Translation games explored collaborations between translators, artists, curators and scholars. The aim was to develop creative solutions to raise awareness of the important role of translation as a transformative concept for the arts, for language learning and for the UK's creative sector.
The project was modelled on the game of Chinese Whispers, where a message is passed from person to person and goes through various stages of transformation. It uses this ‘game’ format to explore translation as a critical and creative concept, for literature and for the fine arts.
The project began in May 2013 with the first game, What we made, an original short story commissioned from American writer Colleen Becker. Over several students from King’s College and Queen Mary translated What We Made from one language in a circular process of translation across nine different languages (English, Urdu, French, Turkish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Romanian). At the same time the work was translated from one art genre to the next – including text, film, ceramics, textiles, sound and music - by a team of artists.
The translation phase was supported by two workshops involving participants in the games and the project culminated in a three-day exhibition in King’s Anatomy Museum in July-Aug 2013, which presented a short documentary shot during the second workshop and an sound installation, which gave the textual translations a voice and a physical presence.
Translation Games aimed to generate discussion and knowledge exchange between linguistic translators, artists, and textile designers by asking them to translate an original commissioned text through a series of languages as well as art genres and textile designs.
The results of this and subsequent ‘translation games’ can be seen on www.translationgames.net.
Translation Games is led by Ricarda Vidal, Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King’s College London and Jenny Chamarette, Queen Mary University of London.
The project engaged with the following artists and designers: Mayuri Boonham, Colleen Becker, Anna Cady, Steven J. Fowler, Shaheen Kasmani, Katja Knecht, Scott Ramsay-Kyle, Matt Rowe, Aura Satz, Carla Steinberg, Alex Spyropolous, Sam Treadaway, and Reyhan Yazici.
Mayuri is the Choreographer and Artistic Director at ATMA Dance. She trained in classical Bharata Natyam dance under Prakash Yadagudde at the Bhavan Centre, Institute of Indian Fine Art and Culture, London.
She is an experienced choreographer and classical Bharata Natyam dancer of the current generation of British Dance Artists. Her work has toured widely in Europe at prestigious dance and music festivals, and venues in the UK such as The Royal Opera House, The Place and the Southbank Centre. Mayuri was joint artistic director, choreographer and principle dancer of Angika (1997-2008) and the company’s work was at the forefront of contemporary South Asian Dance in the UK for ten years. In 2010 she launched her new company ATMA Dance with two touring works, which were nominated for the London Fringe Festival Award and featured in a BBC4 dance documentary, She was a Choreographer-in-Residence at The Place from 2004-2006. This year she created Erhebung, a dance-art installation in collaboration with the sculptor Jeff Lowe and sound artist Bill Fontana. Inspired by TS Eliotʼs Burnt Norton, the work is designed for performances in gallery and museum spaces. In the autumn she will create a new work in response to Verdiʼs Otello and based on Shakespeareʼs play for Deloitte Ignite Festival curated by Stephen Fry and The Royal Opera. The performances will be a part of the 200th anniversary celebration of Verdi and Wagnerʼs music. Mayuri is currently a Royal Ballet Affiliate Choreographer. In Spring 2014 she will be presenting a double bill of new works at the Linbury Theatre that will feature a specially commissioned piece by the Royal Opera House.
Colleen Becker is an American writer and academic living in London. Her published work spans fiction and non-fiction genres, including flash fiction, academic articles, journalism, art reviews, and essays, and she has read at numerous venues including Princeton University, the Tate Modern, and Foyles Bookshop. She holds PhD, MPhil and MA degrees from Columbia University and a MA from NYU, and she is a 2013-14 Visiting Fellow at the University of London, School of Advanced Studies, Institute of Modern Languages Research.
Anna Cady often works co-creatively and responsively with others who are not artists. For example, from 2008-10 she worked on ‘It Works Both Ways’ with Louisa Makolski who could not speak or move her body voluntarily; her short stop motion short film – ‘Farms of Innocence’ – which portrays a child’s view of global warming screened at Tate Modern and toured internationally with Figuring Landscapes.
A short animated documentary – 30% (Women and Politics in Sierra Leone) – was selected for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently working on another animated documentary in Kenya whilst also directing and curating the third element of Elemental Dialogues where she is working to interpret her short films – with poets, musicians, sound artists, dancers and performance drawing. Residencies include several months in India and, throughout last year, sixteen films installed at Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire (National Trust).
Founder member of ‘neuf’ – experimental film group based in Cambridge. Creator and facilitator of ‘Questions’ – a crit group for women artists from all disciplines.
MA (Goldsmiths college London 1998-2000) BA1st class (Winchester School of Art 94-98) BA Textiles (Farnham 1969-73)
Jenny Chamarette is an academic and curator with a particular interest in film and the visual arts: she has published on film and art theory, contemporary French philosophy, and moving image installation. Originally starting out in Modern Languages (teaching French literature and translation), Jenny is now a Lecturer in Film Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. Outside academia, she has programmed and curated short film festivals and artist’s moving image exhibitions in Nottingham and Cambridge, and is currently working as an art writer with a loose collective of artists formed through an Escalator Retreat at Wysing Art Centre in the East of England. Jenny has a long-standing collaboration with Anna Cady, one of the artists in Translation Games. She enjoys working collaboratively, and is particularly interested in play and experimentation as a way of informing practice-based research.
SJ Fowler is a poet, artist, martial artist and vanguardist. He has published six collections of poetry, and been commissioned for original works of poetry, sonic art, visual art, installation and performance by the Tate, the London Sinfonietta, Electronic Voice Phenomena, Penned in the Margins, the Liverpool Biennale and Mercy. He has performed at venues across the globe, from Mexico to Iraq, and is translated into 13 languages. He is the poetry editor of 3am magazine, founder of the Maintenant series and curator the Enemies project.
With a background in English Language, Literature, Spanish and Education, she is currently studying for a MA in Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts, at the Prince's Foundation in London.
With a passion for beauty and light, she explores a range of traditional techniques, patterns and materials. One-off bespoke pieces as well as patterns and designs for fabrics, clothing, upholstery, ceramics... everyone needs beauty in their lives. Everything has meaning and an everyday object need not simply be functional.
Katja Knecht is an interaction designer and researcher. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Queen Mary University of London in the Media and Arts Technology Programme. With a background in media and architecture, her main interests lie in exploring concepts of space and atmosphere through digital means and in creating tangible environments and spatial experiences.
Scott Ramsay Kyle
Scott Ramsay Kyle is known for specializing in hand embroidery for womenswear and some recent exciting menswear collaborations. Living, working and showing in London, he produces his own small collections, each season developing his simple but informed silhouette, having showcased on both off-schedule catwalk shows and more recently short film presentations. As well as this he consults for a variety of companies and has on-going collaborations with some of London’s ’super-stylists’ for editorial. He is most comfortable when his work combines an art & craft element in a fashion context, an obsessive hobbyist feel, with additional Luxe. His art works look at text, tone and emotion through mark making onto fabric and paper bases that are personal reflections but seen as beautiful objects.
Matt Rowe’s object based practice is focused on vernacular symbols and the language of folklore.
He often combines various disciplines, ceramics, model making and textiles to produce sculptural costumes, props and artifacts that play with notions of regional and local identity. He uses his costumes and props as a means to create unexpected structures in the landscape that echo with associations of storybook narratives and ancient legends.
Continuingly photographing his structures, he is developing a portfolio of landscape images that blur the real and the imaginary.
The work of Aura Satz encompasses film, sound, performance and sculpture. In recent years she has made a collection of films that look closely at sound visualisation through various technologies and acoustic devices such as the Chladni plate, the Ruben's tube, the theremin, mechanical music, phonograph grooves and drawn/optical sound. Her films engage with the materiality of these technologies and the resulting sound patterns - codes in the act of formation - and how these destabilise paradigms of writing and readership.
Aura Satz has performed, exhibited and screened her work nationally and internationally, including the Zentrum Paul Klee (Switzerland); Färgfabriken (Stockholm); Wundergrund Festival (Copenhagen); Frieze Art Fair NY (New York); Tatton Park Biennial (Cheshire); AV festival (Newcastle); Arnolfini (Bristol); Ikon gallery (Birmingham); FACT (Liverpool); Site Gallery (Sheffield); Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea di Trento (Italy); De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill-on-Sea); Turner Contemporary (Margate); BFI Southbank, Whitechapel Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Barbican Art Gallery, ICA, Jerwood Space, Tate Britain, Beaconsfield Gallery, Artprojx Space, the Wellcome Collection and the Tate Tanks (London). During 2009-2010 she was artist-in-residence at the Ear Institute, UCL. In 2012 she was shortlisted for the Samsung Art+ award, and the Jarman award. Solo exhibitions in 2013 include the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Hayward project Space (London), and Paradise Row gallery (London), and performances at the experimental music festivals of Only Connect in Oslo and Wundergrund in Copenhagen. Her projects can be seen online at www.iamanagram.com.
Carla Steinberg is an emerging filmmaker. Currently she studies for her BA degree at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, Queen Mary University of London.
Sam Treadaway is a UK-based artist whose practice includes sculpture, installation, drawing, book-arts, and live events. In making use of existing frictions between aesthetic form and utilitarian function, he edits and re-aligns found objects, structures, and systems thus generating new outcomes. The interplay between the arts and other fields of knowledge, such as science and philosophy, often inform these processes.
Recent exhibitions and events include: Revolve:R bookwork & giclée prints at Ceri Hand Gallery, London, UK. | « , Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, UK. | Emergency, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, UK. | The Paper Cooperative, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, UK.
Ricarda Vidal is a lecturer, curator and translator. She teaches at the Department of German and the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King’s College London. She has published on urban space, the legacy of Modernism and Romanticism, speed, the car and driving as cultural phenomena as well as society’s fascination with death and murder. Outside academia, she is founding director of the international short film competition and archive Betting on Shorts and, together with Sam Treadaway leads the bookart project Revolve:R, which is a practice-based exploration of visual communication. She has worked with Tate Public Programmes, the ICA, and international venues and film festivals. Ricarda sees Translation Games as a way to combine her various interests in the theory and practice of translation and artmaking in one project.
Reyhan was born in 1971 in Arnavutkoy, which is a fascinating Bosphorus district of Istanbul. She holds a degree in Fashion Design and Art (College Academy of Fashion, Istanbul, 1991) and an MBA (2001). She has worked as assistant designer for several big fashion houses. Working for Istanbul-based Suat Aysan she created a fashion line that explores and transgresses the typical ways the body is represented. Having expanded her knowledge and experience with colour and fabric combinations, she focused more seriously on experimental studies, such as the relationship between traditional and contemporary fashion, as well as street fashion. Since 1994 she has designed outdoor collections for several companies and provided style and fashion consultancy to private clients. In 2000 she joined Meridian Textile Co. Having been nominated most successful designer by the marketing and sale department of the holding she became director of the design department in 2001. Since 2002 she has been writing articles about fashion culture for Zaman Newspaper, which is the most widely-read newspaper in Turkey. In 2004, she added a new area to her career and started to work as a lecturer in Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Educational Institutions. Between 2000 and 2010, she has designed special collections for numerous companies and provided fashion and style consultancy for high profile clients. In May 2010 she moved to London to continue her career abroad but this was not the main reason... it was marriage. Once in London she founded her own fashion and style company, Reyhan Yazici Fashion and Style Consultancy. While running her own business she continues to write articles on fashion for newspapers and magazines.
Translation Games was a collaboration between King's College London's Department of German and various artists. It was supported by the university's Culture team.