Through the lens of phonetic, semantic, and theological slippage, Transliterative Tease explores the potential for transliteration – the conversion of scripts – as a strategy equally of resistance and research into notions such as 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/Uighuristan. Lenin believed that the revolution of the east begins with the Latinization 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 Caholicism, and Cyrillic with the Orthodox Church and subsequently communism.This lecture-performance attempts not to emancipate peoples or nations but rather the sounds rolling off our tongues.
The lecture-performance has been presented at more than 30 venues globally, including: Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg; MoMA, NY; Kunsthalle Zurich; Dallas Museum of Art; Yale School of Art, New Haven; Asian Culture Center Theater, Gwangju; Royal College of Art, London; OGR, Turin; and Pejman Foundation, Tehran.