Valerie Soe 蘇杏娟 |
Hidden Histories and Radical Care
Chair | Hwa-Jen Tsai (Assistant Professor, SRCS, NYCU)
主持人 | 蔡華臻（陽明交通大學社會與文化研究所助理教授）
Tammy Ko Robinson (Associate Professor, Hankang University, South Korea);
Hsin-Yi Lin (Associate Professor, Institute of Applied Arts, NYCU)
Joyce Liu (Professor, SRCS, NYCU; Director, ICCS, NYCU)
Tammy Ko Robinson (Associate Professor, Hankang University, South Korea);
Class instructor | Joyce Liu (Professor, SRCS, NYCU; Director, ICCS, NYCU)
授課老師 | 劉紀蕙（陽明交通大學社會與文化研究所教授、陽明交通大學文化研究國際中心主任）
主辦單位 | 國立陽明交通大學文化研究國際中心
協辦單位 | 台聯大文化研究國際中心、台聯大亞際文化研究國際碩士學位學程
經費來源 | CHCI-GLOBAL HUMANITIES INSTITUTE 2019-2022、
Andrew Mellon Foundation、教育部高等教育深耕計畫
活動側拍 | 李育菱 (陽明交通大學社文所碩一)
Photos | Yuling Li (NYCU SRCS Master's student)
講者 | Professor Valerie Soe 蘇杏娟 （舊金山州立大學亞美研究系、文化研究國際中心訪問學者、電影《愛之船》導演）
側記文 | 藍玉雍（陽明交通大學社文所碩一）
蘇杏娟這次演講的題目是:「不見的歷史與激進關懷」。主題是華裔美國人、 非白人族群在移民美國的歷史中，長期遭受到的各種排華暴力、不平等待遇和處 境。在演講的一開始，她先從美國新冠病毒期間的反華情緒談起，講到因為新冠 病毒從中國開始傳播的關係，以及川普政府和中國關係的惡化，導致華裔美國人 在疫情期間遭受到十分嚴重的歧視、排擠和攻擊，並點出這些排華的情緒和攻擊 其實一直是美國長期以來的問題，同時，雖然都說「排華」，但其實大部分的美 國西方白人並無法分辨中國人、日本人、韓國人等等亞裔美國人的差別，同時也 不知道即便是華人、中國人，內部在地域、經濟、生活文化以及移民背景上其實 也存在很多的差異。
在這樣的觀察和思考下，蘇杏娟在 1987 年拍攝自己的第一部短片——《All Orientals Look the Same》，這是一部僅僅一分半的黑白短片，裡頭呈現了許多不 同國籍的亞洲人，並不停迴響著一個白人的聲音說著:All Orientals Look the Same， 同時在每個呈現不同亞洲人的畫面中，也會有另一個聲音說出畫面中這個亞洲人 的國籍，表示在美國白人眼中一樣的亞洲人底下其實潛藏著很多未被看見的差異。 但除了批評這種無差別貶抑的種族主義外，蘇杏娟也提到這部片之所以拍地很短， 是因為她也有意在反抗當時人們拍攝影像的趨勢，也就是電影、廣告等較長的創 作形式，而非這種像是直接表達一段訊息式的短片創作。這樣類型的創作在她看 來，反而在現今這個網路時代非常頻繁(比如:TikTok 或迷因)，反映出影像的 受眾有很大的變化。
第二部她分享的作品，是 2012 年的《The Chinese Gardens》，在這部作品中， 她關注位在華盛頓州湯森港(Port Townsend)一個過去曾經存在現在卻已消失的 華人聚落，在當時被叫做:Chinese Gardens。這部片探索這個聚落從形成到消亡 的歷史，並審視美國 1870 到 1900 年代初期的種族主義和排華暴力，聚焦 1875 年《佩奇法案》(Page Law)和 1880 年《安吉立條約》(Angell Treaty of 1880) 等排華法案對華人移民的影響，前者歧視尋求進入美國的中國婦女，而後者則是 直接禁止中國人移民美國。而在當時，Chinese Gardens 成了華人族群對付美國排 華暴力的策略中心以及反抗的場所，但隨著 1880 年代一連串的排華暴力，上百 的華人遭到殺戮，而剩下的華人則是選擇逃離。在 1990 年代的一場大火中，消 防員只拯救了白人的建築，讓唐人街被燒毀。從此 Chinese Gardens 就漸漸沒落， 最終消失了痕跡。在這部片中，蘇杏娟認為自己最重視的是如何透過影像和訪談， 讓人看見這些地方曾存在過的移民的生活，奪回這個地方消失、隱藏的歷史意義。
最後她討論的作品，是《Radical care: The Auntie Sewing Squad》講述在新冠 疫情初期，由於美國政府的消極態度，導致疫情期間很多民眾無法購得口罩，因此一群女性志願者(絕大多數是非白人族群)決定聚在一起，自己縫織口罩發送 給那些醫護人員、移民、經濟能力差等等需要幫助的人群。在這場自主發起的活 動中，口罩製作從一開始的五人到最後有百位的人參與，漸漸使參與這起活動的 人們產生意想不到的緊密關係，並使疫情期間原本的沮喪和恐懼能夠得到宣洩， 並和不同的人們、族群產生新的連結，形成互助的社群網絡，一起對抗疫情的危 機。透過在這部片中，講者認為我們可以看到，在這個政府經常消極不作為的時 代，社會需要一種新的激進關懷，來重新修補人跟人的關係，重新產生互助的網 絡來面對各種社會的危機。
Speaker | Professor Valerie Soe (San Francisco State University; ICCS Visiting Scholar; Director of LOVE BOAT: TAIWAN)
Activity Report | Ronald Shum (IACS-UST)
Professor Valerie Soe from San Francisco State University shared with us her experiences and thoughts on the topic “Hidden Histories and Radical Care” this day. Taking the lively experience of Asian Americans as the locus, She concern in what way were non-white immigrants in America being treated unequally, unfairly and violently.
1990 was a turning point where immigration of Asian into America has rise drastically. Long before that, numerous number of Chinese Coolies（苦力）have already been imported into the United States since the former century to provide cheap labour. They contributed into important infrastructures such as the First transcontinental Railroad. However, sinophobia has not ceased in the American history, Chinese immigrants and laborers suffered from racial discriminatory representation as well as violence. People were harassed, attacked and expelled from their settling town or even from the country.
These historical roots led to its interlocking relation with present sinophobic violence and discrimination to ethic Chinese American since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US. Though some people from Hong Kong and Taiwan may have an impression that the world’s growing hostility to China would be useful in drawing more attention CCP’s oppressive state violence; in its effect, sinophobia is far more than mere hostile against an authoritarian state. sinophobia linked intimately to racial discrimination and exclusion to all ethnic Chinese, and even to all asians, whom were apparently not differentiable to most white Americans. They could not tell the difference between Chinese, Japanese and Korean, not to mention inner diverse groups among ethnic Chinese.
Under her observations and reflections, professor Soe shot her first experimental short video work “All Orientals Look the Same”. It was just a one-minute-and-a-half short clip in black-and-white. The faces of asians from different nationalities emerged and faded one by one. A voice-over from a white person kept saying: “all orientals look the same”, while another voice-over added the place of origin after each face was shown (which was in fact not the precise origin of that face). The identifiability between a face and its nationality were displaced and dislocated. Can we really tell where did one come from, just by looking at their place? The diversity of Asian American was always unseen before the eyes of American Whites. More than that, in creating short clips, Soe also intended to shake up the domination of “longer” duration filming deployed in the television. To film shortly seems to be itself a gesture to align with contemporary audience who were more used to short clips.
The Second work shared by Soe was “The Chinese Garden” in 2012. There was a Chinese settlement in Port Townsend called Chinese Garden. As mentioned above, imported Chinese laborers formed early Chinese settling sites in the 19th Century. As Laws of Chinese exclusion were introduced, including the Page Law (1875) and the Angell Treaty (1880) , Chinese immigration were discriminated and further banned. The 1880s was marked by bloodsheds against Chinese, whom were either killed or forced to be expelled. Chinese immigrants who settled in Port Townsend were among the victims of these waves of discriminatory violence. In the present-day Port Townsend, the once-existing Chinatown has left all but its silhouette. The original site have been burnt down (while the white living neighbor was saved from the fire). Narrating these hidden histories in her own poetics of images, Soe attempted to reclaim the lost historical meanings from the fumes.
As Covid-19 broke out around the globe, health crisis became a new threat to the racially and ethnically marginalized. As the U.S. federal government was inactive at the beginning in handling the crisis, there was a general scarcity in health-care goods such as face mask and PPE. In view of this, a number of volunteers, mostly female and come from non-white origin, grouped together via Facebook. They worked collectively to sew face masks for health-care workers, immigrants and the economic fragile. At its peak, there were about 800 members among the group.
Soe both participated in the campaign and collected the documentation of individual process of sewing. At the times of the pandemic, especially during lockdown, individual volunteers were also living in isolation mostly locked up in their four walls. Yet they can film their own sewing process and show one another that they were actually working together. As the different groups and ethnicities especially the marginalized allied one another at the times of crisis, a new social network in a form of “radical care” was formed. In view of this, I couldn’t help but think of Judith Butler’s political idea, where the people of precariousness and dispossession formed an alliance without the need to claim essantialities, and to fight for social support and care precisely at the age of neoliberalism.