our words make worlds

Diffracting Translations

Title: Diffracting translations: A TiP Lab Project
Session type: Workshop
Convenors: Elena Basile, York University, Canada; Roberta Buiani
Transitions in Progress, or the TiP Lab, is an open-ended participatory art project first started in Toronto in 2015, which tackles issues of language, memory and belonging within the context of wider ecologies of urban life. It pays attention to the traces of displacement, mobility and migration as they accrue across the manifold dimensions of the city, including its natural and built environments, as well as its sounds and language-scapes. At the heart of the project is the TiP Lab: a mobile laboratory that functions as a repository of sounds, smells, tactile, visual and textual prompts, with which participants interact, teasing out memories of the city’s entangled sediments of local and diasporic histories, and overall generating critical conversations about urban language and home-making practices. In Diffracting Translations, our TiP Lab workshop for the Languages Memory conference, we focused closely on how objects, images and sounds become lively vectors of language memory and cross-cultural conversations, enabling participants to reflect on the patterns that emerge from trans-languaging behaviour when multilingual competencies are actively valorized towards evocative – rather than exclusively communicative – outcomes.