Travelling from Brandenburg in North-East Germany en route to Turin via Bavaria and Switzerland, myself and Aga Tamiola stopped off in the surreal medieval town of Rothenburg ODT where we sited some more guerilla performances with The LFTT Library and Emergency Kit for Neuro-skeptics.
Our first stop heading south from the Schloss in Brandenburg was in Dresden, capital of the Free State of Saxony. Crossing the bridge over the River Elbe we both let out an audible sigh at the sight of the grand Baroque and Rococo buildings lining the waterfront. Later on in the hotel reading ‘Germany’ by J.F Dickie (TRNS 141) we found that this is a routine response for new visitors entering the city, in fact it is expected. The ‘Germany’ travel guide also told us that Dresden was the home of ‘gemütlichkeit’, an untranslatable german phrase meaning a kind of cosy warm feeling of belonging and social acceptance. We spent our time there in search of this phenomenon.
The LFTT Library collaborated with Polish artist Aga Tamiola and The Emergency Kit for Neuroskeptics at The Schloss Wartin Summer Salon to produce the Language Confusion Clinic; an intimate workshop style ‘clinic’ in the beautiful surrounds of the Castle Wartin estate. Drawing on tools developed at Artists Unlimited, Bielefeld concerning language barriers and mis-translations as productive of intercultural knowledge sharing, and combining this with the neurological interests of Tamiola and the aesthetics of psychiatry – The Language Confusion Clinic employed anti-rational methods to reveal serendipitous associations in thought amongst a group of strangers.
A selection of books from The LFTT Library from differing historical and geographical cultural contexts was made available to the group as a medium of dialogue. This select slice of the archive was paired with the Emergency Kit For Neuroskeptics which added some cross associative poetic flair. Two bells were employed as signals to request a desire to read either from the Library or the Kit. The third bell signalled a wish to personally free associate with the imagery that revealed itself from the texts. During the group session strange tangents rose to the surface of our collective thoughts, enabled by this simple triangular framework.
Within the high academic context of The Schloss Wartin Summer Salon; a project initiated by the Yale University Alumni Club in Germany e.V. and the Collegium Wartinum Foundation, participants of the Language Confusion Clinic expressed a cathartic pleasure in this anti-dogmatic mode of reasoning and social knowledge sharing. The Emergency Kit for Neuroskeptics is a joint project of Aga Tamiola and Sean Erickson.
The second stop on The LFTT Library Translation Tour was at The Schloss Wartin Summer Salon* in Brandenberg, Germany in collaboration with Polish artist Aga Tamiola and Emergency Kit for Neuroskeptics. Billed as ‘a survival kit to help a modern person be more human in a time of neuroscience’ the ‘E-Kit’ is a fragmented poetry anthology re-presented in a neuro-labs slide box, a receptacle which once contained cross section images of rats brains. As literal ‘slices of thought’ the E-Kit’s text fragments (coincidentally of a scale commensurate with the limits of a twitter post) are further employed in sympathy with the early Dadaists as a performance prop, allowing the subconscious thoughts of artist and audience to speak through the medium of the Kit. Read More
In June 2015 The LFTT Library embarks on The LFTT Library Translation Tour, a 4,000km road-trip and practical exercise in cross-country re-interpretation. In collaboration with a number of artists including Angelika Höger (Artists Unlimited, Bielefeld Germany), Aga Tamiola (Berlin) and Carla Bertola and Alberto Vitacchio (Turin) The LFTT library will expand on it’s meaning potential by opening itself up to ‘foreign’ readings. How will a library soaked in Irish culture be perceived by these diverse cultural perspectives? Is it possible that an Irish audience might better approach The LFTT Library material as something ‘once removed’ from their own local history.
A specially curated selection of the library has been made for each location. At Artists Unlimited, Bielefeld, Angelika Höger has requested books from the natural sciences, gardening, practical instruction manuals and new age self help guides which together form a kind of cultural ‘how-to’. The project asks; How do personal and local differences effect this idea of the universal ‘manual’? How do we overcome such things as simple language barriers; are technologies like google translate enough to bridge the gap, or is something more like a real time conversation required? Is there really only one way of understanding ‘how-to’?
At the Schloss Summer Salon, The LFTT Library will collaborate with artist Aga Tamiola (PL) whose specialism is endangered languages and how the loss of indigenous language effect a cultures self perception. The project run by Yale University Alumni is part of a larger movement to revive salon culture as a sociable form of knowledge sharing. Aga Tamiola and LFTT Library director, Helen Horgan will engage the public in a series of prescribed actions which invite subjective deviation in ‘reading’ the LFTT Library books. Finally at The Room, Turin the renowned visual poets Carla Bertola and Alberto Vitacchio have made a selection including world dictionaries and writings on irish pilgrimages as well as foreign travel, to challenge the cultural problematic of material and linguistic ‘translation’ in a playfully literal sense.
Participants at each locations are invited to become part of ‘The LFTT Library Tour: Film in Translation’, the ongoing film document of the tour, by contributing ‘misreadings’ and ‘mistranslations’ stemming from the alien content of the newly re-contextualised books. Interested participants are invited to select from the library short texts which exhibit curious difficulties in understanding, whether stemming from language barriers or locally found confusions. These texts/confusions will be worked on and transformed together with the artists, becoming part of the narrative of the film as a document of ‘translation in action’. The LFTT Library leaves Cork on the June 6th 2015, more posts to follow. Kindly supported by Culture Ireland.
Previously a resident at The Guesthouse, Polish artist Aga Tamiola later became involved in ‘Scale Factor’ after borrowing two books from the library on leaving; ‘Fishers of Men’ by Maxence van der Meersch and ‘Man’s Place in The Universe: A Study of the Results of Scientific Research in Relation to the Unity or Plurality of Worlds’ by Alfred R. Wallace. ‘Scale Factor’ was an exhibition of small works which travelled from Poland to The Guesthouse Cork for September 2014, curated by Tomasz Madajczak, Bartosz Nowak (Poland); Sharon McCarthy and Helen Horgan for the LFTT Library (Cork). The work as shown was a collaboration between Tamiola and The LFTT who interpreted the artists instructions for install from two to three dimensions. Read More