The act of ‘translation’ occurs in the moment in which people come into contact, addressing one another and/or being addressed by one another. It reveals the process of communication (or miscommunication) and the relationships between the individuals involved in the process. Neither the concept of ‘self’ as opposed to ‘other’ or the ‘inside’ in contrast to the ‘outside’ in fact possesses a clear and static definition; rather, the ideas of ‘self’ and ‘inside’ are subject to change, as the relationships surrounding us shift constantly and fluidly.
The recommended practice of physically distancing from others for fear of spreading the virus is described as ‘social distancing’. The current situation where we are ‘socially distancing’ ourselves forces us to be acutely aware of a ‘distance’ from others and the conscious act of ‘maintaining a certain distance’ itself. The society is gradually adapting itself to the current climate that requires us of being mindful of the ‘distance’, and is undergoing transformation day after day.
This project, ‘Translating the Distance’, offers the participating artists an opportunity, through the process of translation, to explore the ever-shifting distance and relationships between languages, cultures, environments, and those between the self and others. The aim is to observe the ‘distance’ that surfaces in the interaction and to see how each artist may or may not choose to incorporate their findings into their artwork and creative process.
Translation of the verbal text is conducted through an interaction between the artists and the collaborators who are preferably non-experts in contemporary art or translation. The ‘distance’ that emerges in the interactions keeps shifting, embracing the ‘perspectives of someone other than the artist themselves’ provided by the collaborators. This project enables us to carefully follow the process where the distance and the relationships between the participants are continuously in a state of flux, which, as a result, hopefully helps building a foundation for the artists and audiences alike in creating and appreciating artworks.
Translated from Japanese by Moe SHOJI