Soy Milk

     Aleatorik, 2020

Hand sewn book, 19 x 14 cm, 50 pages. Published in 2020 by the independent publisher Aleatorik. Edition 100.

Translations by Julie Stokkendal, Markus Lantto, Saskia Vogel, Richard Stoiber and Kenn Mouritzen.

In the book we meet a first person narrator, who talks about being in their apartment, listening to their neighbor through the wall, talking on the phone, reading emails and chatting with a friend, who lives on the other side of the Atlantic. Lan- guage flows through several channels, communication and miscommunication happens, stories are told and assumptions are made. The text was originally written in Danish, but has gone through a chain of translations, from Danish to Norwe- gian, Norwegian to Swedish, Swedish to English, English to German and from German back to Danish. The book contains the five translations, which also make up the manuscript for the performance piece Soy Milk. The texts appear in the book in the order they were translated. The first Danish text is neither included in the book nor the performance, since the point is not to compare it to the last translation or decide which of the two versions is better.

Rather, this was an excercise in letting go of control by inviting the translators to become co-authors, thus letting the texts grow and change in the process. When working on the texts, the Swedish, English, German and Danish translators have not been able to consult the original Danish text. They have followed their own instincts and thus set the text in motion.

The narrator's gender is not described in the text, but is embodied by the actors in the performance in different ways. Nor is the narrator's neighbor's gender directly men- tioned, and this ambiguity is translated differently in the 5 languages thereby illu- minating how the individual language pro- vides certain frameworks within or outside of which we can understand and express gender that exists beyond the binary.

Photo by Mikkel Høgh Kaldal