The collaborative project, cambio de lugar_change of place_ortswechsel (2000-2002) initiates a set of dialogues with people who identify as, have identified as, or are/have been identified (from an external perspective) as a woman and who live in different contexts of language. The resulting conversations address political and social articulations of gender in the present moment.
Utilizing an interview structure, cambio de lugar_change of place_ortswechsel discusses cultural feminisms, historicization of the women's movement, gender categorizations, the role of education in the production of gender, the relation of queer theory to feminist theory, and the struggle for interpretative power within the contemporary political context. To structure these conversations, Geyer and Hayes created a basic set of questions to be used in every interview. This set of questions creates a common platform for the distinct positions.
Each interview includes three parties: the interviewer, the interviewee and the translator. In the video documentation of each interview the only person imaged is the translator, reflecting a constant negotiation of terminology and interpretation, foregrounding the impact of translation on the production of knowledge and meaning. Translating from one language to another and back, information travels continually between three positions. By imaging only the translator, the relationship of viewer to interviewee (often positioned as the most important person of an interview) is displaced or filtered through this third person, thus denying a viewer the ability to project on or identify with the physical characteristics of the interviewee. In this way, a free space is created, in which the production of the discursive information within the interviews can be located clearly, not only in the interview itself but also in its perception through the viewer. cambio de lugar_change of place_ortswechsel questions the goals of translation, its risks, as well as its political reality in the context of the gender debate. The project foregrounds the relationship of translation to perception by asking: Who is speaking? Who is listening? What remains unsaid? What is a cultural translation? What community is suggested through language? What is impossible to translate?
The dialogues accumulate a group of conversations with no overall statistical aim or resolving goal, rather it follows a map of the personal movements of the artists within various city sites as they develop and research the project itself. The interviews, 52 from Mexico d.f., New York, Vienna and Berlin, are displayed simultaneously in a room, each on a separate video monitor without indicating the locality of the actual interview.
text on Cambio de Lugar by Maryam Jafri
text on Cambio de Lugar by Kimberly Lamm