Notȩs Ǫn ĩnterculϮural TraɲslatΙon
Frḯdαƴ, Åρrїl 17тh, 2015
Mødeɾnã Musεεt, tƕe Çiƞeϻa
Coming Across – Notes on Intercultural Translation is a symposium about intercultural translation in the context of contemporary exhibition practices. Every time an object is taken from one cultural context and made legible in another a translation of sorts occurs. In this setting the translator becomes a mediator. Or the other way around, the mediator becomes a translator. The symposium delves into the role and the responsibilities of the one performing the translation/mediation. From what position can one speak and how to know if a translation is a good one? Moreover, are cultural institutions of our time able to leave their comfort zones and meet halfway the cultures that they are exhibiting?
The symposium is free of charge and open for all. The entire program is in English. Moderna Bar will be open after the event.
The sound work There are 36 Ways to View Mount Fuji takes both its title and narrative from the legendary woodblock prints of Hokusai. Hokusai spent a lifetime developing these prints which from a variety of places and distances, show Mount Fuji during variable seasons and weather conditions. By viewing the mountain figuratively from multiple sides, Hokusai portrays a multifaceted, yet simultaneous, view of life in early 19th century Japan. This fixed point of reference, as providing the stability necessary for recounting the life-story of both a man and a nation, is what interests Lippard. As humans we do not notice ourselves changing but rather see ourselves reflected in the world around us; just like the concluding line in Lippard's poem, we ourselves become the mountain, a fixed point of reference attempting to resist the passing of time.
Hanne Lippard (NO/UK) is an artist and poet living and working in Berlin. Her texts constitute the foundations of her time-based works in which she uses her own voice as a medium. Lippard's education in graphic design informs her view that language can be visually powerful; her writing is visual, rhythmic, and performative rather than purely informative, and her work is conveyed through a variety of disciplines such as film, audio, and performance. Lippard has performed and exhibited at Kunsthalle Wien, nGbK (Berlin), Transmediale (Berlin), UKS (Oslo), KW (Berlin), Berliner festspiele, Kinderhook & Caracas (Berlin), Galerie Parisa Kind (Frankfurt), Thomas Fischer Galerie (Berlin), Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien (Berlin), Meat Factory (Prague), Marres (Maastricht), and Poesia en Voz (Mexico City).
It is with concepts that we conceptualize the world. The lecture by Lundahl is an invitation to think about borders, and what might be between them. The first thing that probably comes to mind is "countries", and to the thinking of countries we must add languages. But there are other kind of borders and other in-betweens as well. We do not only cross borders when we enter and leave countries, we do it when we switch languages and translate. These border crossings are done in different conditions, which is also what grants them their very different appearances. Étienne Balibar (2004) explains that borders no longer exist only "at the edge of the territory, marking the point where it ends" but "have been transported into the middle of political space". There are many different names for interaction over national borders; we call it internationalism, transnationalism, globalism, trafficking etcetera or if it is cultural borders that we imagine crossing then it may be defined as interculturalism, multiculturalism or transculturalism. All these terminologies have different theoretical and ideological "homes" and, in order to understand where their usage takes us, their origins must be scrutinized. In her lecture Lundahl will reflect on these terms, their homes, and how they affect the understanding of the reality they aim to describe.
Mikela Lundahl (SE) is a Copenhagen-based historian of ideas whose work revolves around power and categories such as race, gender, sexuality, class, identity and culture through which it operates. Lundahl has investigated how/if ethnographical museums across Europe have tackled the post-colonial challenges of the ethnographical and colonial paradigms on which they were founded. In her PhD thesis (2005) Lundahl investigated how the attempted resistance of white supremacy was partly disempowered by benevolent, white intellectuals. Her subsequent project, Images and Imaginations: The History of Arabic, African and Latin American Literatures in Translation into Swedish, was devoted to Translation Studies, with a focus on the nexus between culture, literature, politics and benevolence, and how the literary system, as concerning literature from "far away", functions differently in comparison to its workings with respect to white/western literature. Lundahl is currently teaching Modern Culture at the University of Copenhagen and, together with a group of post-colonial gender and sexuality scholars, is in the start up phase of a project, which conducts research into emerging civil societies and communities of belonging in a transnational context.
The video works In Translation – Mohamed and In Translation – The President present two situations which raise questions concerning the power relations and ethics inherent in the act of translation. Both works problematize the role of the interpreter, whom is otherwise generally assumed to be invisible. The first scenario is an interview concerning an asylum hearing, which takes place between the artist, interpreter Yassine Saeme and asylum seeker Mohamed Aslaoul. In the second part Holmkvist interviews Guntis Ulmanis, former president of Latvia, through an interpreter Ieva Zauberga, with whom he has long-standing working relation.
Saskia Holmkvist is a Swedish conceptual artist currently based in Norway. Her work reflects the professionalization of language and the concerns of translatability often related to identity politics. In her performative strategies, site-specific projects, film and video works she explores the negotiation of roles and how present language structures affect the politics of these positions. Holmkvist's work has been shown at Fabra i Coats Centre d'Art Contemporani (Barcelona), Photo Cairo 5, Casino Luxembourg, Malmö Konsthall, and Momentum Biennial (Moss), amongst others. Her solo presentations include Henie Onstad Art Center (Oslo), Frankfurter Kunstverein, and Index (Stockholm).
The Strife of Love in a Dream, commissioned in 2011 by Centre Pompidou for Paris-Delhi-Bombay exhibition, is a video composed of intertwined sequences capturing a pilgrimage, production of anti-anxiety medication, and extraction of snake venom. The work refers to Karl Jung's conception of India as a "dreamlike world" and of Sudhir Kadar's analysis of India as the "unconscious of the West". In countless stories and myths around the world, the serpent – a constantly occurring trope throughout the video – is associated with impending fear. The ambivalent serpent also acts as a link between the East and the West, ultimately contradicting the theoretical separation between these two cultural spheres.
Camille Henrot (FR) lives and works in New York. Her multifarious oeuvre consisting of sculpture, drawing, photography and film blurs the categories of art history and holds a particular fascination for the "other" and "elsewhere" in terms of both geography and sexuality. Henrot's work has been exhibited at Kunsthal Charlottenborg (Copenhagen), Bétonsalon (Paris), Westfälischer Kunstverein (Münster), Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Louvre (Paris), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), New Orleans Museum of Art, Schinkel Pavillon (Berlin), and New Museum (New York), amongst others. In 2013, Henrot was the recipient of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in Washington, DC, where she produced the video Grosse Fatigue awarded by the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale.
The symposium will conclude with a conversation between curators David Elliott and Lisa Rosendahl drawing upon the work of Elliott that spans over several decades and includes seminal museum exhibitions and biennials. The conversation will focus on curatorial practice and exhibition making as a form of translation between different cultural contexts.
David Elliott is a British curator, writer and professor living and working in Berlin. A specialist in Soviet and Russian avant-garde, as well as in modern and contemporary Asian art, he has published widely in these fields as well as on many other aspects of contemporary art. His next book Art and Trousers: Tradition and Modernity in Contemporary Asian Art will be published in 2015. Elliott has directed MoMA in Oxford, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, and Istanbul Modern. Further, he has been the Artistic Director of the 17th Biennale of Sydney, the inaugural International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Kiev and the IV International Moscow Biennial of Young Art. Elliott's exhibitions Fragments of Empire and Art From Elsewhere are currently travelling in the US, China and the UK. His new exhibition BALAGAN!!! Contemporary Art in Russia and Beyond will open in Berlin at the end of 2015.
Lisa Rosendahl (SE) is a curator based in Stockholm. She has been working at the Public Art Agency Sweden since 2014, commissioning temporary projects for public space. Rosendahl's previous positions include Director of Iaspis - the Swedish Arts Grants Committee's international programme for visual art, architecture, design and craft; Director of Baltic Art Center; Acting Director of ELECTRA Productions, London; Associate Curator at Röda Sten Konsthall, and Director of Exhibitions at Lisson Gallery. Since 2007 she has been co-curating the ongoing project Offer & Exchange which explores the relationship between art and the law. She is a founding member of Practice International, a research initiative that asks what internationalism – in contrast to the market driven logic of globalisation – could be today as a set of practices within the art field.
Cυґαtøґs: Mirĵѧ Mājeṽski αn∂
Olςa Kזzesƺoшiec Mălmșteŋ
Ḡґαphȋḉ їⅾεnтḯтƴ: Lαʊґα Paρρα
The symposium is supported by the Curating Art MA programme at Stockholm University and made possible with funds from Stockholm Stad and Institut français de Suède. Additional support is provided by Moderna Museet and Iaspis, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee's International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists.