Lisa Torell

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Lisa Torell: Lume în traducereTrei cadre dublu expuse World in Translation Three double exposed framesAcoperii de obiectiv / Covered by the LensIdentitate, deniii øi mantre / Identity, Defnitions and MantrasFacade / Façades

The world seems to become a place destined to people who travel: those who travel tosomewhere, with the purpose of business or leisure, and those who travel fromsomewhere, chased by war, hunger or other misfortunes. In between, those who are justbored and travel for the sake of travel, without a precise destination,and those who areseeking something which is yet undefined, and which they themselves are hoping todiscover at the end of the journey. Not only to discover,but to be among the few who seeit first, unspoiled, amazing, yet still genuine,to be the first tourist in a tourist-free area.This is the promise of tourism today,to deliver the ultimate authentic experience.

As Umberto Eco observed already in 1975 in his Travels in Hyperreality book, whattourism and entertainment have to offer us is the perfect illusion at the perfect price. Itfs this illusion, and the Western quest for the place which is always “more perfect”, moreuntouched that Lisa Torell brings into question in her works. She uses images which have an exotic allure, and writes on them, literally, her own texts, apparently tale-like and in avocabulary with an advertising note, but in reality critical and self-critical. She is referring to the perpetually colonial – Western –traveler consumer, who is not satisfied with, or doesnot know how to only be ina place, and instead needs to label that place, find a right compartment for it on a scale of experiences, and not least, take it back home, forexample in the form of a culinary souvenir.

The artist is including herself in the critique, questioning her perspective from which to represent a reality which she is for the first time encountering by keeping her distanceand making visible her own conditions and conditionings. In talking about herself, in thefirst person, she is not throwing the responsibility to the readers; they can still see themselves as innocent, for look, the artist is only telling a story, she likes to write like other people like to take pictures on their vacation.However, the I soon becomes the we, the us, just as easily as they becomes them. Sure,there is always the pretext that one can not understand a language – isnft it part of a holiday pack that you can escape totally by not speaking or understanding the others? So that you donft even have to pretend that youfre listening, youfre absolved by yourlinguistic inexperience… Thatfs where the artist is not content, where she does not trustour Global family of English speaking tourists. Her texts, first written in Swedish, then translated into English, are every time the project is presented in a different country,translated into the language of that place, and presented parallel to the original or theEnglish version. Sometimes different versions are presented together and the spectatorsare given the possibility to compare. Thus the works of Lisa Torell imply that authentic travel is first of all an experience of translation – linguistic and subsequently cultural translation.

Raluca Voinea