Culture on the Move
Cultural translations from one medium, place or time to another
Leiden University College The Hague
In a nutshell, cultural translation refers to processes in which the meanings and materiality of texts, things, or practices transform when transferred to different cultural contexts. As a field, it is highly inter- or multidisciplinary, not in the least because the term itself can denote either a ‘culturally informed’ type of translation, or the ‘translation/transfer’ of culture or cultural forms themselves. In addition, it can refer to the transformation of all types of cultural expressions; those that can be transferred in time, in space or from one medium to another by a wide variety of ‘translators’.
The LUC (Leiden University College) offers a course in which students delve into a wide range of cultural phenomena that clearly involve modes of cultural translation. These cases include, among others, literary translations, movies, travelling objects, heritage sites, music and fashion. During the course, students learn how such cases can be analyzed and examined through different theoretical and methodological lenses.
The students put this knowledge into practice by way of their own case studies, which they develop into a digital presentation for a larger public in TTT. This zone is the result of these cases, and offers examples as varied as the translation of Mondrian’s iconic painting into a dress, of 19th century colonial wallpaper into a 21st century anti-colonial art installation, and the journey of the Roland TR-909 Rhythm Composer from Detroit to the European club scene. Many more cases will be added in the coming year!