We are very grateful that Samir Bhowmik invited us for an interview about Exploring Hypertext.
How did Translation is Dialogue came about? What were the motivations behind it? What do you hope to achieve with Exploring Hypertext?
Arlene: I started Translation is Dialogue (TID) in 2010. At that time I was studying Semiotics at the University of Tartu in Estonia. Our minds were being happily bombarded with the workings of the communication process, semiosphere and Umwelt. I was inspired by those studies and concepts to create a space that allows us to communicate with each other and bring awareness of the translation process from the dialogue created between images, text, sounds, etc. This fit in with Roman Jakobson’s notion of Intersemiotic Translation, which I use as a backbone to make sense of how we translate between different mediums and non-verbal languages. TID started as an academic paper and grew quickly into a series of installations and art workshops. In the workshops, the aim is to use translation techniques as a means to understand what is being communicated and how to use translation techniques for art creation. It’s been extremely rewarding to see how people are so open and willing to share perspectives on how we perceive, communicate and make art! Exploring Hypertext came about from one of the activities I do in my workshops. We can all be in the same space but we will experience it and understand it differently. In essence, we translate the same text differently. I have to thank my friend, Madis Katz, for inviting me to write down what we saw in a dank bar somewhere in Tallinn years and years ago. Taking the time to verbalize what you see also allows one to just be there in the moment. Take a bit more time and you will see even more things and details. I always ask myself, “What do I see?” or “Where am I?” when I’m in a hurry as a way to ground myself.
In this TID phase, we can share what we see and simultaneously create our imagined world from the descriptions. The idea of a collaborative collage, whether it be physical or imaginary has been really interesting to me and I wanted to playfully develop that more. I hope people want to take the time- to listen, to see, to be. I invited Susanne to further develop Exploring Translation with me after we met at In Dialogue symposium in Nottingham in 2016. I am very excited to work with her!
Susanne: Thanks for inviting me! Working with Arlene on Exploring Hypertext is an exciting challenge and an experiment in collaboration. There are enough overlaps in our practices to explore the process of bringing together and unpicking two different but similar approaches. I think, what Arlene describes above is also embodied in our actual collaborative process so far, which has taken place via remote dialogue and hypertext over the past three months. To a certain extend I had to understand the project TID, on which Arlene has been working for a long time, in a very short time and interpret how it resonates with my work. I guess, on a personal level, the aim with Exploring Hypertext is to bring two practices together and enlarge and expand what we both do in our respective practices. With regards to the actual project the workshops and installation at Pixelache Festival will be a collaborate effort with everybody involved to get closer to the larger vision we described for Exploring Hypertext of putting the human, local and embodied experience at the centre of a global network.
Please click here to read the whole interview about TID and Exploring Hyptertext!
Arlene Tucker: author and curator of TID