發熱、取血、數值儀器、藥物作用、污名、自我認同、謊言、家庭、伴侶與情愛、不顧一切去放棄、木然後賦權或被賦權，這些散佈於感染經驗的日常暨無常，即是臺灣感染誌協會（Taiwan HivStory Association）力行六年，整集十萬字人類免疫缺乏病毒（Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV，即愛滋病毒）感染者自述、紀誌的工作起源。感染誌與志願者共同造字，將存在於臺灣的當代病毒敘事刊錄於雲端媒體，以數位化文字呈現那些不可逆、且藉病毒寄宿於人體的政治性隱喻。在世界面臨集體創傷、仍在學習著與「瘟疫爆發新常態」共處的此刻，感染誌邀請詩人／劇場導演林季鋼，與本國在地愛滋感染社群進行共創對話，以收整至今的萬字百則生命故事為本，創作全新劇作《Rx: still life》。
本劇《Rx: still life》，命題旨在呈現HIV感染者於接收診斷／囑咐後，以自身肉體為媒介托起自我生命檢視、端詳、沈浸其中後所擇而行的「持生樣態」。閱題時觀者可將「Rx」與「still life」分別以其可變詞性、於醫療、美術等觀點及中文翻譯等語境組合意釋解題。Rx為通用英語中「medical prescription（醫囑）」、「recipe for wellness（養生秘方）」的簡寫符號，於拉丁語中則為「recipe（配方）」表意，具「take（服用）」之動詞祈使語氣意象，二十一世紀的醫療科技無法根治深植人體的愛滋病毒，二十一世紀的人文薈萃亦無法消抹深植人心中的族群差異與排拒，那些因遭遇病毒而成為宿主的感染存在，以病者姿態遵循醫者、當權者的囑咐與政策主導，在自我身心與社會的變遷中寫下個人獨有的生命歷史。
歷時一年籌備，《Rx: still life》逾越病毒豎立的陰陽分界，推演那抹去界線、位於黑盒境地中的無牆對話，由詩歌、肢體、視覺詩共構的表演現場，既是創作團隊與感染社群的親暱交織，亦是場域內來自非同背景者精神匯聚、相互尊重的精神供獻。受十二月世界愛滋日的價值號召與「西門紅樓玩藝劇場」計畫合作支持，臺灣感染誌協會將以免費、公益形式於十一月中旬自官方社群媒體開放「公眾索票遊戲表單」，以表演藝術行動實踐本會於社會運動與倡議革新的終極關懷。
Fever, blood collection, measuring instrument, medicine effect, stigma, self-identification, lie, family, partner and love, self-abandonment, numbness, then empowering or being empowered…. It is these trivial and impermanent aspects pervaded in virus-carrying experience which Taiwan HivStory Association’s effort is based on – an effort spanning over six years, compiling around one million words bearing personal memories and community histories of HIV carriers. HivStory utters with volunteers. We post contemporary narratives of the virus existing in Taiwan onto online media. By digitized words, we present the political metaphors that come along with the virus, both irreversible, parasitic on the human body. It is a time when the world is facing a collective trauma caused by the outbreak of a plague, while still learning how to live with the “new normal”. In such time, HivStory invited Macaca Sapiens, the poet and theater director, to dialogue with local HIV carrier communities, and co-produce a brand new play – Rx: still life, based on thousands of words and hundreds of titles of life stories we have collected to date.
“Only let there be the One in the center, and let there be points x in Ganga-sand number, all guarding our upper and lower bounds at R. Then nothingness will attain perfection. There will be no margin between the presence and absence of light. Though I would not know my soul, Yet were I perfect.” — Macaca Sapiens, the theater director of Rx: still life.
As an activist group with the core goal to speak out for HIV carriers, Taiwan HivStory hopes to witness the possibilities brought out by renovating initiative approaches. Ever since HivStory’s first activist attempt in 2016, by means of cultivating creators, flashmob speaking-out, forums, exhibition curation and more promotion methods, we have managed to destruct the stigma and the predicament, even the moral and legal restraint and condemn falling onto carriers of specific viruses. In addition, we have held events for public welfare educational promotion, in order to open up a space for issues to intervene, and stir the oppositions and divides coming to a stalemate. In the process of the play producing, HivStory and the director Macaca Sapiens “superimposed” the story of volunteer HIV+ utterers onto the life experience of the actors during the research and creative phase, translating the difficulty of social issue initiatives to “step into someone’s shoes” into the interpretation process of performers, thus blurring the boundaries of feeling and action between the actor and the utterer. Also, with the alm-bowl-rounded arrangement of audience seating, along with the time-space displacement of the voice/sound, the participants of this theater will witness the moment where actors become the carrier of others’ lives and switch their identities.
The title “Rx: still life” is meant to manifest the “state of still-living” that HIV carriers have chosen to pursue – just after receiving their own diagnoses/exhortations, and then further examining, inspecting, immersing into their own life through the mediation of their own flesh. The title can be separated into two parts, “Rx” plus “still life”, and interpreted respectively according to their own ambiguous part of speech, meanings within medical or art context, expressions in Chinese and more. The abbreviation “Rx” stands for “prescription” or “recipe for wellness” in general English, and “(take) recipe” in Latin with a tone of imperative. Medical technology in 21st century cannot cure HIV that has invaded personal body; flourishing of great thinkings in 21th century cannot eliminate the discrimination and repulsion that has ingrained in the mind of the messes. Those beings infected by the virus, as patients dominated by the exhortations and policies exerted from physicians and governors, have written down their unique life stories in a state of flux of body, mind and society.
Prepared for a year, Rx: still life intends to transgress the black-and-white boundary drawn by the virus, and develop wall-less dialogues with all boundaries wiped in the black-box/dark-room. The four live performance sessions, constructed with poetry, physical and visual poem altogether, are not only the intimate interweaving between the creative team and HIV+ communities, but also a roomful of solidarity and respect dedicated by people from various backgrounds. Appealed by the value of World AIDS Day in December, and supported by the “The Red House Play-Art Theater” project, HivStory has post a “Game for Complimentary Tickets” form on our official website for free and public welfare, practicing our ultimate concerns with social movement and initiative innovation through the performance art action.