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photography

thought on an ordinary street

Figure and ground--a path might be a figure, and at the same time its encloses the ground with its edge.

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We head for somewhere to reach in life. A path is a milestone, and a hope to someday reach where we are heading for. Chinese writer, L? X?n said, "There is no path at the beginning. Once there are many people walking, that becomes a path." People continue walking on the path, resting at stations sometimes, then the surrounding gradually becomes the ground and grows as a city, or a new route is pioneered to reach new direction.

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Some path may go out. Emptied street, and the remained ruins of the streetside. The path stays quiet waiting for the return of people, leading to the past memories. Walls are decaying in time.

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Broadway in Manhatta was the route that native American used to walk. It cuts into the Iron Grid of modern days, producing the outlands in the city to remind the crisscrossing past and today. And in this century, people looked up and head to the sky, higher and higher with skyscrapers.

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Away from the ground path, people almost lost its ground. Sky is almost hidden among the valley of steel shafts. Sunlight spilled out from the narrow gap tells the distant goal. Still, the moment of seeing the light tuns into the vector for the future.

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I long for the goal to be a home. "Welcome home," her voice kept Odyssey heading home. The gate of the home is somewhere open with warm welcome.

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movie

Ghost in the Shell series

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今では世界中でカルト的人気を誇るようになった映画監督押井守が、漫画家士郎正宗のコミック作品をもとにすでに2作のアニメ映画を作った。アメリカでもビデオ売り上げ1位を記録し、多くのフォロワーを生み出してきた。今回は「攻殻機動隊~Ghost in the Shell」コミック版、テレビシリーズ、映画版、そして映画版2作目の「イノセンス」をもとに書いてみようと思う。

コミック作者の士郎正宗は、エンターテイメントとしての枠を保ちながら、人間の精神活動を抽象的な存在としてではなく、様々な形で具象化することを試みている。近未来に訪れるであろう身体のサイボーグ化と、それに伴う精神と肉体のさらなる乖離を描くことで、普遍的な問いである人間の精神と肉体の関係がいったん解体され、問いとともに組み直される。

 主人公は高度な身体能力を得るために、自らの脳以外の全身をサイボーグ化(義体化)する。それを可能にするのは、すべての精神活動の仕組みが科学的(化学的)に解明され、デジタル化されることによる。デジタルデータ化/コンテンツ化された精神活動ーー思考や夢、記憶、欲求などーーは、コピーすることもできるし、模倣したり新たに作り出すこともできる。現在我々が「ヴァーチャル」といって区別できる仮想世界は、高度化すればするほど、我々人間はそれを「現実」と認識し始めるだろう。現代でも、音楽のCDによる再生や、ホームシアターのサラウンド再生など、かなりのレベルの仮想経験が体験できるようになった。「アナログ」という概念も、人の認識の上でのものでしかないのかも知れず、身体による知覚とその認識のプロセスが、電子デバイスによる状況情報の高度なデジタル化と違うのかどうかーーもしデジタル化の精度が人間の身体能力の限界を超えたとき、その差異は定かではなくなるかもしれない。
 0と1というデジタルの基準は確かに抽象的だ。しかし、例えば音を例にとってみれば、それをアナログであると定義する空気振動にしても物理現象としてはサイン波、コサイン波といったデジタル的な波動の変形の結果である。それを受け止める人間の耳はそのデジタル的な波動を受け止めたのちデジタルな電気信号に変換して脳に送り、その電気信号が音として認識される。それを純粋にアナログ的プロセスと定義できるのかどうか。
 人間脳の活動が基本的には電気的パルス以外の何ものでもない、人間の精神活動もパルスの伝達とその記録保存に「すぎない」と言い切ってしまうことに従来の哲学感では倫理的な問題を感じてきた。しかし科学的見地に立てば、パルス伝達そのものの構造や伝導プロセスに人間の能力としての存在意義を見いすことができる。実際現代科学が解明する人間の、あるいは我々を取り巻く自然の能力は計り知れないし、それを目の当たりにすることは神秘的ですらある。その上で、我々人間は持てる技術によって、その能力をさらに拡大する方向に向かうかもしれない。近い未来、我々はその行為に対する倫理問題に再び立ち会うことになるだろう。

そういった意味で、このシリーズのテーマである「義体化」のまず最初のポイントは「知覚」におかれる。知覚という時点で既に、入力情報は電気パルスとして伝達され、それを認知し記録するのは「脳細胞ネットワーク」でできた「インターフェイスの構造」である。「攻殻機動隊」ではそれら一式を組み込み納める身体とその活動を「個人/ゴースト」とするわけだ。だから、高度なサイボーグ社会では、個人もさらに大きなインターフェイス構造に直結することで、個人という限界を超えるインフラが近未来に整備されることはインターネットの普及を見ても容易に想像できる。
「攻殻機動隊」によく出てくる、有線による外部ネットワークへのアクセスもその「構造」と階層化の概念化をわかりやすく説明する。「外部ネットワーク」へのアクセス自体が、自分の中で物事を認識するための「脳構造」へのアクセスと、システムとしては同列になっていくのだ。シリーズを通して出てくる、アクセス制限を超えて侵入してくる悪意のある侵入者に制裁を加える「攻性防壁」も、ネットワーク構造間での障壁と構造自体のどちらが上位性を主張するかという問題を喚起していて面白いし、TVの2ndシリーズのテーマである、「ネットワークの集積化=外部記憶の集中化」を移民問題などのタイムリーな社会問題と絡めて考えた時、新たなカリスマ性や求心力の生まれ得る状況として注目している点が面白い。

その上で、「攻殻機動隊」がユニークなのは、そういった高度構造体がネットワークで膨大な外部記憶情報の海の中から新たな独立した存在を生み出すかもしれないし、それが生命の定義を根底から覆すかもしれない、というようなパンクな提案をしているところだ。宗教世界とは実はそんな高度ネットワークの上位体であり、その上位体へのチャネリング(...)による宗教体験が一部で経験されてきたのが宗教ではないかなどといろいろエンターテイメントな提案を作者はしている。サイバーパンクの到達点として、そこは過去のパターンを突き抜けていて面白い。

 「個人」の集まりでない、高度な知覚/記憶インターフェイスを持つ人工的な外部ネットワーク/外部記憶が実現した時、言い換えれば自発的に機能するAIのような存在となった時、では人間の「精神」と呼ばれるもののAIに対する優位や差異はあるのだろうか? バーチャルという疑似体験の真偽が今後ますますあいまいになっていく中で、記憶の意味とはなにか? そして「記憶」と「記録」の差異は残るのだろうか?
 ロボットやAIの人間への隷属化は、よくSF映画のテーマとなることからもわかるように起ることが予想できる問題だし、彼らが人間の欲望や利己主義の受け皿としての存在になることは想像に難くない。「イノセンス」では、人型タイプのロボットは、人が新しい関係を持つためものとして作り出すロボットが人の形に似せて作られることの意味を問うものとして用いられている。人間が自身の存在を「ゴースト」という精神活動の源となる神秘的存在によって実存を定義するもの、という考え方が倫理的立場からなくなることはないだろうことを考えると、ロボットやAIはその点に固執することで差異化、言い換えれば差別化される。「イノセンス」では、ロボットが「ヒトに似ている」と認識できるレベルに形態がとどめられ、完全に人型であることを意図的に避ける人間の利己的な一面を見せる一方で、義体化を押し進め、疑似体験に埋もれるヒトは、自己を確立する定義や現実の欠如につねにさらされることを描き、人間存在定義そのもののあいまいさをあぶり出す。
 「イノセンス」の中で、登場人物(バトーとトグサ)が何かと啓句や詩句を口にするのは、「外部記憶」に瞬時にアクセスして引用するようになることで我々人間が思考ではなく情報を蓄積/記録し、それをピックアップするだけの思考停止状態へ陥るという既に現実となりつつある現実を示しているのではないだろうか。百科事典的な記録へ人間が従属することになるというのはアレキサンダー大王の太古から言われてきたこととはいえ、インターネットは万人に外部記憶化を促す最大のきっかけとなったことは疑いがない。それ故に、ブログという新しいツールが、忘備録的側面だけでなく、つながりの連鎖、人と人との間をつなぐものになることを願いたい。

 「攻殻機動隊」が描き出す世界は、ある意味既に現実化してきている状況だ。「我思う、故に我あり」とは、現代においては警句であるのかも知れない。最後に、いくつかの啓句で締めくくりたい。これも、百科事典的「引用」に過ぎないのだけれども。

"To be is to do."  ソクラテス
”To do is to be."   サルトル
”Do be do be do" フランク・シナトラ

movie

Durian Durian~transformation of China

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Durian, Durian. Directer: Fruit Chan. Hong Kong, 2000

The movie starts out with the introduction of a young girl Yan--she was from the northern city of mainland China, Mudanjiang to the special economic zone Shen Zhen as an emigrant worker. Now she came to Hong Kong with a visitors visa effective for just three weeks even without telling her family, to save a large sum of money--she is working as a prostitute.

The movie doesn't depict the stereotypical scenery of Hong Kong by comparing the super modern skyscrapers and the crowded market on the street. Yan's field of activities is restricted to her apartment where she waits for the call from brokers, and the hotel rooms she spends some time. The energy and time to visit those busy downtown street filled with young people of her age is not left for Yan.
Camera follows Yan without getting too involved with who she is and what she is thinking. Yan with full of youth just eats and wash men's body and sleeps with them and falling asleep right after coming home. Without the space for the audience to get emotionally involved, the backstreet of Hong Kong is so complete as the world of itself.

On this backstreet house, a family that also came from Shen Zhen is living. Although the father of this family has a problem and disability in his leg, he already saved up some money and he even bought a house in Shen Zhen, but he came back to Hong Kong illegally for easier life by taking whole family with him. A young daughter Fhan, her mother and her younger brother wash dishes to receive small money for living.

Fhan sometimes see Yan going home, always with a broker following her to supervise. For Fhan, who is also restricted to stay within the dark backstreet for hiding from police investigation for illegal stay, Yan and the broker are the few connection to the outside world. One day when police came for the investigation, Yan and Fhan hid behind a wall together, and after the police left, they talk each other for the first time. For Yan, Fhan is like a small young sister--in the busy life of working, knowing someone innocent like Fhan might be the only rest Yan might have received.

After the expiration of her visa in Hong Kong, she went back to her hometown in mainland. She cut her hair that she dyed for her job in Hong Kong--which completely transformed her to another person from the prostitute in Hong Kong, and now she blends into the atmospher of the quiet hometown.
She is looking for a new apartment with her fiance Xiao-min. The apartment is not fancy, but it is quiet and decent to build a life, unlike the jumble of Hong Kong apartment just for sleeping. Within the new life after coming home, the untold mind of Yan is gradually revealed.


In Hong Kong, even if the living environment was horifying, she could earn so much more than her in her hometown. However, everyone has a decent average life even without such big money--the life level itself is quite stable and wealthy. Yan begins to think about building a normal life--she thinks about starting her own business, or she remembers the memories of studying at a theater school in town.
But Yan had already earned and saved up too much money for living here--it is useless to run business here for such a little income. Of course, she wants to do a business for finding a place her mind rather than for living, but there is nothing interesting enough to push her. Looking at the big money in her bank note, she was afraid of not knowing what to do for the future. After overcoming the economic hardship, she realized with the neccessity to think about herself for the reason to live. The uncertainty of herself put her into moratorium--this keenly captured the mind of those younger Chinese generation who receives the economical affluence. This is also the problem that swallowed young people in Japan.

I was suprised to see the transformation of Yan from Hong Kon days to the Yan in her hometown. It might be the intention of the directer, and the delicate construction of this movie eliminates the stereotypical depiction of a tough people in mainland China living in a quiet life and the energy of Hong Kong at the bottom level.

I remember those young teenage girls just hanging around everywhere in the city--in the shopping mall, empty cafe, souvenir store without visitors--without the place to visit and play around for young people. (2/3 of the population in Shen Zhen were female, and the average age was 17 years old in 2003) They were taken from the surrounding countryside to this special economic zone, and sitting in the ground floor of an empty building. They will never become the consumer--they might get consumed as products like Yan was so they are just waiting--or they won't even have such chance and opportunity. The low temperature of their mind as they were thrown off into such void and emptiness---I can not argue about the energy of youth, the energy of growth by seeing them as a third person from outside of the issues.

At home, Yan doesn't speak about the life in Hong Kong. One day, she was told from her aunt that Yan's younger cousin wants to study dance in Hong Kong so she wants Yan to take her and live there together. Yan can not honestly support that idea. Yan also receives phone calls from her colleagues in Hong Kong telling her to come back for the job, but she no longer wants to go back and do the same. Her insecurity begins to affects the life arround her--she soon gets divorced with Xiao-min. The stoies and descriptions illustrated around these scenes migh be telling that the sense of values about a family, the relationship between parents and chilcren, begin to shift or change even in the countryside of China.

Of course, seeing her close friends of the same generation makes her feel at home even if there are inevitable differences in the ways they think today. There is a scene, that they sing a folky song going outside of the town along with a railroad. The song is very generous hearted for the mind of today's, telling the open and natural daily life and the humorous relationship of the past people. Yan playfully sings that song by herself to the wide open field---a steam locomotive passes by--what a different scenery from the crowded Hong Kong street! The way she sings that song looks like she wants to laugh at the past and forget, or she is trying to cover up the feeling of emptiness for what she did and the money she saved up.

It is also true that for someone lie Yan, who once lived inside of the shadow of a modern city, might harshly experience the light and dark of the civilization and see the vanity side of it. The way she handled those man (more like a sport) was not the depiction of such stereotypical "hardiness=the energy of a city, Hong Kong," but the ironic illustration of an urban reality--a cheap gambling of lives and their container as a city, behind its seemingly flamboyant but skin-deep appearance. Yan took hundreds of men as customers, waves and waves of emptiness--she just brushed off one by one without much thought. The life behind the skin-deep....it was a quite dry humor.

In this movie, there are many metapholic plots--Durian in the movie title might be the metaphor of some important theme. Durian is a popular fruit produced in south eastern Asia, with a thick, spiny shell--it is very hard to open up the shell, and the inside of the shell has a quite strong smell.
In one scene at Hong Kong, Fhan's father brought one Durian home for his family telling he really liked when he had one. But he had hard time opening the fruit, and even though he succeeded, that smell was unpopular among his family members.

Durian is called "the king of a fruit." People know its name. But not many people have experience of actually eating it. It has such a unique appearance unlike other fruit, and facing to that large spiny looks, people will wonder what it is, and how to eat--it is even courageous to say in front of the hard shell, "let's open it" or with that strong, intense smell, "let's eat it." (actually, I never had one)
Yan received a boxed Durian from Fhan as a gift, a nice and warm surprise for Yan. She tries to share it with her family and her friends, but nobody has experience of eating it, so nobody even knows how to eat it. A friend succeeded to open it, but the smell prevented them from eating it. This sounds like a metaphor that something seemingly nice and new is brought in, but nobody knows how to deal with it until it's niceness is discovered--the metaphoric depiction of the relationship between the modern Hong Kong, and the countryside China.

It reminded me of a Chinese aphoristic story. There is a wise sage who has knowledge but he keeps sielnt and doesn't act, and an ordinally who just takes things in front of him without questioning. But there is also a fool, who breakes the established rules and start acting. In front of Durian, we are asked to become one of them--Durian is like a touchstone to wait for some fool to show up. The scene of Yan or her relavites having hard time dealing with Durin might be reflecting the confusing and difficult future of China and its people.


There was another metaphoric episode of Yan---as she was working in Hong Kong, she washes the body of men, so the skin of her hands keep peeling off. One customer, a young punk with a tatoo on his back, talks about the tatoo to Yan. "It wasn't that difficult to get the tatoo--it was painful when it is carved, but that's only when it is painful." This seems like that the punk, an image of a cheesy reality of Hong Kong, got something cheap for his cheap brain, but he is now unescapable from such limited and restricted world by what he got--while Yan, with her youth and energy, the damaged skin just peels off and it is recovered, the new life can begin.

The ending of this movie is the scene of a classical Chinese opera on an outdoor stage in Mudanjiang. It seems that the dancer is Yan, as she might have decided to return to her root. It is not something that we can say that is a happy ending or not--this movie itself was not very "movie" like with straightforward story line and well composited pieces of episodes, and the ending suggests the confusing condition itself of China and its people. The road of a trial and error that they have to take is suggested through this movie.


Those Chinese movies before were typical to present a happy ending or a tragic ending, which is to summarize the movie as a complete story. That enables the audience to easily define the relationship between the story and ourself--for example, the epic story of the past with a tragic ending gives you a catharsis of emotion through nostalgy. That is that and is enjoyable but there is now a new generation who realized that such method of movie making can not describe the reality of today.


Among other Hong Kong based film maker, Won Ka-wai illustrates the dry, inward depression and ennui suddenly outpour with agression, while he elevates its keeness by stylized visual image and editing.
On the contrary, Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-Hsien looks at the characters with such dryness or depression in their mind from outside with a distance. Sometimes the eyes of the camera is steel cold, but the distance itself can become cold or transparent, or warm and close depending on how each audience approachs to the characters.
Judging from the change in Asian film making, a stereotypical illustration of Asian cities can no longer describe what the today's Asia is. What do you say, my asian friends?

P.S. Later I learned this movie is a series of three movies by Fruit Chan. I watched others, too so wait for another review.
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。