As part of the annual SOLUNA festival, experience a work of art combining visual and musical elements. Inspired by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Argentinian artist Lihuel Gonzalez’s Las personas no van juntas (They Just Don’t Match) examines the efficacy of translation between languages and between language and music and features Dallas Symphony cellist Jeffrey Hood.
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This installation groups audiovisual pieces that elaborate on the concept of translation. If this activity is understood as the practice of carrying out the exegesis of the meaning of a text in one language in order to guide it toward another language, then its objective is to create a relationship of equivalence between the two, between the original and the final text; that is to say, to establish a blind trust in that both communicate the same message. The difference between translation and interpretation is that, in the latter, ideas are expressed orally or through gesticulations.
Las personas no van juntas (They Just don’t Match) consists of four videos and a small scene made up of a book with sheet music on a stand, waiting to be activated by a musician. It deals with the interpretative, figurative, and appropriative qualities of translation. This exhibition showcases a consecutive narrative based on a staged simultaneous translation of a philosopher’s speech about Nietzsche’s wish for Zarathustra to be the continuation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In this way, a discourse about the possibility of the relationship between the translation between words and music is created. At the same time, this intellectual process is appropriated and translated into English, and this first resulting blend, hybridization, and system of resolutions undergoes the same process as it is translated into German. The sequence of translations is completed, linguistically, as the German is translated into Spanish, the original language in which the first character builds upon his thoughts.
The original speech is made up of the words with which a philosopher has built his thoughts. A person standing, that shows the actions of remembering, of establishing connections, of linking the relationships present in the spoken word in favor of transmitting concepts. It is a connection made between the power of words, thought, and the gestures that arise as it is made. This relationship of possible meanings is embodied in each step of the translation process, and what we can see is the concentration of each agent as they attempt to be as faithful as possible to the speech they receive, a speech that becomes invariably porous as it is appropriated by each of them. As they sit in front of the camera, the attention is placed on their focused expressions as they receive information, process it, and gesticulate—a catalogue of tense gestures, curiosity and attention.
Meanwhile, the book of sheet music begins to retransmit the operation. This sheet music is composed from the four speeches, and is then appropriated by a musician and activated in different moments throughout the performance.
The Spanish word for "translation," traducción from the latin traductio, which can be defined as the action of guiding from one place to another, is composed of three differentiated parts: the prefix trans- , which is synonymous with “from one to the other,” the verb ducere, which means “to guide,” and the suffix -cion, which is equivalent to “action,” the action of guiding from one to the other, from one tongue to another, from one language to another. Las personas no van juntas shows a visual choral performance with a group of words at its base. The positioning that each of the agents (philosopher, translators, musician) take is presented in an audiovisual portrait of each—portraits that require one to get physically close to them in order to perceive and capture the particular features of each one in the modulations of their voice, in their intonations and body language, and in their gestures.
This thought construction is made visible through gesticulations, signals, tics—almost like a catalogue.
Lihuel González (b. 1986, Buenos Aires) graduated from film school at the Universidad del Cine. She participated in various fellowships such as Conti-FNA (2013) and the Artist Program of the DiTella University (2014) while receiving a grant from the National Fund of the Arts. In 2015 she exhibited at the Young Art Biennial of Buenos Aires. She received the Fundación Klemm Award and the Pira ADM Mexico DF scholarship in 2016. She teaches at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.