Translation as Firework

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Translation as Firework

  • Tue 20 Oct 2015
  • 7:00PM

Guest literary curator Jen Calleja will be hosting a performance and exhibition presenting multiple translations of a short story by author Anna Weidenholzer in forms including sound, ceramics, textiles, video, sculpture, photography, text, and even tattoos and recipes.

The story ‘Sessel und Sätze’ (‘Chairs and Sentences’) is from Weidenholzer’s collection Der Platz des Hundes (‘Where the Dog Sits’) and follows aging school caretaker Ferdinand Felser’s preoccupations with his passive position in the world. Having been mocked as a schoolboy by pupils and teachers for his dialect and by his parents for trying to change it, Ferdinand is now secretly learning nine languages in his office and is troubled by the climate of xenophobia surrounding him at work, in the news, and among close friends.

Posing as a metaphor for the multiplicity of possible translations of any story and inspired by the Gesamtkunstwerk aesthetic, the exhibition encourages the visitor to see how each ‘translation’ alters and adds to their reading of the story (which they also read in translation) and how the exhibition could be seen as one multifaceted translation. It considers a translation as a personal reading, extension, destruction or an attempt at honing into an essence of the original text by a translator, and will also explore the fallibility of linguistic translation by further experimenting with translations of translations, as well as paratextual elements that influence the reader’s reading like book covers, marketing, and book reviews.

The exhibition will be on display in the ACF gallery from Tuesday 13 – Wednesday 21 October.

We’re delighted that Anna Weidenholzer will be joining us for a special reading and performance on Tuesday 20 October before she takes up her position as Writer in Residence at New York University next month.

Participating practitioners: Sophie Alda, Lucy Anstey, Jen Calleja, Emma Charles, Ann Cotten, Rachael Finney, Agatha Frischmuth, Rebecca May Johnson, Martha Ellen Smith, Barbie Lawrie, Maria Tedemalm, Laura Tenschert, Lillian Wilkie.

Anna Weidenholzer, photo by Lukas Beck

Austrian Cultural Forum London

28 Rutland Gate
London SW7 1PQ


T 020 7225 7300

F 020 7225 7300