eipcp calendar

Museum as Communicator and Mediator

Cultural Translation: From National to Hybrid

Lativa Center for Contemporary Art, Riga

8 -9 May 2008



„The ‘cultural turn’ means that the manifestation of society and the struggle for equality no longer takes place between socioeconomic formations (classes) but among culturally defined groups. (..) Culture has become this very stage, the very condition of the possibility of society and of our perception of what political reality is today.”
Boris Buden: Cultural Translation: Why it is important and where to start with it, 06.2006

Despite of the fact that the manifestation of the global world – hybrid identities and hybrid cultural forms – can be observed in Latvia in increasing speed state policy is still shaped by the national narrative where priority is given to the Latvian ethnic culture and high art. The aims of Latvia’s current culture policy sounds similar to those of some other rightwing conservative European government declarations: „...to strenghten the national identity and the positions of Latvian language in the public sphere, to increase the excellence and competitiveness of the national culture.”

Not only other ethnic cultures stay outside the framework of the national canon, those culture initiatives that question the national identity’s indissoluble nature, too, lack the political representation.

The conception of ‘cultural translation’ has been proposed as one of the most effective means to overcome the contradictions between nationalism and global world. In this process one language tries to translate the other into its own language thus creating the hybrid formations that transgresses the existing social and cultural borders in a non-violent and democratic way.
Those hybrid identities born in the process of translations, some believe, are our hope for the new society that stands beyond nations and cultures. Therefore „we need to shift the focus from the languages of belonging to the language of practice. We should stop to expect that it should tell us about essence but instead about transformation. And we need to remember, that the practice of translation only makes sense, if it leads to much needed alternative forms of connection, communication, and relations - and not of new ways of innovating culture and nation.” (Hito Steyerl)
But is the cultural translation actually possible? What are its challenges and proposed solutions?
The interdisciplinary conference Cultural Translation: From National to Hybrid will stress the arts’ vision and role in the processes of the cultural translation.
PARTICIPANTS: Natasa Ilic (Curator, What, How & for Whom?, Zagreb), Dmitry Vilensky (Artist, Chto delat?, St.Petersburg), Jean-Baptiste Naudy(Artists, Societe Realiste, Paris), Marina Peunova (University of Geneva, Tbilisi/Geneva), Mara Traumane (Critic & curator, Berlin/Riga), David Rych (Artist, Berlin/Linz), Alexei Penzin (Philosopher, Chto delat?, Moscow), Tone Nielsen (Curator & researcher, Copenhagen), Sergei Kruk (Asoc. Prof. Riga Stradins University, Riga) and Arturs Punte (Poet & artist, Orbita, Riga).

Both conference days will be followed by public discussions. The conference takes place in English. 

Organizer: Centre for Contemporary Art, Riga
Curator: Anda Klavina
Project leader: Solvita Krese

More information: www.lcca.lv