去年我撰寫有關德國里米尼紀錄劇團（Rimini Protokoll）的創作系列《Remote X》時，不同的城市包括台灣的臺北藝術節正紛紛把它帶進藝文活動裡，卻沒有看到任何打算到香港舉行的消息，心裡多少也在期盼將來能夠親身體驗這歷時兩小時的旅程。然而，在六月隨意翻看大館劇場季的小冊子時，看到了《遙感城市》和旁邊那很熟悉的照片—— 造型各異的人們戴著耳機在馬路上行走，大概在幾分鐘內我已經購了票，還收到了確認的電郵。
就如了解的一樣，參加者徐徐到達城市漫遊的起點九龍華人基督教墳場，戴上了專屬的耳機，站在寧靜而莊嚴的墳場內，等待著語氣帶點生硬的女聲、名叫「倩怡」的人工智能作導航。就像參加旅行社舉辦的旅行團，「倩怡」指出我們既希望被群體接納，但同時渴望自己與眾不同，她稱我們為「她的部落」，於是旅程正式開始。我們這個「部落」聆聽她字句分明地演繹我們沿途風景，雖然說太子與石硤尾這兩個地區參加者或許尚算熟悉，奇怪就奇怪在我們平日每天都會經過的地鐵站、走過的斑馬線在「倩怡」的講述與背景音樂的襯托下，都成了嶄新的事物 —— 我們更像是展開了歷險。
Last year as I wrote an article about Remote X, a production by the Germany-based collective Rimini Protokoll, I noticed the programme was being featured in various arts and culture events in many major cities including the Taipei Arts Festival. Although I didn’t hear any news about the programme coming to Hong Kong, I was still hoping to personally experience this 2-hour journey. To my surprise, when flipping through the event calendar of Tai Kwun recently, I saw the title Remote Hong Kong paired up with a familiar photo in which people with different outfits are shown crossing the road wearing a headphone. I bought my ticket right away and instantly got my confirmation email.
As anticipated, participants gradually arrived at the Chinese Christian Cemetery which was the gathering point of the event. We put on our headphones, stood in the peaceful and solemn cemetery and simply let ourselves be guided by a female voice through the journey as if joining a packed tour. Talking in a rather stiff tone, the guide explained how we all desired for being accepted by a community while yearning for being unique at the same time. After addressing us as her “tribe”, we officially began our journey. The “tribe” attentively listened to her interpreting the scenery along the way as we walked through familiar neighborhoods like Prince Edward and Shek Kip Mei. The narration of our “tour guide” together with a background music have offered new definitions to the MTR stations and the streets that we see every day, it felt almost like an adventure into the unknown.
The voice instructed us to do things that would attract public attention, such as dancing wildly in the park, sitting down on the staircase of a mall and clapping hands, walking backward in a residential complex, etc. These are probably the attention that one would avoid when being alone, but the support of the “tribe” somehow gave us the strength to face the curious eyes. The female narrator reminded us “You are protected by your tribe” and “You are among my tribe members, I will protect you”, and soon we arrived at St. Francis of Assisi Church, where the journey saw a radical change. A male narrator took over and disbanded our tribe by taking with him some group members who trusted him.
What happened after we went on separate ways? I will leave it for you to experience yourself. What I can tell is that we actually gathered once again towards the end of the journey and was bidden farewell by a dramatic downpour of rain when the tour finally came to an end. In the midst of the rain, I could still faintly hear the male narrator saying, “Wandering the city in your bodies, I have gathered enough information. Next time, I can use your mind and we will naturally become one…”