Gabriela Saldanha X Heather Connelly

Escurrir is a collaborative script performed by Heather Connelly and translator and academic Gabriela SaldanhaEscurrir, can be translated as ‘drain, wring, slip away’ it is a playful work that exposes translation as a generative and performative act.

WATCH the performance:

The work is based upon the translation of the Riordan and Takayanagi’s (1896:v) metaphoric description of the difficulty of translating Japanese literature, ‘whose peculiar beauties are apt to disappear like the opal tints of a squeezed jellyfish’, (Henitiuk in St Andre 2014:144). Saldanha translated the English term, Jelly Fish, into Spanish and then back into English, which became [agua viva] ‘Live Water’ or [Medusa] ‘ Medusa’. We worked together discussing the merits of these subsequent metaphors and continued to expand the associations that they produced through the iterative translation and back-translation forming an elliptical ‘feedback loop’, that exploits the generative nature of translation and how the concept becomes expanded as it passes between languages.

The process: The work has been designed to evolve through constant editing and reworking and expand as each term is translated, back translated, and discussed as we consider what these ‘new’ terms tell us about the process of translation. Following on from experiments made during her residency at the Summerlodge (Nottingham Trent University , Connelly is  seeking ways to engage with the materiality of this process, to record and expose what is/has taken place, and how new articulations for translation are conjured up through these subtle shifts of vocabulary. She has begun to explore the potential of the physical artefact in documenting and baring witness to this ongoing practice and evolving process.

Escurrir | Abstract

Artist/researcher, Heather Connelly, and Translation Studies academic, Gabriela Saldanha, will perform a script in Spanish and English that explores the unstable and shifting subject positions of the translator and the translated. The two protagonists problematise the process of speaking for another and through another, performatively exposing translation as a multiple, provisional and embodied phenomenon. Theoretically the dialogue concerns the potential of two conceptual mappings to account for the translator’s subjective and embodied response: translation as restored behaviour (Schechner 1885) and translation as linguistic hospitality (Ricoeur 2006).

The text has been developed collaboratively as part of an informal research project between Connelly and Saldanha to expand their personal research into the performativity of translation within their respective fields (art and translation) and to test out what new knowledge can emerge out of this transdisciplinary practice-based research, which pays equal attention to process of writing and the sensorial activity of performing and enunciating the words. The text evolves with each iteration, taking different forms dependent upon the context within which it is presented, and often includes other participants.

Connelly seeks to engage academics in artist-led research, demonstrating the benefits of transdisciplinarity in examining a topic from multiple perspectives through a dialogic engagement with theoretical and tacit knowledge. Whereas Saldanha’s interest in translation stylistics has led her to argue that the anthropological understanding of performance as restored behaviour allows us to map literary translation as performance in a way that is closely in line with how translators tend to see their own practice.

The images that played while Heather and Gabriela performed.

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Author: The Poettrio Experiment

An AHRC funded investigation into poetry translation trios led by Francis Jones, Bill Herbert and Fiona Sampson with Rebecca May Johnson & Sergio Lobejón Santos

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