Lecture-Performance: ‘Transliterative Tease’ by Slavs and Tatars

  • DATE

    27 June 2024

  • TIME

    6:00 pm to 7:30 pm




    ESEA Conteporary
    13 Thomas St, Manchester, M4 1EU

Through the lens of phonetic, semantic, and theological slippage, ‘Transliterative Tease’ explores the potential for transliteration – the conversion of scripts – to function as a strategy of both resistance and research into notions of identity politics, colonialism, and faith. The lecture-performance focuses on the Turkic languages of the former Soviet Union, as well as the eastern and western frontiers of the Turkic sphere, namely Anatolia and Xinjiang/Uyghuristan. Lenin believed that the revolution of the East begins with the Latinisation of the alphabets of all Muslim subjects of the USSR. The march of alphabets has always accompanied that of empires – Arabic with the rise of Islam, Latin with that of Roman Catholicism, and Cyrillic with the Orthodox Church and, subsequently, communism. This lecture-performance attempts to emancipate not peoples or nations but rather the sounds rolling off our tongues.

Following the lecture-performance, Slavs and Tatars will engage in a conversation with Xiaowen Zhu, Director of esea contemporary, to delve deeper into the realm of transliteration, multiplicity, voices, and how the act of counter-archiving could destabilise the embodied power and projected authority of archives.

Slavs and Tatars is an internationally renowned art collective devoted to an area East of the former Berlin Wall and West of the Great Wall of China, known as Eurasia. Since its inception in 2006, the collective has shown a keen grasp of polemical issues in society, clearing new paths for contemporary discourse via a wholly idiosyncratic form of knowledge production. This includes exploration of popular culture, spiritual and esoteric traditions, oral histories, modern myths, as well as scholarly research. Their work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions across the globe, including the Vienna Secession, the MoMA in New York, Salt in Istanbul, and the Albertinum Dresden, amongst others. The collective’s practice is based on three activities: exhibitions, publications, and lecture-performances. To date, the collective has published more than twelve books, including most recently Лук Бук (Look Book) with Distanz Verlag. In 2020, Slavs and Tatars opened Pickle Bar, a Slavic aperitivo bar-cum-project space a few doors down from their studio in the Moabit district of Berlin.