VOP Issue 33：靈／媒 Phantom Medium
Voices of Photography 攝影之聲
VOP Issue 33：靈／媒 Phantom Medium
攝影術到臨之初的首批照片──由法國攝影先驅伊波利特．巴雅爾（Hippolyte Bayard）於1840年代拍攝的《溺水者的自拍像》（Autoportrait en noyé），即預示了攝影與死亡論題的永恆交集，仿若宣告攝影成為牽亡與還魂、無有雙生的一種「冥介面」，迴盪於幽明之間。
此外，我們也特別介紹藝術家Shannon Taggart對唯靈論信仰展開長達近二十年的親身訪查，在《降靈會》系列中記錄了歷史悠久的歐美靈媒社群與當代通靈儀式，體現著同為靈「媒」的身體與攝影。「Artist’s Showcase」單元則特寫藝術家張徐展，介紹他近期倍受矚目的定格動畫《熱帶複眼》，探訪其轉化紙紮工藝、民俗藝陣與民間故事，所築塑出靈動的紙偶寓言劇場。而在層層幻幕中，本期由謝佩君譯介、首度揭載藝術史學者Noam M. Elcott對視覺媒介的關鍵要素「螢幕」的最新研究書寫，細緻考查了歐洲前衛派藝術家在二十世紀初對畫布到螢幕──從詞源到實踐、物質到象徵——的概念論說與實驗探索，他對媒材如何成為媒介的考論，為媒介史的探勘提供重要的思考觀點。
本期另聚焦日本的攝影出版文化，專訪攝影研究者戸田昌子與Ivan Vartanian，分享他們針對日本攝影雜誌史甫完成規模龐大的彙編著述，探尋自1880年代以降日本攝影刊物最為興盛的一百年間在日本攝影界與影像出版史留下的足印。「攝影書製作現場」系列則造訪獨立出版社SUPER LABO位於東京的專屬展示空間，細看此一別具特色的一人出版品牌的經營方法。
The very first set of photographs at the advent of photography, Autoportrait en noyé (Self Portrait as a Drowned Man), was taken by the French photographer and pioneer, Hippolyte Bayard in 1840. It is as though the photographs foreshadowed the eternal intersection of photography and the issue of death, declaring photography as a confluence of light and shadow that straddles between the visible and the unseen, through which the departed are evocated and resurrected.
In this issue, Lee Li-Chun describes how photography becomes the spirit that transcends the physical body, preaching the gospel of immortality through post-mortem photography that was most popular during the 19th century. Chen Ya-Wen explores the way the skeleton, the evergreen emblem in visual art, finds its way into magic lanterns and phantasmagoria to the light and shadow projections in films over the past six centuries. Chen Meng-Lan looks at the conceptual potential of the Chinese designation of photography, sheying, as “capturing shadows'' and the discourse between the science and spirituality of photography as she looks at the works of the spiritualist group, Shanghai Lingxue Society, that was most active in ‘spirit photography’ during the early 1910s. In East Asia where most espouse a strong belief in the afterlife and practise relevant rituals to anticipate it, Kim Jeehey’s comparative research into the cultural imagery history across different regions through photographs taken of ‘ghost marriages’, death memorials and love-pact suicides reveals the patriarchal social structure behind the images that are driven by the dead. Chen Wan-Yin compares the European avant-garde movement of the early 20th century, spiritual science, and artist Hsu Chia-Wei’s video installation, using digital computing to depict the process of invocating the local deity of Matsu, Marshal Tie Jia. Chang Shih-Lun looks back at Taiwan’s most prominent cases of spiritual manifestations since the 1990s──Sung Chi-Li’s fenshen or body-double manifestation photographs──and examines the spectacle universe of “light” and “imagery”, and the cultural meaning behind the trend of spiritual photography that grew in Taiwan after the era of martial law.
In addition, we are also featuring artist Shannon Taggart’s work on spiritism that spanned over twenty years, culminating in her Séance series that documents spiritualist practices and communities in the United States and Europe, showcasing the body and photography as mediums. In “Artist’s Showcase”, we feature artist Zhang Xu Zhan and his recent stop-motion work Compound Eyes of Tropical that has attracted much attention. Through his work, we look at how he transformed the traditional art of papercraft, folk art and folklore into a lively paper puppet theater of fables. Meanwhile, amidst the many layers of illusion, we present art historian Noam. M. Elcott’s analysis on the significance of screens, a key element in the visual medium, for the first time ever. Translated by Hsieh Pei-Chun, we see Elcott’s study of the concept and practice of the European avant-garde artists in the early 20th century as they shifted from canvas to screens, from etymology to practice, and from materialism to symbolism. Elcott’s research on how the medium comes to be provides us with important points to think about as we look into the history of media.
This issue also shines the spotlight on the publishing scene in Japan with interviews with photography researchers Masako Toda and Ivan Vartanian, as they share their vast compilation of work on the history of Japanese photography magazines and the influence that they have left behind in the century since the 1880s when such publications saw their heyday. This new installment in the “Photobook Making Case Study” brings us to independent publisher SUPER LABO’s exclusive exhibition space in Tokyo, as we take a close look at the management style of this unique one-man publisher.
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