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Translation as (an) Archival Process

2021 – Ongoing


Poem Letters (#1–4)
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
October 2021 – February 2022

Accompanying Description, as published in The Whole Life Academy’s Website, on 20.12.2021:

Ioannis Andronikidis’ series of Poem Letters (#1–4) initiates an ongoing research project around translation as an archival process. A bilingual epistolary and poetic correspondence unfolds onto relief paper surfaces, upon which photographs selected from his personal and family archive (1960s–1980s / 2000 onwards) have been printed. Through different epistolary poetic forms, two fictional characters discuss the notion of ‘the archive,’ autobiography (here, the term “autobiology” is adopted) and thus the body archive of both the interlocutors and, naturally, of the archival material itself.

The research project commences with Jacques Derrida’s ‘the archive always holds a problem for translation.’ While acknowledging “the unstable limit between public and private […] between the family and an intimacy even more private than the family, between oneself and oneself,” it problematises fixed definitions of ‘problem’ and ‘trouble’ –wherein also dis/comfort– and suggests a contingent understanding and interpretation of the textual and the photographic. [1]

The aim of the research project is not to designify the archival material (the photographs) by means of the poem letters, but to call for a reimagination of the ways we “read” and “trans(re)late” archival material. Ioannis Andronikidis explores the latter in the space(s) between the nameable and the unnamable, the translatable and the untranslatable, between compulsive and nostalgic repetition, archive and anarchive, between oneself and oneself.

[1] Jacques Derrida, “Theses.” Archive fever: a Freudian impression. Translated by Eric Prenowitz, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996

[arkheion]:                                                                                                         I breathed in your dust                                                                                                        Factories in black and white            I breathed in Widnau                       Something She Called a Fever            like portable assertion             a paradoxical assertion         I breathed             But–                it cannot be a [beginning] assertion                 the fact that                 I breathed

Re: [Αρχειακό Ευπρόσιτο]:    ημερολόγια της ηλικίας                    είναι τα έργα {σπονδυλωτά} και μοιάζουν γεύσεις

λιωμένες σημάδια στο φως sun κομμάτια μυθολογίας γεύσεις με σκοτεινό [obscure] και χαμηλό τοπίο μεμβράνες σκιώδεις χνούδια [dust] με διάβρωση βύθισμα αρχείο κολλώδες τοπίο– 

excerpt, Poem Letter #4, “breathing area”


“Poem Letters”: Documents I–X
  k41, Copenhagen
May – June 2022

Part of the accompanying text, as included in Remember When We Met:


The documents selected for the exhibition Remember When We Met elaborate words-images-archives as artistic outputs of a ‘creative misunderstanding’: cognating the archival with the personal/familial and the sonic/aural, attempting a recontextualization of the epistolary poetic form through fragmented reiterations of affective sounds, intermediate states embroiled in opalescent memories and impromptu movements metabolized in limbo.

“Document IX”

“Document VII”

Audio Documents, “Poem Letters”: Documents I–X
(also available on Bandcamp)


A bilingual print publication, Blue Magnets: Translation as (an)Archival Process, is expected in 2023; publisher: A) GLIMPSE) OF) INK.