策展人的前言

策展人的話 | A Word from the Curator

去年第一屆的城市遊牧設計影展後,很多人問我「為什麼要做設計影展?」為防其實他們問的是「設計這回事有重要到得辦個影展嗎?」所以我就直說了:沒錯,設計非常重要。1932年,紐約當代藝術館成立了建築與設計策展部門,置身超過八十年後的現在,我們能大膽地說這是一門重要的研究領域。更甚,城市遊牧設計影展也並非世界上第一個「設計影展」。但如果大家問到「身為一個影展策展人,你是否對這議題特別有興趣?」我會說,那是因為我關注藝術,大學時期也研究藝術,也從未將「城市遊牧」單純地視為影展,而是一個「充滿創意的平台」。現在,成了台灣設計師週的一部份,這是個獨一無二的機會,讓我們從美學、生活、設計作品、藝術家及建築的角度,創造一次集中議題的影展。

影片的內容當然是陣容堅強。自從2007年〈設計三部曲〉 的首部曲〈Helvetica〉 打頭陣推出後,與設計和建築相關的絕佳紀錄片如雨後春筍冒出;同一時期,不只是「設計類紀錄片」,還包含各種類型的紀錄片導演,在敘事結構上都更加精進,並且開始仿效與好萊塢及類型電影的手法。今年的設計影展中,各位能看到紀錄片中的浪漫愛情喜劇、悲壯人物傳記以及黑色電影(film noir),同時也能仔細檢視上世紀最重要的視覺創意。我發現觀眾其實能輕易地與這類型影片有所連結,但奇怪的是,台灣鮮有影展映演這些影片。台灣的大型影展多年來一直有大篇幅的搖滾類型影片,卻對於重要性日益增加的藝術、設計以及其他創意領域的影片鮮有著墨。事實上,創意所帶來的經濟價值已然十分龐大且日益增長,一般人以藝術家或建築師為偶像的例子也屢見不鮮。尤其在美國,影像工作者開始對藝術家、設計師開始有興趣,將這些故事以更引人入勝的方式呈現。所以是的,我們當然要辦設計影展。

今年的設計影展中,有兩部影片介紹二十世紀最有影響力的現代派設計師,是夫妻檔的蕾與查爾斯伊姆斯,以及蕾拉與馬西摩維內利。如果你曾在IKEA買過任何東西,就一定感受過他們所遺留下來的影響,同時也會為這兩對夫妻分別結褵37年及超過50年所感動。當代藝術家的生命相較而下就更多采多姿,沒幾個人能維持長久的婚姻。一部記錄辛蒂雪曼這位現存最昂貴當代藝術家之一的紀錄片,就是由被她拋棄的前男友擔任製片,講述五年的過往情史。順道一提,辛蒂雪曼發明了自拍照,每個女生在Instagram上發表自己的照片都得歸功於她。另外還有尚米榭巴斯奇亞,從塗鴉藝術家變成安迪沃荷的超級好友,最後在28歲時死於用藥過量。插畫家湯米溫格爾倒是活得比較久,但卻因為他的情色卡通遭到美國出版業放逐。和設計師比起來,藝術家的生活還更精采刺激而動盪。

說到正經的東西,就不得不提荷蘭建築師雷姆庫哈斯的片,他在士林的「台北表演藝術中心」也正在興建中。庫哈斯亦與四十位世界知名建築師一同出現於影片〈全球都被都市化〉中,該片一定會是各位見過都市計畫議題,甚至是人類命運類型影片中,最具前衛思考特質的一部。

最重要的是,我希望觀眾把這些影片單純地視為影片,發現它們有趣、感動、知性以及刺激思考的面向,因為這就是這些影片的本質。除此之外,我期待這些影片能改變一些對於設計常見的誤解。「設計」常被以務實的角度檢視,尤其是在商人及政治人物眼中,常單純地把設計視為一種工藝、或是一種銷售的手法,這絕對是天大的謬誤。法國評論家賈克宏西耶提到設計是一種「藉由文字、形式和定義的組合…是能夠被看見、被思考的某種結構或物質世界的存在形式。」換言之,設計是我們看待世界、統整社會、決定你我身為人類價值的程序之一。我期待這些影片能為台灣設計界帶來對於這些價值,以及如何為未來塑造價值的討論。

 - David Frazier, 城市遊牧影展策展/創辦人

(for English, click on the link below)

A Word from the Curator

After last year’s first edition of the Urban Nomad Design Cinema, a lot of people asked, “Why make a design film festival?” Just in case they are asking, “Is design such an important subject that it should have its own film festival?”, I will go ahead and reply: Yes, design is certainly that important. The Museum of Modern Art in New York established a curatorial department for architecture and design in 1932, and we can safely say that design has been a major field of study for at least eight decades now. Moreover, Urban Nomad Design Cinema is hardly the world’s first “design film festival.” But if they are asking, “Why, as a film curator, are you interested in this topic?” It is because I care about art, I studied it in college, and have always viewed Urban Nomad as not just a film festival, but as a “creative platform.” Now, as part of Taiwan Designers Week, there is a unique chance to create a really focused film festival looking at aesthetics and the lives and work of designers, artists and architects.

The films are also pretty awesome. Great documentaries about design and architecture have been pouring out since the film “Helvetica” spearheaded the whole genre of “design docs” in 2007. At the same time, directors of every type of documentary — not just “design docs” — have gotten much better at storytelling, taking some tips from Hollywood and genre film. In this year’s design cinema, you will find the documentary-world equivalents of romantic comedies, tragic biopics and film noir. At the same time, you will also see serious examinations of some of the most important visual ideas of the last century. I find it natural that people can identify with these films and strange that few other festivals in Taiwan are showing them. Taiwan’s big film festivals have featured rock n roll segments for years now, but they have been slow to appreciate the growing importance of art, design and other creative fields. But the reality is that the creative economy is already very big, and it is growing. It is common for people to identify their heroes as artists or architects. Filmmakers, especially in the US, have also become interested in artists and designers, and they have learned to make their stories exciting. So, yes, of course we should have a design film festival.

In this year’s design cinema, two films introduce us the most influential modernist designers of the 20th century, the husband and wife teams of Ray and Charles Eames and Lella and Massimo Vignelli. If you have ever bought anything at IKEA, you have been influenced by their legacy. You will also be amazed that their marriages lasted 37 and 50 plus years, respectively. Contemporary artists led much racier lives, and few of them have been able to stay married as long. There is a documentary about Cindy Sherman, one of the most expensive contemporary artists now living, produced by her jilted ex-boyfriend about their five year fling. Cindy Sherman, by the way, invented the selfie. Every girl posting photos of herself on Instagram owes her a debt. There is Jean-Michel Basquiat, who went from a graffiti artist to a superstar friend of Andy Warhol, and then died of drugs at the age of 28. The illustrator Tomi Ungerer managed to live much longer, but was banished from publishing in the US because of his erotic cartoons. Compared to designers, artists lead exciting, turbulent lives.

As for the serious stuff, it is gratifying to show a film on Rem Koolhaas, just as his Taipei Performing Arts Center is being constructed in Shihlin. Koolhaas is also featured in Urbanized along with 40 of the world’s most famous architects. Urbanized is one of the most forward thinking films about city planning — and possibly the fate of the human race — you will ever see.

Mostly, I hope people will enjoy these films as films. I hope audiences will find them funny and touching and informative and thought provoking, because they truly are. Aside from that, I hope these films can help change some common misconceptions about design. Design is too often viewed pragmatically, especially by businessmen and politicians, who tend to view it simply as a craft, or else a way to sell things. This is an enormous mistake. The French critic Jacques Ranciere instead declares that design “is the way in which, by assembling words or forms, people define…certain configurations of what can be seen and can be thought, certain forms of inhabiting the material world.” In other words, design is part of the process of how we view the world, how we organize our societies and how we determine our human values. Hopefully these films will help feed discussions within Taiwan’s design communities about those values and how we can shape them for the future.

 - David Frazier, Urban Nomad founder