Lost And Found

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

Live Performance, Performance System, 2020-2022

Carrie Sijia Wang

Crit Night, Ace Hotel Brooklyn, 2022

Video Documentation: Thom Chiu

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.

Lost and Found at Pioneer Works’ Second Sunday Event.

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.

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.

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.