Acts of Translation is a collected series of collaborations. Each component of this book describes a distinct act of translation, defined for the purposes of this project as “the conversion and communication of information.” Text for this project was gathered, edited, and recombined from recorded interviews conducted between 2021 and 2023 with a photographer, a biology professor, a type designer, a soprano performer, and an elementary Spanish teacher. When housed together, these collaborations offer unexpected points of connection across disciplines and highlight our shared experience.
You Have to Make it Material to Know it, with Allison Grant
Allison Grant is a photographer, writer, and curator. Grant’s artworks have been widely exhibited at venues including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta; DePaul Art Museum in Chicago; Patti & Rusty Rueff Galleries at Purdue University; Edelman Gallery in Chicago among others. She was named on the Silver Eye Center for Photography’s 2022 Silver List. Grant received the 2020 Portfolio Purchase Award from the Atlanta Photography Group, the 2019 Developed Work Fellowship from the Midwest Center for Photography and was shortlisted for the 2019 FotoFilmic Mesh Prize. Grant holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago (2011) and BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design (2004). She is currently an associate professor of photography at The University of Alabama.
This collaboration explores Grant’s tactics for the expression of complex ideas with the selection of a single photograph. Tracings of images taken by Allison Grant at Hurricane Creek in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2019 were scanned and printed from polymer plates. “Isa at the Swimming Hole” is part of Grant’s series Within the Bittersweet, a dark pastoral examination of her experiences raising her children amid concerns about the impacts of the climate crisis and environmental contamination. The final photograph, was selected from 21 frames, eight of which are represented in this book. The photograph was inkjet printed by Allison Grant in her studio.
A Model has to be Wrong, with David Allen
Dr. Allen received his Masters Degree in Applied Mathematics and PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan. His work has been published numerous journals, including Journal of Medical Entomology, Biological Conservation, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Global Ecology & Biogeography, Okios, and the Journal of Ecology. His recent work on tick populations and tick-bourne pathogen persistence is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Allen is currently a professor at Middlebury College.
In this project, Allen describes his process for translating a natural ecological system, a tick population, into a predictive mathematical model. Ticks collected by David Allen in Vermont were imaged with a scanning electron microscope by Jody Smith in 2019 and inkjet printed in Sarah Bryant’s studio. The code featured in this book is a section of IxPopDyMod: Ixodidae population dynamics model which was written in R by David Allen and digitally set in Monaco, a typeface designed by Susan Kare and Kris Holmes. The aphorism “All models are wrong, but some are useful” is attributed to British statistician George E. P. Box.
The Essential Form of a Letter, with Ben Mitchell
Ben Mitchell is a type designer based in Brighton, UK. He has designed and consulted on fonts for Burmese, Buginese, Chak, Cham, Khmer, Kwekor (Myainggyingu), Lao, New Tai Lue, Tai Phake, Thai, Tham and Vietnamese, and regularly makes research trips to Southeast Asia to study typography, lettering and handwriting. He studied his masters in typeface design at the University of Reading in 2012. His research and dissertation traced the evolution of the Burmese alphabet from its Brahmi roots in inscriptions, palm-leaf manuscripts and traditional folding books, through its initial casting in metal type in 1776, to its modern-day form.
Mitchell has travelled extensively to examine manuscripts, temple inscriptions, painted and manufactured signs, graffiti, and handwriting samples. These collected attestations, or images of single letterforms, help Mitchell develop an understanding of a how a character should look when he designs fonts for scripts that he cannot speak or read. For this project, attestations were were traced from photographic examples, carved and printed from linoleum. The final letterform in the book is set in Sanomat Burmese, designed by Ben Mitchell, and letterpress printed from a polymer plate.
A Vowel Weds Itself to Air, with Luvada A. Harrison
Soprano Luvada A. Harrison made her Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the Manhattan Philharmonic and her Lincoln Center debut in Alice Tully Hall with the New York Choral Society as the soprano soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Dr. Harrison has performed with regional opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. A graduate of Towson University, Dr. Harrison holds a Master of Music from Binghamton University, and a Doctor of Music from Florida State University, where she was the recipient of the prestigious University Fellowship. Dr. Harrison currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she is an assistant professor of Musical Theatre/Voice in the Department of Theatre and Dance.
In this book, Harrison describes the conversion of a musical score into an emotional connection with an audience. The musical score featured in this book, “È giunto il nostro ultimo autunno,” was composed by Franco Alfano in 1943 and published by Ricordi. The poem which inspired the composition was written Miranda Bona. Excerpts of this poem printed in English originated in a translation by Ruth Lakeway. Portions of the text in Italian have been handwritten by Harrison, scanned and printed from polymer plates. Photographic imagery was inkjet printed in the studio of Allison Grant.
There is Always a Story, with Sonia Duprez
Sonia Duprez has worked professionally in education since 2003. She began her career with the New York City Teaching Fellows, an accelerated accreditation program designed to recruit teachers to high-needs public schools. She earned a M.Ed in Bilingual Education from the City College of New York in Harlem while teaching Spanish and bilingual kindergarten full-time in the South Bronx. Duprez moved to Philadelphia, pa in 2005, when she began her work in Quaker education. She has been a lead elementary teacher in almost every grade, and recently made a career move to teach Spanish in the elementary grades. She is currently working on programming that promotes cultural competency, de-colonized perspectives, language-loving and a fuller understanding of the diasporaor Latinidad.
In her component, Duprez describes her interpretation of body language and other non-verbal cues in a classroom full of children. Imagery was collected during a visit to Sonia Duprez’ Spanish classroom in Philadelphia in the fall of 2023, and was printed with a combination of polymer plates and linoleum carvings. Drawings were made in response to the question “¿Como estás?”
Acts of Translation is bound in a structure which can be expanded to reveal all five books at once, or collapsed so that the texts from any two books can examined side by side. The project is housed in a chemise and slip case. Papers for Acts of Translation include Zerkall Book, Clearprint Design Vellum, Colorplan, Canon Pro Premium Matte, and Red River Premium Matte. Text has been digitally set in Arno, a typeface designed by Robert Slimbach; and Myriad, designed by Robert Slimbach and Carol Twombly. Text was letterpress printed from polymer plates. This edition has been bound in Iris and Dubletta bookcloth. Individual collaborative components have been issued separately in lettered editions of 26 copies each. This project was made possible by financial support and community building from the Collaborative Arts Research Initiative (CARI) at The University of Alabama and funding from the School of Library and Information Studies in the College of Communication.
Dimensions in inches (closed) approximately 9.25 x 5.75 x 1.75”
Edition of 40 copies.
Numbered comprehensive edition in special enclosure available to order for $2250
Special rate for orders received before February 15th, 2024: $1900