"Dear Rita," a series of eight letters to Rita Raley (Professor of English, University of California, Santa Barbara), is a research response to Raley’s presentation “Algorithmic Translations,” which she gave at the "Performance, Technology, Translation" event in New York in April 2015. Organized by The Barnard Center for Translation Studies and the Department of Theatre, the event explored “the theoretical and practical intersections between contemporary technologies of translation and performance.” In addition to presentations by Raley and W. B. Worthen, the symposium included a performance of love.abz, an independent art work and the artistic part of my doctoral degree at University of the Arts Helsinki, Theater Academy. In "Dear Rita," I use screen captures of the Google Translate website to address through translation the many links and questions that arise from Raley’s insightful presentation. I comment on Raley’s discussion of Eric Zboya’s and Baden Pailthorpe’s work, both visual artists and researchers, and relate them to my own ongoing artistic research project into what I call “live writing.” My inquiry deals with a form of improvisatory, collaborative dramatic writing that employs algorithmic mediation and translation. In asking what the task of the machine translator in performance is or could be, I remark on some of the themes Raley discusses, including those relating to authorship, the nature of algorithmic translation, and the gesture of insistent re-translation of already machine translated text.
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