Performance Art: It Translates


Joan Jonas is a performance artist. When asked by frieze magazine what artists do, she says “they translate.” Alvin Curran, her interviewer, says that she is “a voracious assemblage-ist of light, colour, electricity, sounds, words, signs, symbols, dreams and oracles.”

Translation is an interesting concept. Many people attempt to translate life or elements of living: the apostles with the bible, novelists with fiction works, even financial analysts with the stock market. What would we understand without these translators? They are the middlemen with a valuable role. Funny, I often loathe the middleman for jacking up my grocery bill. I’d rather get my produce straight from the farmers’ market. I guess that’s a bad example because farm to table, an apple is an apple. It’s a tangible  object and it doesn’t need to be translated. So perhaps only non-tangible objects need translating? Emotions, thoughts, opinions, events, reasons. We look to the physical world to translate an emotional world.


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