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“电子伴侣”与口头传统保护
专访美国密苏里大学口头传统中心主任约翰•迈尔斯•弗里
中国民族文学网 发布日期:2012-03-31  作者:记者 方筱筠 特约主持人 陈婷婷 摄影 张...
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  嘉宾介绍:约翰•迈尔斯•弗里,美国密苏里大学教授,密苏里大学口头传统中心主任,美国口头程式理论专家,学术刊物《口头传统》的创始人(1986年)。

  Guest: John Miles Foley is Professor of University of Missouri, Director of Oral Tradition Center of University of Missouri. He is also an expert in American oral formulaic theory, as well as founder of academic journal “Oral Tradition” (1986).

  由中国社会科学院主办,民族文学研究所承办,芬兰文学学会、荷兰莱顿大学协办的中国社会科学论坛(2011•文学)以“世界濒危语言与口头传统跨学科研究”为主题,主要关注全球化时代人类在保持文化多样性与坚持可持续发展所面临的许多重要问题,强调不同文化背景和多学科之间的对话,主张从文化遗产学、口头传统研究、信息科学、传播学等多个领域对濒危语言与口头传统进行跨学科研究。本网记者在论坛上采访了芬兰文学学会民俗档案馆馆长劳里•哈维拉提(Lauri Harvilahti)、法国国家科学研究中心教授妮可•雷维尔(Nicole Revel)和美国密苏里大学口头传统中心主任约翰•迈尔斯•弗里(John Miles Foley)3位在濒危语言与口头传统研究领域具有影响力的国外专家和学者。此篇是系列访谈之二。

  主持人:弗里教授,非常高兴再次与您相见!十分感谢您拔冗接受我们的采访。今天的采访主要有两个问题。第一个问题是,您在昨天的演讲中提到了“电子伴侣”,它在保护口头传统方面能够发挥巨大作用。那么您能否就如何在中国创建“电子伴侣”提些建议?

  Presenter: Mr. Foley, nice to meet you again! Thank you very much for participating in our brief interview today and we generally have two questions. The first question is that you talked about the “e-companion” in your lecture yesterday and we really want to know what kind of suggestion you have on the construction of “e-companions” in China, because they could be extremely useful in safeguarding and preserving the oral traditions.

  弗 里:之所以研发“电子伴侣”是因为我们深感仅仅通过书本来研究口头传统是不得其法的。学者们皓首穷经数年,将研习所得付诸文字,却没有考虑到口头传统仍是活生生的真实存在,这极具讽刺意味。因而我们开始思考,如何能开发一种新媒介以代表口头传统这一重要而古老的媒介。我们决定起初将“电子伴侣”作为辅助形式加以利用。与以往仅仅纸上谈兵式的谈论歌谣、习俗、仪式或史诗的方式有所不同,有了“电子伴侣”,我们可以在歌手演述的同时录制音频视频、拍摄照片,这样一来,我们既拥有了印刷于纸张之上的文本化诗行,又拥有了影音声像这些表演性的多媒体手段。

  起初我们确实是将“电子伴侣”作为书籍的辅助手段加以利用,因而书本和网络便结合在一起。现在口头传统的相关资料已经可以在网上浏览,这点十分重要。“电子伴侣”和文本都在网上,任何人都可以通过网络同时而不是分别获取、体验这两者。

  中国的口头传统资源极为丰富,各个少数民族都有其形式多样的口头传统,在我看来,使用“电子伴侣”将会是个不错的主意。但在使用过程中,一定要注意其可行性,应该确保大众能方便地使用这一媒介。

  那么,我们是否应该拍摄大量视频资料,然后一股脑全放到网上?答案是否定的,因为一些人没有足够快速的网络链接来将这些资料下载到个人电脑上。有鉴于此,我们建立了一个容量巨大的“电子伴侣”资料库,其中的每篇文章都有一个链接,但不在服务器上而是分散于各处。如果读者决定阅读某篇文章,“电子伴侣”就开始处于“半链接”状态,这样文章就在读者阅读的过程中同步下载。

  我的另一个建议是考虑权利问题——如何对待你搜集到的知识、获取知识的来源,以及得到演述人的许可,还要考虑演述人是否对提供给你的资料加上了限制,譬如:谁有权浏览,何时可以浏览以及如何浏览,等等。

  无论如何,中国有着极为丰富的口头传统资源,在资料方面绝不匮乏,因而你们大有机会去干出一番伟业。另外,我还想补充一点,即尽量使全世界都能共享你们的研究成果,这也是我们口头传统研究中心的宗旨,我们对用户一贯实行免费、开放的资料检索、获取模式,尽我们所能使得资料能更为便捷地被大家所利用。这样一来,我们也因此得到许多用户反馈,这些反馈对我们进一步建设资料库大有助益。

  Mr. Foley: Well, the e-companion or the electronic companion is something we developed because we felt that studying oral traditions only through the book was the wrong way to do it. It is very ironic that we would study for all those years and put down our thoughts on paper or in a book when the oral tradition is of course the living reality – it is not dead in the book. So we try to think how we could use the new medium to help to represent the oldest medium (that is still an important medium): oral tradition. And we decided that first we would use the electronic companion as a supplement. So instead of just talking about ballads or customs or rituals or epics, we could have an audio or photographs taken during the performance or video of the performance. And all of that could be connected or linked to the presentation in the book, so that we could have the best of the printed textual world in the book or paper and we could have the best performative multi-media in the video, audio, or photographs. So we really begin with using the e-companion as a supplement to a book,and the work integrated with the book and with the website. So now the oral tradition is online; this is very important. The e-companion and the texts of the articles are together online, so anybody who comes to the website is able to get them both, and is able to experience them both together instead of apart. You have such richness in China with all the minority traditions and all kinds of oral traditions within each minority tradition. Thus it seems to me the e-companion could be an ideal kind of strategy for understanding them. It is very important to think of practical considerations when you think of the e-companion. You should make sure that people can use them easily. So we have to make a decision now: would we take enormous video files now and put them online in the article? Well, no! Because some people didn’t have a fast enough connection to download the video to their computer. So in that case, we have a big e-companion file, and we have a link within each article and then it is not on the server but in a separate place. If the person decides to read the article, the e-companion is linked halfway through. So you can go and read the article while waiting for e-companion to download. So I think that is very important. Another suggestion might be to think about the rights – how you have to deal with the knowledge, the source, and make sure you have permissions from the performers and all the rest of that. And if the performer wants to put any restrictions on it – who can view it, or when they can view it, or how they can view it – so you have such richness, and you have no shortage of materials. You have the opportunity to do something really remarkable. And maybe one more thing: to think of the best ways to make that research available diachronically to the whole world. That is the mission of our center – not to charge people money and not to make it difficult for them to get materials, but to do everything we can to make it user-friendly and easy to get to. In that way, you get much more reaction too. We get quite a bit of reaction to our e-companions through special email addresses, or people will tell us their reaction and send it; this is very helpful, too.

  主持人:所以说,这是利人利己、互利互惠。您为用户提供免费平台,而用户给您使用反馈,这是一个相得益彰的过程。

  Presenter: So that is reciprocal. You give them free access which is free of charge and they give you reactions. That is a process of mutual benefit.

  弗 里:说得太对了!你这个总结很好:利人利己,相得益彰。没错。正因如此,我认为我们在该领域的工作比以往有所进步。有了新媒介的助益,我们可以比过去做得更好。

  Mr. Foley: Exactly! That is a very good way to put it: reciprocal and mutual benefit. That is right. That is why I think we need to do better in the world than in the past. With the new media we can do better than what we have done.

  主持人:第二个问题与通道项目有关。您能向我们简单介绍一下通道项目是如何运作的,以及它在国际口头传统研究中发挥何种作用吗?

  Presenter: The second question is about the Pathways Project. Could you please give us a brief introduction about how the Pathways Project works and what kind of role it plays in the international oral tradition research?

  弗 里:通道项目肇始于7年之前。那时我认为,将口头传统和因特网技术加以两相比照是可行的,我当时也一直在寻找合适的方法来阐释我的观点,即口头传统和因特网技术的运作机制是相仿的。这两者在功能上相似,且均与文本不同。这样一来,我们又回到了那个老问题上:用文本代表口头传统,并不尽如人意。在尝试开发通道项目的过程中,我曾有过一个想法,即首先将有同样的根本动力的口头传统和因特网技术加以比照,而这一根本动力就是“漫游网络”。

  我们不妨这样来解释:我们思考的方式并不像看书那样逐页逐章进行,而是漫游所有可能的选择。因此我深信,口头传统和因特网技术的运行方式比文本更接近于我们自然思考的方式。文本的确非常方便、经济,因为它们使你在两点间快速移动,不容你前思后想左顾右盼。这种方式或许有用,但它不是我们大脑思考的方式。我们的大脑是在“漫游”的状态下进行思考的,正如浏览因特网那样。我的第一个想法是将口头传统和因特网技术加以对比,第二个想法则是用一个项目本身来代表这两者的运作机制。当你进入该项目就会发现,阅读、理解它的方式不一而足,这和读书时大家见仁见智一样。

  该项目包含两部分:书和网络。但这“书”可不是一般的书,我将它称为“变形书”或“不断变化的书”,因为你不但可以逐页阅读它,还可以通过书中不同的连接进行随机的漫游式阅读。在书中你可以尽情探索,每次不必拘泥于一种方法。所有这一切如果操作方法得当,都是可行的。这一项目也证明了我们不仅学习知识,我们也创造知识,并且我们对这些知识负有责任。但无论如何这本书终究还是书,因此我创建了名为:“通道项目”的网站,并对外界免费开放。有了这个网站,你就可以用自己喜欢的方式在通道项目所有链接着的网点任意遨游。我想,你拥有不同的通道和可能性,这一点并不难理解——今天你可以从这儿开始读起,明天则可以从哪儿开始浏览;或许今天你花30分钟,明天则花两个小时,时间任由你分配。并且这个项目向所有参与浏览网站的人——而不仅仅是网站的建设者——平等地赋予责任和理解。

  那么,建设该项目的灵感从何而来?其实这不是个新想法了,其源头可以追溯到公元前8世纪,当然,或许更早,但有案可查的资料始见于公元前8世纪古希腊诗人荷马的一首口头诗歌。荷马在《奥德赛》中描绘了他心目中优秀史诗歌手的形象:他并非具有高亢的嗓音,并非具有超凡的记忆,也并非具有不竭的曲库。荷马说,优秀的史诗歌手应该知晓多种“通道”。可见荷马早在公元前8世纪就已经抓住了我们今天通过网络和链接而得出的结论。知晓“通道”,是荷马认为一位优秀歌手所必需的素质。而我们的通道项目旨在发见口头传统与因特网技术间的联系。有些联系非常细小,彼此勾连地存在于“小宇宙”中,供人们探索。我们要做的就是把这个小宇宙呈献给大家,让大家根据自己的喜好去改造它、理解它。

  Mr. Foley: The Pathways Project begins about 7 years ago with a blog, and I had this idea that it would be plausible to compare oral tradition and internet technology and I was looking for ways to illustrate my belief that they work in similar ways. Oral traditions and internet technology function in a similar way and they are both different from texts. Again we get back to the question that texts don’t do a very good job in representing oral traditions. So in trying to invent the Pathways Project, I had one idea, which first was to compare oral tradition and internet technology as having the same fundamental dynamic, and that is to navigate networks. Now simply put: we don’t think like this – going line by line and then turning the page and then another page and then going to another chapter – that is not the way we think. We think by navigating all possible options. That is why I’m convinced that the oral tradition and internet technology are much more the way we naturally think than texts are. Texts are very convenient, and they are very economical, because they get you from one point to another very quickly and they don’t let you think this way or that way or consider other possibilities – just go right through, and you are done. That can be useful, but that is not the way we think. The way we think is by navigating, just the same way as on the internet. So the first idea was to compare the two technologies and the second idea was to represent that kind of dynamic in the project itself. When you go to the project, there is no one way to read it; there is no one way to understand it, as you can in a book. The project consists of two parts: the first, the book; and the second, the website. But the book is not a usual book; it’s not a normal book. I call it a “morphing book”, or a “changing book”, because even though you can read it – page one, page two, page three, page four – you can also read it in many other ways: migrating from here to there, and there are different connections in the book. You can explore, and you don’t need to do it the same way each time, either. On Tuesday, you can do it in one way, and on Wednesday, you can start from another place, go to a different place. All of those, if we did it right, will make sense. And so it demonstrates the fact once again the knowledge that we accrue, the knowledge that we learn and the knowledge that we make our own, we take responsibility for, we are making that knowledge too, we are co-creating what we do. So the book illustrates that to a degree. But the book is after all still a book, so that is why we have the website that called the Pathways Project and it is free and open to the public. In that way you can move through all the linked web of the Pathways Project in any way you like. And it is electronically very much easier to understand that you have different pathways, different possibilities – today you can start here; tomorrow you can start there; perhaps you have only thirty minutes today; perhaps you have two hours tomorrow; and you can use the time in many ways as you wish. And it prescribes, it links the responsibility to understand equally with the person who is doing the surfing, and not just with the person who built the website. So, where does the idea come from? It’s an old idea. It comes from approximately the 8th century BC. Probably long before that, but the first record probably comes from the 8th century BC from an ancient Greek oral poem of Homer. And Homer in book 8 of his Odyssey, when he is describing what makes a good singer, doesn’t say the singer has a strong voice; he doesn’t say the singer has good memory; he doesn’t say the singer has a large repertoire of epics. What he says is that the singer knows many kinds of pathways. So he has already in the 8th century BC grabbed the idea that we think by negotiating networks, that we think by finding our way through this linked web of potentials. And this is of course before the internet – millennia before the internet. But it is the core of what the singer does for Homer. So the Pathways Project tries to examine the correlation between the oral tradition and the internet technology. And it consists of some very small parts – most of them are extremely small, just 2 to 5 pages – on different topics are linked in a kind of universe, and they are linked together for people to explore. So what we do then is to offer them the small universe and say: make it what you will, and understand it in a way you would like to understand it. And we are very happy to have them do it then.

  主持人:您认为,还有无其他媒介可以比因特网更好地代表口头传统及其工作机制?

  Presenter: Do you think there are any other media which are better than the internet to represent the oral tradition and the way it works?

  弗 里:目前为止,还没有。但谁也无法断言两年之后没有新事物的涌现。在谈及因特网技术时,我曾提及静态文件和互动的因特网之间的真正区别。假设我们现在有一张放在网上的报纸,它不是互动的——你只能去阅读它,这和买一张纸质报纸加以阅读没多大区别。但在互动之中,你需要不断抉择接下来的行动,同时对所见所闻做出反应,正如一位史诗歌手对他的听众做出反应那样——他试图判断听众对故事的哪个部分感兴趣,如果有人对这段细节感兴趣,他就把这部分抻长;如果有人对另一段不感兴趣,他就把那段缩短——互动一直不断。我想,这种情况也同样发生在浏览因特网时。因特网出现已有一段时间了,它经历了变化,代表了各种新的可能性——尽管在一些人眼中它令人生畏,让人忧虑。但如果你读读古希腊哲学家柏拉图的著作,就会发现他对书写技术也有过类似的担忧。新技术总让一些人感到怀疑,因为我们尚不确定它究竟是如何运作的。今天,一些人,尤其是一些年长之人,对因特网抱着同样焦虑、怀疑的态度。但凭借因特网,我们正转向最本真的思考方式。我想,如果能这样向人们解释因特网,他们就会感到舒服多了。

  Mr. Foley: At the moment, no. But who knows two years from now that there won’t be something else? I make the real distinction when I talk about internet technology – the real distinction between the static files and the internet, the interactive files on the internet. So if we have a document, let’s say, a newspaper, and it is on the internet, and it is not interactive – you just go and read it. That is much like buying a newspaper and reading it, as if it were an object. But in interactivity, you go back and forth and you are constantly making decisions about what you are going to do and you are reacting to what you see, just the same way as a singer reacts to his audience – trying to see that these people are interested in this or not; this person wants more detail over here and I can tell them a really interesting part of the story and I can expand that a little bit; get to another part of the story, you are not interested, that’s ok, I will make it a little smaller constant interaction. I think that is what’s happening in internet exploration, too. The internet is coming into existence during my lifetime – you know, you don’t even remember when it wasn’t available – but to see that change happens, to understand this represents all sorts of new possibilities, even though for some people it is forbidding; some people are still a little bit worried about the internet and so on. But if you read the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, you will find out that he felt the same way about writing. New technology is someone’s suspicion, and we are not quite sure how it works. Some people, mostly older people today, feel the same way about the internet. But in a sense we are returning to our origins; we are returning to the most basic way of thinking. And I think if you would explain things to people in that way, they would feel much more comfortable.

  主持人:好的,十分感谢您极富启发意义的回答,也感谢您接受我们的采访。

  Presenter: OK, thank you very much for your enlightening answers and for participating in our interview.

  弗 里:谢谢,我很乐意接受你们的采访。

  Mr. Foley: Thank you, it’s my pleasure.

文章来源:中国社会科学网 2011-9-27 14:55:59

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