Video

Translations and Mental Tasks (Installation)

Francesco Gagliardi

2008, colour

TAPECODE 985.01

Based on an ongoing series of video performances, the installation juxtaposes videos of people performing silent mental tasks (proving a theorem of set theory, reading a music score) with videos of people involved in the process of translating literary texts.

Translations and Mental Tasks
addresses the notion of mental tasks as a form of performance and explores the negotiations, slippages in meaning, misunderstandings, and power dynamics involved in any process of translation – understood literally as the actual translation of a text, or more broadly as the trans-coding of a literal, visual or performative text into a different medium.

Version A
Mental Task 3 + Translation 3

Version B
Mental Task 3 + Translation 3 + Translation 6

Version C
Mental Task 3 + Translation 3 + Translation 6 + Mental Task 4

Video components

Mental Task 3: Cantor-Bernstein-Schröder Theorem
HDV video, color, sound, 2007, 26:05.

A logician proofs a theorem of set theory on the blackboard.

Translation 3: Max Frisch: Tagebuch 1971
HDV video, color, sound, 2007, 38:10.

A native speaker of German translates an excerpt form Max Frisch’s 1971 diary, in which the Swiss writer muses with the notion of Heimat (home country).

Translation 6: Shuang Shuang Yan
HDV video, color, sound, 2008, 48:34.

A Chinese Canadian family gathered around the dinner table translates the text of a songs while consuming an elaborate dinner; the song, a Mao-era tale of love and autarchy, was used as part of a 1959 Chinese film entitled Where is our Home?

Mental Task #4: Relly Raffman: The Secular Masque
HDV video, color, sound, 2007, 20:07.

A musician silently reads the score of one of her father’s compositions.

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