The Artist as Translator is a practice-led research project that aims to stretch visual vocabularies and find systems to address the materiality specific to a location. This research is an extension of the assumption that at the core of any creative practice lies first, a sincere translation of an observation in the producer’s choice of medium. This makes the producer or the artist primarily a translator before anything else who truly believes in the impossible translatability of in/tangible materials that they interact with.
The design of the project invites creative practitioners to initiate a chain of translation by sharing with the rest, an object/ image/ text/ sound so entrenched in their location, that they deem difficult to translate. This material is then responded to, by the translators with an object/ text/ image/ combination that translates as accurately as possible in their proximity. Each material that is initiated is archived with as much description and information as possible to facilitate the following translator.
Through these chains of translations, the project aims to identify the untranslatable nucleus in materials brought forth, to be able to give form to it, to extend its knowability. Uncovering the untranslatable in material culture is a task that stretches the legibility of materials. Admitting the untranslatability but still attempting to grasp it as the most active/ intimate act of reading a material (Spivak, 1992). This digital tool maps the chains and translations within while also becoming a window to the thoughts, conversations and musings that have brewed over the course of the project.
All participants in one way or another draw connections from literature, scientific research, natural observation, domestic settings, sound, memory etc. and collect material that in their response is the truest translation of all the material that comes their way. The project collectively attempts the stretching of language(s), to look for its permeability as a task of the Artist as Translator.
This project has been realized in collaboration with VASL Artist Association and generously supported by Living Arts International under the South-South Arts Fellowship 2022 and Karachi Biennale Trust.
second practice is a collaborative research practice by Fatima Hussain, Abeerah Zahid and Ayesha Kamal Khan unpacking knowledge production and dissemination within postcolonial geographies and diasporic contexts. Exploring trans-disciplinary methodologies in artistic practice, critical inquiry of how the local is often flattened in the global art world and and participatory ways of disseminating knowledge, second practice draws out considered positions in formats predisposed to sharing and circulation.
In the recent past, they did a year-long research project ‘Access Audience / Audience Access’ supported by LBF-AAN, the project acquired the format of a live archive and a publication in response to locating audiences for contemporary arts in Pakistan. Second Practice is currently working with an ERC funded project based at the University of Delft, NL as part of which they are analyzing temporal experiences of migrants. Through discourse analysis of the research produced, Second Practice is developing a visual method for mapping these experiences of time. The work is due to be shown at the Istanbul Biennale 2022.
They have collaborated on various projects previously that have been shown at Richmix UK, Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq Lahore and SAVAC, Toronto. All three
have taught at National College of Arts, Pakistan and have participated in various artists'
They have been working together in various capacities for a decade, and formally came together as
practice in 2018 as an extension to their individual practices.
While initiating material to be translated:
- Identify material that is so entrenched in your location and it must possess an untranslatable quality.
- Find ways of recording/ communicating this material. May include but not limited to sound, photograph, video, scans, documents, notes, conversations, etc.
- Attempt to elaborate the context of the material. This may include an audio and written notes along with any other form you find necessary.
- Find the nucleus (the untranslatable bit). Describe this in your audio and notes as much as language allows.
- Discuss this nucleus with the one you are passing on and receiving the material from.
- Find existing material within your context that translates the original material. This will not be a fresh work of art but something that already exists around you that translates (as closely as possible) what was sent your way.
- You may manipulate this found material (add or subtract) in trying to achieve the most accurate translation of the original material. Feel free to do so and make notes of what you may have added or subtracted to find the sincerest translation.
- In some cases, the translation may result in a combination of materials/ mediums. Please feel free to combine in order to address the different aspects of the original material and arriving at its most accurate translation possible.
Second practice has been working together in various capacities on different projects for over a decade. A lot of their concerns stem from their individual and collective teaching practices. Many overlaps in areas of study have led to a wider collective study of the materiality of location.
Fatima Hussain currently teaches as Assistant Professor at the Department of Fine Arts at National College of Arts, Pakistan. She also practices as an independent curator and co-founder of artist collectives such as Other Asias and Laajverd. Her work is concerned with her critical inquiry into geographies appropriated by hegemonic conceptualizations of space that impact the way creative practice is represented in postcolonial contexts. Fatima has presented projects at the Karachi Biennale ’17, Independent Curators International NY, Flux Deptford X, SAVAC, SPILL Festival 2011 (London), Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery, Aicon Gallery London, The Guild NY, University of Toronto, and many others.
Abeerah Zahid is a Visual Artist & Educator based in Islamabad. She did her Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2010 from the National College of Arts Rawalpindi and is currently undertaking her masters in Curating and Cultural Leadership at the University of New South Wales. She works with a range of materials studying micro ecosystems stationed in pockets of urban-scapes around her and is interested in how cities become these intense places of interaction and reflection. Apart from teaching, her works revolve around collaborative practices, especially within an academic setting. Her works have been exhibited at various galleries, including Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery, JD Perera Gallery Colombo, Khaas, and the National Art Gallery, Islamabad.
Ayesha Kamal Khan is a visual artist who lives and works between Islamabad and New York. Her practice deals with local material extractions and the incapacity of translation. The work confesses these discrepancies and instead seeps into the gaps. She exaggerates temporary solutions to claim land, looking for a balance admitting the lack thereof. Khan graduated from the National College of Arts, Pakistan, and earned an MFA from Pratt Institute, NY, in 2015. Among various artist residencies, she was one of the participants at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2015. Khan’s work has been exhibited at art institutions internationally; Cuadro Gallery in Dubai, Queens Museum in New York, and the Kuwait Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021. Khan is currently a fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program in NY.
WEBSITE : http://www.ayeshakamalkhan.com/
Simon Soon is a senior lecturer in art history with the Visual Studies Program, Faculty of Creative Arts, University Malaya. His research interests span the 19th- and 20th-century, including the multicultural histories of photographic studios in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as architectural and visual modernism of Southeast Asia. Besides teaching, he occasionally creates artworks and curates exhibitions.
WEBSITE : https://bawahangin.substack.com/
Aseel AlYaqoub holds a Bachelor of Arts from Chelsea College of Art and Design (London) and a Master’s in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute (New York). AlYaqoub was a co-curator for the Kuwait Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale (2021) and was awarded the Art Jameel Commission in 2018. Her work has been exhibited at the Foreman Gallery (Quebec), Art Claims Impulse (Berlin), Museum of Humour and Satire (Gabrovo), Edge of Arabia (London), Pierogi Gallery (New York), Art Claims Impulse (Berlin), The Foreman Gallery (Canada), Sultan Gallery (Kuwait), Museum of Modern Art (Kuwait) and The Contemporary Art Platform (Kuwait). Her research has been presented at symposiums and talks such as Preston H. Thomas Memorial Lectures at Cornell University, Abu Dhabi Art (Abu Dhabi), Nuqat Conference (Kuwait) and The National Museum (Doha).
WEBSITE : www.aseelalyaqoub.com/
Contemporary Nights is a curatorial forum directing, showcasing, and documenting post-disciplinary artistic productions. Our work resides at the intersection of community, collaboration, convergence and manifests into a multi-pronged programming including a hybrid artists residency, GOJO residency, a research and discussion forum for artists identifying as women, Women in Arts, and a performing-arts showcase, SOLO SOLO SOLO. CN generates spaces for experimentation and facilitates research based and process-driven praxis to redefine real and imagined boundaries. We are a Co(l)laboratory, a space to deconstruct the abstraction in art collaborations and collective processes to forge meaningful connections among art practitioners in Addis Ababa and beyond.
Camilo Leyva lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia. He is an artist and professor and has been co-creator and researcher for digital archives on Art and Human Rights: Oropéndola Arte y Conflicto; transformed into the current section of art and culture of the Museum of Historical Memory of Colombia. Leyva has shown site-specific installations and sculptures that propose various mechanisms of participation with visitors to the exhibitions. Through these projects Leyva emphasizes a context specific approach striving for the construction of collective and situated meaning. He has shown his work in group exhibitions in New York, Boston, Houston, Buenos Aires, Lima, and Bogotá. He has had solo shows in Bogotá at Espacio El Dorado (Again_), the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce (The promise of disorganization) and at Espacio Odeón (Machine); he is also part of Agorafobia collective with which he has done public space and activist projects. He has an MA in Art History and an MFA Fine Arts.
WEBSITE : http://camiloleyva.com/
Patricio Orellana is a translator, curator, and scholar based between Buenos Aires and New York. He received a PhD from New York University, and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program between 2018 and 2022. His first book length project, on Argentine art and literature of the 1960s, will appear in 2023. His translations are mostly published in Caja Negra Editora.
WEBSITE : patricioorellana.xyz
Pablo Rasgado b. Mexico lives and works in Mexico City. Rasgado has shown his work extensively at the Blue Project Foundation, Barcelona, MOCA Tucson, Tucson Arizona, and Steve Turner LA, Los Angeles. He has also participated in a number of group shows including the 11th Mercosul Biennial, Brazil, XIII Biennial of Cuenca, Museo Amparo, Mexico, CAM Raleigh, NC, Contemporary Art from the Collection”, LACMA, Los Angeles, Carrillo Gil Museum, Mexico (2012), CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, Museum of Modern Art, Mexico, Jumex Collection, Mexico, Stonehouse, Nigeria. Rasgado is a Member of the Sistema Nacional de Artes, and has been a fellow of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2016); Bancomer-MACG Program (2012); FONCA (2006, 2010 and 2011), and has participated in various artistic residences such as: RAIR, Philadelpia (2019); Skowhegan, Maine (2015); Cite International des arts, Paris (2014); Triangle, New York (2012).
WEBSITE : https://www.pablorasgado.com/
Catalina Tuca b. Santiago, Chile lives and works in NY. Catalina is a multidisciplinary Visual Artist, educator, and independent curator, working in the intersections of geographic identities, collective memories, and hybrid systems of collaboration and participation through existing technologies. After earning a BFA and a degree in Visual Arts Education, she developed her career in Santiago, showing her work in solo and group exhibitions, teaching visual arts and film, and creating and directing art spaces. She participated in art residencies, in Japan, Colombia, and the United States. Following these experiences, In 2016 she moved to the US to pursue an MFA at Rutgers University from where she graduated in 2018. After that, she was a member at NEW INC, The New Museum Incubator Program NY, a resident at NARS Foundation NY, a fellow at The Interdisciplinary Art and Theory Program, NY, and at Collider Art Residency, Contemporary Calgary, CA 2020. She is currently Adjunct Professor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and Rutgers University, NJ.
WEBSITE : www.catalinatuca.com/
Marcellina Dwi K. Putri
Marcellina or for short Cella, currently works as Gudskul Collective Studies and Contemporary Art Ecosystem manager, always trying to create tools for collective art and art ecosystem sustainability, curating and organizing art projects (exhibitions, publications, educational exchange program, visual performances). Her side project is running a children picture book publishing company and a baker/cook at heart.
Chiarina Chen is a New York-based curator and is the founder of S1gnal. From a background of psychology and art history, her curatorial praxis explores interconnectivity in the posthuman condition. Since 2016, she has produced and developed international projects that merge art and emotional technology, ranging from mixed media, sound installations to cyborg performance and experimental theater. Her Key series include Collecting Anxiety, Is This Intimacy? , Magic Back to Town, and The Wasteland of the Future. Earlier at New York FLAG Art Foundation, she has landed exhibitions of Jeff Koons, Cecily Brown, Charles Ray, and Betty Tompkins. She is also the annual reviewer and curator at the American Society of Media Photography (ASMP) New York Chapter, the founding member of the Posthuman Research Group at New York University, and speaker and advisor at TEDx Shenzhen.
Dipti Sherchan is a PhD candidate at the Department of Anthropology in the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA. Her research explores the relationship between artists, cultural institutions, and nation-state in Nepal. She is interested in troubling the perceived divide between "banal" bureaucratic state apparatuses and “abstract” creative practices to suggest that both worlds are co-constituted through complex entanglements. She is also one of the founding members of Kalā Kulo, a Kathmandu based archiving and research organization experimenting with heterogeneous, collaborative, and transdisciplinary frameworks of seeking to interrogate aesthetic lineages and cosmologies.
Ayesha Singh's practice involves subversive actions that highlight existing socio-political hierarchies and the assertion of established systems of power in architecture. Her research is contextualized within the continuities of colonial monuments and presence of contemporary empires, capitalist as well as political. Through critical spatial interventions that emphasize collaboration and coexistence, the works aim to counter established narratives to unpack layers of architectural decisions induced by the authority of states, and by the voluntary and involuntary displacement of people. Through drawing, public installations, participatory performances, sculpture and video, Singh’s work creates sites of discourse and record, to question the assumed permanence of buildings and the histories omitted during construction, restoration and destruction. Singh is a co-founder of Art Chain India, a peer-support movement for visual artists living and working in the subcontinent that creates spaces for community interaction to cultivate a politics of autonomy and collaboration, and to decenter conversation, economy, and resources in the arts."
WEBSITE : https://www.ayeshasingh.com/home
Linh Le is an aspiring writer, curator and researcher from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Her current curatorial and research endeavour taps on the performativity of the public space; the body and the archive; and their possible interdigitations with visual arts. She is currently working as a curator at Galerie Quynh — Vietnam’s leading contemporary arts gallery.
Lara Nasser is a multidisciplinary artist from Lebanon who’s interested in human reactions to the structures they are contained in. Nasser completed an MFA at the Pratt Institute in 2015. Since then some international exhibitions include the Beirut Contemporary Art Fair; Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt, Paris; Takt Kunstprojecteraum, Berlin; H Gallery, Los Angeles; Theodore:Art, New York; PRPG, Mexico City, and the Condo Art Fair 2019 at The Breeder Gallery Athens. Her work is included in the collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody and the Imago Mundi collection of Luciano Benetton. In 2018 she had a solo show at Meredith Rosen Gallery, NY and a second one with the gallery in October of 2020. Nasser lives and works in Brooklyn.
TABARA KORKA NDIAYE
Tabara Korka Ndiaye is a Senegalese researcher, writer and creative. She graduated in Political Science and International Relations. She discussed the 'presence-absence' of women in politics in Senegal in the collective book 'Politisez-vous' 2017. She was a member of the OFF Commission of the Biennial of Contemporary African Art in Dakar in 2018. She has worked at RAW Material Company (2018-2022) as a research assistant participating in the curation of exhibitions and public programs as well as closely working with artists in residency. She is a fellow alumni of the RAW Academie Session 3 in Dakar (2017) , The MuseumsLab in Germany (2021) and the ICI Curatorial Intensive in Kampala (2022). Tabara is particularly interested in how the future can be shaped with personal stories. Her practice hinges on studies of African feminisms and the relationship between archives and erasure of women in Senegaleses history. She is based in Dakar, Senegal.