聲帶的個性和跟其他聲帶的關係而定,散佈於房間內。喇叭佔據此室,盛載一層層有待細聽的聲音,梳理我對母親、癌症、死亡、家人和我等的種種關係。裝置創造一個難於描述的個人體驗,只能置身於當中感受。

    房間不單是已消逝的母親和時間的載體,也是我執拾整理離世母親的過程。雖然母親已經壽終正寢,但她和這段時間的殘留將不會消失,只會隨時間變化。整理這些錄音,將會是個沒完沒了,永無止境的過程。

    (修改於二零一四年五月)

    - – -

    Background and Recording

    In April 2010, my mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, which had spread to the brain and other parts of the body. Doctors anticipated she would live for a few more years the longest.

    I am not sure whether I wanted to distract, mourn, make fun of, or just to record my mother’s mumbling speech because of tumour in her brain – every time I met with my mother since then, a recorder was placed beside to inscribe every instant of the limited period. As time went by, the recordings accumulated became a documentation of my mother, myself and my family in the period. This is also, unfortunately, a record of cancer and death.

    I did not ponder over the “intention” of the recordings, nor have I thought about when the activity was to end. Later, the idea of exhibiting the recordings when my mother was still alive emerged – but it was too late. It ended with the death of my mother in October 2011. The only remains are the some three hundred recordings.

     

    Listening

    This important, obscure and chaotic period was a period of drastic change with much left unclear. Some time after my mother’s death, I opened the recordings and started to listen.

    The recordings contain a time and person that would inevitably fade and be forgotten. Although it’s a period that I vividly experienced, the recordings seem to embed an unknown world yet to be explored, independent from all emotions and memories, containing legacies to be studied. The obscure sorrow became concrete. The happiness, anger, sadness, and joy, and my mother’s wish, motto, grief and everything of her under the so very foreseeable death reappeared. These are not only hers, but also mine, my families and probably everyone around. The recordings are the most genuine legacies of my mother. They enable my mother and this period to be the subjects of contemplation.

     

    Installation

    Based on memory and rough notes and diaries, I searched for the recordings on events to listen: mother having gamma knife, the last dinner for Winter Solstice etc. The most remarkable change was my mother’s voice deteriorated with the disease.

    The recordings embed repeated patterns of dialogues and themes, each of which represents a different face of the period, interwoven with worries, quarrels, hopes, visits to doctors and trivia. I extracted these patterns and themes and arrange them chronologically. Thirteen few-hour long sound sequences were thus created. Every sequence is a crystal of the period with its own characters.

    Each sequence is a legacy of my mother with different characters: some sound long-winded; some sound hysterical; some may just sound trivial. Each sequence is played by a speaker, shape, size, location and volume of which are decided by the unique characters of the sequence and relations with other sequences. The speakers fill this whole room with thick strata of sound to be (re-)tasted, reconstructing the complex of mother, cancer, death, my family, myself and others. The work creates a personal experience not easily transferable or mediatable — it has to be experienced in situ.

    In the end, I realise re-organising the thoughts and memories of my mother and this period can never be completed.

    (Revised May 2014)

     

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    後記

    性格使然,一直不知如何向朋友親口傾訴母親的事,更難過和更想別人察覺自己難過,在外表也總是看不出,有時連自己也質疑自己到底有多傷心;母親逝世後,又覺得已無必要提及。所以,每每和他人一起時,這件「大事」就像從未發生過一樣,因為事情被徹底掩蓋。

    還記得,有個朋友首次問起家母的病時,家母已過身半年 — 她並不知情。她聽後一臉愕然悲慟,我還拍了她膊頭,對她說:It’s okay!之後,她好像到洗手間拭淚。

    本人拙口笨舌,總覺得傾談會將事情誇大或縮小,總之言不及義,言不由衷;以作品將感受傳達,來得更直接、真確。

    展覽開幕,邀得好友出席。我鬆了口氣,好像把隱瞞多時的東西坦然釋放。朋友中,好些眼眶紅了,更多是開始談起母親和癌症種種,也發現不少朋友也經歷過,又或正在經歷這些問題。我慶幸作品舒緩難以開口的東西,令交流舒暢、自然。

    在云云充滿關懷和鼓勵的反應中,有三個評語,令我印象深刻:

    (一)這令我想起離世的家人:你總覺得不夠時間陪他們;
    (二)這像個大腦,漂浮着各種細碎的記憶;
    (三)你想做一個紀念你母親的紀念碑,不同的是用聲音做媒介。

    這些評語,好像令我更明白自己的動機。

    事隔兩年多,再拿作品出來看時,竟然還是有點膽怯。「她和這段時間的殘留將不會消失,只會隨時間變化」,果然非虛。

    珍惜當下擁有的一切。

    - – -

    Afterword

    My character refrained me from telling my friends about my mother’s issue. My impassive face concealed my feelings, so enshrouded that I sometimes wondered if I were actually sad. After my mother was dead, it seemed unnecessary to talk about it anymore. When I was with others, as my mother’s issue was so well covered, I always felt like as if the whole incident had never happened.

    One friend asked about my mother’s sickness after she has passed away half a year. She knew nothing about my mother’s situation and was well shocked. ‘It’s okay!’ I comforted her. Then, apparently, she ran into the toilet to dry her tears.

    Expression in words has always been my weakness. Most of the time I feel I am exaggerating, understating or simply saying something irrelevant, not conveying what I really think or feel. To me, artwork may be a much direct, powerful and precise expression.

    I invited my friends to the exhibition opening. I felt relieved, as if I had disclosed something hidden for long.

    Among other caring and encouraging comments, three comments stayed in my mind:

    i) This resembles the feeling that time is always not enough with a dying family member;
    ii) This is like a brain with fragments of memory floating;
    iii) You want to create a monument of your mother with sound.

    These comments seem to help me understand what I was trying to do.

    After two years, I surprisingly find myself still frightened of revisiting the work. It is true that the thoughts and memories of my mother and this period will not disappear but transform over time.

    Treasure everything we have.

     

    聲音資料庫 Recording Archive: http://yipkaichuns.com/incompletefinale/

    筆記 Note (in Chinese only):

    (1)南山未了(一) /(2)這不是傳教的時候 /(3)回覆:近來好嗎?(一) /(4)中秋到 /(5)俄羅斯輪盤 /(6)我恨 /(7)度假 /(8)此境 /(9)謝謝媽媽 /(10)像烏蠅的小孩 /(11)跨年嘆 /(12)散落 /(13)荏弱 /(14)積犯 /(15)掙扎的絮聒 /(16)為何現在才知 /(17)金花 /(18)未罵夠

     

    支持 Supported by:

    香港藝術發展局 Hong Kong Arts Development Council

    聲音掏腰包 soundpocket

     

    技術支援 Technical Support:

    王鎮海 Wong Chun Hoi