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’.
—an analysis of an installation by Icelandic artist Dodda Maggý
The paper is an analysis of the sound and video installation Lucy by Icelandic video artist Dodda Maggý in terms of Gilles Deleuze’s conceptualization of the audio-visual image. It examines the way the work uses of moving images projected upon a screen in conjunction with emitted sound that fills the exhibition space. These inherently separate forms of presentation have become increasingly intertwined in sound cinema—where sound is a separate addition to the film being presented—and later in television—where sound and image are inherently coupled. With the advent of increased software manipulation and storage, these two mediums have become more and more hybridized so that projection and screen presentation have become more or less interchangeable. Dodda Maggý’s installation, Lucy, is an excellent example the way the visual image and sound function together in a hybrid cinematic medium; independently of each other at times but in a conjoint totality at others. It is this joining that Gilles Deleuze’s theory of the audio-visual image functions to shed light on. Conversely, an analysis of Lucy also serves to elucidate—and in a way complete—Deleuze’s ideas concerning the audio-visual image.
Archaeologies of Inscription: Reactivating the Residue of Language
Archaeologies of Inscription is the positioning of the art production project as a tool for cultural research. Specifically, this is the creation of new critical art projects drawing on the history of the communication device and its relation to the body. The work re-activates, re-positions and re-configures lapsed systems of communication by framing the itinerant ways language inhabits the body, examining and amplifying the material residue of human linguistic exchange. The resulting projects find meaning in the gap between conventional language structures and corporeal experience, questioning the authority of text and its agency. This ongoing reflective practice articulates ways the body performs communication, examining the representation of language while looking critically and poetically at Western societies relationship with information and communication and implicitly revealing the meaning embedded there. The work engages the viewer through three modes of production: the haptic intimate scale of the handheld, the immediacy of the performance, and the ubiquity of the infrastructural. From small sculptural objects, gallery installations and urban interventions the work engages the viewer by creating tensions between textual content and the devices in which they are projected. Through this work the viewer gains a deeper understanding of our bodies relationships to our objects of communication in everyday processes of transmission, translation and human exchange.