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Current Exhibition

Translation as Hospitality

Exhibition

13/02/2410/03/24

The Mosaic Rooms is pleased to present Translation as Hospitality by The School of Mutants, an installation for learning and knowledge distribution shown in London for the first time.

Central to the installation is a library of books and materials curated by the collective that draws on anti-colonial thought, African philosophy, and radical politics that have forged political communities. The installation continues the collective’s preoccupation with translation as an act of hospitality, sharing knowledge and history across different periods and geographies and communities.

The library is punctuated by works on paper and hanging tapestries rooted in the oeuvre of Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène (1923-2007) whose work specifically sought to speak to a public beyond intellectual circles. Sembène considered his films as translations of his literature and regarded translation as an act of inclusion. Other works on paper reference translated seminal works by West-African intellectuals including Souleymane Cissé and Abderrahmane Sissako.

The seating in the installation is designed to consider how language and translation can be performed in the body. The images are taken from a book by seminal choreographer and performer Germaine Acogny about Mudra Dance School and depict a lexicon of expressions and gestures.

A still, silent video invites audiences to glimpse a view from Edouard Glissant’s, one of the most significant French Caribbean writers, house in Martinique. The landscape alludes to his ideas on language and writing as world-making.

A horn speaker (resembling those in Sembène’s films) scores the room with a sonic essay that calls for a stealing back of time and for forms of knowledge production to be written anew.

Bringing back into focus the radical potential of publishing and print, a printer inhabits the space, foregrounding participation and distribution. Visitors are encouraged to photocopy, collage, and bootleg the library materials and distribute them by post or otherwise to friends and strangers in other parts of the world.

Two films play on loop, Suliman Elnour’s Wa lakin alardh tadur (It Still Rotates) and Ibrahim Shaddad’s Jagdpartie (Hunting Party). Shaddad’s seminal film is a Western-inspired treatise on racism. Shot in a forest in Brandenburg, it portrays a white mob’s hunt for a black farmworker. It Still Rotates depicts everyday life at the time in a school in Yemen. Made as part of the Sudanese Film Group (SFG) that banded together in 1989, this is a rare and visionary film has been publicly screened until recently.

Translation as Hospitality invites the dreams of the past to translate themselves into the present and into our collective social and political desires. The exhibition is a continued and ongoing collaboration and conversation between The School of Mutants and The Mosaic Rooms.

The School of Mutants is a collaborative platform for art and research initiated in 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. Working across geographies and engaging with socio-cultural, ecological, and aesthetic mutations of the real, the collective aims to mobilise spaces for the production, transmission, and pluralisation of knowledge in non-hierarchical ways.

 

Content warning: The films reference traumatic and distressing content including scenes depicting graphic violence, death, and racial abuse. The films are not suitable for young audiences.

 

Images 1-2, 4: The School of Mutants, Translation as Hospitality. Installation at The Mosaic Rooms, London, 2024. Photo: Andy Stagg.
Image 3: Germaine Acogny, Mudra Dance School. Courtesy of The School of Mutants.

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