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Posts Tagged ‘language’


Chun Hua Catherine Dong explores mistranslations and metaphrase in language by reenacting English idiom Cry Over Split MilkChun Hua Catherine Dong explores mistranslations and metaphrase in language by reenacting English idiomChips on ShoulderChun Hua Catherine Dong explores mistranslations and metaphrase in language by reenacting English idiom A Drop in the BucketChun Hua Catherine Dong explores mistranslations and metaphrase in language by reenacting English idiom Beat a Dead HorseSeven-Idiomatic-Pieces-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-03Seven-Idiomatic-Pieces-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-07Seven-Idiomatic-Pieces-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-01


12 hours at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, November 2012

“Seven Idiomatic Pieces” is a performance series that . Although idioms might not make sense for many non-English speakers, I found out that they are like ready-made scripts that can be performed. For instance, the idiom, “the apple of my eye,” consists of two elements: apple and eye. However, what interests me most is how to use the two elements that seemingly have no connections to each other to make a performance in order to convey meanings or emotions. “Seven Idiomatic Pieces” focuses on the surface of the language and translates idioms into performative actions and gestures.

performed by Tran Chovic, photo and video by Shannon Harris.

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I-Cheated-on-My-Husband-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-04Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats "I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again" in her video performance. Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats "I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again" in her video performance. Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats "I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again" in her video performance.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats “I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again” in her video performance.

 

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.

 56 hours at  Concourse Gallery from May 6-20, 2011

I filled a wall space with printed text: MY HUSBANDS AND I NEED A SPACE TO LIE. I stood still in front of this wall everyday for 14 days, each day for 4 hours, holding a paper with written words: LOOKING FOR A BED. When audience walked into gallery, I shout at them as loud as  I could with very firm and angry tone: HEY! CAN I HAVE SOME CHANGE? Audiences were welcome to drop some money to a hat in front me. There about 42 people gave me some changes, total income is $122.65.

It is a protest performance addressing the fact that Emily Carr University of Art & Design rejected to exhibit my work, “Husbands and I,” at my Graduate Show in 2011. I approached the Graduate Committee couple of time to discuss it, the answer was there was no space to show such a work.  Finally,  the committee assigned me a place where it was impossible to install the work. As a result, I decided not show ” Husbands and I” Installation,  but this protest performance.

photo credit: Chad Darnford

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong chews up rice, splits it on a spoon and feed a male mannequin head at Western Front VancouverChun Hua Catherine Dong says translating a text is like chewing up rice and then feeding it to somebody else Chun Hua Catherine Dong eats her rice while a mannequin head is watching her, she feeds the mannequin head some pre-masticated rice for hours in Vancouver The-Other-Word-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-05Chun Hua Catherine Dong is feeding pre-masticated rice to a mannequin head, she eats rice, spits it to a spoon and feeds the manequin for fours hours

photo by James Zhang

four hours at Western Front Gallery

I set a desk and two chairs in a gallery space. I sit on a chair, and a male mannequin in front of me. There is a big bowl of cooked rice on the desk, I use a spoon to scoop rice, put it into my month, and slowly chew it until it becomes soft and warm. And then I carefully transfer the rice from my month to the spoon, and feed it to mannequin. This process is repeated until the rice on the plate is thoroughly transferred.

This performance refers that the sense of authenticity, integrity and beauty of resource language get lost in translation. The rice in this performance is a metaphor of text. I am sitting on a desk, translating a big plate of text to my reader who is devouring this plate in its translated form. My reader may understand the subject, but the quality of what he has consumed is definitely not the same as the original once. In fact, translating a text is like chewing up rice and then feeding it to somebody else. In performance, what I feed to the mannequin is still rice. However, this transformed rice has already lost its flavor and nutrition. It is the same in translation, clarity and fluency of source text might still be kept in a target text. However, the source text and the target text can never be the same because fidelity in translation is the root that translators strive to approach but it can never truly be reached.

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When-I-was-Born-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-01When-I-was-Born-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-02When-I-was-Born-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-03

In this video, this woman starts by saying “I have a confession, I was born in January 2nd, 1975 in a small village in china in a cold winter.I have a big brother and seven sisters and I am the youngest one. When I was born, my father looked at me and said I was just another mouth to feed. ” She repeats ” When I was born, my father said I was just another mouth to feed” for many times with different tones and emotions.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong©2009

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