延伸說明|創團初衷及回顧(持續補充)

藝術報國基地

期待未來藝術報國能夠享有帶著臺中市政府文化局傑出演藝團隊的標誌,不只在臺灣,也讓世界看見!

延伸說明|創團初衷及回顧(持續補充)

柏潔與鈺分,分別為舞蹈及設計背景,過去在多元的產業中累積專業及人生經驗。直到2021年,因心之所向決定重拾創作實踐,陸續展開行動及前置工作。於2021年2月起租用排練空間,親手設計打造藝術報國基地。2021年9月立案登記藝術報國團隊,並於2022年4月起全職經營。

藝術報國基地(本團排練場)在2021年5月開幕,原計畫在開幕後能開啟一系列展演與交流,快速使基地成為中部藝術工作者們的聚落。中部具有地利優勢,南來北往的藝術工作者、很容易到此處落腳排練、參加或舉辦工作坊;國外的藝術家朋友們,也能駐地工作,以基地為中心擴張,認識臺中的人文底蘊與多元環境。

開幕之初,希望形成一股草根力量,展現藝術能為社會帶來正面的影響力。

然而全球性的疫情, 讓我們在開幕後即進入長達19個月的防疫期,這段時間是藝術報國的起步之時,無人的排練場,成為柏潔與鈺分的練舞場。起初只能透世界各國的網課、線上演出與外界互動。這段期間,我們深刻的理解到,實體空間、地理移動、真實互動,仍然有科技無法取代的共時與共感。在資訊密集的時空中,人與人之間的會面、理解、交流,是彌足珍貴的。

直到2022年5月,我們非常榮幸獲得國藝會補助「好青!藝術創造計畫」,才開始讓外界知道藝術報國基地的存在。承蒙各界的愛護,2022年5月到8月間,小小地方有了超過200人的造訪。越來越多的藝術工作者及朋友關注,主動與我們交流,場地營運至今已有超過400人造訪,比例以藝術專業人士為大宗,在近期幾次身體活動裡,也有近100名大眾與我們共學。

2021年11月,我們很榮幸受到策展人耿一偉邀請,促成藝術報國與高雄衛武營馬戲平台、雲林國際偶戲節、桃園鐵玫瑰藝術節之共同合作及巡演。經歷近一年的創作及製作期,克服種種困難。藝術報國《艾拉 – 第一次造訪》- 戶外大型偶戲及舞蹈演出在2022年10月至12月之間的6場次中,創造了超過5,000人次的觀演。奠定了我們對於創作及執行力的信心。

2023年12月起疫情解封,我們便起身跨步,陸續前往日本橫濱國際表演藝術交流會(YPAM)、亞洲製作人平台泰國工作營(APP CAMP)、韓國首爾表演藝術市集(PAMS)進行參訪。柏潔也很榮幸入選湄公河文化中心的Curated Conference計畫。本團並在2024年正式加入歐洲的IETM表演藝術國際網絡組織(總部位於比利時布魯塞爾)。在這些國際場合中,加深既有的人脈網絡,更新我們的創作近況,也介紹臺灣表演藝術現況,特別是中臺灣默默耕耘以及即將崛起的團隊及藝術家們。讓策展人、製作人們知道來到臺灣不只造訪臺北,臺中也有一股藝術動能正在發酵,值得關注。

而這股網絡力量,也從國外延續到臺中。

2023年的11月。我們很榮幸集結40多位表演藝術圈製作人、以及中部友團。在安心的環境下,自在的交流近況。當日韓國首爾表演藝術節(SPAF)藝術總監Kyu Choi也來到現場,對於臺中的藝術能量感到贊許及印象深刻。

2023年5月,法國Montpellier–Occitanie國家舞蹈中心總監 – Rizzo Christian專程來臺,到藝術報國基地拜訪。更新彼此近況、探討創作哲學及環境趨勢。

2023年10月,「ICI – International Choreographic Interlink 台加舞蹈網絡計畫」3名藝術家 Michael Caldwell (Summer Works藝術總監)、Andrea Nann (Dreamwalker Dance Company藝術總監)、Heidi Strauss (adelheid 藝術總監)至藝術報國基地交流。認識中部藝文環境、交換創作觀念。

2024年1月,旅法舞蹈家林怡芳至藝術報國基地交流,並成功洽談第一次合作,於2024年2月舉辦身體工作坊,報名及參與相當熱絡。

藝術報國是很年輕的團隊,成立至今29個月,而排練場已租用了33個月。過去這段時間的行政營運,來自團隊自籌的維繫。然而團隊成立之初的目標,是要以創作為核心,激盪出更多的動能。回到務實層面,創作與製作更需要人力、物力與資金。

因此期許能夠獲得志同道合的夥伴以及國家的支持,以維繫初心,持續累積自身創作動能,繼續打造中部開放、互動的藝術聚落。更期待未來藝術報國能夠享有帶著臺中市政府文化局傑出演藝團隊的標誌,不只在臺灣,也讓世界看見!

Exploring daily life with Ayla 《Ayla-the First Visit》

This article is provided by an interview for the 2022 Taoyuan Iron Rose Art Festival.

“Until the end of life, they still want to know how much potential this world holds.”

Po-Chieh CHEN

Exploring daily Life with Ayla, Ayla-the First Visit

Author: Ya-Chun,CHANG

The two creators of “Ars Association”, Po-Chieh CHEN and Yu-Fen CHEN, originally worked for many years at the National Taichung Theater. They became acquainted with each other through their work and discovered they shared the same beliefs. They became partners and embarked on the path of creation together, establishing “Ars Association” as not only a performance space and exchange platform, but also a production team with limitless possibilities and without labels. They have gathered a variety of talents, and the name “Ars Association” itself has a dialogic quality that reflects their desire to engage in discussion and dialogue with society through their work.

Po-Chieh CHEN(Left)and Yu-Fen CHEN(Right)Photo by James Lin.

Po-Chieh CHEN has a background as a dancer and choreographer, having danced in a dance company in the United States. In 2004, she decided to return to Taiwan and became an arts administrator. She has worked at various organizations such as the Lan Yang Dance Company, Cloud Gate 2, and the Performing Arts Alliance. She even worked at the Eslite Bookstore to experience different lifestyles. Later, she settled at the National Taichung Theater, where she has explored various aspects of performing arts work from production, environment to official matters.

Yu-Fen CHEN studied and worked in landscape design and related large-scale projects. However, her passion for performing arts and her desire to engage in theater prompted her to enter the National Taichung Theater to gain experience. During her tenure at the National Taichung Theater, she held various positions, including general administration, backstage furniture decoration, indicator installation project., landscape projects, and product design and development. She pieced together a theater map in her mind by approaching and scrutinizing the field from different angles. Driven by curiosity, she unleashed her creative soul without limitations.

Ayla from the Future: You and Me in the Present

During an event, curator Yi-Wei KENG proposed an art promotion project to the Ars Association team. He hoped that they could create a large puppet in an approachable style to promote art to the audience. Additionally, the puppet had to incorporate circus elements such as stilts, which increased the difficulty level of the project.

After accepting the invitation, they began to explore and discuss various aspects of the project: who would create it, why they were creating it, and why they were making a puppet? Ultimately, they wanted the work to have a long lifespan, so that it could continue to evolve and develop over time. After several proposals and rejections, they came up with the idea of a little girl from the future named “Ayla.” Ayla’s mission in the present was to conduct field research for her elementary school graduation project and share her findings with her classmates.

Accompanied by Ayla’s wandering and investigation, perhaps during the process, she can lead everyone to think about some of the issues that people are concerned about in a relaxed way. Although elementary school students come from the future, they are all participating in current events. Maybe those issues no longer exist in her world, but for us, they are still present. Rather than describing her background story, the performance team believes that the most important thing is the “present”. The team also brings up a thought: Why does Ayla care about the past world? Perhaps it is no longer the case in the future world, and maybe the human body no longer exists, leaving only memories. But why do they still want to explore? Because “until the end of life, they still want to know how much potential this world holds.” they say.

Because “until the end of life, they still want to know how much potential this world holds.” they say.

They named the performance “Ayla-the First Visit”, which also means that this is just the first form and there will be more possibilities in the future. At the same time, the team also created a Facebook fan page for Ayla, creating a form of participation. Through simple graphics and text, and the childlike tone and touch, we can see the world that we take for granted in the present.

How would people in the future imagine our current lives when they see the relics of our present? Is our art now a documentary or a creation? The comparison between the present and the future may bring people more associations.

Ayla’s Notebook – Roadside Archeology (Illustrated by Yu-Fen CHEN)

The Secret of Ayla’s Birth

Ayla’s design was created by Yu-Fen CHEN. In a situation where there were no power resources and people had to move by using stilts, what kind of puppet should be made and how big should it be?

The first thing she thought of was the procession of the deity she saw when she was standing on the second-floor balcony as a child. Although the deity’s feet were on the ground, it was still driven solely by the human body. If it could be even taller than the tallest deity in Taiwan, it would be more visually fresh for the audience and have a better chance of achieving ergonomic design.

Therefore, they drew a character image that was about 420 cm tall and brought two sketches to consult with the puppet maker. However, since the puppet maker had limited abilities in terms of volume, they changed their direction to focus on stage production and consulted with friends who had many years of experience. Eventually, they were lucky enough to find a collaboration with ” Curve Art Space Co., Ltd. ” (referred to as “Curve”), and based on this foundation, she proceeded to do the detailed design.

The creation of the sculpture involves the integration of various techniques such as sculpture, mechanical components, and artistic painting. Different professionals work together to bring the design to life, resulting in many conversations during the production process. For example, the original design was based on the skeleton of a divine warrior, and the craftsmen suggested making modifications to refine the body shape. Additionally, they decided to switch from using bamboo weaving to rattan weaving, with weight reduction as a consideration.

Ayla’s eyes are made from a large capsule toy casing that has been modified and installed inside her head. They are controlled by a joystick, allowing her to move her gaze and giving her a more lively appearance through her “window to the soul.” Her mouth was inspired by traditional glove puppetry, while her brown hair, in order to achieve a natural flowing effect, was not fixed in a lightweight shape. Instead, it was added strand by strand, so that when she walks outdoors, she sways with the wind like a real little girl.

The most important aspect of walking for Ayla is the use of stilt-walking, which is painted and suitable for both work and dance performances. Adorable boots are also added to the stilts. At every stage of the production process, the team tries on and makes adjustments to ensure that everything is in place. “The rehearsal locations are also in outdoor parks, adapting to different terrains for practice. It’s like an obstacle course. If we don’t do it this way, we don’t know what might happen. While walking for humans may seem simple, it can be very challenging for Ayla.”

“The rehearsal locations are also in outdoor parks, adapting to different terrains for practice. It’s like an obstacle course. If we don’t do it this way, we don’t know what might happen. While walking for humans may seem simple, it can be very challenging for Ayla.”

Ayla’s head shell is made of carbon fiber, and from the inside, it appears to be a complex intertwining of metal components, resembling a mobile mini theater.

Upper:Ayla’s eyes are made from a large capsule.

Assembling Ayla

Explore with Ayla and escape the mundane.

Both the puppet and the humans are performances equally.

From the very beginning, Po-Chieh CHEN intended for dancers to perform in her work. Throughout the rehearsal process, she also contemplated another aspect of the performance, namely, the relationship between the “puppet” and people. She believes that both the puppet and humans are performers on the stage of life, and “revealing people is becoming increasingly important to me.”

In the performance “Ayla – the First Visit,” which followed, the performers would always be visible and there was choreography involved, with even Ayla trying her hand at dancing. “Our goal is to create a theatrical world within the everyday environment,” said Po-Chieh CHEN. Things that people wouldn’t normally pay attention to in their daily lives are noticed by Ayla, allowing everyone to follow her lead and see the commonplace in a new light.

Ayla’s performance will be accompanied by the dancer’s exposure, display, and wearing, as if it were the formation of a futuristic person’s alter ego. The various lifeless components are given life by the presence of humans, bringing a magical moment in time.

“Our goal is to create a theatrical world within the everyday environment” Things that people wouldn’t normally pay attention to in their daily lives are noticed by Ayla, allowing everyone to follow her lead and see the commonplace in a new light.

At the Taoyuan Iron Rose Art Festival this time, Ayla’s performance will invite the locally well-established ” Ya-Zhi Dance Company ” to participate in the collaboration, combining the background of nearby environmental construction to present a relaxed and playful feeling of exploration.

Before the performance, the front desk already displays the small items collected by Ayla, welcoming the audience to interact and participate in her fieldwork. “Ayla’s traits can accomplish many good things,” said Po-chieh CHEN. In the future, Ayla will continue to adventure and explore, whether it is outdoor and indoor performances, educational promotion, publishing, etc. The audience will join Ayla’s journey in many different places.

Ayla in the alley next to the Taoyuan Barn 169 Theater. Photo by Ren-Lin YANG.