faith in fakes i -- large-scale construction ___對虛假之信賴 i -- 大興土木

series__系列作品: (1) faith in fakes___對虛假之信賴

(metal, old windows, light bulb, motor___金屬, 舊鐵窗, 燈泡, 馬達)


        “This is the reason for this journey into hyper-reality, in search of instances where the imagination demands the real thing and, to attain it, must fabricate the absolute fake; where the boundaries between game and illusion are blurred.”
 from “Travels in Hyper-Reality, Faith in Fakes” by Umberto Eco
        The sun was strong on the top of my head, like an oven. And the sand on the ground was burning the soles of feet. The reflection of the sunlight made my eyes almost unable to open. I am a traveler, my whole body covered with sand and dust, already forgetting how many days I have been walking in this barren desert place. Merely, I kept walking and walking, through space and time, and my own years. At this moment, the sun was on my back, pushing my shadow forward, like a phantom hauling my tired, mechanically-moving, body.   

        The indistinct scenes before my eyes became clearer in the mild breeze. Gradually, that city resplendent in hearsay emerged finally out of the sandy sky, undulating and weightless floating in the air. It seemed ready to evaporate soon, both illusory and real.

        When I stepped in that city, it was evening. The colour of the sky became deep blue, the moon rose lazily from the horizon. The moonlight was only a trifling ornament in the whole scene, because all the buildings in the city were densely inlaid with thousands and thousands of light bulbs, multicoloured neon lamps and invaluable crystals and precious stones. The glitter and resplendent brilliance was lighting up the whole city, brighter than in the day time. The noise and excitement of joyous music and songs, sounds of laughter and cheering filled every corner of the city. These mixed sounds together created a kind of happy-go-lucky and forgetful atmospere. There were various odors filling the air at times, ambiguous but infatuated.
        Not only this, but the citizen also were richly bejewelled, surpassingly beautiful and eye-dazzling. I am not sure whether it was because of the influence of the lights or the brilliance from the people themselves but I felt that the colour of their faces was as white as snow, and glittering and limpid like glass. They were very tall, I needed to look up when I talked to them. Their expressions, words, attitudes and behaviour showed unwittingly their pride, even though I know they were friendly and hospitable. They were very good at discussing all sorts of subjects, and enjoying a good time with fine wine. The free-minded and high spirited mood matched closely the tincture of the whole city.
        I suddenly understood that the decoration, sounds, odors and people together made up a reputable and dazzling city.
   Next day, I woke up at noon, and went out from the hotel. It was my first time to see the city in day time. It should be blazing under the midday sun, but it was not, it was even a bit cold. I looked around. All huge buildings had become murky grey, like banks of dark shadows hovering each area in the city. Even though they were huge, I felt that they were as weightless as ghosts. There were no more cheerful noises and marvelous odours, only a city full of yellow dust. Intermittently, sounds of wind from far away could be heard. Fu! Fu! Fu……!   
        The people were still covered all over with jewellery, but under the sun, those glaring stones became very dim. However, the colour of their faces was still white and limpid. I noticed clearly the upper part of their bodies was quite puffy, particularly the head. Nobody here got any wrinkles. when I looked downward at their feet, I found they were bloody, the hypodermic flesh exposed before my eyes. Some of them had begun to melt away. Their skin was peeled off from the flesh, from the body, by an upward pulling force.

        Finally, I understood why the upper part of bodies was puffy, it was because their skin was like a balloon, inflated constantly with hydrogen gas, slowly being forced from the flesh. And this explained why the colour of their faces was white and limpid - as the skin was pumped up with gas, so it became extremely thin, nearly transparent. I recognized why people here were very tall, as they were like balloons with hydrogen gas, rising upward at an unconscious rate. But they did not seem to feel pain, maybe the speed of peeling off was too slow, or they had got used to.

    Confronting this circumstance, suddenly, I did not want to stay this city anymore. I packed up and left. When I reached a certain distance, I looked back. The whole city was like a dark shadow, both illusory and real as at my first sighting. It was clear that the whole city was rising upward at a very slow rate, like the inhabitants. Everything was becoming weightless, like a ghost floating in the air - one day in the future, it would be blow away by a breeze.

選自「超現實之旅 -對虛假之信賴by Umberto Eco