"traNslatioNs - Understanding Misunderstanding"



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21_21 DESIGN SIGHT holds the exhibition "traNslatioNs - Understanding Misunderstanding" from October 16, 2020. The exhibition director, Dominique Chen, is informatics researcher and has undertaken many interdisciplinary studies of art, design and expressive media internationally.

The word "translation" conjures up the idea of conversion between one language and another, with assorted acts of communication involved in those process. Since ancient times past, translation has been part of daily life as people seek contact with other cultures, and try to understand them. A remarkable evolution has recently come about with translation software, now routine in deployed to enable us to connect each other, "whenever and wherever," beyond all linguistic boundaries. Modes of communication have changed so much that what was once in an unknown world is now familiar.

However, communication using "translation" is not restricted to languages. There are translations where visual or auditory sensations, or bodily expressions, play the role of bridge to transmit and receive communication. The diverse interpretations, conversions and expressions that are generated by all these processes can be said to have much in common with art and design. This exhibition is based on Dominique Chen's idea that "translation is designing communication." We define translation as "the trial processes linking mutually non-comprehending parties from different backgrounds" and use this to explore the possibilities of translation from multiple perspectives.

The venue includes experiential exhibits employing AI-based automatic translation and video work by creole speakers with multiple native languages. There are also instances finding translations by through the body expression, such as sign languages or gestures and communication between humans and other species, even with microorganisms. All the works enquire into the possibility of translation. We hope that through the notion of translation, this exhibition encourages visitors to realize the joy of finding emotions and cultures in "others," and of discovering a world beyond.

October 16 (Fri), 2020 - June 13 (Sun), 2021
21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Gallery 1 & 2
Tuesdays (Except November 3, February 23, May 4), December 26 - January 3
11:00 - 17:30 (Entrance until 17:00)
General ¥1,200 / University Student ¥800 / High School Student ¥500 / Junior High School Student and under may enter for free
Click here for discount information
Organized by
In Association with
Agency for Cultural Affairs; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; MINATO CITY BOARD OF EDUCATION
Subsidized by
The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Special Sponsor
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.
Supported by
Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.
Exhibition Director
Dominique Chen
Planning Associate
Arina Tsukada
Space Design
Graphic Design
Shin Sobue + Haruka Fujii (cozfish)
Participating Creators
Etsuko Ichihara, Asa Ito (Tokyo Institute of Technology) + Akiko Hayashi (NTT Service Evolution Laboratories) + Junji Watanabe (NTT Communication Science Laboratories), Google Creative Lab + Studio TheGreenEyl + Dominique Chen, Ella Frances Sanders, Keisuke Shimakage, Junko Shimizu, Takram, Nagaoka Institute of Design, Kosuke Nagata, noiz, Ai Hasegawa, Spela Petric, Ferment Media Research, Tania & Ken Finlayson + Google Gboard team, Tatsuya Honda, yang02, Pei-Ying Lin, Tim Lomas + Shunya Hagiwara, Natsumi Wada + signed + Yasuaki Kakehi
21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Directors
Issey Miyake, Taku Satoh, Naoto Fukasawa
Associate Director
Noriko Kawakami
Program Officer
Mamie Nishida