On Performing Philosophy through Translation


  • Madeleine Campbell University of Edinburgh
  • Ricarda Vidal King's College, London


intersemiotic translation, performance philosophy, multimodality, ontology, epistemology, arts-informed methods


This article proposes a ‘translation philosophy’ commensurate with the immanence of praxis in the authors’ collaborative endeavour to create a Gesamttranslation (a total work of translation) of Kurt Schwitters’ seminal poem “An Anna Blume” (1919, 1922 ff). Through arts- informed and transformational practices of translation and retranslation, the authors explore their own multimodal translations of the poem and those of others as concrete examples of translating with/through art. Placing this work within the context of Anne Carson’s translations of Antigone and Caroline Bergvall’s Via, they focus on the affinity of the practice of translation with the practice of performance. They also examine parallels and synergies between translation, performance philosophy and art practice in a wider sense, exploring common interests such as representation, appropriation, originality and the role of play and creativity. The article is presented as a multimodal document whereby words and images, video files, poetry and prose come together to advance the argument.

Keywords: Experiential Translation, Intersemiotic Translation, Performance Philosophy, Translation Philosophy, Arts-Informed Research