The Generation and Extension of Memories

Chen Chin-pao's "Topology of Time"
:::

2019 / June

Shen Bo-yi /photos courtesy of Chen Chin-pao /tr. by Phil Newell


“The idea that a photograph is equivalent to a memory is in fact extremely weak; a photograph can at best be the catalyst for a memory, but not the memory itself,” says Chen Chin-pao.


How should we think about those photos that were not taken? How should we think about the relationship between photography and memory? Are photographs “evi­dence” of memories of the past?

When we speak about photographs, we are always talking about a certain moment in the past. The nature of photography, it seems, is to cause times past to re­appear. However, there are unforgettable moments that are only stored in memory, and have not been recorded by photography or any other medium. These un­recorded, unforgettable moments are precisely the theme to which Chen Chin-pao has dedicated himself.

Chen began to pay attention to these memories that were never recorded after he was deeply touched by a sentence in the book L’Amant, by Marguerite Duras, which he read while studying in New York. “Who would have thought of such a thing? The photograph could only have been taken if someone could have known in advance how important it was to be in my life, … no one even knew of its existence. Except God.” This sentence about “photo­graphs that were not taken” connected strongly with Chen’s life experiences, and thus opened up the opportun­ity to undertake a related photography project.

Reconstructing photography and memory

Chen began to devote attention to the relationship between photographs and memories in his Circum­gyration Project. In the project, done when Chen was an art teacher in a primary school, through the ­performances of students on campus he sought to bring back those scenes that were unforgettable for these students yet had never been photographed. He collected worksheets with descriptions of unforgettable memories in writing or drawings made by students or their parents. He then had the students and their families pose for photographs to create images of these deeply inscribed memories.

Although one can say that at first glance this project is full of childlike fun and warmly takes viewers back to those memories, in fact it raises questions about the core of photography: What in the end is memory? What is ­reality? Chen Chin-pao was by no means using photo­graphy to record existing reality, but rather was using the text and images of the worksheets to reconstruct memories. Therefore, this series of photos by Chen is not about the photo­grapher capturing existing reality, but is about trying to use photo­graphy to produce images that reflect his subjects’ memor­ies themselves. In other words, the basis for these images is not reality, but the interpretation of memor­ies or imagina­tion. Beside the interpretation of mem­or­ies inherent in the descriptions made in the worksheets, there is also the interpretation made by the photographer in composing the photographs and in posing the children and their families to reenact the scenes described.  

 

Developing photographs

—Cai-Liu Xinhui

When I was young, my father opened the first photo studio in Madou. Business was booming, and my mother routinely worked until very late helping out. Once I got up in the middle of the night, and saw my mother doing the final step of washing the photos in clean water. She was so tired she fell asleep and her face nearly plunged into the water. I decided I would help out, and asked my father to teach me how to develop photos in the darkroom. I learned very quickly.

 

Unblocking the Longhou spring

—Chen Suzhen

I went to primary school near Shuikutou. At that time in Madou they were digging out the Longhou spring [which had been deliberately blocked some two centuries earlier], bringing up sugarcane grinding stones, large rocks and so on. People said that the water of Longhou had healing properties, and that Longhou soil could cure skin conditions. I often went with adults to Shuikutou and saw the amazing images that appeared in sediment that settled out of Longhou water poured into bowls. People flocked from all around to worship at Shuikutou, and the area was bubbling with activity. The Five Gods returned to Madou to build a temple! Today I give guided tours at Madou Old Port Cultural Park, introducing Madou’s culture and history and teaching people about the evolution of Shuikutou and Longhou. This brings back many memories of when I was small.

 

Outdoor Movie Screenings

—Liang Maolong

What I remember most about the Tsung-Yeh Sugar Factory is that in the 1960s, whenever there was a holiday like National Day or Taiwan Retrocession Day, films would be shown there for everyone to watch, in the Sun Yat-sen Hall or on the plaza. In those days there weren’t very many recreational activities, and the younger me would seize the opportunity to see a movie for free. I spent many a happy hour there and saw many films. Of these, Last Train from Gun Hill and John and Mary still dimly remain as beautiful memories, even though 40 or 50 years have passed since I saw them.

 

The Little Train

—Zhong Guizhen

When I was young I visited sugar refineries in southern Taiwan. I even specially took a narrow-gauge train from Chiayi to the Suantou refinery to stay overnight. This little train was really interesting; sometimes men would jump off to urinate and then catch back up. I was lucky enough to marry into a family living in Zongye, where I could hear the little train’s whistle. When the train started moving, the air was filled with the intoxicating scent of sugarcane. Even more charmingly, hot water flowed through the drainage ditch in front of the village. We could often see the trains being assembled, and I feel nostalgic for the beautiful, stately wooden train stations. The Tsung-Yeh Sugar Factory was one of the better-designed refineries that I have seen, with the factory area separate from the administrative area. That’s why the part that has been transformed into the Tsung-Yeh Arts and Cultural Center has such a calming atmosphere.

 

Relevant articles

Recent Articles

繁體 日本語

記憶的生成與綿延

陳敬寶《時間拓撲》

文‧沈柏逸 圖‧陳敬寶

「將攝影等同於回憶這種說法其實非常脆弱;一張照片充其量可以是記憶的觸媒,而不會是記憶本身。」


我們如何考慮那些沒被拍下來的照片呢?我們又要如何思考攝影跟記憶之間的關係?攝影是過去記憶的「證據」嗎?

當我們談到攝影照片,總是關於過去的某個時刻,照片的特質似乎就是再現過去的時光。然而,有些難忘的時刻卻只停留在記憶裡,沒被攝影或任何媒介記錄下來。關於這些沒被再現的難忘記憶,恰恰是陳敬寶投入的主題。

陳敬寶開始關注那些被沒再現的記憶,是由於他在紐約求學時看了莒哈絲(Marguerite Duras)的小說《情人》(L’Amant),深受其中一句話影響,「誰想得到呢,誰知道當那個當下對於我後來的一輩子,有那麼重大的影響,所以沒有人想到拍照,除了上帝以外。」而這句關於「沒來得及拍下照片」的話,也深刻地連結他的生命經驗,進而開啟他進行持續拍攝相關計畫的契機。

攝影與記憶的重構

陳敬寶在《迴返計畫》開始明確地關注攝影與記憶的關係。同時是小學美術老師的他,在《迴返計畫》中透過學生在校園的表演,重返這些小朋友難忘卻沒被拍下來的場景。他透過學習單收集學生或學生家長書寫的難忘回憶,以攝影擺拍的方式,重現出那些深刻的記憶片段。

雖說這計畫乍看富有童趣,溫馨地帶領觀者回到那些回憶裡,但實質上卻是對攝影的核心進行叩問——亦即到底什麼是記憶?什麼是現實?因為陳敬寶並非透過攝影去記錄或再現既有的現實,而是藉由「關於記憶的文本」(圖文學習單)重構記憶。因此,陳敬寶的這一系列照片,並非是對於攝影者拍攝當下的現實捕捉,而是關於試圖以拍攝呈現記憶本身的影像。換言之,影像所本的不關乎現實,更多是關乎記憶或想像的詮釋。這當中除了學習單文本對於過去記憶的詮釋以外,同時包括攝影家對於照片構成或演員調度上的詮釋。  

 

洗照片  蔡柳信慧

小時候,爸爸開了麻豆第一間照相館。生意很好,媽媽也經常要協助工作到很晚。有天晚上我半夜起來,看到媽媽還在進行最後的水洗,累到睡著了,臉都差點浸到水裡。我決定要幫忙,請爸爸在暗房裡教我放像和沖洗照片。我很快就學會了。

 

重啟龍喉  王素真

我讀小學時,學校就在水堀頭附近,那時候麻豆正在重啟龍喉,挖出石車、大石頭……等,流傳龍喉水可以治病、龍喉土可治皮膚病。我常和大人到水堀頭,看龍喉水泥沙在碗盤中形成的奇蹟。各地的鄉民紛紛到水堀頭來朝拜,人氣沸騰!五王重回麻豆建廟!我現在古港文化園區導覽麻豆的文化歷史,了解水堀頭(龍喉)的變遷,勾起很多小時候的回憶。

 

戶外電影放映  梁茂隆

我對總爺糖廠印象最深刻的事,是在民國五十年代,每逢國慶日、光復節……等節慶日的晚上,會在中山堂或廣場上放映電影,供大家觀賞。那個年代娛樂活動仍 相當匱乏。當時年少的我都會抓住機會,前來看免費的電影。在這裡我看過許多場電影,度過許多美好的時光。其中,「岡山

最後列車」和「相逢何必曾相識」兩部影片,雖然事隔四、五十年,還依稀留在我美好的記憶裡。

 

小火車  鍾桂珍

年輕時走過南台灣的糖廠,還特地從嘉義坐五分車到蒜頭廠住宿。這小火車真是有意思,有男生跳下去小便再追上來。我有幸嫁到總爺,就可聽到火車鳴啼之聲。開動時空氣佈滿蔗香,令人醺醺的。更可愛的庄前排水溝有熱水流過。常可看到火車的調度,漂亮有氣勢的木造車站令人懷念。「它」是我見過規畫相當完整的糖廠,工廠區、行政區分開,所以現存之轉型為總爺藝文中心的區塊,才能如此讓人寧靜的氛圍。

               

記憶の生成と継続

——陳敬宝の『時間の拓本』

文・陳敬寶 写真・陳敬寶 翻訳・山口 雪菜

「写真は記憶に等しいという考えは、実は非常に脆弱だ。一枚の写真はせいぜい記憶の触媒であり、記憶そのものではない」


かつて撮られることのなかった写真をどう考えればいいのだろう。また写真と記憶との関係はどうとらえるべきなのだろうか。写真は過去の記憶の「証拠」なのだろうか。

写真を論ずる時、それは常に過去のある時点や瞬間に関わるものであり、写真は過去を再現するものであるかのように語られる。しかし、忘れられない瞬間の多くは記憶の中だけにとどまっており、写真も記録も残されていないものだ。こうした、再現されないが忘れがたい思い出こそ、陳敬宝が取り組むテーマである。

陳敬宝が再現されない記憶に関心を寄せ始めたのは、ニューヨーク留学中にマルグリット‧デュラスの小説『愛人 ラマン』をんだことがきっかけだった。その中にこんな言葉があった。「誰が思っただろう。誰が知っていただろう。その瞬間が私の後の人生にあれほど重大な影響をおよぼすことを。だから誰も写真を撮ることなど思いもつかなかった。神を除いて」。この「撮らなかった写真」に関する言葉が彼の人生経験と深く結びつき、ここから関連する制作計画へと発展していったのである。

写真と記憶の再構築

陳敬宝は、そのシリーズ作品『迴返計画』から明確に写真と記憶の関係に関心を注ぎ始めた。小学校の美術教師でもある彼は、『迴返計画』の中で、子供たちにとって忘れられない思い出でありながら写真に撮らなかったシーンを再現している。彼は生徒の文章や絵などから生徒や保護者にとって忘れられない記憶を収集し、写真としてその記憶の一部の再現を試みた。

この計画は、大切な思い出を再現する温もりのある行為のように見えるが、実は「記憶とは何か、現実とは何か?」という写真の核心を問う行為である。なぜなら陳敬宝は、写真を通して既存の現実を記録または再現しているのではなく、「記憶に関わる文章や絵」を通して記憶を再構築しているからだ。したがって、陳敬宝のこのシリーズは、撮影者がその時点の現実をとらえたものではなく、写真を通して記憶にある画像の表現を試みたものなのである。言い換えれば、写真は現実とはかかわりがなく、記憶または想像の解釈と言える。生徒たちの記憶に関わる文章や絵の解釈である他に、写真家による構図や人物の選択といった解釈も込められている。

X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!
更快速更方便!