Pablo Alvez Artinprocess: Reading and writing at the same time – translation as performance and performance as translation

We explain how the interaction between a book (which inspires my performances) and my performance art (which leads me to re-read the book) accounts for topological transformations of its text which then are sketched out in writing. This implies I am re-writing the book.

Concretely, the presentation describes a performative experiment I developed under the curation of Unspecified Involvements, which defines itself as “a travelling space to share writing practices (experimental / partial / fragile / unstable) through reading / performing in an informal setting”. We show how this experiment provided me with keys to write my thesis differently: (1) to use the reading of alternative translations of the original book (from French to Portuguese and to English) to perform the text, and to realise the text is performing, by exposing the multiple meanings those translations actually help unfold; (2) to redirect this “caleidoscopisation” of meanings to my own process of writing, with all its implications in graphic terms (this will be explained and exemplified during the conference); (3) to expose in our way of writing (our own writing, and to some extent too our re-writing of the original book) the distinction between “text as received” and “text as processed”, including, again, how this is mirrored also in terms of the graphical space occupied by quoting the text and looking critically into it; and (4) to show how performance art plays a central role in this process of re-writing.

These choices are political: by exposing them we are showing awareness of how a doctoral research in the arts risks going beyond questioning the artistic practice to instead put it in question. As a reaction to that transgression, we show how the subject-object direction can be inverted or smudged, with advantages to both academic and artistic practice and respecting their integrity.


Professionalised performance artist and holding a phd in poverty economics (Univ. de Évora), I am currently conducting a doctoral research supervised by Laura Cull (Univ. of the Arts of Amsterdam) and Kati Köttger (Univ.of Amsterdam) on how ethics can empower aesthetics. As a performance artist I received training from e.g. Steven Cohen, Rocio Boliver and Dirty Martini, among others. My latest performance was awarded by Gulbenkian Foundation and received production support by Pompidou Brussels.