Project | The Tao of Chinese Games

Enemy vs mYself prototype, 2009, Chess, stool, mirror
敵我原型,2009,象棋、木板凳及鏡

 

 

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Promotion Roadmap for Officials by, Random Appointment, Digital image, Private Collection
升官圖之彩選百官,數碼圖像,2009,私人收藏

衣食足而知榮辱,隨之閒暇消遣,遊戲亦應運 而生,成為社會各階層最普及的閒暇活動。遊 戲乃人類生活機制的調節,當中充滿趣味並反 映人性,漸漸累積成一種文化,與人類的文 明、社會及歷史有深刻的聯繫。

博弈遊戲,於中國源遠流長,可分為「博」與 「弈」兩類型。博指「六博」,蠃輸依仗機 運;弈指「圍棋」,勝負全憑智力。我以博 弈遊戲為主軸,嘗試透過當代多媒體裝置藝術 與觀眾互動,演繹中國傳統博弈遊戲:「圍 棋」、「象棋」、「麻將」及「升官圖」四種 戲局,探索局中虛擬的人生、社會、政治及命 運,並循序漸進引領觀眾置身局中體驗和感受 人性與四圍的衝突,反思充滿樂趣和殘酷的博 弈其中隱喻的吊詭之道。

「子曰:飽食終日,無所用心,難矣哉。不有 博弈者乎?為之猶賢乎已。」 《論語﹣陽貨篇》

最早記載「博弈」一詞的是《論語》,孔子也 認為玩六博、下圍棋比閒著無所事事要好。博 弈遊戲歷久不衰,除了鬥智鬥力的樂趣之外, 其中博戲有不可預測的特性,讓人有逆轉翻盤 的期待,不到最後一刻不知道誰勝誰負,這樣 挑戰不可知的命運,激起人類好勝的原始慾望。而公平原則下競技的弈戲,勝負對決的目 標亦挑起人類好鬥的本色。結合博弈兩者屬性 的遊戲如麻將更包含複雜的社會性互動決策, 深能反映人性衝突。

圍棋
圍棋是中國最古老的鬥智弈戲,白子及黑子在 棋盤上的角力,棋手以智慧,奪取最多的地 域,戰勝對手;規則簡單卻千變萬化,遊戲 帶來樂趣、鍛鍊頭腦。我創作了有趣的棋盤裝 置,當觀眾走進展場,如同參與了棋賽,親身 體會箇中的道理。

象棋
傳統弈戲象棋展示了敵我雙方的對壘,同時棋 子又包含了階級的分野。遊戲雙方不僅要運用 智謀去爭勝,同時亦要受棋子等級的牽制,進 一步揭示博弈中政治的深層意義。我以多個棋 局組成藝術裝置,引領觀眾走進棋局當中的棋 局,感受博弈遊戲人性衝突的緊張氣氛。

麻將
麻將在中國社會廣受歡迎,遊戲結合博弈兩種 屬性,加上四個不同玩者的互動決策,獲勝者 不僅需要智謀,更受制於各方思考變數。麻將 引人入勝、啓迪智慧,同時亦有聯誼的重要功 能。我將日常生活裡的麻將耍樂片段輯錄起 來,於展覽期間播放,讓觀眾反思博弈遊戲的 另一種意義;而現場偶發藝術展現麻將陣營及 佈局,啓發觀眾用嶄新角度欣賞博弈遊戲中的 黑色幽默。

升官圖
傳統的升官圖上印有各官階名稱,從白丁到地 方官至中央官署。玩家透過骰子來決定升官或 貶謫,當中會因應運數可以由贏變輸。博戲全 賴骰子點數,包含了投機賭博的意味。我將棋 盤上的「才、德、功、贓」及官階付予新名 稱,改建成香港政制的現代版,進一步發掘遊 戲當中博彩運數的一面,暗諷社會時弊,引領 觀眾反思政治官僚,誰勝誰負?

(原文刊於展覽「博弈」(2009) 場刊)

 

The Chinese believe that we can only appreciate our lives after we get enough food and shelter, and only that we can enjoy our free time. Games have been then developed and become the most popular leisure activity to lubricate the harsh living mechanism. Games are fun but yet reflect the human nature, and have been cultivated as a kind of culture related to civilization, social and historical development of human being.

Games and chess have a long history in China: games depend on randomness in winning while chess require intelligence and strategy. Carl Cheng Chi Ming will explore the Tao of the Chinese games through constructing contemporary multimedia art installations to interact with the audience. The exhibition will explore four traditional Chinese Games: Go, Chinese Chess, Mahjong and Promotion Roadmap for Officials. These games are fictitious life, society, politics and fate which are examined through letting the audience to walk inside the installations.

The Master said, “Hard is it to deal with who will stuff himself with food the whole day, without applying his mind to anything meaningful! Are there not gamesters and chess players? To be one of these would still be better than doing nothing at all." “Yang Huo, The Analects"

The Analects by Confucius is the earliest record mentioned games and chess, and Confucius agreed that playing games and chess is a better time spending than doing nothing. Yet, games attempt to bring fun to the players, and entail wisdom, strategies and luck. Games induce chance and such unpredictability always let the players a wish of turning from lose to win till the last minute. The challenge to the unknown fate provokes the human nature of fighting. On the other hand, chess is a game of competing with intelligence under fair principles, the aim of capturing place or opponent’s chess also stimulates human nature of conquering. Board games that combine strategy and randomness like Mahjong involve complicated social interactive decisions making which reflect deeply the conflict arisen from diversified players intentions.

Go
Go is the oldest strategic board game in China which requires intelligence. The players have to control a larger portion of the board than the opponent to win the game. The rules are simple but embark unlimited possibilities. The artworks show that each member of society is equal (the black and white chess are of equal force) and that they reflect the importance of force strategically created by a significant mass. Apart from inviting the audiences to play the game, they themselves will form part of the art installation as a whole.

Chinese Chess
The game represents a battle between two armies, with the object of capturing the enemy’s “general" piece. It is a controllable, tabletop form of ritual warfare, devoid of chance and predicted totally on strategy and tactics. Moreover, the chess was designated in hierarchy which imply political meaning. The installations of numerous game sets will lead the audiences into game of the games to experience the conflicting dynamics of human nature.

Mahjong
Mahjong is the most popular game in the Chinese societies. It is a game which consists of a set of players, a set of moves available to those players, and a specification of payoffs for each combination of strategies. The players may have diverse playing intentions – making friends, chatting, mind exercising or gambling. As a result of such diverse playing attitudes and behaviors, conflicts often occur among the players. Through the happening art and installations, the audiences may apply a new perspective to the functionality of games, and reveal the complexity of games: an individual’s success in making choices depends on the choices of others.

Promotion Roadmap for Officials
A spinning top moving on the board or the dicing score determines the promotion path of a player from an illiterate to the senior government official. Although there are complicated rules, the winners depend solely on their luck. I recreate a Hong Kong political system version of the board game in an attempt to inspire audiences to review the bureaucratic and political system in Hong Kong.

(Originally published in the catalog of exhibition “The Tao of Chinese Games" (2013)

 

 

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Universal Road, Poem printed by Chinese ink on rice paper, 2009, Dimensions variable
大道,詩文水墨拓印宣紙,2009,尺吋不定

 

其一

偶無公事負朝暄,三百枯棋共一樽。

坐隱不知岩穴樂,手談胜与俗人言。

簿書堆積塵生案,車馬淹留客在門。

戰胜將驕疑必敗,果然終取敵兵翻。

其二

偶無公事客休時,席上談兵校兩棋。

心似蛛絲游碧落,身如蜩甲化枯枝。

湘東一目誠甘死,天下中分尚可持。

誰謂吾徒猶愛日,參橫月落不曾知。
《弈棋二首呈任漸》宋 黃庭堅

 

 

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Where To, Bamboo raft, woods, rope, nylon net, wooden tub, black, stones 181 pieces, white stones 180 pieces, 2009, Dimensions variable
問路,竹筏、木頭、麻繩、尼龍繩網、木桶、黑色石181,塊、白色石180塊,2009,尺吋不定

 

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The road is made when many people pass one way, Acrylic convex mirrors 100 pieces, steel stands, concrete, floor tiles 324 pieces, fluorescent tubes 100 pieces, 2009, 600 x 600 x 180 cm
走的人多就成路,100 塊塑膠凸透鏡、鐵架、324 塊混凝土地磚、100支光管,2009,600 x 600 x 180 厘米
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Go: Made in China, Rubik’s cubes 324 pieces, consumer goods 361 pieces, wooden box 9 pieces, pine wood pallets, supermarket, trolleys, 2009, Dimensions variable
前進:中國製造,扭計骰324個、現成消費品361件、木箱9個、松木,卡板、超級市場手推車,2009,尺吋不定

 

 

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Universal Road (Lost), Ceramic plates carved with Chinese characters 112 pieces, 2009, Dimensions variable
大道(迷),陶泥字板素燒112塊,2009,尺吋不定

 

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Enemy vs Myself, Wooden constructed corridor, chess and chessboards,, instruction for end games, Quotations from Chairman, Mao Tse Tung, 2009, Dimensions variable
敵我,木建走廊、棋和棋盤、殘局指示和毛語錄,2009,尺吋不定

 

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A Blind End Game, Reflective clear acrylic, steel plates, wooden constructed corridors, 2009, 480 x 240 x 480 cm

殘局,反射光膠片、鐵板、木建走廊,2009,480 x 240 x 480 厘米

 

Crossroads, Zinc plate stencils of poem, 2009, 610 x 61 cm
岔道,鋅鐵片詩文模板,2009,610 x 61 厘米

 

 

象戲本從棋局爭,后宮龜背等人情。

今聞儒者飽無事,亦學婦人閒鬥明。

堂上有奇誰可勝,樽中賭酒令方行。

直趨猛獸如尋邑,何似昇平不用兵。

《和範景仁王景彝殿中雜題三十八首並次韻其二》

宋 梅堯臣

 

 

hidden road, Transparent mahjong 144 pieces, digital output on, sticker, acrylic light boxes, stainless steel stands, 2009, 360 x 110 x 10 cm
秘道,透明麻將144只、數碼輸出膠貼、塑膠燈箱、不銹鋼架,2009,360 x 110 x 10 厘米

 

 

六嬸,三太公,大眾開枱面似蓮蓉,

又放工,打餐懵,圍埋砌幾圈論呀論英雄,

誰是大英雄。

落手三隻東,度到啱都三叫二五六筒,

截正糊,真陰功,騰騰震嬲到面呀面都紅。

上下家,搏晒懵,依牙鬆槓斬眉斬眼打籠通,

係咁鬆,正衰公,難為氹仔會浸呀浸蛟龍。

亂咁質,真勢兇,學到足關帝座鎮華容,

恨滿胸,裹蒸粽,嗡嗡貢好似大呀大燈籠。

大相公,小相公,遇老千章法亂晒大籠

六嬸,三太公,大眾開枱啦面似蓮蓉,

又放工,打餐懵,圍埋砌幾圈論呀論英雄,

誰是大英雄。

落手三隻東,度到岩都三叫二五六筒,

截正糊,真陰功,騰騰震嬲到面呀面都紅。

上下家,搏晒懵,依牙鬆槓斬眉斬眼打籠通,

係咁鬆,正衰公,難為氹仔會浸呀浸蛟龍。

亂咁質,真勢兇,學到足關帝座鎮華容,

恨滿胸,裹蒸粽,嗡嗡貢好似大呀大燈籠。

大相公,小相公,遇老千章法亂晒大籠,

食詐餬,包出沖,轉好似大呀大灰熊。

執左位,起個風,移燈換?洗手食煙熨櫃桶,

轉下運,確唔同,連隨喫幾舖我露呀露歡容。

混一色,碰七筒,一簡白板發財做眼槓紅中,

六八筒,叫卡窿,原來咁橋佢係呀係七筒。

掘尾籠,起勢攻,大四喜晒南北西東,

做牌,講天聰,頻頻滿餬我做呀做英雄,時勢做

英雄。(大英雄)

《打雀英雄傳》許冠傑,黎彼得

 

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Pre-War|Wartime|Post-War, 27 sets of Mahjong, 28 sets of tables and seats borrowed from friends, 108 guest players as “Heros", 3 videos showing the scenes before, the happening and the present, 2009, Viewers’ participation, Dimension variable

備戰/ 激戰/ 戰後,27副借來的麻將、28套借來的麻將枱椅、108位「好漢」嘉賓、錄像播出竹戰前、竹戰中及竹戰後狀況,2009,觀眾參與,尺吋不定

 

 

 

Dialogue, Transparent mahjong on light box, videos showing on 4 CRT s, each showing 4 different player’s emotion and communication, 2009, 240 x 240 x 40 cm
對話,透明麻將、塑膠燈箱、四部顯像管播放錄像竹戰中四人不同的情緒溝通情況,2009,240 x 240 x 40 厘米

 

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Promotion Roadmap for Officials by, Random Appointment, Digital image on acrylic, wooden hanging stands, steel stands, bronze/steel/ceramic/paper rice bowls and chopsticks, 2009, Dimension variable

升官圖之彩選百官,數碼輸出膠片、木製吊架、鐵架、銅/鐵/瓷/,紙飯碗及筷子,2009,尺吋不定

 

Roundabout, Old home’s wood door, door frame, wooden stand, LED display, pine wood chopping blocks, almanac, 2009, Dimension variable
迴道,舊居實木門、門框、木座、發光二極管顯示屏、松木砧板、通勝(書),2009,尺吋不定

 

 

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Roundabout, Automatic electronic dice with sensor and animation projection, electronic spinning tops, gongs, 2009, Viewers’ participation, Dimension variable
輪流轉,自動感應電子骰盅、電腦動畫錄像投影、電子陀螺、銅鑼,2009,觀眾參與,尺吋不定

 

Dragon in the field, 100 Bamboo ladders, 2009, 570 x 570 x 570 cm
見龍在田,100把竹梯,2009,570 x 570 x 570 厘米

 

 

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