Linda Lai / From Melodrama to Near Drama 從粵語通俗劇到微情緒的潮漲潮落

Linda Lai / From Melodrama to Near Drama 從粵語通俗劇到微情緒的潮漲潮落

Linda Chiu-han Lai 黎肖嫻

Linda Chiu-han Lai 黎肖嫻

發表於: 25 Aug 2018

黎肖嫻談粵語電影通俗劇的操作,以至吳子昆於「文字機器創作集」第6輯「象裡有象:通電作影」之《全情定位漂浮系統》(2018年9月1日開幕)的媒體分解佈陣遊戲 | notes by Linda Lai on melodrama’s nature and Kwan Ng’s treatment in [G]Local Empathy System (opening 1 September 2018, curated by Lai), the first of a 3-exhibition series, “Cinema Expanding: Visualizing the Unseen,” the Writing Machine Collective 6th edition | Free (press) preview: 31 August 2018.

I once watched six Cantonese HK oldies from the early 1960s back to back and found myself wandering in a gigantic mansion with many doors between rooms. I wasn’t really lost, but I felt the house growing in size and volume; the more I walked (watched), the stronger my drive was to look at the house from outside, and better still from a high angle. Utterances repeat, bouncing off the walls of empty rooms, swirling into echoes that swell in the house’s atmosphere:

“How dare you… I’m sorry…” “How dare you… I’m sorry…”
“Never would have imagined you…”
“You heartless, shameless…”
“You have wronged me. You have mistaken me…”
“I owe you so much…”
“I’ve taken the wrong path.”
“I’m so sorry I can’t return your grace.”

And there is a lot of waiting. Waiting for… An hour. A few days. A few months, a whole lifetime. A matter of life and death. Suffering

“The rule of cheating and betrayal, misunderstanding and being misunderstood… holds all details together in a huge machinery of tricks and traps.” [1] The narrative process is populated with a trap door series opening to roller-coaster rides with “alternating swings of moral exaltation and pulsating pleasures of evil conspiracy, commanding a highly visceral experience.” [2]

A Cantonese film writer (from the 1960s) once said in an interview, qualifying film melodrama’s power on the viewers:

… I did manage to ‘hook’ them to my stories to make them want more. I would set up an almost impossible situation without  obvious solutions.

What if we take away the interpersonal tug of war and just keep the single moment of affect? What if we remove all the lubricants, conjunctives and conjunctures we impose between scenes and postures? What is remaining?

The film melodrama installed in [G]Local Empathy System is also like a machine with a series of trap doors: they wait for you, you come close and fall or slip or bounce back in shock, like reading Alice in the Wonderland for the first time… Big and small. Far away so close. Up and down and siding off around. It is an arche-narrative with emotional overflow. Something seems to have happened, but nothing really happens.

[G]Locating Empathy System cuts through the many aspects of story-telling and story reception… It foregrounds the “pleasurable constructedness that displays itself, with an effect after Brechtian distanciation.” [3]

Each character is also his own multiples; each face the seed for stock, categorized emotions

How many movies are you watching all at once? This question marks the basic curiosity required to understand Ng’s installation as generative art. The search of the stories quoted in the show gradually becomes the shock encounter of framed emotions, which is also the artist Ng Tsz-kwan’s meta-narrative of moral shorthand of HK’s popular culture in the past.


[1][2][3] Quotes from essay by Linda Lai (2005): “Between ‘I’ and ‘You’: an Architextual Construction of Li Wo’s Broadcast Drama as Film Adaptation.” in The Hong Kong -Guangdong Film Connection (Hong Kong Film Archive), pp. 184-201. Lai’s essay is the origin of her various single-channel videos and programmed projection normally known as the Door Games series. [review] [Lai’s original essay]

WMC_e6 is supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Many Floating Projects Collective members participated in this exhibition series: Linda Lai (curator, project director), Wong Chun-hoi (artist, curator), Hugo Yeung (artist), Jess Lau (art and design), Kel Lok (technical support)













到訪《全情定位漂浮系統》的朋友們,花多少時間去瀏覽這個屏幕佈陣可按個人喜好。同一時候看了幾部電影?這就是踏進衍生藝術 (generative art) 的領域的最基本的好奇。本地過往的潮流文化中的倫理邏輯的速寫,引向數碼時代影像泛濫的指點。



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