公眾參與創作Audience Participation

English below
通過展覽和工作坊,歷年有約230人參與創作,以下是部分他們的作品。
(持續更新中)
如果我是受害人
– 粗略分想法較正面較負面不能分類的

如果我是施暴者
– 粗略分覺得無問題有問題不能分類的

如果我是旁觀者
– 粗略分能幫不能幫感受不能分類的

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Error可駕駛嗎?看「釋色如果我是 」的觀眾創作   
                                            文晶瑩
(文章2021年6月在國際藝評人協會香港分會網站刊登)
9/6/2021
創作社會交往式藝術,講求開放的觀眾參與,有時觀眾的創作往往會出乎意料之外。在創作一個框架去吸引觀眾參與時,我心中往往並無標準答案,會比較關心趣味性和開放性,怎樣能引起大眾對議題的關注?回頭看眾多觀眾的作品,裡面有不同的範式轉變(paradigm shift),不是一個人可以掌控和左右,引證了洪席耶「美學的政治:可感性的分配」 的概念,藝術可呈現、介入和重新分配社羣的某些共識或感知。

以我2018年的作品「釋色如果我是」為例,看來好像是很簡單的填色練習,在觀眾不斷不按牌理出牌,製作Errors,令至作品有多元豐富的表現。作品源起於有響應#MeToo運動的性侵受害人遭網絡欺凌,展覽支援禁忌題材,鼓勵發聲討論,作品強調同理心的重要性,我創作了三款填色紙,分別是如果我是受害人、施暴者和旁觀者,讓觀眾可以代入三種角色去表達感受和想法,多方向思考問題。觀眾的反應熱烈,2018年有超過1200人到訪展覽,有二百幾位觀眾填色參與創作。之後作品繼續展出了兩次,並將會在台灣展出,在不同的脈絡可能有新的發展,現先稍稍總結一下。

受害人華麗轉身

公眾的智慧超乎想像,並沒有受原本的設計所限制。最多人願意代入受害人的角色,讓人看見很多層次很立體的受害人,不只是一朵受傷掉在地上的花,可細分為受害人、生還者、戰士。有觀眾將花瓣塗成像剝了皮的鮮肉,看見也覺得痛。有直接說感受,如果自己是受害人,會感到被玷污、受辱,覺得憤怒,有感到絕望,有想報復,亦有假裝什麼事也沒有發生過,收藏自己的感受,不絕的壓抑,也會不斷發惡夢,覺得恐懼,失去對人的信心。細緻的表達,顏色療癒,叫人不應淡化性暴力事件對受害人的創傷。有些受害人會提議一些自療傷痛的方法,例如尋找幫助,用知識幫自己,選擇原諒等。有觀眾直言不是「如果」,自己就是受害人。我亦常遇到觀眾分享自己真實的故事,這都牽涉到旁觀的可以怎樣做?這方面下面有較詳細的論述。而作為一個創作人,藝術帶起對議題關注,展覽過後我亦想到跟進的問題,除了自己多進修一些輔導的課程之外,之後策劃同類的展覽都會提供專業團體的輔導資訊。

創作時我會擔心會不會觀眾的言論盡是強姦迷思的展現?形成二次傷害。其實不用擔心,只要夠開放,就有多元的答案。不少觀眾顛覆原本的設定 – 如果我是受害人,圖畫是一朵大花掉在地上,不少觀眾不同意,倒轉畫成盛放的花,有將花變成挻起胸膛穿華麗禮服的女人,沒有被逆境打倒;有在殘花中長出新苗,要以不同的姿態綻放。有些觀眾不只是受害人、倖存者,甚至是一個戰士,勇敢説不,揭發事件,直面歪理,反駁強暴文化,難道全是受害人的錯?遇事要啞忍?酒醉便要預了被侵犯?職場要容忍性騷擾?觀眾觸及不同的議題,強調身體自主權的重要性。

另方面,我們可以看見受害者自我指責的普遍性,這樣其實很影響復原,為何有普遍指責受害人的情況?可以參看基本歸因謬誤(Fundamental Attribution Error)和公正世界理論 (Just-World Theory/Hypothesis)。

非一般的施暴者

曾經有觀眾批評,覺得不用同理施暴者,不應可憐、縱容壞人。但創作者覺得人類有其陰暗面也需要面對,可以討論。結果不少觀眾對做壞人感到興奮,如果自己是施暴者,霸氣放縱,喜歡怎樣就怎樣,不覺得自己有錯。可引證Finkelhor (1984)的理論,性暴力發生其中一個原因是他們能找各種藉口克服良心的責備。觀眾的回應亦表現了性暴的本質不是性,是權力慾(要得到肯定及要主宰人)(Nicholas Groth, 1979),例如「我喜歡支配人的感覺」、「對美好事物的破壞慾」、「扼殺」。但也有不少觀眾同時地自責這些想法,「我會感到後悔」、「我知道會有報應」。許多都沒有可憐加害人,合理化侵犯,反而是使用曲筆,暗地裡指責施暴者,「我憎恨自己」、「我承認錯誤」、「我會作出報償」。

有輭弱有堅強的旁觀者

如果我們以為旁觀的一定見義勇為,拔刀相助,在匿名寫心底話的情況下,不少是不知怎樣做,「我無法代入」、「我參與討論」,甚至逃避,「因為我無能為力」、「我只不過裝作看不到,我沒有錯。」、「我會放棄」、「不過是在危險之中,假裝一片祥和。」不過亦有人提出「視若無睹、形同幫兇、助長惡勢力!」要阻止性罪行「不希望有更多受害人」。現在觀眾的作品顯示旁觀的大致可以分三個方向的做法:怎樣對待受害人?怎樣對待施暴者?要營造一個怎樣的環境?有提出要照顧、陪伴、同理受害的;要阻止、修理、檢舉施暴的,亦有提出要營造一個讓受害人敢於報警的環境,性教育的重要性。

觀眾除填色外,還會拮穿紙張,弄皺成一團紙,把三個角色放在一起,如果我同時是受害人、施暴者、旁觀者,這些破格的表現都很有表現力。

這類規則為基礎(rule based)的藝術,並沒有規限觀眾的創意,跟隨不跟隨之間,製作了不少Errors,表現更多創意。如果擔心開放討論,是否會亂象頻生?經驗中面對面的交流,差不多都是有意思的參與,很少亂子。那我們是否能「駕駛errors」呢?掌控創意?經驗是愈開放愈便利創作,效果愈好。創作人能做的是營造有趣的參與氣氛,在導賞中總結和點出矛盾的地方,提出問題,這樣少少帶動,可以容讓觀眾有更多的空間,更深入的討論。而觀眾的參與,製造和重新分配了一個社羣的共感共知,讓各種論述平等地存在,使這件大眾一起完成的作品更豐富多元。

參考書目:
Finkelhol, D. Child Sexual Abuse: New theory and research. New York: The Free Press, 1984. Print.
Groth, N.A. Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender. New York: Plenum Press, 1979. Print.
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Through exhibitions and workshops, there were around 230 people joined the creation and below are part of their works.
(Continuous update)

If I were a victim
-roughly classified as thinking positive, negative, and unclassified.
If I were a perpetrator
-roughly classified as no problemproblematic and unclassified.
If I were a bystander
-roughly classified as can help, cannot help, feeling and unclassified.

Can we drive “errors”? – A review of audience participation in “Free Coloring If I Were”

Phoebe Man 1/7/2021

The creation of socially engaged art usually requires audience participation. Their participation is usually unexpected. Whether they can get the standard answer of the creative exercise is not really the concern; how to make the participating process fun and open is more important, so that the work can attract people’s attention to the topic. Works of audience in “Free coloring if I were” show different kinds of paradigm shifts, which cannot be controlled by others. It is like the concept of “The Politics of Aesthetics. The Distribution of the Sensible.” by Jacques Rancière, wherein art can “disclose the existence of something in common” (12), intervene and redistribute the sensible.

My work “Free Coloring If I Were” (2018) seems to be a very simple coloring exercise. The audience usually did not follow the rules when filling the colors. They kept making errors and that is why the works were so rich and diverse. These works originated from cyberbullying of sexual assault victims who responded to the #MeToo movement. The exhibition supports the victims and put emphasis on the importance of empathy. Three types of line drawings were made for coloring: “If I were a victim”, “If I were a perpetrator” and “If I were a bystander”. Viewers can put themselves in the shoes of these 3 kinds of people. The audience’s response was overwhelming. In 2018, more than 1,200 people visited the exhibition, and more than 200 audiences participated in the creation. Since then, the work has been exhibited twice, and will be showed again in Taiwan. In different context, there may be new developments. Before that, let me review the audience participation of this work.

The wisdom of the public is beyond imagination and is not limited by the original design. Most people are willing to take on the role of the victim, that made the images of the victims vivid. It is not only the original design which is a flower fell on the ground. She or he as a victim can be a survivor or even a fighter. A viewer painted petals like peeled flesh, that triggers pain when looking at it. Some people expressed the feelings directly. If s/he were a victim, s/he feels tarnished, humiliated, angry and desperate. Some want revenge, and some pretend that nothing had happened. They hide their feelings and suffer from depression. There are nightmares and fear. It is hard for them to trust others. The meticulous expressions of the colorings and the drawings have the impact to make people think we should not play down the trauma of sexual violence to the victims. Some victims suggested some self-healing methods, such as seeking help, using knowledge to help themselves, choosing to forgive, etc. A participant wrote: it is not “if”, she is really a victim. She said “I want to leave my family. Yet, I love my mum so much. I end up staying at home with the beast.” I often encounter viewers sharing their true stories. What can be done to help them? This is discussed in greater detail below. I think about this question constantly. As an artist, if art has brought attention to the social problem, what next? I equip myself with studying counseling courses and think of how to present the knowledge and the feelings through art. Provide counseling information about professional organizations in the exhibition and collaborating with them to see what we can do.

When I was thinking about the idea of the work, I was worried whether the audience’s writings were mostly the manifestations of rape myths. It would cause secondary damage. In fact, I do not need to worry. As long as the participation process is open, there will be diversify writings. Many viewers have subverted the original setting. On the paper, there is a sentence “if I were the victim” and a line drawing which is a big flower falling on the ground for coloring. Some viewers disagreed and turned the drawing upside down to make it a blooming flower. Some flowers were changed into women in gorgeous dresses with their chests raised. They are not defeated by adversity. Some new plants are growing in the withered flowers, and they will bloom in different ways. Some viewers are not just victims and survivors. They are fighters, bravely saying no, exposing the incident, confronting the rape myths, and refuting the culture of rape, like questioning if it is all the victim’s fault. They did nothing wrong and the painful experience made them stronger. Silent made things worse as people should stand out. Even those who are drunk should have the right to be protected from being violated. The audience touched on different topics, emphasizing the importance of bodily autonomy.

On the other hand, it is evident that victims accusing themselves is very common. This affects recovery. Why does this happen so often? The theory of fundamental attribution error and just-world theory/hypothesis can be references.

A reviewer criticized this artwork “Free coloring if I were” as it empathizes with the perpetrators. However, I think human beings have their dark sides and discussion on this topic is needed. As a result, many viewers were excited about being bad people. If they were the perpetrators, they are domineering, do whatever they like, and don’t think that they are wrong. As Finkelhor (1984) said, one of the reasons for sexual violence is that the potential abuser must overcome his or her own inhibitions against illegal sexual activity and thus the abusers can find excuses that avoids troubled conscience and even eliminates or at least reduces the fear of punishment. The audience’s responses also show that sexual violence indicates the desire for power (reassurance or assertive) (Nicholas Groth, 1979), not merely sex, such as “I like the feeling of dominating people”, “The desire to destroy beautiful things”, “Strangle”. But many viewers also blamed these thoughts at the same time, “I will regret it” or “I know there will be retribution.” Many participants do not pity the perpetrators and nor do they rationalize the violations. Instead, they use irony methods to secretly accuse the perpetrators, “I hate myself,” “I admit my mistakes,” and “I will pay back.”

People normally think that those who are on the sidelines must act bravely. In fact, many of participants who wrote anonymously apparently didn’t know what a bystander should do. “I cannot take up the role”, “I participate in the discussion,” or even escape “I could leave it to someone else”, “I cannot do anything”, “I pretend I did not see anything, I did nothing wrong.”, “I shall give up”, “When I am in a dangerous situation, I will pretend to be peaceful” etc. However, some people have different opinions, such as “Turning a blind eye, acting like an accomplice will foster evil forces!”, “Stop” (sexual crimes), “Do not want more victims.” The art works of the audience show that views on how to react can be roughly divided into three directions: how to take care of the victims, how to face the perpetrators and how to create an environment which can eliminate violence. Some recommend care for victims, i.e. accompany and empathize with them. Some suggested people need to prevent, stop and report violence. Some proposed to create an environment in which victims are not afraid of reporting to the police, and the importance of sex education.

In addition to filling in colors, some in the audience also pierce through the paper, crumple it into a ball of paper, and put the three roles (victim, perpetrator, and bystander) together. These extraordinary expressive ways of creation are inspiring.

This kind of rule-based art does not restrict the creativity of the audience. The participants can choose to follow the rules or break the rules to create errors and show their creativity. Would open discussion create chaos? According to my experience, face-to-face communication usually has meaningful and interesting viewer participation. There is almost no destructive act. So can we “drive errors”? Control creativity? My experience is that the more open the rules, the more convenient the creation process, the better the effect. What the creator can do is create an interesting atmosphere for participation, provide guided tours to summarize and point out contradictions of the public works, and ask questions, so that the audience can have more imaginative and in-depth discussions. The participation of the audience can create and redistribute the common knowledge of a community, allowing various discourses to co-exist, making the works completed by the public richer and more diverse.

References:
Finkelhol, D. Child Sexual Abuse: New theory and research. New York: The Free Press, 1984. Print.
Groth, N.A. Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender. New York: Plenum Press, 1979. Print.

More participants’ works are shown on:https://freecoloringifiwere.wordpress.com/