In translation Workshop by Mariam Ghani (USA)


17.02 - 27.02.2014

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Program: [Educational projects]

NCCA, North-Western Branch
PRO ARTE Foundation
with the support of
The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
The Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation

within the School for the Young Artists program

February, 17–27, 2014

“In translation”

Workshop by Mariam Ghani (USA)

Walter Benjamin describes the "task of the translator" as producing a new text in harmony with the intention of the original - faithful not to its letters, but to its spirit. Translation in this sense is the impulse to produce something new from something old, or to transpose and transplant ideas from one language, culture, medium, or moment to another - communicating across gaps of time and space, context and experience. This impulse can be traced through such phenomena as the literary translation, the cross-medium adaptation, the remake, the homage, the historical re-enactment, the art-historical reference, and the site-responsive installation (which both translates a specific time and place into an artwork, and adapts that artwork to other specific times and places, when re-presented in other venues). Translation can also be an attempt to understand, consume or subsume the other, or to understand the self through another's perception, as seen in the particular case of the “Russica” collection in Russia's National Library, which has for hundreds of years collected books printed in other languages about Russia, or rather foreign representations of Russia - translations of Russia into other forms and spheres, and refractions of Russia as both notion and fact through a hundred different prisms. Finally, encoding and decoding can also be understood as special cases of translation, which allows for consideration of traditional cryptography, steganographic imagery, political allegories, the use of poems as passwords in certain movements, and the converso tradition in literature.

Mariam Ghani

During this master class, students will read some translation theory and discuss the various manifestations of translation in art. They will develop projects that enact some variant of translation (of content, form and/or site), and they will think through how to present those projects within the context of the final exhibition, which will be installed inside a library branch gallery (either Pushkinsky Dom or Mayakovsky, most likely). They will also be able but not required to make use of library resources, which include Russica collections and writers' personal papers, in conceiving and/or producing their projects.

Mariam Ghani, USA

Mariam Ghani’s research-based practice spans video, installation, performance, photography, and text. Her exhibitions and screenings include the Rotterdam and CPH:DOX film festivals, dOCUMENTA (13) in Kabul and Kassel, MoMA in New York, and the Sharjah Biennial 10. Ghani holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from NYU and an MFA from SVA, and currently teaches at Pratt and NYU.


Semyon Motolyanets
Anastasia Pavlitskaya
Veronika Rudyeva–Ryazantseva
Olga Jitlina
Egor Koshelev
Ilya Orlov
Natalia Kraevskaya
Alexander Belov
Emily Newman

Classes are only for the participants!

2a, Glinki st, St Petersburg.  © National centre for contemporary arts. Developement [artinfo]. [Andrey Velikanov]'s design