press release

"Unlike a work of literature, translation does not find itself in the centre of the language forest but on the outside facing the wooded ridge; it calls into it without entering it, aiming at that single spot where the echo is able to give, in its own language, the reverberation of the work of the alien one."             -    Walter Benjamin, The Task of the Translator

Casco is pleased to present 'seeing studies', a long-term project by the institute for incongruous translation, . The institute for incongruous translation was founded in order to support discord and negotiation in translation. The institute sees translation as a polyphonic reverberation of voices that cannot be set into accordance, yet still speak to one other by means of reflection. An incongruous translation starts not from the centre of meaning, but from the margins of association.

This project, developed by Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation, engages with formations that constitute how we perceive, read, draw and depict the world in order to investigate the ways we learn 'to see'. Departing from a schoolbook – a textbook published by the Iranian Ministry of Education used to teach art in the first year of Iranian public middle school – the project takes shape in three overlapping chapters.

A facsimile reproduction of the schoolbook is the basis for a bilingual publication (Farsi/English) that researches 'schools of seeing', from Ibn Al-Haytham's 'Book of Optics', the 'period eye' of the Italian Renaissance to mechanical drawing in late-19th century France and photography in Qajar Iran. Operating as editors of the book, Sadr Haghighian and Sepahvand will also give shape to a spatial arrangement at Casco's project space, involving a series of overhead projectors and selected material from the publication. The material is applied to the overhead projectors in various ways resulting in partial projection. This method creates a simultaneity of perspectives, restricts visibility and sets viewpoints into motion. Addressing conventions as well as boundaries of perception and depiction, the arrangement varies three times over the course of two months. In the third chapter, the space will serve as a setting for a four-day workshop session. These sessions offer opportunity to discuss the propositions in 'seeing studies' together with some of the collaborators and contributors to the institute's activities.

This investigation moves beyond art instruction and takes a polyphonic look at the existing interpretations and depictions of the world in its globalised state, questioning the ways in which we perceive. It further explores approaches for us to destabilise presumably fixed viewpoints and weave an open history that 'sees' knowledge re-circulating, re-interpreting or re-applying. The audience is welcomed as study companions, fellow readers and interpreters to set up a temporary study room at the Casco space.

'seeing studies'
A project by Natascha Sadr Haghighian & Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation