Hannah Azar Strauss
Artist in residency
This Autoresidency project is the follow-up to the autumn 2022 Call for Proposals.
Translator Emily Wilson writes about Anne Carson’s translations of Sappho If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho: “And there the text breaks off. The great thing about this translation is its poverty. Unlike other translators, Carson adds no possessive pronouns or definite articles that are not present in the Greek. Sappho’s speaker can no longer recognise her tongue as ‘my’ tongue; her eyes and ears and skin are no longer her own.” And later, “The self disintegrates as the speaker observes and catalogues her own contradictory symptoms, until ‘tongue breaks’ and she can no longer see or feel.”
My residency is an effort to follow this line of thinking about a break or a “broken tongue”, and where it might lead in relation to language, translation and grief. Drawing on a rich tradition of theorizing the untranslatable, and the necessary failure of speech to be or arrive whole anywhere, I will be reading, writing, and facilitating a series of workshops inviting people to engage in processes of collective and conversational (multimodal) translation.
The residency is inspired by another ongoing project called Storage, which began with the making of a jacket constructed out of pockets (made by Elliott Elliott), conceived as a publishing site. I invited Ivetta Sunyoung Kang to write a text meant to be housed in the coat and which responded to one of my own texts. Then, I invited Joyce Joumaa, Brandon Brookbank, and Diyar Mayil to respond to Ivetta’s text by making some object to the dimensions of the coat’s pockets. That process of relay is the template for the methods of this residency.
— Hannah Strauss
Hannah Azar Strauss is an artist living in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang, also known as Montréal. Working mainly with drawing, print, and experimental book forms, her practice explores linguistic estrangement, everyday gestures, and the cultivation of memory through archive. Her recent work has mostly developed collaboratively through slow, iterative projects inspired by the process of translation. She teaches at Vanier College in Communications, Media and Studio Arts.