Mental Finland, Royal Flemish Theatre, 2009. Photo by Bart Grietens.
In “Ethics of Translation: Kristian Smeds’s Mental Finland,” Assistant Professor Hana Worthen develops a critical engagement with translation and theatrical performance, focusing on a production by the acclaimed Finnish stage director Kristian Smeds (b. 1970), staged at the Royal Flemish Theatre in 2009. Smeds, 2011 recipient of the XII Europe Prize New Theatre Realities, is known throughout Europe for his imaginative confrontations with the classics, and for conceptual and visual excess in performance that consistently provokes political and artistic debate. A dark, futuristic fantasy, Mental Finland stages an inquiry into the cultural icons of Finnish identity, and their fortunes in a globalizing world, figured in part by the cultural dominion of the European Union. A multi-lingual performance projecting multi-lingual supertitles, Mental Finland addresses translation nationalism, critiquing European languages as instruments for producing difference that normalizes the debased position of others. The talk troubles the relations between theatrical, national, and “European” acts of ethical identification, the dialectical interplay between neoliberal localities and identities.
Selections from Mental Finland will be shown during the lecture, and afterwards there will be a discussion with Hana Worthen and Kristian Smeds.
Read more about Kristian Smeds (link to Barnard College Theater Department website).
This lecture is sponsored by the Barnard College Theatre Department with the support of the Center for Translation Studies thanks to a grant from the Mellon Foundation.
Free and open to the public. No registration or reservations are necessary.
Download the poster (.pdf, 129K).