Tellement heureuse que Ali et Ramazan, le roman de Perihan Mağden que j'ai traduit avec tout mon coeur et toute mon âme est le livre de la semaine chez Publie.Net. Découvrez, partagez, lisez... le livre est là, il existe, faites-le vivre ! (il existe en version papier et en numérique).
I have recently started making videos - quite simple and focused on literature mostly, but also filming exhibitions, trying to tell a "docu" style story through this exciting medium. At the moment, I am working in French because of the fantastic community that has started building around François Bon's work on his channel.
I am currently in exploration mode, trying to understand why I sometimes prefer to use video than writing, like with this video about the exhibition Colonial War at the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam.
I may start working in English, but for now, I feel a lot more comfortable talking to this community of writers and translators I know and I feel safe with, in French.
Do have a look:
I've started using Medium and I am very curious of what it will bring me, especially in terms of exchange and reach. I really enjoy browsing and exploring the space myself and there are lots of good articles published, so I hope I can bring my contribution to that large community.
In my first piece, Watching Birds in a Suffocating City, I wrote about people’s struggle to save Istanbul’s green spaces, featuring Murathan Varol's 3-min film "Portraits from Istanbul: The Birder" telling the poignant story of Akdoğan Uzkan, a birder from Istanbul.
Enjoy the read!
This is a very touching short film by Jacob Frey, it tackles issues around disability in a very subtle way. A must watch for all.
I love walking. The winter sun makes my walks even more enjoyable, especially in my neighbourhood of Amsterdam. A few weeks ago, I captured some moments at de Hortus , today, I went to another favourite place of mine: the Artis Zoo. It was a sad visit though, as I learned the death of Mumba, the zoo's baby elephant that I deeply loved. Everybody loved her. She was born on 18 June 2011. I saw her on the 20th, when she was only two days old. Since that day, each time I visited the zoo, I went to see her. I have introduced all my beloved friends and family members to Mumba. She was part of my life. I couldn't help but cry her death. She was four years old. Now, I am not sure how I will tell my 6-year old niece that Mumba died. Every time she visits me from Brussels, we go say hello to Mumba.
All these pictures, I took before learning about Mumba's death. Afterwards, I couldn't take any more pictures. It will take me some time before I can go back to the zoo, but I will go back, eventually.
de Hortus, Amsterdam's Botanical Garden is one of my favorite places in the city. Today I spent some time walking between the plants, feeling as if I was traveling in many different geographies. Hortus is truly an inspiring place. Here are some moments I captured (click on the images to start viewing the gallery).
All photos by Canan Marasligil.
I've been to see Secret Love, a very interesting contemporary art exhibition at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam (on show until 8 May 2016). Through 45 works by 10 renowned Chinese artists such as Ma Liuming, Gao Brothers, Li Xiaofeng and Chi Peng, the exhibition explores subjects such as sexuality, desire and taboo, emphasising in particular the artists’ commitment to creating change. The focus of the exhibition is especially about taboos surrounding lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender (LGBTs) identities in China.
Originally curated by the National Museums of World Culture in Sweden, Secret Love asks "How do positive changes towards sexual diversity in China affect LGBTs?"
The introduction to the exhibition explains that Chinese society has been experiencing rapid changes, resulting in shifting views on sexuality and identity. This change has been particularly evident when it comes to LGBTQ people. Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1997 and is since 2001 no longer regarded as a mental illness. But (as in many other societies, including in the Western world, I have to add) many taboos remain. The internet and a more open society have brought greater awareness of individual rights.
The stories of the artists presented in Secret Love are very moving and offer a deep perspective on the many emotional levels and complexities of LGBTQ people in China.
I have particularly been moved by Xiyadie's paper cuttings, an artist from a small village in the northern Shaanxi province, living and working in Bejing. Xiyadie learnt cutting from his mother. During his years in the village, he felt great mental pressure and had no one to unburden his heart to; for him, paper cutting became a way of expressing his pain and his joy.
Like so many other gay Chinese of his age (Xiyadie was born in 1963), he is married. He has two children in their 20s. His oldest son has been disabled since birth and cannot manage on his own. According to sociological studies, some 90% of all gay men in China are married. In Confucian tradition, there are three types of lack of filial respect, and the worst is not to provide for the family line's continuation. It is a strong social pressure.
Xiyadie is a pseudonym, meaning "Siberian butterfly". He uses it to protect his identity. He recently came out to his wife, who became very tearful but now seems to have come to terms with the situation. The two children still do not know.
Xiyadie never dared show these cuttings to anyone. One day two film directors, a married couple, arrived in the village to make a documentary about the paper cutting tradition. They had heard of his skill and wanted to talk to him. As they saw some of these cuttings, they started asking him prudently about them. Xiyadie finally told them his story, which resulted in the couple helping him to get to Beijing where he works as a doorman, cook and cleaner and sends the greater part of his earnings to his family back in Shanxii every month.
His pieces have deeply touched me, because I love paper and paper cutting, but also because of their colours (black, red but also colourful pieces including pink, white and yellow) and their somehow innocent yet painful, romantic yet erotic depictions of homosexuality.
In Prison 2 (pictured above), Xiyadie wants to take control of his urges, so in this piece, he sews his penis together using a needle and thread, but his eyes can't let go of the picture of his boyfriend (in the left corner), so he sits uncomfortably, as if on the edge of a sword. To live as if in a cage, wishing to fly away but unable to do so. This piece has a strong violence within it and yet bears so much love.
Artist Ma Liuming (1969)'s work Visa to the USA is also fascinating and explores well how gender is judged according to visual experience. In the image above you see three enlarged copies of his USA visa: one describing his sex as F, the second one with F stamped "cancelled without prejudice" and the third one with M. In 1998, Ma Liuming applied for a visa to the USA to travel to New York for his exhibition PS1. When he received the visa, he discovered that he had been registered as "female" rather than "male".
He went back to the US embassy in Beijing to get his visa was stamped with an "M".
The other exhibited artists' works are also very interesting and the whole exhibition, although small, is very well curated. An afterword also acknowledges that the exhibition does not cover the many feature films with gay, lesbian and transsexual themes or roles produced in China since 1996, and explains apologetically that it has been difficult to identify more female artists for the exhibition (only three out of the twelve on show in Amsterdam). This acknowledgement is much appreciated, especially in view of the theme. I usually am very sensitive about gender balance in public events but here, I must say, I didn't even think about it. Maybe it is because the themes around gender and sexuality are already central to the exhibition, and that I have delved deeply into these questions through the art. Nevertheless, these are powerful images I saw today and the exploration of themes around gender and sexuality through art is necessary across nations and cultures. I hope to see more of such stories and deep creative expressions.
For more details about the artists and their work, visit the exhibition's webpage.
It is very exciting to be able to show one's work to the world. You put all your heart and energy into something, do your very best to make it look good and accessible to as many people as possible, and then, you feel vulnerable because after all, you've put some part of yourself out there. That's a bit what City in Translation does to me. It is an exploratory project, based on research, but the interpretation of the city through its languages is totally personal and subjective. Which is why I like doing it so much, and also why I feel a bit naked when sharing this city of my imagination with you.
So, to help you navigate through the stories, I have also separated fictions and resources, these two sections go hand in hand to provide complimentary perspectives. Fictions features creative writing and other expressions by myself, Resources provides a collection of material from within and outside academia aiming to contextualise the work of this project and aid in future research.
City in Translation starts in Copenhagen, but I do wish to expand to further cities in the coming months and years. I would also like to develop other activities around the theme of exploring languages in urban spaces, in the forms of workshops and other events. This is a starting point of a journey, which I hope you will join.
When I was Translator in Residence at the Free Word Centre in London, I had the opportunity to work on a fantastic event entitled the Spectacular Translation Machine, an initiative from the British Centre for Literary Translation first hosted at the Southbank Centre. I wrote about my experience on Phoenix Yard Book's blog about the "Line of Fire" book, which was the work we focused on in London.
If you're curious about the Spectacular Translation Machine, the wonderful Sarah Ardizzone is running another one at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 29 August.
I got so inspired by the experience that I have since then dreamed of bringing the project into one of my projects outside of the UK (I am still dreaming of doing this in Turkey... if anyone wants to join forces). Being the Literature Curator of Europalia Festival for the Turkey edition has given me that opportunity. I am very happy to say that as part of the arts programme of this international festival focusing on Turkey in 2015-16, we are bringing the Spectacular Translation Machine to Brussels. Save the following dates in your agenda if you're in town:
- 28 & 31 October 2015 @ Muntpunt, Brussels
- 05 December 2015 @ Librairie Le Wolf, Brussels
- 16 January 2016 @ PointCulture, Brussels
During these days, we will be working on a Turkish illustrated book by Feridun Oral, in collaboration with YAPI KREDI PUBLISHING in Turkey.
I love Feridun Oral's works. His illustrations are beautiful, and the stories are truly moving. His early creative influence come from the tales told by his grandmother. Here's an excerpt of a presentation from A Journal of Internation Literature:
Animals are the subjects of much of Oral’s art and stories. He believes that children have an innate love of animals and that this love must be fostered and developed to teach children to love each other and themselves, and to appreciate nature. His characters are always well considered and strike a balance between realism and surrealism. The animals he draws are notable for their expressive features and actions. These expressions help children to identify with the animal characters in his books.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
Europalia is currently looking for volunteers who know Turkish and can help the general audience during these days to translate the work into French, Dutch and English (you don't need to master all three, just Turkish to one language is enough!). See this Facebook post for further details about the call for volunteers.
And below is a teaser of the whole festival, which will last from 6 October 2015 until 31 January 2016. I hope you can join the festivities and discover the many cultures of Turkey.
I love podcasts and I listen to a lot of them, about tech, comics, art, productivity... mostly in English and in French (these ones are radio programmes I listen to once they are available to podcast). I will start sharing my favorite ones on a more regular basis on the blog.
I want to start with a podcast I have recently started listening to: the Jealous Curator's Art for your Ear. Danielle Krysa (aka the Jealous Curator) has been blogging daily about art and showcasing artists for about six years. And now, with this weekly podcast, she interviews artists in a very original way to get the best stories. It works really well because she knows these artists, most are people she has worked with on her projects or her books (like her Creative Block book with an array of artists advising on how to get over creative block is really inspiring) . I especially like the Art for your Ear podcast because it is funny and light while being full of enriching stories. Danielle achieves that balance very well and in about half an hour, you learn about an artist's life and work.
The first episode sets the tone, Danielle talks to Martha Rich and the episode is entitled "meat and cake and lobsters and wigs", and her most recent interview is with Lisa Congdon, an artist I admire a lot.
So have a listen and enjoy!
Avignon et ses centaines de spectacles. Comment choisir, surtout lorsqu'on a peu de temps ? Comme je vous le racontais déjà dans un billet précédent : Les Murs d'Avignon, c'est en photographiant un mur où s'affichait Isabelle 100 Visages que je reçus une belle invitation à découvrir ce spectacle par une jeune femme qui passait par là :
"C'est un très beau spectacle, je vous conseille d'y aller"... "Vraiment, il est magnifique".
J'ai vu beaucoup de beauté dans la générosité de cette jeune femme inconnue. Mon expérience avec Isabelle 100 Visages a débuté là, grâce à elle.
Ainsi commence cette pièce librement inspirée de la vie d'Isabelle Eberhardt...
L'auteure Aurélie Namur dresse un portrait très touchant d'Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904), personnage extraordinaire au parcours géographiquement, spirituellement, sentimentalement et culturellement très riche : aventurière, journaliste de guerre, convertie à l’Islam, parcourant le désert algérien habillée en homme, dénonçant le système colonial du 19ème siècle...
Aurélie Namur a choisi de présenter sa version de la vie d'Eberhardt à travers le regard du 20ème siècle de quatre narrateurs qu'elle a inventé, accompagnés de mélange de langues, de musique et de chants, dans une très belle mise-en-scène de Félicie Artaud.
Aurélie Namur est Isabelle et une des narratrices, Romain Lagarde est tour à tour narrateur, Alexandre, Heinrich, Ali Abdul Wahab, Lieutenant, Abdallah et Docteur, Mohamed Bari passe de Narrateur à Augustin puis Vavert, Sidi El Hachmi, Slimène et au Maire de Doumci, quant à Céline Rallet elle est une des narratrices, Natalia, Nedjma, Lieutenant et Juge.
Tout comme Isabelle, les acteurs aussi se jouent des genres.
Le caractère musical de la pièce -indissociable du texte, passe à travers le mariage des langues, où se mêlent russe, arabe, allemand, ainsi qu'au mariage musical du piano, qui accompagne tout le récit, des chants arabo-musulman et des chants soufis.
Dans ses notes d'écriture Aurélie Namur raconte la genèse du projet :
Et je trouve qu'elle a bien réussi. Il est assez difficile de s'exprimer avec une telle sensibilité et sincérité au milieu de cette cacophonie d'opinions - bien souvent non sollicitées et pauvrement fondées, autour de l'Islam, de la radicalisation, de l'islamophobie, et j'en passe... Un texte comme celui-ci, qui m'a semblé très personnel et allant bien au-delà de ces débats, est nécessaire.
Comme elle l'explique, Aurélie Namur a choisi de dresser le portrait d'Isabelle en se posant toujours la question en filigrane : "qu’est ce qui fabrique un destin exceptionnel ? Comment en vient-on à vivre une destinée hors norme ?" C'est en allant au plus profond de la personne, de l'humain, des sentiments, qu'elle a réussi à me toucher autant.
J'ai souvent soif d'histoires humaines loin des clichés, surtout lorsque l'on parle d'Islam de nos jours. L'histoire d'Isabelle Eberhardt montre bien à quel point ces questions sont complexes et diverses. En parlant de "l'Islam" ou des "Musulmans", on a bien trop facilement tendance à oublier les niveaux d'existences d'une panoplie d'identités à travers les géographies, les cultures, les êtres. Aurélie Namur nous éloigne des clichés pour nous ouvrir une porte, une parmi les mille (et une, oserai-je ajouter), sur la vie de cet être aux 100 visages. Parce que nous sommes tous bien plus que nos croyances, nos peurs, nos envies, nos connaissances, nos lieux de naissance. Merci Aurélie de nous l'avoir fait vivre à travers votre sensibilité d'artiste de ce monde fou d'aujourd'hui.
It can take more time to reflect on what you have seen, learned, heard, experienced and felt coming back from one particular place than from any other.
That is what happened to me after my short visit to Saint-Louis, Northwest of Senegal, 320km from Dakar, as part of a residency with WAAW. I met wonderful and very inspiring people, I have seen unique places and I learned so much through the conversations I had with everyone.
I want to start this much belated series of posts about my residency in Senegal by presenting you the WAAW residency space and the people behind this wonderful endeavour.
I have to thank two very special people for making this residency possible: Jarmo Pikkujämsä and Staffan Martikainen, the founders of WAAW. Two very passionate and knowledgeable professionals about Senegal and West Africa, they both traveled a lot in the region and have organised many tours throughout Africa and the Middle East with Harmattan Tours.
Jarmo holds a Ph.D. in African Literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies (UK). He has a strong interest and knowledge of coffee (he is the owner of Aksum Coffee House in Brussels) and in promoting cultural production.
Staffan is a translator at the European Commission in Brussels. He is fascinated by West African music, languages and crafts. After importing African craft and design to Finland and Belgium he founded the Yelema association for the promotion of artisans.
And they are among the friendliest people I have ever met.
WAAW is situated in the heart of Saint-Louis, called Ndar in Wolof.
Saint-Louis is a former colonial town, it was the capital of the French colony of Senegal from 1673 until 1902 and French West Africa from 1895 until 1902, when the capital was moved to Dakar. The city, which I will tell you more about in a later post in this series, is truly fascinating and filled with architectural gems.
A very important component of a residency at WAAW is exchange. You don't come here to be alone and do your thing, WAAW is a place for encounters between all kinds of people working in different areas. The place itself is surrounded with local cultural traditions including music, dance and various crafts, and you will see many local artists and makers coming to say hello to the residents. Jarmo and Staffan also organise events at WAAW itself as well as with local partners.
The programme that was prepared for the one week residency was very intense - one of the reasons why it also took me so long to dive back into it all and have a serious reflection about this experience. So I met local writers, musicians, artists, weavers, a festival organiser, a village chief, a calligrapher, university students, filmmakers, business owners... and a lot lot more, many of these encounters I will also write about in later posts.
I can without any doubt say that Saint-Louis has stolen my heart and that WAAW is most certainly one of the main reasons why.
I am now experiencing this journey again, through all the material I have collected during my residency, starting with these images of the residency space, which I hope will be an invitation for you to apply for this residency.
Some practical information about WAAW:
- Waaw is open to representatives of all artistic and academic disciplines, but especially professionals in visual arts, crafts and design are encouraged to apply.
- The residence comprises 6 bedrooms; shared kitchens and bathrooms around a common courtyard.
- 2 larger rooms are available for work, exhibitions or other work. Work space for special purposes, such as dance/performances can be rented cheaply outside the centre.
- Tools, musical instruments, space for dance/performances can be rented cheaply outside the centre.
For further information, visit the WAAW website
and most importantly:
In my next post of this Senegalese series, I will dive into the city of Saint-Louis. But without rush, I told you some visits need - and deserve - more time.