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  • JJS
  • Membre/Member, NTIA IANA Functions' Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (2014~); Membre/Member, NetMundial Initiative Coordination Council (déc. 2014~); ICANN/ALAC (2010~14); ICANN Board (2007-10); diplomat(e) (1971-2005); ambassadeur/dor (1995-2005). Gouvernance; défis globaux / Governance; g
  • Membre/Member, NTIA IANA Functions' Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (2014~); Membre/Member, NetMundial Initiative Coordination Council (déc. 2014~); ICANN/ALAC (2010~14); ICANN Board (2007-10); diplomat(e) (1971-2005); ambassadeur/dor (1995-2005). Gouvernance; défis globaux / Governance; g

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2 octobre 2014 4 02 /10 /octobre /2014 12:20

Londres, septembre 2014. Après une visite à la National Gallery, j’ai pris ce cliché en quittant l’imposant bâtiment qui donne sur Trafalgar Square (cliquez sur la photo pour l’agrandir). Pour laisser un commentaire, merci d’utiliser la boîte "Laissez un commentaire" ci-dessous.

London, September 2014. After a visit to the National Gallery, this snapshot was taken as I was leaving the grand building on Trafalgar Square (click on the photo to enlarge). To leave a comment, please use the "Laisser un commentaire" box below.

 

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Information technique : Sony RX100M3, mode automatique, f:2, 1/160', ISO 640. Retouches: image recadrée et mise d'aplomb.

 

Technical data: Sony RX100M3, automatic mode, f:2, 1/160', ISO 640. Modifications: photo cropped and set straight.


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2 octobre 2014 4 02 /10 /octobre /2014 12:01

Août 2014. A Palo Alto en Californie, près du campus de l'Université Stanford, il y a un vaste centre commercial "Stanford Shopping Centre" avec d'agréables espaces en plein air, où les passants s’installent le temps d’une consommation. Cliquez sur la photo pour l’agrandir. Pour laisser un commentaire, utlisez la boîte ci-dessous.

August 2014. In Palo Alto, California, the Stanford Shopping Centre is close to the campus of Stanford Univesity. This shopping mall has open spaces where folks come to enjoy a drink or a snack. Click on the photo to enlarge. To leave a comment, use the "Laisser un commentaire" box below.

 

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Informations techniques: Sony RX100M3, mode automatique, f:4, 1/250', ISO 125, image recadrée et mise d'aplomb.

 

Technical data: Sony RX100M3, automatic mode, f:4, 1/250', ISO 125, image cropped and set straight.

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15 septembre 2013 7 15 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50

So far, the debate on mass surveillance has dwelt on the immense resources made available to the agencies (NSA in the US, GCHQ in the UK), on the technological advantage that enables them to access any data and bypass encryption, and on the lack of proper oversight in those two countries. But in order to make their voices heard by their elected representatives, Internet users around the world need to have an even more complete view of the emerging reality: why have these agencies been allowed to stray far beyond democratic principles, and why for so long? Why have oversight and control been so utterly ineffective? The grievous actions of these agencies might well have continued to escape public attention, had they not been exposed by Edward Snowden.


Since he first released Snowden's findings in The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and his colleagues have continued to update their files about the NSA and the GCHQ. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was recently granted access to the deliberations of FISA, the secret court set up to oversee the NSA. To my knowledge, the only writer to have examined some sociological aspects of the surveillance scandal is Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst at ACLU. On Stanley's tracks, I shall examine if a sort of "Internet psychology" has condoned this abuse of power, and see if sociology can provide an explanation.


PSYCHOLOGY. It has taken centuries of turmoil, civil wars and revolutions, for our societies to achieve some degree of harmony. And because they retain a collective memory of strife and hardship, modern humans tend to prefer mediation and negotiation to armed conflict. This conciliatory attitude has fostered tolerance, and with it a fairly high degree of trust in institutions which, in turn, provided continuity.


Because of these characteristics, the public generally has a straightforward, sometimes simplistic approach: trust your doctor for medical advice, your mechanic to repair the car, and the executive branch to manage the country. In many countries, the lack of interest in public affairs has been amplified by mass entertainment and mainstream media, usually at the expense of culture, because the latter is more demanding. With such easy access, the public has persuaded itself that judgment, which someone must have taken care of upstream, has become superfluous at the level of the consumer.


All this has a direct bearing on Internet psychology. In the early days, this amazing tool was used by a small number of individuals skilled in mathematics, programming or systems engineering. If anything, they were driven by logic. But now that the Internet has become the first truly global infrastructure in human history, with easy-to-use applications routinely replacing computer programming, there is a pervasive sense of instant availability, effortless use and free-of-charge access to everything.


For decdes now, the Internet has been touted as a public tool for education, communication, business and entertainment. But its use as an instrument of sovereignty, though perfectly understandable, has mostly been passed under silence. Those familiar with international relations understand that governments engage in spying (this term is more accurate than "intelligence", more attuned to academic research and cognitive pursuits). They also know that national security requires surveillance, which is acceptable, provided it is framed by strong legal rules, under constant and effective oversight by the legislative and judicial branches. 


Then why have Snowden's revelations shocked Internet users around the world, even those who are rather well informed? How did this come about? Aided by mainstream media, governments have hidden behind the screen of secrecy to expand budget allocations for surveillance. The leaders of agencies have relentlessly demanded, and often obtained, the extension of their covert actions. And when some whistleblower draws attention to wrongdoing, political leadership and the owners of mass media quickly sideline the offender by accusing him of harbouring some "conspiracy theory". In societies where mass media play a major role in the formation of groupthink, invoking a "conspiracy theory" is generally enough to discredit the whistleblower, and his findings are simply taken off the news. Before being hailed as a hero, Daniel Ellsberg had been branded by Henry Kissinger as "the most dangerous man in America", and normally that should have silenced him forever. More than a decade after 9/11, how many US citizens are aware that on that day, not 2 but 3 towers imploded, the third one without having been hit by an aircraft? And in the UK, how many people have read the European Parliament report on Echelon? We live in comfort-seeking societies where most people are afraid of leaving the mainstream: a false dogma provides so much more solace than an inconvenient truth. Today, should the Internet user be satisfied with such low standards?

 

SOCIOLOGY. In a recent article, Jay Stanley asked "How Can Smart, Ethical Individuals Form Dumb, Amoral Government Agencies?". He offered 5 reasons: the ideology of the bureaucracy, groupthink, diffusion of responsibility, Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy, and abstraction. I agree with his analysis, but it's worth considering some wider aspects as well.


1) ACCOUNTABILITY IS NOT THE DEFAULT SETTING OF EXECUTIVE POWER. In fact, those who attain power are immediately given the symbols of absolutism: one of the very first things a newly appointed chief executive is briefed upon is the availability of military force, and if his country is a nuclear power, he is given a "nuclear key", arguably the most potent and secret item of high office. We learn from history that the executive (whether a monarch or an elected person) has never granted legislative powers out of kindness, but that they were obtained the hard way, often through conflict. There is a sort of "biological constant" which makes executive power loathe to share, and careful to avoid anything which may destabilize it. For many of us, it is a disappointment, but it should hardly be a surprise, that since assuming office, President Obama has implemented many key policies of the Neo-Conservative agenda, thus laying the ground for the massive abuse of power recently exposed by Snowden.


2) LIKE RELIGIOUS DOGMA, SECRECY THRIVES ON ITS OWN RULES. Political power has always considered secrecy as a key element to resist the test of time, democratic demands, or an uprising. At the present time, it is truly disturbing to see that the US and British executive branches have gone to great lengths to make that secrecy more inscrutable, even against the basic requirements of democracy. Those who promote the uncontrolled expansion of surveillance, usually find inspiration in religious dogma, which always considers itself as the ultimate source of wisdom and justice. It is secrecy as a value in itself, which seems to have driven the surveillance agencies to sideline judicial control and parliamentary oversight. The sheer magnitude of this deception creates a sort of convergence between established democracies and the very dictatorships they regularly, and rightly, critisize.


3) THIS IS A TURNING POINT IN THE HISTORY OF THE INTERNET. A naïve approach has no place in the current debate: competition is not for the faint-hearted, fierce competition begets harsh tricks, and governments all spy on one another. But the malpractices exposed by Snowden cannot be left unchecked, lest they undermine the very foundations of our democracies. People have expressed indignation, and rightly so, but that is no longer sufficient. We need to impress upon our elected representatives that it is time to make Internet governance work for civic and human rights, as well as privacy. It is time to harden the legal tools with which abuse of power can be curtailed, and executive branches made accountable on a regular basis. Let us follow up on the (ISOC) Internet Society's recent statement, and make this one of the major public causes of our time. We owe it to the next generations of Internet users worldwide.

 

( This article is also posted on CircleID )

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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 04:01

"The abuse of greatness is

when it disjoins remorse from power"

W. Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"

 

When the scale of global surveillance carried out by the NSA (USA) and by the GCHQ (UK) was exposed by Edward Snowden through The Guardian, people around the world were shocked to discover how two established democracies routinely resort to methods that they have long deplored -and rightly so- in dictatorships, theocracies and other single-party arrangements. In a previous article, I lamented the fact that by carrying out this surveillance on an unprecedented scale, the US and the UK are, in fact, converging with the very regimes they criticize. All this constitutes what I have termed "the global rape of privacy". One could have expected a huge outcry, but so far reactions have been restricted to just a few media outlets. Some Internet experts have questioned this meekness, e.g. Byron Holland on his "Public Domain" blog, under the title "Where is the outrage?".

 

Things are turning out to be even worse than we thought. On the 5th or September 2013, three media outlets, in close coordination, published a further installment of Snowden's findings, this time about the illegal action by NSA and GCHQ to circumvent or corrupt most of encryption methods currently available for the protection of business data and user privacy. In these articles, The Guardian, the New York Times and ProPublica describe and analyse the incriminated methods. They reveal the unprecedented extent to which the NSA and the GCHQ have been allowed, or have allowed themselves, to record and scrutinize individuals' lives and social evolution, and not only military or terrorist activities. These most recent articles reveal, among other things, "project Bullrun" (operated by NSA) and "project Edgehill" (run by GCHQ). Here are a few questions and observations.

 

1) THE "GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR" IS NO LONGER PUT FORWARD AS THE OVERRIDING PRETEXT FOR GLOBAL SURVEILLANCE. In itself, this is a terrifying discovery, which implies that the methods now in use have acquired a logic, even a justification of their own, beyond the "forces of evil" battle-cry of the Cheney Administration, or Blair's choices in that same period. We don't know, but some have suggested that Airbus plans may thus have been discretely passed on to Boeing, or EU talking points covertly siphoned before some important multi-lateral meeting on world trade, none of these having even the faintest connection with "fighting against terrorism". By going way beyond the requirements of national security, the proponents of universal surveillance have placed their actions further than sovereignty, thus undermining the very foundations of democracy. This is a most dangerous development; all concerned citizens and netizens should give vent to their indignation.

 

2) THE LACK OF PROPER JUDICIAL OVERSIGHT AND PARLIAMENTARY CONTROL HAS GIVEN THE PROPONENTS OF GLOBAL SURVEILLANCE A HIGH SENSE OF IMPUNITY. There is no need to replicate here the details provided in the articles of The Guardian, the New York Times and ProPublica. But we can draw a couple of lessons. First, the loopholes of democracy have been exploited with the utmost cynicism, for instance when analysts at CGHQ were instructed to ask no questions, with this warning: "knowledge that GCHQ exploits these products and the scale of our capability would raise public awareness, generating unwelcome publicity for us and our political masters."  That's one clear way of stating that the Executive Branch can in fact be held hostage by these agencies. Second, the fact that, in the judgment of those who operate these surveillance systems, proper oversight and control can only be viewed as hindrances to the open-ended expansion of their covert activities.

 

3) IN THE FACE OF THIS MASSIVE ABUSE OF POWERS BY THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, IT IS TIME FOR CITIZENS AND NETIZENS ALL OVER THE WORLD TO GIVE VENT TO THEIR INDIGNATION. The late Stéphane Hessel, in his little book entitled "Indignez-vous!"  (Time for outrage!), called upon citizens to reject the root causes of mass poverty, growing social inequality, deprivation of rights, and attacks on human dignity. In the same spirit, the recent disclosure of unauthorized, poorly controlled, opaque dealings in the name of sovereignty now warrants a large-scale inquiry, as well as corrective measures in order to protect the rights of Internet users across the world. It is time to let our elected representatives know that they must legislate on and enforce stringent controls: that's what it takes to rid our democracies of the widespread impunity exposed by Snowden. The coterie of cynics would have us believe that, in this early twenty-first century, even the "global rape of privacy" is perfectly normal and acceptable, in the name of efficiency.


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25 août 2013 7 25 /08 /août /2013 00:00

Built for the most part during the Cold War, surveillance systems on a global scale were considered a vital necessity with the onset of nuclear weapons, if only to keep Mutually Assured Destruction at bay. Today, these systems are also used for domestic surveillance and universal data harvesting, including on one’s own citizens. Should such systems still be considered with the same reverence as, say, in the midst of some Cuban Missile Crisis? Internet specialists have addressed some of the questions posed by this blanket surveillance (among others, in Circle ID: Geoff Huston and Roy Balleste).

 

In the Soviet Union, military power and ideological control relied on a vast network of listeners and analysts, of multilingual chauffeurs and fellow travellers across the globe. In the United States, the ayatollah Joseph McCarthy saw in the West-East confrontation an opportunity to use Cold War methods on home ground to eradicate anything close to « socialism », shore up religious persuasions, nurture capitalism and pave the way for global financial dominance. And today, countries with interests around the world use the Internet as a conduit for influence and power, when it is not for their covert actions.

 

Over the years, individuals have assumed the high-risk role of whistleblowers because their duties made them aware of the dire consequences of public policy: through his selfless action, Daniel Ellsberg (The Pentagon Papers 1971) helped shorten the US occupation of Vietnam. More recently, whistleblowers have emerged because the Internet provided access to confidential data which they considered of crucial importance to their fellow citizens; others exposed the massive and systematic electronic surveillance by the US, including of its own citizens at home and abroad; and the dissemination of information about Prism and Echelon has put into question the very notion of being an ally (the UK claims to be a full member of the European Union, yet it is one of only 5 beneficiary states of Echelon). Such whistleblowers are reviled by some and hailed by others: Sibel Edmonds, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, Julian Assange, and recently Edward Snowden (and those who helped them: Sarah Harrison from WikiLeaks aided Snowden during his travails in Hongkong and Moscow; Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with The Guardian, published Snowden’s story as it unfolded).

 

This form of unmediated transparency, possible only in democracies, has always been the nightmare of theocracies and other single-party regimes. In its terminal stages, the USSR could do nothing against the humble fax machine, which turned out to be an essential vicar of Perestroika. Turning to Asia, one cannot help but wonder what would have been the outcome of Tian’anmen if, in 1989, global social networks had been available on the same scale as today. More recently, and true to their messianic inclinations, our Western democracies offered verbal encouragement to movements of self-liberation in the Near- and Middle-East, while vaunting the role played by (Western) social media in these upheavals.

 

But now we are witnessing a regrettable convergence: established democracies are resorting to the methods of regimes they have long criticized, and they do this with a sense of righteousness, in the name of a « global war on terror ». For anyone interested in US affairs, it is disturbing to see that President Obama is implementing parts of the Neo-Con agenda that even the Cheney Administration had not achieved (Patriot Extension Act 2011; maintaining Guantanamo; Boundless Informant; comforting current NSA and related practices without effective oversight). Some day, US citizens will have to come to grips with the growing contradiction between the lofty principles upon which their country was founded, including the "Wall of separation" between state and religion (Jefferson 1802), and 21st-century US where the President concludes his swearing-in with an astounding "so help me God". in the Middle East and elsewhere, religious bigots point at the caption "In God we trust" printed on every US banknote and adopted as the national motto of the US (1956), to better impose their bleak obscurantism in madrassas. This convergence holds more dangers for democracies than for theocracies. It is deeply disturbing that the United Kingdom’s GCHQ secretly accepted £100 million from the NSA, the US agency seeming to consider that massive global surveillance could be carried out without bothersome legislative and judiciary oversight in Britain, the country that schoolchildren around the world know as the cradle of parliamentary democracy.

 

A naive posture has no place in this debate: countries who can afford it usually have agencies that gather information and try to influence decisions in other countries. But recent developments should lead us to examine several points:

 

-       1) By eschewing principles for the sake of « operational efficiency », democracies weaken the very core of their social cohesion and political stability. These principles are so obvious that one is embarrassed to name them: civil liberties, human rights, a clear separation of powers. Established democracies have become complacent about their own practices, and it is high time that surveillance be effectively subordinated to judiciary and parliamentary control, rather than left to the sole judgment of the executive.



  2) Technical entities such as ICANN should be more open about discussing this, because the separation between the technical and the governance aspects of the Internet no longer has the same justification as when Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn et al invented TCI/IP. This challenge has just been taken up by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) at its Berlin meeting, where it decided to devise methods to protect the privacy of the general Internet user. The IETF shows the way forward: there is no taboo, even for a technical body, to place as much emphasis on user privacy as on engineering challenges or business opportunities.


 

-       3) The debate about the Internet has long avoided considering the global public interest as a priority. It is time to recognize that the rape of privacy has become a widespread and unpunished crime, and as such requires firm corrective legislation and processes. Awareness has been raised by some great Internet names: most recently, Tim Berners-Lee and his World Wide Web Foundation issued a statement on "Surveillance laws: time to reform the status quo". The efforts of W3C, ISOC, the Council of Europe and others now need to be gathered in a meta-platform, in order to impact public policy.

- 

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17 novembre 2012 6 17 /11 /novembre /2012 23:13

Je viens de voir "Augustine" (scénario et mise en scène d'Alice Winocour) au cinéma du quartier, fort troublé par ce qui semble être un cas de plagiat sans scrupule.

Dans les dernières minutes du film, lorsqu'Augustine (Soko, excellente dans le rôle), Charcot (un Vincent Lindon rigide) et Mme Charcot (Chiara Mastroiani, fine, intelligente) se diluent dans la foule du soir, une musique prend de l'ampleur, un lancinant canon de cordes étreint le spectateur : n'est-ce pas "Tabula rasa", du compositeur estonien Arvo Pärt (oeuvre de 1977) ? Le film terminé, et tandis que la salle de cinéma se vidait, je suis resté assis, pour le plaisir de voir apparaître le nom de Pärt, qui méritait bien ce coup de chapeau. Mais quelle surprise, dans la liste des noms qui défile après la dernière image, on apprend le nom de l'électricien, du coiffeur, mais quand vient "musique", je lis avec surprise le seul nom de Jocelyn Pook.

De retour à la maison, je vérifie de suite, sur les sites spécialisés, la filmographie concernant "Augustine" : avec étonnement, je constate qu'à côté de la mention "musique", seul figure le nom de Jocelyn Pook. Et sur le site de cette compositrice et altiste britannique, il est bien fait mention du fait qu'elle compose la musique d' "Augustine", mais sans aucune indication qu'elle ait pu être inspirée par l'oeuvre de Pärt.

Peut-on imaginer qu'Alice Winocour et les producteurs (Isabelle Madelaine, Emilie Tisné, Laurent Pétin, Michèle Pétin), auraient manqué à ce point de culture musicale, mais aussi d'élémentaire prudence, en ne vérifiant pas que la musique accompagnant la dernière scène du film, devait beaucoup à un grand compositeur contemporain, Arvo Pärt ? Faut-il imaginer que Jocelyn Pook, qui a déjà signé de nombreuses musiques de film, se serait laissée aller à faire ce gros emprunt en comptant sur l'ignorance des spectateurs ? Dans l'un et l'autre cas, le résultat est d'une indélicatesse crasse et, faute d'explication convaincante d'Alice Winocour ou de Jocelyn Pook, laisse planer l'ombre d'un plagiat éhonté.

Il serait dommage que la réputation de l'une ou l'autre fût ternie par cette négligence. Comme bien d'autres spectateurs, j'attends des explications.

 

 


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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 07:20

 ➠ 中文版 

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En calligraphie, l'esprit ordonne le geste, le corps ne fait qu'exécuter.

 

C'était lors d'une fête qu'un ami donnait dans un musée d'art contemporain pour son 50ème anniversaire. Ses parents, son épouse, ses enfants, des amis de jeunesse, des collègues, quelques dizaines d’invités formaient un groupe varié et de tout âge. En terminant sa sobre allocution, le héros de la fête évoqua un ami d'enfance présent à ses côtés, et lui demanda d'exécuter quelques calligraphies avant que nous ne passions au buffet.

Discrète, attentive à tout, Mme XU Dengyin , l'épouse du calligraphe, aidée de deux ou trois invités, débarrassa une table, déploya des rouleaux de papier, disposa les instruments d'écriture, vérifia l'encre, et de ses paumes lissa la première page blanche.

Vêtu d'un tricot aux manches retroussées, ZHENG Jieping  鄭階平(郑阶平)s'avança vers l'écritoire improvisé. Ceux qui ne le connaissaient pas, retenant leur souffle, se demandèrent comment une personne sans mains et sans avant-bras pouvait s'adonner à la calligraphie. Un instant de concentration, regardant l'encrier, puis la feuille blanche, à nouveau l'encrier et les pinceaux, l’artiste se préparait à écrire.

L'instant d'après, il saisit le plus grand pinceau, le trempa, et d'un geste sûr en exprima l'encre superflue sur les bords de l'encrier. D'habitude, un calligraphe tient le pinceau dans sa main droite comme le prescrivent les manuels de cet art, "avec la fermeté du tigre et la légèreté de l'oiseau". Ici, ZHENG Jieping, debout, tenait le pinceau de ses deux membres supérieurs, de sorte que l'acte d'écrire mobilisait tout son corps, qui se déplaçait tout entier de droite à gauche au rythme de la calligraphie, le torse et la tête imprimant au pinceau d'amples mouvements pour les grands caractères puis, pour achever en plus petits idéogrammes la date et sa signature, se focalisant comme un horloger sur une montre, en gestes de faible ampleur dont on devine la précision.

Les invités, émerveillés, formèrent un cercle de plus en plus resserré autour du calligraphe. Plusieurs grandes feuilles passèrent ainsi de l’état de papier à celui de signe, de message, d’art. L'après-midi fut éclairé par ZHENG Jieping, écrivant de tout son corps ; le pinceau, à l'aplomb de son regard concentré, semblait alors l'instrument docile d'une surprenante chorégraphie.

Intéressé par le style de ce calligraphe, j'ai proposé à son épouse et lui de leur rendre visite afin de faire connaissance et prendre quelques photos. Echange de numéros de téléphone, promesse de se contacter bientôt.

Par une journée pluvieuse, je me suis rendu dans leur appartement au dernier étage d'un immeuble, avec vue sur le fleuve Huangpu, gris métallique ce jour-là. Nous bûmes du thé, bavardâmes, continuèrent au restaurant du quartier où je les conviai avec leur fils, retournâmes chez eux et regardâmes des albums, des livres, des calligraphies récentes.


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Le calligraphe ZHENG Jieping 鄭階平 郑阶平) chez lui, à Shanghai.


Il ne m'en a pas parlé, mais ses amis savent que le tout jeune ZHENG Jieping fut accidentellement électrocuté par un câble à haute tension, avec pour conséquence la perte de ses deux bras. L'amputation lui laissa des moignons juste au-dessus des coudes. Sans doute a-t-il fallu une volonté hors norme pour surmonter une telle épreuve. Sa passion de la calligraphie remonte à l'école primaire, lorsqu'il avait admiré le talent de quelques camarades dont les oeuvres étaient exposées, et regretté de n'en avoir pas lui-même.

En regardant des photos de Jieping jeune homme, je découvre la haute exigence qu'il n'a cessé d'avoir à l'égard de lui-même : dans une photo, le voilà à une rencontre sportive régionale pour personnes handicapées, et dans une autre, le voici aux Olympiades pour handicapés (saut en longueur). Il a produit pour la jeunesse des manuels de calligraphie dont il m'a montré les brouillons, chaque caractère tracé avec ce qui m'a paru une grande aisance, mais qui résulte sans doute d'années d'une riguoureuse discipline. J'imagine le respect qu'il doit inspirer à ses éleves, dans le lycée à Shanghai où, en classe de calligraphie, il leur parle aussi de l'évolution des styles au cours des siècles.


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ZHENG Jieping avec son épouse XU Dengyin et leur fils ZHENG Weixiong. L’inscription célèbre la nouvelle année, “Que l’année du dragon apporte le bonheur” (龍年戴福 xinnian daifu).

S'il pratique tous les styles d'écriture, je trouve que ZHENG Jieping excelle dans le caoshu  ("la souplesse des hautes herbes"), forme dont l'apparente décontraction suppose non seulement une maîtrise technique, mais aussi une profonde connaissance étymologique, historique et littéraire. Tandis que d’autres graphies, notamment le kaishu 楷书 demandent un respect rigoureux du modèle proposé, laissant ainsi peu de place à la fantaisie ou à la créativité, caoshu est une forme dans laquelle, me semble-t-il, une personnalité hors du commun trouve à s’exprimer librement.

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Calligraphie en écriture caoshu ("la souplesse des hautes herbes") par ZHENG Jieping.

Il est surprenant qu'un artiste de cette qualité, apprécié des initiés en Chine, soit à peu près inconnu ailleurs : ne pourrait-on trouver, d'abord en Asie puis dans d'autres régions du monde, des galeries souhaitant montrer, à travers ZHENG Jieping, que la calligraphie est indissociable de la culture chinoise, tout en faisant penser, par son abstraction, à l'art contemporain ? 

Jean-Jacques.

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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 07:12

en français : ZHENG Jieping, calligraphe

翻译 : 女士 

 

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书法中,思想带动手势,身体不过是执行大脑的指挥。

 

节日的一天,朋友在现代艺术馆庆祝他的50岁生日。他的父母,妻子,孩子,年轻时的朋友,同事组成一个年龄、社会背景不同的来宾群体。在简洁的发言中,主人提到他的身边的人们,其中一个便是他儿时的伙伴郑阶平。餐前,主人邀请郑先生当场作一幅字。

低调,但是无微不至的郑太太,徐登银女士,在其他两三个朋友的帮助下收拾掉一张桌子,摊开一卷纸,摆放上书法道具,检查一遍墨汁,用手心抚平第一张白纸。

郑阶平的毛衣袖口高高卷起,身子伏向那张临时变成的文案。还不认识郑阶平的来宾们屏住了呼吸,不知道这个只剩下上臂的人怎么会和书法联系在一起。郑先生的眼光落在砚台上,然后在白纸上,又转向砚台和毛笔,凝神片刻。

随后,他夹起一只大号的毛笔,浸在砚台里,用及其娴熟的手势把笔在边沿上舔了一下。在通常的情况下,一个写书法的人用右手握笔,就像教科书上写的那样“握笔如猛虎般坚定,行笔如飞鸟般轻盈。”不过今天不同。郑阶平站着,用他的两条上臂夹着笔写字,就好象是用他的全身来运笔,他的身子随着笔画从右向左移动,写大字时,上身和头部与笔尖一起挥舞;落款写小字时,又好像一个钟表匠,凝神屏气,自信又精准。

啧啧称奇的来宾们在书法家的身边围起一个圈子,圈子变得越来越紧。这个下午因为郑阶平,这个用自己的身体写字的人而变得不平凡;那只笔,垂直在他全神贯注的目光下,就好象神奇的编舞者手下的一个灵巧的道具。

被他独特的风格所吸引,我向书法家和他的太太提议去拜访他们,以便更好地认识他们,拍几张照。交换了电话号码,我们约定近期内联系。

雨濛濛的一天,我来到他们家。郑家在一栋高楼的最高层,面向黄浦江,在这个雨天里,江面一片银灰。我们喝茶,闲聊,然后我请他们夫妇和儿子一起在附近的餐馆便餐,随后再回到他们的寓所,看他的收集,书籍,还有最近的书法作品。


 DSC00773

书法家郑阶平在他上海的寓所


他没有跟我多,但是他的朋友都知道,郑阶平是由于幼压电电而失去了他的双臂。截肢手后,剩下的只有肘以上的两段上臂。经受住这样一个打击毫无疑问需要有过人的意志。他对书法的迷恋则来自于上小学的时候。有一次去参观书法展览,他被别人的作品所吸引,并懊恼自己没有这个才能。

看着阶平年轻时的照片,我感受到一种奋发向上,自强不息的精神:在一张照片上,是他在残疾人运动会上,在另一张上,是他在残奥会上(跳远)。他给我看他给年轻人出的一本书法字帖的草稿,一笔一画都显得那么圆润流畅,但这是多少年坚持习字的结果啊。郑阶平在上海的一所中学教书法,他还给他的学生们讲述中国字体演变的历史。我想象他的学生们对这位老师会是怀着如何一种尊重.


 DSC00792

郑阶平和他的妻子徐登银和儿子郑伟雄(上海大学一年学生)

 

郑阶平能写各类字体,但我觉得他最擅长的是草书,那种轻松自如不仅显示出他对技巧的掌握,更显示出他对字源学、历史和文化深厚的理解。总认为,其他的字体,比如需要格地遵守规则,很少有自我发挥的余地。而草书则不同,种字体具有独特个性的人能尽情地表

DSC00771

郑阶平的草书

 

这样一个在中国被内行人看好杰出的艺术家在其他国家却不被知晓实在有点令人吃惊我们是否能在亚洲然后在其它国家找到一些画廊愿意通过展示郑阶平的书法作品这一保存着中国古老文化的艺术形式 以它的抽象性来反省现代艺术呢

Jean-Jacques(杨霞客)

您可以点击下面的“评论”来表达您的观点。谢谢。(博客主人有权选择刊登评论)

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30 janvier 2012 1 30 /01 /janvier /2012 04:00

In a previous post, I had copied a letter from a group of "friends of ICANN" to the Chair of the Board of ICANN, about the process leading to the recruitment of the next CEO (English original here, translation into French here but scroll down, and into Chinese here).

This group of "friends" considered that a follow-up was necessary, and recently sent a new letter to the Chair of the Board, who graciously replied. The content of both messages is reproduced below.

                                                                        24th of January 2012

Dear Dr. CROCKER,

 Dear Steve,


In November 2011 we, as a group of friends of ICANN from various parts of the world, had shared with you and your colleagues of the Board our concerns about the process leading to the choice of ICANN’s next CEO, and offering some recommendations. You had graciously acknowledged this letter. Today we are writing as a follow-up to that correspondence.


We note with satisfaction the improvements the Board has brought to the selection process:

 1) a Search Committee was properly formed, with an experienced and respected personnality as its Chair,

 2) the external consultant was chosen among firms having responded to a call for tenders,

3) the preselection process is being carried out by the search firm, not by the Board or its Search Committee,

4)  transparency has improved: the community was invited to comment the draft of the job profile, and elements of the selection process have been posted online,

5) the position of CEO was advertised in a leading weekly publication with a worldwide distribution, not restricted to the USA.

We wish to commend the Board, under your leadership, for having taken these measures which improve the internal governance of ICANN and enhance its image.


The recent publication of the job profile in The Economist is, in itself, a welcome innovation, which we had advocated. However, this advertisement gives rise to new questions:

a) ICANN is not described as a not-for-profit organization. This omission introduces a degree of ambiguity about the nature of ICANN, both for prospective candidates and to its worldwide community. Is this departure from well-established wording meant to indicate that, somehow, ICANN is evolving into a commercial corporation looking for the usual type of CEO?

 b) As an established practice, ICANN has always described itself as a “private-sector led multi-stakeholder organization”. For its advertisement in The Economist, ICANN is said to fulfill its mission "by engaging with a global community of thousands of actively participating stakeholders (governments, businesses, academia, NGO's, technical operators and individuals), all of whom have a role in keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable". Although this latter formulation was probably meant to make the notion of “multi-stakeholder” more widely understood, it weakens the principle according to which stakeholders are on an equal footing,  at the heart of ICANN’s originality and value.


If the advertisement in The Economist is to be published again, it might be worthwhile considering some changes. Additionally, ICANN could easily modify the online job profile to restore clarity.


With best wishes to you and the Board of Directors, we remain

Yours sincerely,

     Nashwa ABDELBAKI, from Egypt,

     AIZU Izumi, from Japan,

     Yrjö LÄNSIPURO, from Finland,

     Evan LEIBOVITCH, from Canada,

     Alejandro PISANTY, from Mexico,

     Nii QUAYNOR, from Ghana,

     Carlton SAMUELS, from Jamaica,

     Jean-Jacques SUBRENAT, from France,

     XUE Hong, from China.

                                                              On behalf of the above:

                                                              (signed) Jean-Jacques Subrenat


And Dr. Crocker replied on 28th of January 2012:

Jean-Jacques, et al,

It is a pleasure to hear from you again and it warms my heart to see that you are following the recruiting process closely.

The ad in the Economist was a deliberate departure from the process we used last time, and I am not surprised that we might not have gotten it exactly right.  Nonetheless, I am pleased to report that we have received a strong response to the ad and, far more importantly, we have received from a variety of sources a good list of strong candidates.  Whatever misunderstandings might have arisen from the wording in the ad will surely be sorted out during the interview process.

Nothing in the ad should be interpreted as altering the fundamental nature and structure of ICANN.  Just as an example, there is no prospect of evolving ICANN into a commercial corporation.  The comments that you have provided are good, and perhaps if we had thought even more about the content of the ad, we would have included them.  The absence of 'not for profit' in the description is unfortunate, since that would have provided another clue in addition to the phrase  'public service' regarding the fundamental nature of ICANN.

We do not plan to run another ad during this recruiting process.  We will keep your comments in the file for the eventuality some day in the future when we have to do this again.

Again, thanks!
Steve Crocker
Chair, ICANN Board of Directors
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12 octobre 2011 3 12 /10 /octobre /2011 17:26

(中文翻译:游 女士)

 

 

 一个星期一的晚上。九月里宜人的微风,引导着观众陆续走进上海戏剧学院的演出大厅。一长排显眼的花篮前,成群的学生和一些年长者鱼贯而过:这将是一个不寻常的夜晚。观众拥入剧场,找座位的,大声交谈的,玩手机的,换座位的,打电话的,一片嘈杂。

 

今晚的演出曲目“情叹”改编自川剧传统剧目,由田蔓莎女士概念创意、导演并主演,另有6位川剧演员为帮腔。观众们不禁好奇:要赋予一出中国传统地方戏曲以现代社会的意义,而这个地方戏又有其严格的音乐体系,戏中大部分的文学典故只被中国观众所理解,而外国观众往往不知所云,这一切从外行来看,都实在太难了。对于外国观众来说,舞台两边的英语字幕着实不可或缺。

 

当然,这出戏本来不是准备给外国观众的。而我作为一个观众的反应却引起我对中国戏曲特殊性的思考,进而对广义上的中国文化,而不是仅限于中国戏曲,对于外国人可接受性的反省。

 

我无意在这里叙述剧情,因为任何一个专业戏曲评论家或者一个中国知识分子都会做得比我好得多。田女士的表演不仅向观众传达了被进京做官的丈夫所抛弃的少妇的痴心,而且还有她的青春的活力可以在一瞬间转为忧思。尽管没有提到一个字,但是从1966年起的10年政治骚乱(即以文化为借口的所谓的“文化大革命”)占据了后大半场戏。一阵无情的铃声把她从对舞蹈的喜悦、精神的解放的瞬间回忆中粗暴地拉回现实生活,田女士把孤独感和从艺术家沦为清洁工的失落表现的栩栩如生,细腻入微。

 

这出戏的主题或者说本意是“文化记忆”。田女士没有在这里具体说明“记忆”的内容(仅仅是被抛弃的少妇对往事痴情的回忆,还是在60年代那个黑暗的日子里对文化作品的肆意破坏?),她只是冒着极大的风险轻轻地点了一下题。但是到剧终,这个似乎游离于两者之间的选择变得非常有效:一个人生命中最珍贵的方面,无论你如何去保护它,最终都逃离不了政治斗争所带来的蹂躏。这是一曲美的颂歌,艺术的颂歌,但是观众突然意识到为了在这无边的灾难压迫下保留文化需要个人付出多么巨大的代价。无论人们在剧终有多悲伤,“记住”是这出戏留给我们的嘱咐。

 

简练抽象富有意境的舞台布景,高水平的伴奏和帮腔,追光,这一切都有效地烘托了田女士的单人表演。

 

周一演出之后一个炎热的星期三下午,受田女士之邀,我们十来个朋友,评论家,同事和记者,在一栋被周围的高层建筑包围着的4层小楼房的玻璃墙会议室里一起喝咖啡。发言人中有两个非中国本地人:美国一所大学戏剧专业的女教授还有我本人。在轻松的氛围里,大家轮流着对演出发表评论,批评或者赞美某一个细节,有的人则作出一个更具广泛意思的总结性发言 。对我来说,这个星期三下午就像星期一的演出一样有意义。讨论高雅又坦率。在后半部戏里表现出来的艰难似乎对大家来说都显而易懂,不少人都说到所谓的“文化大革命”,这对一个外国人来说,实在是很有意思。

 

在“情叹”和田女士的表演之外,世界各国的人们对中国文化作出如何的反应,中国艺术的各种形式究竟有多少能被具有不同文化背景的人接受,也非常地令人好奇。

 

在过去的20年里,中国艺术表现的复兴在视觉王国里尤其引人注目。从技术到主题,绘画都无疑是最有创新意识的了。绘画艺术被准许有不寻常的开放度,正如人们可以在北京的798艺术区或者上海莫干山路的M50的很多画廊里看见的那样。当被问及此事,艺术家们认为是因为相当一部分前卫作品最终都被收藏于国外,所以审查制度对这些作品也就睁一只眼闭一只眼了。另一个非常视觉化并广泛出口的艺术形式是杂技。杂技演员技艺精湛,外国人无需对中国文化或历史有什么了解就可以欣赏。

 

电影也曾经是中国文化出口的一个主要项目,以至于一些“第五代、第六代”导演(张艺谋,陈凯歌,贾樟柯……)和一些电影明星(巩俐,章子怡……)的名字在国外也变得家喻户晓。至于音乐,它的国际感染力则与曲目本身所具有的中国独特的风格以及内容的多少成反比。同样,丰富多彩的中国地方戏曲(京剧和其他舞台剧)对外国观众来说极其难以理解,更不要提欣赏了。 

 

和相对容易出口的绘画和电影相比,小说和戏曲这两种文化和艺术创作难以让一般的外国人接受。我问了好几个知识分子他们有否可推荐的新小说,他们往往以对外国小说的翻译来结束…… 至于戏曲,中国特殊的美感和外国人的审美观念分歧甚大以至于外国人很难发自内心地来欣赏它。

 

于是这里提出了一个问题:是不是在中国传统戏曲和西方观众之间有不可逾越的障碍?一些切实的准备工作可以帮助受过教育的观众更好地理解演出,就像法国、德国甚至更多的国家共同出品一台戏那样:去看演出前先阅读了解作品的构思,年代和作者,演出完了后观众和演员进行座谈。

 

为不同文化背景的观众提供理解作品的办法是我们这个时代的挑战,因为它必须在完全尊重原著的条件下进行。就这一点而说,我赞赏田蔓莎和帮助她把一出传统四川戏改编成一场具有普遍感染力的演出的艺术家。贯穿全局的舞台两边屏幕上的翻译帮助我对剧情有所了解;但更重要的是田蔓莎在帮腔和伴奏演员们完美的配合下所进行的真诚的表演、以及这出戏的艺术表现形式赋予了它普世价值。

 

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