Jane Jin Kaisen

Translational Aesthetics: Artistic research and aesthetics of resistance.

I conceptualize a translational aesthetics as an artistic research method and aesthetics of resistance. My presentation is framed around my visual art project Dissident Translations concerning the suppressed history and fractured intergenerational memories of the 1948 Jeju Massacre, during which mass genocide was committed onto the civilian population of Jeju Island, South Korea. In the artworks I use translation as a subversive artistic strategy to disrupt and queer official trajectories of history, nation, culture, and identity through an intersectional reading of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

As an artist embodying the role of the translator I conceive of translation as a subjectively invested critical mode of inquiry. Being born into a family from Jeju Island, but transnationally adopted and raised by another family in Denmark, Dissident Translations reflects how I approach the political history of the Jeju Massacre from a belated perspective as someone who is both affiliated with and distanced from the event.

I critically translate official histories and the construction of ideology and subjectivity, not with the aim of creating coherency and preserving a perceived ‘original’ and ‘authentic’ subject matter and context, but rather to expose how narratives are inherently flawed, fragmented, and broken, pointing to inherent problems of translation and the untranslatability of the ‘other’.