Übersetzen im Gespräch mit Sophie Seita: Translation as Reading, as Movement, as Pedagogy
In this artist talk and reading, the interdisciplinary researcher, artist, writer and translator Sophie Seita will introduce her multimedia project My Little Enlightenment Plays as a starting point for a conversation on playful approaches to translation across languages and media and the (critical) potential of these experimental forms of translation. My Little Enlightenment Plays is centred around three experimental performance pieces: 1. Don Carlos, or, Royal Jelly; 2. Les Bijoux Indiscrets, or, Paper Tigers; 3. Emilia Galotti’s Colouring Book of Feelings – all of which present imaginary tête-a-têtes with Enlightenment thinkers, writers, and (pseudo-)scientists. The project took the form of multiple performances, videos, sound pieces, texts, performance props and costumes, each visualising, embodying or translating Seita’s text into another medium – which is itself a queer-feminist and oblique translation of Enlightenment texts and ideas. The short presentation will be followed by a reading of Seita’s creative-critical piece “Let it Percolate. A Manifesto for Reading”, in which she proposes a translational ‘pedagogy of percolation’, a form of writing-through-reading that is deeply collaborative, care-full, embodied, but also unpredictable, frivolous, and speculative.
Sophie Seita is a London-based artist and researcher working with text, sound, and translation on the page and in other media. Her creative practice is based in an expansive understanding of translation: not just from one language into another, but also from various materials, mediums, and discourses into other forms and formats. She is the author of Provisional Avant-Gardes: Little Magazines from Dada to Digital (Stanford University Press, 2019) and My Little Enlightenment Plays (Pamenar, 2020); the editor of The Blind Man (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017), named one of the Best Art Books of 2017 by The New York Times; and the translator of Uljana Wolf’s i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where (Wonder, 2015) and Subsisters: Selected Poems (Belladonna*, 2017). She’s currently translating Uljana Wolf’s selected essays, Etymological Gossip: Essays and Lectures for Nightboat Books (forthcoming in early 2023). She often works collaboratively and internationally on multiple projects; currently she’s developing a community-oriented art project and queer gardening talk-show opera with her long-term collaborator Naomi Woo. She has taught and continues to teach in a number of institutional and non-institutional settings in the UK, Europe, and the US and is committed to an intersectional, interdisciplinary, and provisional pedagogy.