The Hidden Curriculum Part 5: Karaoke

The Hidden Curriculum understands translation and language in the broadest, most creative and expansive way. This is the fifth translation made by The Hidden Curriculum, a project currently in its pilot form. This project assembles translations from a diverse set of texts that are deemed central to artistic production by individuals from different cultures, ethnicities, languages, gender identities, historical times, and geographies.

Our group was interested in the performative act on stage taking place during Antonio Negri’s keynote – Negri and the interpreter individually and their coupled dynamic. We were concerned what our roles and purpose were in extending this translation. In this way we explored the marginal and incidental performative acts of the video that happened during the “non-translation”––Negri’s hand gestures, head scratches, accidental microphone taps, nervousness, and page turning. We decided to create a score for others to perform via a karaoke video, for it to has the possibility of generating infinite translations. The audio was made from such de-constructed “non-translation” audio moments and was looped; the video was made in response to the audio and used generic video editing transition effects to enter the language of karaoke video aesthetics. The text was generated from an alternate translation transcript which took note of specific word use frequency and accordingly created the phantom “lyrics”. The product–– a confused space of visual gestures, fragmented sounds, and reconfigured sentences––resulted in an impossible karaoke, and parallels the perils of the act of translation.

Below is the karaoke video score and initial iteration performed during a meeting of the Hidden Curriculum – organized by Arkadiy Ryabin, Alix Camacho, Eric Magnus.


About the contributors: The Hidden Curriculum project being developed by a working group of CUNY (City University of New York) graduate students and faculty: Clara Chapin Hess, Adam Golfer, Miatta Kawinzi, Gabriela Vainsencher, Daniel Alexander Matthews, Ishai  Shapira Kalter, Paola Di Tolla, Arkadiy Ryabin, Alix Camacho, Estefania Velez, Eric Magnus, Katy McCarthy, Rebekah Smith and Paul Ramirez Jonas.