(frozen spit)

Olivia Koh

with text by Dennese Victoria

11 August - 1 September 2017

On translating (the poetry of Jack Spicer in After Lorca)

I wasn’t sure if I could do it properly. I had not translated poetry before and did not know a thing about the rules around it.

But how I began was to try to guess at who you were talking to, where you could be, and what you were trying to say, or not say. But as the text was very open, this easily turned into who I wanted to talk to, where I saw myself, and what I could say.

And so I felt I had to read the original text, which brought me to the letters. I loved the letters. They freed me (at least I felt unburdened) from having to rely only on my own images and my own context. Having another person and a whole book to point to, hide behind, I felt that I could then proceed.

Reading, translating, I thought heavily about this man who couldn’t find anyone other than a dead man to talk to, a person trying to talk to himself.

I was able to watch the first video you sent me. I love the images. It was however difficult for me to focus at once because I could understand both what I was reading and hearing and they hardly matched, although they did agree.

You did say that you were more interested in the process. It was interesting for me to see this new selection, that you translated things back, replaced things as you did in the beginning.

I suddenly remembered your presentation. Seeing the rest of your work, I remember wondering if you were not also in the habit of talking to dead men.

August, 2017