Study event review: Chain Reaction
Chain Reaction – intersemiotic translations: a two-part workshop with tutor Bryan Eccleshall and OCA student Helen Rosemier
Intersemiotic translation: ‘the act of translating from one language to another involves a political, culturally embedded process that can impact both the originating and the receiving culture’. cleurope.eu/activities/sigs/intersemiotic_translation
Part one of this two-part online event took place on Saturday 9th October 2021.
Around 50 students signed up, and were separated into groups with the name of an artist as a group title. My group was called Yinka Shonibare (I hadn’t come across him before, so discovering his work was one of the highlights of my day, really stunning work).
Brian and Helen gave an introductory talk explaining the process, which sounded very intriguing. We were to be put into breakout rooms in our artist groups, and given a document with a text written out in 7 different languages, and we were to pick a language that we weren’t familiar with and attempt a ‘faulty’ translation, picking out any words we thought we might recognise or guess at. We then had to either write out our version of the text, or create a list of our words, and discuss with our team and create a new document with our collaborative reinterpretation of the text. All of the groups then reconvened in the main room, and we handed our respective documents in, which were then jumbled up and redistributed to the artist groups. (By the way, each artist group had a different text).
We then went back into our breakout rooms (same groups) and looked at our new ‘hacked’ text with instructions to think about creating work based on our individual specialties. We had three weeks to come up with group work for the presentation.
Working through a process in this way has been a new and very enjoyable experience for me. I am learning to let go of trying to make something conventionally representational and focus on developing an idea instead, which is proving to be far more interesting than just ‘copying’ something that already exists, as in the drawings and paintings I have done in the past. I have also really enjoyed being collaborative – much to my surprise, as I normally prefer working alone. Huge thank you to Brian and Helen for the opportunity to take part in such an interesting workshop.