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by Art21September 21, 2022 1:25:19 total runtime

“Meaning changes when you translate,” says Gabriel Orozco. Whether in written text, verbal instruction, understanding, or concept, artists translate their ideas to their work and their audiences.

Diane Severin Nguyen creates compelling and often mystifying photographs and videos which question divides between objects, meanings, and the final works. “By the time I’m finished with an image, I don’t even remember where I started,” she says, “I try to work against that impulse to identify and get more towards a place of feeling.”

Using language, Gabriel Orozco creates an opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge with “Spanish Lessons (2013).” Conversely, Liz Magic Laser strips language away entirely to convey meaning and message through a performance of hand gestures from presidential speeches.

Translation may be integral to creating the artwork, as when Martin Puryear translates instructions for craftsmen from English to Japanese to Chinese; or translations may be a living part of the work itself, as Cao Fei’s digital avatar China Tracy acts as her interpreter throughout her our “Fantasy” episode segment.

This playlist celebrates the ability of translation to open avenues of understanding and connection.