TRANSLATION


OLGA JITLINA / RUSSIA

TRANSLATION opera singers interpret refugee asylum applications as arias. They contend that Europeans are better able to understand the great breadth of tragedy, hope and illusion in this format. This is of existential significance, as the persuasiveness of the application determines whether it is accepted or rejected. For several years, Olga Jitlina has worked with labor migrants in Russia and Central Asia developing Utopian scenarios of national politics.

In her new project TRANSLATION she pursues the question of the translatability of biographies and fates. People who apply for the status of recognised refugee in Europe, have to submit to a series of interviews. On the basis of these, the decision is made whether to accept or reject their application. The criteria for the decision include a true description of the circumstances, and reasons why protection in Europe is sought. Translators are provided for applicants who cannot speak the host country’s language. However, it is frequently the case that translations change over the course of the application, and variations enter into the translation, so that the plausibility of the application is in doubt, and as a consequence, it may be rejected.

Several absurd questions such as “Have you understood everything” and “Can you confirm the translation is correct?” are part of the official minutes. But transferring one spoken language into another is not the sole possible form of translation. What could be a suitable form of expression to convey the feeling or hunger or existential threat to someone who has never experienced these? With the aria, Olga Jitina has chosen a format that, in European high culture is a classic method to express overwhelming emotional experiences that cannot be conveyed in a mere report.

 
THEATER PERFORMANCE
world premiere

Dates:
02.12., 20:00 Uhr (Hamburg)
03.12., 20:00 Uhr (Hamburg)


A production by Olga Jitlina and NORDWIND Festival.

With participation of 
DIETRICH KUHLBRODT
ANAS BARDAN
 
Lampedusa Group in Hamburg activists:
OWUSU  PATRICK
MICHEAL OLOKODANA
ESTHER OLOKODANA
ALI AHMED
YULIA AVERINA Soprano
KATERINA KAUSCH  Klavier
 
Photographs by ALEX DAVID, ANAS BARDAN, ALI AHMED
Video artist CARL-JOHN HOFFMANN