A Case for Halldór Laxness
A case for Halldór Laxness is a multi media installation that fits into a briefcase. It contains moments from Laxness’s novels translated into objects and activities. As well as by reading Laxness it has been informed by a field trip to and residency and exhibition in Iceland in 2013. Part of a larger work in progress, it will be edited after the conference to incorporate new findings that emerge from further research into the sites and events connected to the literary works and from audience responses.
Translating Halldór Laxness
My research project Translating Halldór Laxness consists of creatively absorbing, distilling and performing selected elements of this Icelandic, Nobel Laureate’s literary works through my art practice.
I first read Laxness’s World Light as a sixteen year old in Montevideo. At the time I probably didn’t give much thought to the efforts of the translators involved in making it possible for me to experience the tetralogy in Spanish secondary translation.
My project posses the question, How might creative practice based research be used to pay tribute to Halldór Laxness and allow an audience to be imaginatively engaged in his literary works?
A field trip and residency last year, to visit sites relevant to Laxness’ life and work, and make initial creative responses to my findings culminated in a relational performance in the green cabinet covered kitchen of the SIM gallery in Hafnarstraeti.
The final version of the work in progress presented at Art in Translation will be exhibited next year as an immersive multi media installation at Southern Cross University in Australia. At the conference I will read from an early draft of the accompanying exegesis and show a portable component of the work titled A case for Halldór Laxness.
Slavery, Hillsborough and the selective amnesia of a ghost-bloodied city
My creative thesis suggests that there exists a clear link between Liverpool’s unresolved relationship with the legacy of slavery and its continuing unwelcome reputation as Britain’s ‘most racist’ city. While the culturally accepted slave narrative has been safely consigned to a packaged and desiccated history, the connections between slavery and present day civil unrest and chronic ongoing black invisibility are subsumed in a collective amnesia in stark contrast to the fetishistic memorialization currently at work regarding the Hillsborough disaster. Walter Benjamin’s observations on history via Klee’s Angelus Novus, and sculptor Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North (along with his Liverpool-sited Another Place), have led me to the idea of angels as ‘mediators between worlds’ functioning as touchstone ‘tonal signifiers’ which lie tantalizingly outside the realm of conventional discourse. This paper is a discussion of how a creative translation of the imagery and iconography of angels might be articulated in an attempt to shine a new light on the city’s selective memory. It will be framed as a reading and visual presentation.
Alice in Translation Land What to bring to the surface in Lewis Carroll’s work
Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, namely Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Trough the Looking Glass And What Alice Found There are certainly one of the most intersemiotically transposed and translated literary classics over the last 150 years. A number of illustration, plays, ballets, songs, movies, TV shows and others was made by renowned and lesser known artists.
Two notable examples seem to have escaped more usual analysis, a 1988 surrealist film with a blend of stop motion animation by multiple prize winner Czech director Jan Švankmajer, called Neco z Alenky, and The Muppet Show, a famous TV series aired from 1976 to 1981 featuring puppets and a human guest, created by Jim Henson, in which an episode from the fifth season starred Brooke Shields playing Alice in 1980.
Why does this work inspire so many translations? What are the choices translators make when recreating Carroll? We intend to compare these transpositions of Alice’s stories, capturing seemingly distinct characteristics, but both of fundamental importance to the source: (i) The oneiric ambience in which the story is set and the permissiveness that it creates, allowing, for example, nonsense, amorality and lack of objective (ii) Linguistic games (such as paronomasia).