Unfaithful Transcripts: Double Header, One Night Only – Amy Wu and Clara Balaguer

In addition to our focus on tangible photography, Page Not Found organises in 2020 a new series of events entitled “New Territories in Publishing”, which aims at documenting the practices of artists, designers and makers who investigate publishing in itself.

Amy Wu and Clara Balaguer perform two publications that use transcription as a mode of generative documentation, enacting a theater that reveals the power of the secretariat. Ever since reading and writing were deemed permissible activities for women, menial secretarial tasks such as transcription, stenography (or shorthand dictation), and non-literary translation have largely been relegated to the realm of the feminine. This female secretariat has been considered lacking in agency, automatons faithfully reproducing the words of others. In this event, the publishers posit a different scenario: that of the secretariat having ultimate and final say in the shaping of narratives through (in)significant (in)fidelity to the source. For one night only, Amy Wu, Clara Balaguer, and an ensemble cast of friends perform two plays, or books, or transcriptions, or essays.

Play one The Choice of a Translator (Wu). A transcript reveals how an interpreter reshapes and depoliticises content, positioning the act of translation as a tool for censorship and steganography—the practice of hiding information in plain sight. The work is documentation of a live case of evasion tactics enacted during a talk about evasion tactics.

Play two Publishing as Bloodletting (Balaguer). Transcripts of social media conversations between friends reveal the informal genealogy of an essay on circulatory tactics in developing world megacities, circulatory ennui in European art schools, the circulation of knowledge from its vernacular producers to its institutional managers. With deceptively casual with LOLs and OMGs, an extended simile emerges on research content as a bodily humor, as blood in the body public.

Clara Balaguer is a cultural worker interested in the decolonization of cultural production most especially through the lens of contemporary vernacular. She founded The Office of Culture and Design in 2010, a platform through which she articulated research, residencies, and social practice projects in the Philippines. She explores collaborative authorship through the clandestine publishing of Hardworking Goodlooking, a cottage-industry fuelled imprint she co-founded in 2013. She has lectured at Walker Art Center, Harvard GSD, MIT, Strelka Moscow, MoMA PS1, Triple Canopy, Hanyang University Seoul, and University of the Philippines. Her work has been exhibited and performed at Asia Culture Center, Singapore Art Museum, Art Dubai, Hangar Barcelona, and La Capella.

Amy Wu Amy Suo Wu was born in China, grew up in Australia, and lives in The Netherlands as an artist and teacher. Wu has co-organised the annual zine festival Zine Camp in Rotterdam. She holds a Masters in Media Design and Communication from Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. From 2013-2016, she co-ran Eyesberg, a graphic design studio motivated by conceptual and experimental approaches. She was awarded the Grant programme for Talent Development from Creative Industries Fund NL, as well as two studio residences at I: project space in Beijing and ZKU in Berlin. Recent solo and group exhibitions have been held at Artspace Ideas Platform, Sydney; Drugo More, Croatia; Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana; Seoul Mediacity Biennale; Espace Multimédia Gantner, France; and I: project space Beijing. She is currently a tutor and graduation supervisor at Experimental Publishing at Piet Zwart Institute and practice teacher in Cultural Diversity at Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam. She published ‘A Cookbook of Invisible Writing’ through Onomatopee.


Starts at 19:30.