Lost And Found

A series of experiments that explore the lost and found of meanings through layers of technological mediation.


Video, 2022 / Carrie Sijia Wang / Featuring Stephen Kwok and Yiran Sun / Published by Pioneer Works Broadcast

In this experiment and video piece, three performers verbalize deeply personal thoughts about existing between Chinese and American cultures, while a computer program connecting Web Speech Recognition to Google Translate imperfectly translates what’s said into either Mandarin or English. The performers then read the flawed transcripts to be translated again by the computer program. The words and their meanings get distorted further and further with each round of (mis)translation.

The full transcripts from the six to ten rounds of machine translation can be found on this page. Read more about this piece on Pioneer Works Broadcast.


Live Performance, 2022 / Carrie Sijia Wang / Presented at Crit Night, Ace Hotel Brooklyn

This live performance piece features a monologue that switches between Chinese and English, a computer system made with speech-to-text API, Google Translate, and a printer. The artist reveals her stream of thoughts about her relationship with the two languages. The computer system simultaneously translates the personal narrative into the other language using a synthesized voice. The printer prints out the computer’s translation for the artist to read, which will be translated again by the computer.

Video Courtesy of Pioneer Works © Zack Shorrosh / Stills: Thom Chiu


Desktop Performance, 2021 / Carrie Sijia Wang / Presented at Second Sundays, Pioneer Works

The desktop version of the performance reveals everything going on behind the scene—the interface of the translation program made by the artist, the text file saved after each round of translation, and the “switching of the code” in text editor.

Lost and Found at Pioneer Works’ Second Sundays Event.


Video, 2022 / Carrie Sijia Wang

An earlier experiment features text from a book by Wang Xiaobo and compares the translation from one round to another by laying out the results in a row. Some words are lost to simplicity, some replaced by phrases closer to the tech-centric, consumerist world these technologies live in (e.g. “Starbucks” and “Huawei” are among the words the program hears). And occasionally, poetry is refound in between the reconstructed lines.

09/30/2020 Iteration 1: The eight rounds of translation between Chinese and English laid out in a sequence. Click on the image to enlarge.