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Still in Translation
curated by Ricarda Vidal & Maria-José Blanco
The interdisciplinary project Translation Games explores the theory and practice of translation within literature and the fine arts via public workshops, exhibitions and rule-based games. The project looks at the many layers and facets of communication - visual, tactile, audio, vocal, gestural or scent-based. While communication often happens simultaneously on various different levels of awareness, we are interested in how we can convey the same message through different media.
Our work reflects the visual turn within literary research and the literary turn within art-history and fine arts scholarship, which has taken place over the last decade. Interdisciplinary and thriving on collaboration between academia and the public, Translation Games fits well within the inclusive culture promoted by the AHRC.
‘Still in Translation’ was conceived especially for the 10th anniversary of the AHRC. Denise Riley‘s unpublished poem ‘Still’ provided the source text for the game. Following the rules of Chinese Whispers, the poem was given to an artist with the commission to translate the words into imagery. The artist passed on their image (but not the original text) to another artist asking them to translate into another image, which was passed on to the next artist. In this way, the work was translated through a chain of 12 artists, each working with the medium of their choice and each producing an original translation of the work created by the previous artist in the chain. Each artist also provided a brief commentary on their translation.
We were astonished by the results. Is it a mere coincidence that the final image in the chain captures so much of the original meaning and atmosphere of ‘Still’?
In a series of public workshops selected images from the translation chain are now being retranslated into words. Please see our website for more details: www.translationgames.net
'Still' by Denise Riley
about 'Still' by Denise Riley
Riley wrote the poem in the wake of her son’s death but never published it. It plays on the many meanings of the word ‘Still’: 'still' as ‘quiet’, as 'continually', as 'constant', as 'even though', etcetera. Even though the poem deals with death, Riley assured us that the shape of the funerary urn was created quite accidentally by centring the words on the page.
(c) Sam Treadaway, 'Techno-Techno-Techno-Techno', translation of 'Still', 4-11 March 2015:
about (c) Sam Treadaway, 'Techno-Techno-Techno-Techno', translation of 'Still', 4-11 March 2015:
"Still immediately reminded me of a book I’d recently read discussing connections (and tensions) between the natural and digital worlds. These ideas provided the basis of my understanding, deciphering and transformation of the poem. The ‘translation’ process was initiated by converting ‘Still’ into computer binary code. Adapting the outcome I endeavoured to capture the essence of ‘Still’ in a single image. I am neutral and non-attached as to the success of this process and wish my fellow artists an interesting and rewarding match." www.samtreadaway.com
(c) Auriol Herford, no title, translation of Sam's image, 11-18 March 2015:
about (c) Auriol Herford, no title, translation of Sam's image, 11-18 March 2015:
“Taking the lead from Sam and his interest in the connections between the natural and digital world, I reflected on the idea of my instinct and relation to technology. Last week I had a Caesarean birth followed by a week of rigorous monitoring. Every night over the last year I have also plugged a catheter bag onto my eldest son. I translated the medical objects and fragments from the experience into an image that used printmaking, drawing and collage.” http://kitestudios.org/
(c) Katarina Kelsey, no title, translation of Auriol's image, 18-25 March 2015:
about (c) Katarina Kelsey, no title, translation of Auriol's image, 18-25 March 2015:
“I was given some contextual background to Auriol’s translation of Sam’s piece that I initially thought I would base my translation on. However I felt unable to translate her narrative and realised I would only be interpreting it. Ultimately I turned to a material translation to translate some of the key themes of her work. Taking inspiration from translations such as Hölderlin's Antigone and Christian Hawkey’s Ventrakl, I hope my material translation can convey Auriol’s piece to you.”
(c) Bryan Eccleshall, 'Master Square', translation of Katarina's image, 25 March – 1st April 2015:
about (c) Bryan Eccleshall, 'Master Square', translation of Katarina's image, 25 March – 1st April 2015:
“Translators ordinarily shift things into their own language. Hence I have made a drawing of a photograph using a technique developed over the last couple of years, but with a slight difference. I took the photograph I was sent and edited it to make sixteen square images that, when assembled would resemble the image I was given, but this time as a drawing. The thing I made is a drawing, but for the purpose of this exercise, I assembled individual scans of the drawings into a jpeg in PhotoShop.” https://bryaneccleshall.wordpress.com/
(c) Sarah Sparkes, 'Gap between the nothing', translation of Bryan's image, 1-8 April 2015:
about (c) Sarah Sparkes, 'Gap between the nothing', translation of Bryan's image, 1-8 April 2015:
"Although I have stayed close, in compositional respects to Bryan's work, there is a gap through which something other has slipped in. I looked intensely at Bryan’s image, wanting mine to enable me to conjure the ghost of his. I assembled my visual signs – techniques, symbols and material processes that are my own native creative language - and started making actual objects and photographing them, then created a digital collage from these. On my computer, Bryan’s image had a blue cast, which is reflected in my translation.” www.sarahsparkes.com
(c) Sharon Kivland, no title, translation of Sarah's image, 8-15 April 2015:
about (c) Sharon Kivland, no title, translation of Sarah's image, 8-15 April 2015:
Sharon's full translation of Sarah's work is a short animation, which traces the journey into the mirror and back. “I live in two languages, haunted by a third. There is constant movement as a word thought in one language passes into a spoken word in another. This happens in the life between one image (another’s) and another (mine). An image, precisely thought, is – and passes through – a mirror. This is quite a literal translation of the image that preceded it (the gap or void, the blue cast that is taken from the image before, the decorative detail that might be supposed to be feminine). It is impossible to keep completely still, even when caught or fixed.” www.sharonkivland.com
(c) Juneau Projects, no title, translation of Sharon's image, 15-22 April 2015:
about (c) Juneau Projects, no title, translation of Sharon's image, 15-22 April 2015:
"We took an element from Sharon's image (the black rectangle) and made this into a physical object. We then photographed the object in a location echoing/paralleling Sharon's image (a canal as moving mirror in reference to Sharon's video), contemporary artists' studios (the warehouse). Finally we took inspiration from the quality of Sharon's image itself (a printed reproduction) and digitally printed an object onto the photographed object to produce a crude figure (artist or model).” www.juneauprojects.co.uk
(c) Heather Connelly, no title, translation of Juneau Projects' image, 22-29 April 2015
about (c) Heather Connelly, no title, translation of Juneau Projects' image, 22-29 April 2015
“I responded instinctively to the image, being particularly drawn to its formal composition and context – where the sculpture had been photographed and the objects that surrounded it. I sought out similar locations, photographing various elements, using a mirror to interrupt, reflect and deflect what I saw. I then manipulated and collaged some of the images together – layering and modifying them in
(c) Briony Campbell, no title, translation of Heather's image, 29 April – 6 May 2015:
about (c) Briony Campbell, no title, translation of Heather's image, 29 April – 6 May 2015:
"I wanted to represent Heather's vision of water, sky and leaves. Taking the clouds directly I fused them with a tree. I interpreted her plant pots as the domestic element; at once giving the plants the love they need to grow but also asserting ownership of natural things. So in my translation the pots became a human holding tight to the tree. Where Heather repeated the plant pot motif, I took the lights on the horizon of my original seascape and floated them into the sky as stars. The image is a collage of three of my own photos (involving long exposures) and one element of Heather's image.” www.brionycampbell.com
(c) Matt Rowe, no title, translation of Briony's image, 6-13 May 2015:
about (c) Matt Rowe, no title, translation of Briony's image, 6-13 May 2015:
“My translation into a three-dimensional ceramic object continues the core narrative of the resampling of the environment and the suggested ownership of a natural object. I constructed a chalice-like ceramic vessel and fired it using combustive fuel harvested from the seashore, which leaves a carbon imprint on the body of the ceramic. Within the temple-like structure of the kiln I attempted a reprocessing of materials abundant within the seascape of my hometown Folkestone.” http://mattroweportfolio.co.uk
(c) Anna Cady, no title, translation of Matt's image, 13-20 May 2015:
about (c) Anna Cady, no title, translation of Matt's image, 13-20 May 2015:
“A funeral urn? Cremating, containing or representing the body? Black. Luminous. A sinister fairy tale. Hand made and performative. Air and fire inside the body as vessel. Air as breath. Internal and external. Containing and representing air simultaneously? Transforming ‘air’ into a solid ‘thing’. I perceive the central part of the vessel in Matt’s photograph as being made of glass. The colour, beauty and fragility of the projected, reflected colours in my film-still is as if it is to be seen as, or made of, glass. Just before it melts.” www.annacady.com
(c) Domingo Martínez, no title, translation of Anna's image, 20-27 May 2015:
about (c) Domingo Martínez, no title, translation of Anna's image, 20-27 May 2015:
“I perceive Anna’s image as a metaphor of wish and desire, but also of nostalgia and melancholy. The hand waiting for someone or for something to hold, or maybe just to be held. It reminded me of a photograph I bought in a flea market, which showed an arm from the same angle and a hand holding a child’s hand. I took that piece of the picture and drew it separately to express my own feelings. Then I reproduced the atmosphere in Anna’s picture, which I found very close to the nostalgic feeling I wanted to show, a feeling linked to a memory.” www.domingomartinez.es