极简 + 科学风 = 禁欲系 ？
（展览的名字叫 “数字house”，仿照了 live house 的名字。）— 文／董菁
The magic of trend lies in its power to take one away from what used to be an appeal, in other words, the power of betrayal. Overnight few of us got cold easily or talked about regimen anymore when ninth pants came into fashion, a friend told me.
When Minimalism becomes one of the key words these days, other styles, like vintage, street, vaporwave, and even the prevailing abstinent line, without exception, are trying to match with it.
Minimalism + Science = Abstinence ?
Our worship of science can be dated back to the early times, and now we fall in love with scientists, smart scientists, or even science majors, who are believed to be a tribe that never fall in love but get burnt by the fire of desire. When love is inhibited, they can do nothing but resist the urge — what an adorable image!
But unfortunately, it is far from sympathy for the weak, because scientists, as they are, are overmatches with powerful brains, strict logic, keen insight, who can annihilate the world any second. Their shyness is interpreted as respect for women, so they do not push…
So the abstinent line refers to those who are physically empowered but morally disciplined, implying extraordinary capacity. It is similar to “man show”, but in “man show” there is a hint of timidity. Abstinence, however, emphasizes that one has the guts but is highly restrained. Then, what restrains an athlete fasting during the World Cup, a gentle and reserved Asian, or an honest official with considerable power?
Why should one allow himself or herself to be restrained? Is there anything about victory of the will?
Abstinence amends the victory of will, as it is directed at one’s most powerful part rather than the opposite. Fascism tried to bring under control the weakest part of our mind so as to reach perfection. In other words, Fascism urges one to grow and rise by breaking through all previous ceilings, whereas abstinence cancels the lower limits.
Food belongs to the lower limit, so a gastronome is never a cold-blooded guy. When we gather to talk about cooking, joy is overflowing around. With relaxed lower limit, we won’t make a fuss about gardening, belly-worship, fetish or money-worship, and sexual drive is naturally justified as human nature, demand for ethics in love is reduced — not asking for everlasting love, accepting escapade, divorce and cohabitation, allowing family, basic unit of social life, to disintegrate. In our home, there is less and less to recall our memory, when minimalism teaches people to keep only the fundamentally necessary stuff at home: extreme minimalist life style. Emotionally charged movies or paintings fail to appeal, while the mild and neutral abstract style began to catch on.
In our days when there is no lower limit for a perfect guy, individualism leads to the belief that the lowest part makes the highlight that will earn people their most decisive moment in life. The Hobbits in The Lord of Rings had seven meals a day, and life offered nothing more than their stories with the neighbors unless they managed to resist Sauron’s temptation. The movie ends with Frodo Baggins carrying the ring to the volcano of Mount Doom. In many ways Baggins was like Michelangelo’s David.
The Lord of Rings presents a cast of characters on our social stage: half-man and half-ghost Gollums under the spell of the ring, the gluttonous but kind Hobbits who were always contented, Boromir who did not come onto the right track until the end, and some other major characters, like Saruman the White and other lords… There are also soldiers who were said to have been transformed from imprisoned spirits. It sends chill down my back, so I have to be a big-footed Hobbit!
The Legend of Tarzan, released in 2016, featured a knowledgeable, smart, inquisitive and well-built Tarzan, but he is anyway half — probably, Trump will be the terminator of this line. However, the relaxed lower limit can never be raised. Similarly the vintage style that started long ago is also a reaction against the abstinent line. The vintage style has a fond memory of the two periods. One is the gorgeous 1930s. The Great Gatsby, for instance, is the opposite of minimalism in any way. In China the return to the 1930s can be understood in another way, like the Chinese aspiration for a better life in the Republic of China period: it is a denial of today’s life.
The other period is the 1980s. Seeing the prevailing vintage style in this age, I, with all the firsthand experience of the decade on my back, can only give an exclamation: how did I never know the 1980 represented in this way! By the way, where are you from?
The vintage style has a clear minimalist vein, expansive and anti-abstinence, therefore more adorable and cuter.
What is New Media Art?
Allow me to be a bit excessive. The video, as a medium in art, is painting’s future that has arrived long ago. Variety shows are the evolved form of installation. As techniques progresses, new media rise to replace the old, but what matters most in a work of art is never on the technique side.
Why do new techniques progress this way, not that way? The direction, as a matter of fact, is in our hands, as the trend gives marginal culture enough room for revival, and new concepts will define themselves while amending the past and bringing changes to the present life style. (Text by Dong Jing)