2016年11月29日 星期二

公園與街道的顛覆

文:市川美佐子
譯:林暉鈞

東京都正中央一座森林公園的一角,有一個藍帳篷村,【註一】是無家可歸的遊民(編按:露宿者)居住的聚落。2003年秋天,我開始在這裡住下來;直到現在,這裡仍然是我最想望的安身之處。因為我覺得,在整個東京之中,這裡是我最有可能存活下去的地方。一般人被允許活著,只是為了支付高昂的房租與稅金,為了從事充滿壓力的雇傭勞動;但是在這個藍帳篷村裡的生活不一樣。在東京,每天有大量還可以使用的日用品與衣物、還可以吃的食物,被當作垃圾丟棄;這個村子裡的居民,就靠著收集、分享這些東西生活著。都市每天排放的垃圾,在這裡不但是資源,而且是聯繫人與人的溝通工具。這樣一個幾乎不倚賴金錢的、另類的社區,就存在東京──世界最高度發展的商業都市──中心的公園裡。當然,這種生活的社會基礎非常脆弱,甚至必需面對來自歧視與偏見的各種暴力襲擊。正因為如此,我們更需要社區的存在,絕不能讓人奪走社區居民彼此之間相互依存的聯繫。

聽說友人在公園裡的帳篷村搭建了自己的帳篷,於是我前來探訪──那是我第一次來到藍帳篷村。當時已經有超過三百以上的人住在這個村裡,不但有專門為人用藍色防水布搭建小屋的工匠,還有交誼廳、理髮廳,甚至還有打麻將的地方。在這座東京最有名的森林公園裡,在這森林的深處,當帳篷村突然出現在我眼前,我還以為自己已經離開了東京,來到不知名的地方。然而事實上,這裡正是東京現實的濃縮之處。

居民之中,有一些人對生活感到絕望,正打算結束自己生命的時候,漂蕩到這裡落腳。也有的人原本從事提供膳宿的土木建築業,一日之間同時失去工作與居所,開始了目前的生活。在變成遊民之前,每個人都有他各自的故事;大部份的人並不是自願成為遊民的。當然,遊民也有享受社會福利制度的權利,如果和社福機構協商順利,或許也可以選擇領取社會救濟金,在福利社施、社會住宅中生活。但是,這裡絕大多數的人都經驗過那種以金錢為基礎的生活,而且是失敗的經驗。與其再回到那種日子,他們寧願待在這裡,不需要倚靠大量的金錢,創造自己的生活,經營自己的人生。這難道不是逃脫、抵抗資本主義經濟社會的實踐嗎?就在東京的正中心?我立刻升起了在這裡居住的願望。毫無疑問,這才是我要的生活。我決定留在這個村裡,和這裡的居民共享這裡的變遷。

我搭起自己的帳篷,開始在這裡生活之後,立刻和先我而來的小川哲男先生一起在帳篷前開設了以物易物的咖啡座──「有畫相伴」,並且成立了每週一次的畫會。在這裡喝茶或咖啡,不是用錢,而是用物品付費;不但藍帳篷村的居民可以利用,也歡迎來自公園外的訪客,是雙方交流的場所。同時我們也可以收集各種人家不用的東西,再分送給有需要的居民。每週一次畫會的作品,就拿來佈置我們的咖啡座。

藍帳篷村的居民,有各式各樣的人,各式各樣的個性。有一些是無法適應既有公寓空間生活的人。即使是身障或高齡、行動不便的人,也可以配合自己的身體條件,搭建適合自己的帳篷或小屋。有的人具有靈巧的雙手,利用廢材蓋出功能俱全的小屋;也有人只是在身旁放置日常用品,上面覆蓋著藍色塑膠布,每天隨著自己身體的行動或物品的位置改變形狀,他的家就是一團不定形的物品。我剛搬進來的時候,在這藍帳篷村裡,還有相當遷移的空間。有一陣子我的隔壁住著一位男性,每次我和他在一起的時候,周遭的人都把我看成他的附屬品,使我很不舒服;於是我一個人搬到村子裡的另一頭。在這個社區裡的共同生活,雖然也有來自人際關係的壓力,但是搬家的負擔比住在公寓裡的人要輕很多。

講到這裡,不得不討論一下性別的問題。遊民之中,男性壓倒性地居多。在這個男性為主的社會中,女性數量極少,生活上有許多困難。女性除了一邊切身感到暴力與性暴力的威脅、一邊生活下去,別無他法。我確實地感覺到這一點,於是開始了每個月一次,只有女性能夠參加的茶會。我開始四處走動,找尋散居在村子裡的女性,親自邀請她們來參加聚會。雖然大家都居住在村子裡,卻幾乎沒有任何交流,甚至不知道彼此的存在;在茶會上碰面的時候,才曉得帳篷村裡住著這麼多的女性,大家都嚇了一跳。當時350人左右的居民中,女性大約佔了30名。聚會中,大家交換各自的生活經驗,有時候產生共鳴,有時候也會分化成派系。但是在這藍帳篷村裡,這樣有機的集會,的確形成社區中小小的力量。當然,問題不會因此就解決,不過透過茶會的活動,我感覺到男性與女性之間的勢力關係,產生了些許變化。現在對我來說,由於茶會所形成的女性網絡,讓這個男性居多的帳篷村,居住起來舒服多了。

性別問題,絕對不只是遊民社會專有的問題。以公園這樣的開放場所來說,一座公園是優先為了什麼樣的人而開放?是基於哪一種人的立場,根據什麼樣的思想而設立?對任何人來說,這都是我們切身的問題。這樣的問題不只存在於公共領域;在一般認為屬於私領域的場所中,比方民宅、公寓等空間,甚至家庭這樣的組織,女性、以及性傾向上的弱勢者,也都處在暴力與性暴力的威脅之下。建立在父權體制之上的家族,正是孕育性歧視與性暴力的溫床。既存的「家族」關係,經常踰越其「再生產」活動所需的角色,以不必要的「羈絆
」侵犯人權,但這些惡行卻以家庭內的隱私為藉口,被掩蓋起來。不論男女,一般人在想像女性遊民生活的時候,總認為她們因為沒有家族、沒有可以上鎖的房間,所以經常處於危險的狀態下;但這是先入為主的、樣板式的想法。她們的危險處境,不能完全歸咎於遊民的生活形態;對於女性、或是性傾向的弱勢者來說,公園、車站等公共空間,甚至是私領域的家庭中,也絕對不是可以安心、自由的場所;就算不談這個公園裡女性的處境,我們也該更嚴肅地探討女性在家庭中的安全與自由。

另外還有一點迫切需要思考的事。在討論公園以及其它公共空間的安全問題時,管理單位經常使用這樣的說法:「因為遊民的存在,使得公園對女性和兒童來說,成為危險的地方。」他們將遊民描繪成危險人物,以逃避自己應該面對的暴力問題,完全是不負責任的作法。只要想一想,所謂的「遊民」有90%是男性;將責任強加在遊民身上,管理單位的立場和心態可想而知。是什麼因素使得「女性」和「兒童」不得不成為受照顧與保護的對象?即使違反本人的意願,我們也可以把「管理」強加在他們身上嗎?不論是公園管理也好、兒童管理也好,所謂的管理單位,應該慎重面對這些問題。我並不是主張遊民不具任何危險性,我完全沒有這樣的意思;但是我必需強調,管理者將加害者劃在「遊民」這個範疇裡,這種政治考量,無法對應公園裡實際發生的暴力,以及公園正遭受暴力侵蝕這個現實的狀況。

且讓我們以性別的角度來觀看資本主義。男性通常被要求成為「強者」,「永不示弱」,要「守護女性與兒童」。如果不能達到這些要求,男人多半就會從資本主義的競爭中敗下陣來,游離在支撐資本主義的父權體制之外,開始擔心自己是否會成為遊民。特別是低薪勞工、非正式雇用者、以及打工兼職的飛特族(freeter),感受到資本主義的威脅,內心暗自希望自己「不要變成遊民」,努力為自己增添學歷、文憑,從事雇傭勞動,保持「強悍」,強迫自己「永不示弱」。這樣的男性傾向於認為遊民是缺乏忍耐力的失敗者,否定他們,甚至進而對他們進行身體的攻擊。報紙或大眾媒體報導的攻擊遊民的事件,犯人幾乎清一色是男性,其中又以青少年居多。影響這些青少年最深的,無非是行政體系與社會的價值觀,以及成人的態度。行政體系在各地所進行的中產階級化(gentrification)步驟,【註二】首先就是排除居住在公園、河畔、以及車站四周高公共性空間的遊民們。行政體系從來不和遊民對話協商,直接填塞他們睡覺的空間,破壞他們的帳篷或小屋,強制拆除他們的生活場所。透過這些措施,逐漸奪走他們露宿的空間,將他們推向更惡劣的環境。行政體系甚至不願意去想像,每位個別的遊民都有他們各自的需求與意見,遊民的社群也有他們的共同生活與營生手段,一逕地以暴力排除他們。我們的社會閉上眼睛,故意不去看這些行為,對於被迫要成為「強者」、被迫「永不示弱」的青少年,有多麼大的影響。

換句話說,對於以遊民的狀態生活著的我們來說,最大的威脅既不是食物的缺乏,也不是冬天的寒冷,而是社會對遊民的歧視、偏見、攻擊、以及排除。

父權體制下的資本主義社會,將社會所懷抱的不安與怨恨轉嫁到遊民身上,以逃避他們真正應該面對的問題。對於無法符合父權資本主義社會規範的遊民,難道就沒辦法予以尊重嗎?女性、性傾向的弱勢者、兒童、窮人,甚至襲擊遊民的青少年們,明明和遊民同樣處於弱勢的狀態,然而卻否定他們、與他們對立。很遺憾,所有的人都可以平等享受的公園,可以說一個也沒有。我們不是常說「公園是開放的空間」、「這是大家的公園」嗎?這些話真正的意思,應該是一個所有的人都可以發揮各自的立場與力量,舒展各自意志的場所。我們不要強加的「安全」,施捨的「安心」,也不要被認可的「自由」。我們拒絕所有意圖在公共空間裡分化我們的安全措施。

無家可歸的人,大多滯留在公共空間。來自行政體系的人要不是說:「出去,這裡不是住人的地方!」把我們趕走,就是勸我們「努力自立」,要我們住到社會福利設施裡。我們也聽過一般市民有相同的主張。

既然講到這裡來,我想要談一談「公共」這個概念。「出去,這裡不是住人的地方!」這種說法,表示這是公共場所,不屬於任何特定的人,我一個個人,不應該長時間佔據。每次聽到這樣的話,我很就想告訴他們:只要我有生存的意願,就必定會佔據某個空間(雖然實際上我不會想要和行政單位進行這種對話)。換句話說,只要我們身處公共空間,就必然會產生這種讓我們無法區分「公/私」空間的矛盾。舉例來說,不論在哪一塊土地上,我們只要認定某個場所不屬於特定的人,這種矛盾就會發生在所有人身上;但是大部份在私領域中,付出金錢以居住在房子裡的人,不會去思考這種事。還有,以要求「努力自立」為由來排除遊民,其實暗中假定「遊民的狀態不是自立的」。這個想法以這樣的認知為前提:所謂自立市民的生活,就是從事雇傭勞動,付錢住在房子裡,從事消費與再生產活動,並且納稅。遵照這個模式生活的人,國家會賦予他假想的「主體」身分;所謂的「公共」,就是這樣的市民用稅金建構而成的。納稅是自立的證明,而「自立=公共的構成」。國家就利用這樣的制度,全面地控制「自立的市民」;於是認同國家的市民,異口同聲地告訴我們:「自己站起來!繳稅!」

話說回來,誠實納稅的市民們,除了擁有自尊之外,那些高公共性的公共空間或公共設施,真的是為他們構成的嗎?我看不見得,許多反例正陸續發生。最近的新聞報導,有些市立圖書館委託大型書店營運。還有,2009年澀谷區和大型運動用品公司NIKE締結合約,由NIKE捐贈公園內的設施,條件是區立宮下公園必需改名為「NIKE PARK」,而且全面改造成與以往完全不同形態的運動公園。透過重新命名,這個計畫讓公共公園變成NIKE的形象代表;為了進行改造工程,驅逐原本居住在公園內、大約30名的遊民。而且,「NIKE PARK」將設置形狀像獸欄一樣、巨大的滑板場,目的是將滑板族趕出一般道路,誘導他們進入柵欄之內。此外,這個「NIKE化」的公園將由澀谷區負責管理(當然是用市民的稅金作經費),但是NIKE主辦的活動,有優先使用公園空間的權利。

社會一味地強化「生產力高就是好」這種所謂合理主義的價值觀,行政體系與企業合為一體;這樣的想法甚至膨脹、蔓延到公共空間來。市街中專為消費的空間不斷擴大,地價上漲,窮人遭到驅趕;市街的結構演變成一套精巧的裝置,專為誘導大家購買大企業製造的商品而存在。透過權力與龐大的金錢力量,市街原本的自律文化,隨著空屋、廣場、小巷道以及城市的空隙,一同瓦解。

不過,在這中產階級化的潮流中,我們並不是完全無力的。

讓我們回到上述的事件。在引進NIKE計畫之後,澀谷區為了開始施工,決定以圍籬封鎖宮下公園。就在封鎖的前一天,反對這個計畫的藝術家和社會運動者組成「蹲點藝術家」團體(Artist In Residence, A.I.R),在宮下公園裡搭起了帳篷,開始就地創作。隔天,我們一方面以直接行動阻礙搭建圍籬的工事,進行行為藝術的表演,同時展示我們的作品;大約100名的行動者,成功地阻止了澀谷區的封鎖。之後這些「蹲點藝術家」繼續駐紮在公園內,同時將公園開放,以「打造公園」為主題,持續進行就地創作、作品展示、現場音樂會、電影放映會、工作坊、會議、研討會等活動,甚至在公園裡開闢田地。越來越多的人來參觀,進而加入「打造公園」運動,以各自的方式質問所謂「公共」的意義。

半年後,澀谷區集合了警備人員、警察,強制封鎖了宮下公園,將蹲點藝術家們的物品全數強制拆除、撤離。隨後NIKE公司發表聲明,撤消「NIKE PARK」的命名。宮下公園就在封鎖的狀態下,由NIKE公司開始進行施工;公園維持原有的名稱,但取消漢字,改以平假名「みやしたこうえん」標示,同時改造成區立運動公園。不過直到今天,反對運動仍未停歇,持續對公園、澀谷區公所、以及NIKE公司展開抗議行動。

伴隨著電視塔「東京天空樹」(Tokyo Sky Tree)的建設,周邊地區開始進行中產階級化。今年,居住在當地的遊民們仍在抵抗。雖然公園與河岸工程的驅趕,帶給露宿在當地的遊民們莫大的壓力,但是他們仍然舉行祭典,開設咖啡座,不但遊民本身組織起來,同時也與前來聲援的群眾互動、形成連盟。緊鄰著遊民們的帳篷與小屋,怪手一邊發出低吼、一邊施工,但是遊民毫不退縮。於是現在,工程處於中止的狀態。

在今日的公園裡,透過相互監視的方式(雖然沒有人命令我們這麼做),我們消磨時光的方式、玩耍的方式、以及休息的方式,都受到控制與支配。自從2011年3月11日的東日本大震災與核能事故之後,急速的復興與開發不斷進行。確實,處在今日的我們,不論對於細微或巨大的事物,都感到劇烈的喪失感;而大眾媒體還在以既有的安心與希望的象徵,催眠那些想要從苦痛中逃脫的人。然而這些安心與希望的象徵,只是一些過去的幻影;現代都市的開發、現代家族的羈絆,這些過去我們冀望的事,和促成核能事故的因素有密切的關係。我想要竭盡所能,刨出它的根源。那些我們視為當然的規範之結構,和文化有莫大的關係。透過有關希望與幸福的論述,規範不斷被加強、固若金湯。如果我們遵守規範,就會獲得贊許;但要是我們偏離規範,就會受到社會的制裁與責難。這樣的相互監視系統,力量越來越強大。

我們可以這樣說:遊民是一種從現代家族的逃脫,對現代國家的不服從,以及對都市開發的抵抗。違反現代社會意志的人遭到排除,他們的存在被抹消,應該開放的空間正逐一被閉鎖。但是,作為一種抵抗,被現代社會放逐的人、與現代社會格格不入的人,將要劈開幽閉的場所,親手創造自己的空間。對我們來說,這才是真實的空間,這才是生存的場域。作為陌生人的集合,作為對都市進行重新評價的場所,公園孕育著無限的可能性。

當人與人真實地彼此關聯,一定會產生各式各樣的彼此對立的立場;恐怖與緊張原本就存在我們生存的空間,不曾離開。我們本身,該如何對應這樣的恐怖?有的人假裝暴力不存在,否認人類的脆弱,這樣的看法才是更為暴力的吧。冒著遭到誤解的危險,我必需說,甘於在威脅中度日,正是忠於權力的態度。這時候,恐怖與憤怒將化為具體,緊緊扣著我們的生存。

公園與街道,決計不是安全的地方;說不定在都市之中,那是最沒有受到文明影響的場所。這是抵抗的戰場,我將繼續在這裡創造空間,絕不放手。

譯註:
【註一】:日本的遊民習慣以藍色的塑膠布搭建帳篷,故名。
【註二】:中產階級化(Gentrification)又譯為紳士化、縉紳化、貴族化,是都市發展中的一種現象。都市中某些老舊、發展停滯的地區,因為經濟優勢人口的遷入,導致地價上昇,原本較為貧窮的居民無法負擔而遷出、離散,地區特有的文化與特色遭到破壞。近年來國家與財團主導的都市更新與都市開發計畫,以及藝術家進駐老屋、空屋的「藝術村」,都是人為的gentrification;其背後真正的動機往往是土地開發帶來的巨大利益。

﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣

Subversion in Parks and Streets
/ Expert /
/ Written by Misako ICHIMURA /

In a corner of the forest park right at the centre of Tokyo, there is a blue-tent village, a place where the homeless lives. I started to live here since autumn in 2003. And until now, it is still my ideal shelter, as I believe that this is where I could most probably live in the whole Tokyo. The commoners are allowed to live for paying sky-high rent and taxes, and for laboring in stressful employment. Yet, life in the blue-tent village is totally different. Many usable commodities, clothes and edible food are thrown away as rubbish every day in Tokyo. People in this village make a living by collecting and sharing the discarded stuff. Rubbishes not only become resource here, but also a communication tool connecting people. Such alternative community that almost doesn't rely on money actually exists in the park at the centre of Tokyo, world’s most developed metropolis. Of course, a community that runs on such basis is vulnerable, especially to different violent attacks coming from discrimination and prejudice. But right because of the attacks, we need the community. The interdependent connection of people living in the community is what we can never let go.

As I heard that my friend built a tent in the tent village in the park. I paid a visit there – that was the first time I visit the blue-tent village. Back then, more than 300 people were already living here. We have workmen specifying in building tent with the blue waterproof canvas, a common room, a hair salon, and even a place where you can play mah-jong. Deep in the famous forest park in Tokyo, I thought that I had left Tokyo to an unknown place when I saw the tent village. However, this is actually the epitome of reality in Tokyo. 

Among the people living in the village, some of them used to feel desperate and even plan to end their life but ended up settling here, some others worked in construction companies that provided meals and accommodation but turned out losing both work and houses on the same day. They all have their own stories before becoming vagrants. Most of them live as vagrants involuntarily. Vagrants are certainly entitled to enjoy social welfare. If they negotiate with the social welfare organization successfully, they may choose to receive social assistance and live in social welfare facilities or social houses. However, most of the people here have experienced failure in living based on money, they would rather stay here and live their own life without relying on loads of money instead of going back to the old days. Isn’t it an escape from and resistance of the capitalist economy? Even right at the heart of Tokyo. I immediately want to live here. This is the life I want unquestionably. I decide to stay in the village and experience the changes with the people here. 

After I started living in my own tent here, I set up a barter café with Mr Tetsuo Ogawa, who lived in the village before I came, in front of the tent. We organize art jamming every week. You pay with material instead of money for a tea or coffee. The café is open to people in the blue-tent village, but we also welcome visitors outside the park. So the café becomes where exchanges of the inside and outside take place. Meanwhile, we collect unused materials and distribute them to those in need. The artworks made in the weekly art jamming are used to decorate the café. 

People in the blue-tent village are very different people, each with their own personality. Some people cannot get used to the prearranged living space in apartment building. However, in the blue-tent village, people with special needs or the elderly can build their own tents or huts that fit their physical conditions. Making use of discarded materials, some build huts that basically provide everything. Some other guy simply puts his stuff around them, and covers it with a piece of blue canvas. His house is in irregular shape, changing everyday according to his movement and the position of his stuff. When I just came to the village, there was still plenty of room for moving. I lived next door to a guy for a while.  People saw me as his subordinate whenever they saw us. It made me very uncomfortable, so I decided to move to the other end of the village alone. Living in this community, you are still under pressure of interpersonal relationship, but it is much more easy to move as compared with people living in apartment. 

I have to talk about the gender issue here. The overwhelming majority of the vagrants are male. Only very few women live in this male-dominated community and they have to face a lot of difficulties here. Women have no choice but to live under the imminent threats of violence and sexual violence. I truly feel like this and therefore I started the monthly tea gathering exclusive for women. I started to wander around in order to find out women scattered in the village and invite them to the gathering. We hardly have any interaction and may not even know each other’s existence even though we both live in the village. When we firstly met up in the gathering, we were so shocked to find out that there were actually so many women living here. Among 350 villagers in total, there are around 30 women. We share our own experience during the gatherings. Sometimes we agree with each other, sometimes we don’t and even get divided. But in the blue-tent village, the organic gatherings indeed help to bring together a small bonding in the community. Even though the problems would definitely not be solved by the gatherings, I sense that the power relation between men and women in the community has slightly changed. This women network formed by the tea gatherings makes the life in the male-dominated tent-village much more comfortable. 

The gender issue is definitely not exclusive to the vagrant community. Take an open space like a park as example, who, in top priority, is the park open for? Whose position and what kind of thinking gave rise to such decision? These questions are pivotal to everybody, and they exist not only in the public realm, but also in areas usually regarded as private, for instance space like houses and apartments, and even in families. Female and sexual minorities are often exposed to threats of violence and sexual violence. Family, a relationship built up in patriarchy, is exactly the breeding ground of sexual discrimination and sexual violence. The existing “family” relationship often transgresses its role needed for “re-production” and violates human rights with unnecessary fetter. Family privacy is often used as an excuse to mask such evil deed. Both men and women tend to think that female vagrants are exposed to dangers as they have no family and no rooms with lock. But this is all prejudice and stereotype. The dangers are not totally a result of the vagrant life. To women and sexual minorities, both public space, such as parks and stations, and private areas like home are not where they can feel safe and free. Regardless of the situation at the park, we should nonetheless seriously discuss safety and freedom of women in the household.

Another issue that needs to think over is that, park management often accuses vagrants for posing dangers to women and children whenever the issue of safety in public space is discussed. It is irresponsible to describe vagrants as the source of danger and ignore the violence issue that the management must deal with. I am not saying that vagrants hold absolutely no responsibility to the problem. But I must emphasize that accusing vagrants as victimizers is actually a political decision. And it fails to respond to the actual violence, which is in fact eating away the park. 

Let’s try to look at capitalism in a gender perspective. Men are often told to be strong, not to show their weakness and protect women and children. If a man fails to meet these demands, he will likely be defeated in the capitalist competition, wander outside the patriarchic system that supports capitalism, and start to worry if he will become a vagrant. Especially for those low-income labours, informal employees and freeters, they feel this threat of capitalism and wish that they wouldn’t become vagrants. They work hard to earn qualifications and engage in employment in order to stay strong, forcing themselves to expose any weakness. These men tend to see vagrants as losers lacking of persistence, and some may even attack the vagrants. In almost all the news about vagrants being attacked, the victimizers are men, mostly teenagers. Influences of the teenagers come from the administration, society values and the adults’ attitude. Gentrification is being carried out by the administration of many districts: they rule all vagrants out of public space, such as parks, riverbanks and station area. The administration never talks and negotiates with the vagrants, however forcefully destroys their tents and demolishes their living space. With such measures, the administration is actually pushing the vagrants to some even more difficult conditions. The administration refuses to think that each vagrant actually has specific needs and opinions, and community has its own collective means of living. Our society shuts up its eyes, pretending such incidents bring no influence to the teenagers at all.

In other words, to people like us who lead a vagrant life, the most enormous threat doesn’t lie in the lack of food or the winter cold, but the discrimination, prejudice, attack and banishment from society. 

The patriarchic capitalist society shifts all its anxiety and hatred on to the vagrants and escapes from the real problems that they need to tackle.  Is it possible for the vagrants who do not fit the patriarchic capitalist norm to get respect from common people? Women, sexual minorities, children, the poor and even the teenagers who attack the vagrants share exactly the same disadvantageous situation with the vagrants. But they remain in opposition and deny the vagrants. There isn’t any single park where all people are equally free to enjoy. We often say that “park is an open space”, or “the park belongs to everyone”. What these expressions really mean is that the park should be a space where all can express their respective positions and power, and exercise their free will. We do not need imposed “safety”, granted “security”, or approved “freedom”. We say no to all safety measures that attempt to divide us in public space. 

Those homeless tend to stay in public space. The administration either pushes us away by saying that public space is not a living space, or persuades us to be independent and ask us to move to social welfare facilities. We have also heard common people having similar opinions. 

Let’s talk about the very notion of “public”. The saying that pubic space is not a living space suggests, as public space doesn’t belong to any particular individual, any individual should not occupy the space for a long period of time. Whenever I hear saying like this, I am so eager to tell them that: as long as I have the will to live, I will occupy a certain space (even though in fact I am reluctant to start such conversation with the administration). As long as we stay in public space, such contradiction of unable to separate “public” from “private” will appear. No matter where are we standing, if only we regard the location not belonging to a certain person, all people will then have to face such contradiction. But for those who spend money on houses in their private realm, they would not put such situation into consideration. Moreover, banishing vagrants by asking them to be independent and support themselves is indeed an assumption that “vagrant life is not independent”. There is actually a certain premise behind such thinking: an independent citizen is who is employed, pays for house, engages in consumption and re-production activities, and pays taxes. People who follow such norm will be granted an imaginary “subjectivity” by the government. The so-called “public” is in fact constructed by taxes paid by citizens living in such norm. Tax paying becomes a proof of your independence as “independence = construction of public”. Such system is what the government uses to exercise complete control over “the independent citizens”. As a result, the citizens, in association with the nation that they identify with, tell us in one accord: “Stand on your own feet! Pay taxes!”

Anyway, do the upstanding citizens who pay taxes actually own, beyond their own pride, the public space and public facilities? I don’t really think so. More and more counterexamples are coming up. In recent news, the operation of some city libraries has been outsourced to mega bookstore. In 2009, the Shibuya district signed a contract with the sports brand Nike: Nike will donate all the facilities in the Miyashita Park, and in return the park will be renamed as “Nike Park”. And transformed into a sports park totally different from what the park used to be like. Through renaming, the public park now represents Nike’s image. And due to this renovation, around 30 vagrants who had been living in the park were expelled. A big skateboarding ground is built in the park. However, its design looks like a cage: the objective behind it is to rule the skateboarders out from the streets and get them into the cage like skateboarding ground. Besides, the Shibuya government will be responsible for managing this “Nikelized” park, with taxes from people. However, events organized by Nike will have priority in using the park.

Society blindly strengthens such rationalist belief in productivity. Administration now unites with corporation. Such ideas have been expanded and spread to the public space. Street space related to consumption activities gets bigger and bigger. With ever increasing land price, the poor is expelled. The structure of the street turns into a delicate apparatus, which is made for luring people to buy the products of the big corporation. Because of authority and gigantic power of money, the original self-disciplined culture of the streets, together with empty houses, plaza, alleys and gaps in the city, are all vanished. 

Nonetheless, we are not completely impotent under this trend of gentrification. 

On the day before Miyashita Park is closed for renovation, artists and activists who opposed to the plan started an Artist in Residence (A.I.R.) programme by building tents and making art in the park. On the following day, we hindered the workers from setting up fences through direct action and at the same time performed performance art and exhibited our works. Around 100 activists successfully stopped the park from being locked up. The A.I.R. remained stationed in the park and opened it under the theme of “Creating the Park”. Events including art making, exhibitions, concerts, screenings, workshops, conferences and seminars were held. And we even started a farm in the park. More and more people came to visit and eventually joined this “Creating the Park” movement. People came and questioned the meaning of the so-called “public” in their own ways. 

Six months later, police and security sent by the Shibuya district sealed off the park with a strong hand. They demolished and evacuated all the stuff of the A.I.R. artists. In a statement that followed, Nike repelled renaming the park as “Nike Park”. Nike then started the construction as Miyashita Park was completely sealed off. The park kept its original name, but instead of putting it in Kanji, the name is now shown in Hiragana “みやしたこうえん”.  Moreover, the park is now transformed into a district sports park. However, resistance is not yet over. Protests against the park, Shibuya district government and Nike are still on the go. 

Now, the ways we spend time, play and rest are all being controlled and dominated through the means of mutual monitoring – even nobody tells us to do so. Since and earthquake and the subsequent nuclear incident on March 11, 2011, rapid revival and development have been constantly carried out. Indeed, we all feel a severe sense of loss towards both meticulous and significant matters now. However, the mass media continues to make use of obsolete symbols of security and hope to hypnotize those who wish to be free from suffering. Such symbols of security and hope are merely shadows from the past. Things that we used to long for – urban development, lies of the modern family – are closely related to the factors leading to the nuclear incident. 

We can put it this way: vagrant life is actually an escape from modern family, disobedience towards modern state, and resistance against urban development. Those who act against social will get banished. Space that should be kept open is shut down one by one. Yet, the exiled and those who do not fit with the modern society will break into the closed arena and create their own space as a way of resistance. To people like us, this is what a real space means. This is our living site. Endless possibilities can be found in the park, from a place where strangers gather to an area where we can re-evaluate the urban city.  

Parks and streets are certainly not somewhere totally safe.  In terms of civilization, perhaps they are the least influenced part of the urban city. They are the battlefields of resistance.  I will keep on creating space there. Never letting go. 

/ Translated by Sumyi Li (ENG)




沒有留言:

張貼留言