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Welcome to the art circus 欢迎光临艺术马戏团

6.7.2015
Li Yining

Li Yining

Venice Biennale Intern

我一直不太喜欢“艺术行政人员”这个词,总觉得它听起来太过沈闷、无聊,彷彿不需要多少创意就可以完成。事实上,有时的确如此!量室温,数访客,填表格,写报告……展览助理需要不时处理一些繁琐的事儿,每个月也碰巧有几天没那么好玩。

[今天有趣的人都去海滩了吗?!没几个人和我们聊展览,只有漫不经心的路人甲飘进飘出,连招呼都不应。真是无尽虚无诶……]

然而许多时候,“艺术行政人员”也会面对五花八门的任务,迎接想像力、动手力、体力和智商的多重挑战,如同在马戏团工作一般。作为《无尽虚无》的展览助理,这种感觉尤其深刻。这场多媒体展览不仅在电脑程序和场地施工方面技术要求颇高,还牵涉到跨国协调(香港的西九文化区M+博物馆和艺术发展局负责筹划,义大利机构Arte Communications负责协调威尼斯事务)和复杂的设施管理(四个小展厅共动用了20部投影仪、16部扩音器和12部媒体服务器)。除此之外,在没有汽车的威尼斯,所有运输都要借助船或人力推车,使得整个过程更加复杂。艺术家、策展团队、技术团队、施工团队和本地协调团队等各显神通,搭建了展览,但当突发情况出现,展览助理就需要开动脑筋大变身了。以下就是我和同事们“扮演”过的一些角色……

女士们,先生们,欢迎光临我们的“艺术马戏团”!(在义大利语中,艺术界可被戏称为’il circo dell’arte’,如果直译就是“艺术马戏团”。)

一. 杂技演员

有天我们发现录像投影有点歪斜,就搬出梯子,把录像调成网格,爬上去调整投影仪的角度。投影仪很重,所以没有点杂技演员的耐力是不好完成的。好在Nixon蛮有潜力!

[Image Courtesy: All About Old Toys]

二. 宠物驯养员

展场附近有好几位养狗的邻居。每天看着他们来回遛狗,就慢慢熟络起来。虽然语言障碍巨大,但是和狗玩耍无国界。那么问题来了,邻居遛狗时突然想要看展怎么办?让我或者爱狗叔叔Francesco带狗玩,主人们自由地进来看展吧!

3. Weightlifter

The curators came up with the genius idea of attracting and welcoming visitors with an arch outside our main entrance. Francesco takes it out every morning and pulls it in every evening. However, as the wheels of the arch age, Francesco’s biceps come in handy.

 三. 举重运动员

为了吸引和欢迎观众,策展团队设计了一个包含展览信息的金属拱门,摆在门外。每天开展前Francesco会把它推出去,闭展时再拉回室内。随着石地对拱门底部滑轮的磨损,推拉拱门变得难了起来,于是Francesco的肱二头肌派上了用场。

 4. Props maker

The upper part of Room 4 tends to get really hot as 7 projectors and 4 speakers run simultaneously. Resort to air conditioning? Infeasible due to strict conservation rules. Putting some fans? The fans we have only blow horizontally and can’t send cooler air in the lower part upwards. In the end, Francesco improvised with the materials available in the storeroom and made a wooden stand for the fan in 20 minutes. Then Nixon painted the structure in white so it is more compatible with the white wall and the white fan. Voilà!

四. 道具师

第四间房有7部投影仪和4部音箱同时工作,上半部分温度常常飙到三十多,对仪器不太好。安装空调吗?威尼斯保育政策很严格,申请装空调定会大费周章。摆放电扇呢?我们现有的电扇只能左右摆头,难以把下方的冷空气吹上去。于是Francesco跑进储藏室,花了二十分钟,就用现有木材和钉子随手造了一个电扇支架!之后Nixon又把它涂成了白色,这样就和白墙、白电扇更协调了。

5. Locksmith

[How I wish I knew the trick of ‘Open Sesame’! 多希望我会“芝麻开门”!]

[Image courtesy: Library of Congress daguerreotype collection, USA]

We have a nice old facade and a nice old wooden door. But it is not so nice to struggle with the old lock every time we set up and close the exhibition. Finally, the lock decided to go on strike one day, not responding to the key at all. And the local coordinator didn’t pick up our calls. Nixon and I were almost thinking about going home to get some blankets and sleep there to guard the equipments! Luckily our experienced Italian colleague Monica came to our rescue and easily fixed the door with two long screws found in the storeroom.

五. 修锁匠

旧旧的木门旧旧的锁很美,可是上下班时都要和旧锁大战一番就没那么美啦。终于有一天,旧锁决定在我们收工时彻底罢工,毫不为钥匙所动。我和Nixon试了又试,打电话给义大利统筹也没人听,结果面面相觑--今晚莫不是要睡在这儿看守设备?还好有维修经验的义大利同事Monica赶来,在储藏室(万能的储藏室!)里找到了合适的长螺丝,麻利地修好了门。妈妈再也不用担心我开门关门啦!

 6. Cleaner

[Image Courtesy: Randall Hill, Reuters]

[French Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2015 今年威尼斯双年展的法国馆]

You might think that in no way may artworks make the same kind of mess that circus animal stars do. But as contemporary art goes wilder and wilder, it is hard to say now. At The Infinite Nothing, we clean certain part of the floor everyday, where oil is designed to drip down and create a mysterious atmosphere. Once in a while, we also need to deal with pigeon droppings outside the entrance.  But soon I realized this is nothing compared to the French Pavilion, where one huge tree elegantly moves around inside the pavilion and two other outside. Just imagine what if rain pours down the open roof…

六. 清洁员

你可能觉得艺术品没可能像马戏团里的动物明星一样,不断“排泄”。可是当代艺术越来越疯癫,有时真的难说。《无尽虚无》三号房中设计了让油不断从墙上滴落的装置,营造神秘的氛围,也意味着我们每天闭展后都要打扫地上的油渍。除此之外,我们也会偶尔清理门口的鸽屎和雨后的积水与落叶。

参观法国馆时,我一边欣赏在智能内芯驱动下兀自移动的巨树,一边感叹他们的展览助理所要承担的清洁任务。天花板是开放的,那么一旦下雨……

I was never really happy with the word ‘art administrator’. It sounds so mundane, boring and uncreative. The fact is … sometimes it is indeed so! To maintain an exhibition, one often needs to count visitors, record room temperature, fill in forms, write reports, etc. And some days are duller than others.

[Did all fun people go to the beach today?! No one would like to talk about art with us. Tourists just come and go…They even ignore our ‘ciao’…What an ‘infinite nothing’…  ]

But other times, an art administrator could be faced with versatile tasks that really challenge one’s creative thinking and can-do attitude, which is almost like working in a circus. This is especially true in the case of working for The Infinite Nothing, an exhibition that requires cross-continental coordination, sophisticated technical support, and frequent facility maintenance. The fact that the exhibition takes place in Venice, a city without cars, also adds to the complexity. To make The Infinite Nothing happen, you might have to do infinite ‘everything’! At the core of it is a highly professional team, including the artist, curators, contractors, technicians, local coordinators, and so on. However, in cases of emergency, exhibition interns take initiatives to solve problems creatively. Below are some of the roles we have temporarily played.

So ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Art Circus (in Italian, you can mock the art circle by calling it ‘il circo dell’arte’, which literally means ‘art circus’!)

1. Acrobat

[Image courtesy: The Circus Blog]

One time a projector somehow shifted sightly and resulted in video misalignment. So Nixon pulled out the special slide for alignment and climbed up the ladder to adjust the angle of the heavy projector. Not a very easy job but Nixon seems to have the potential of becoming an acrobat!

2. Pet tamer

As some neighbours and their dogs pass by several times a day, we gradually start to say hi to them. Although I can hardly chat with the neighbours in Italian, I have no problems communicating with the dogs. Sometimes when a neighbour suddenly feels the urge to take a look at our exhibition while walking the dog, we temporarily take over and play with the dog.

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