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Urban Belina: Being One's Own Translation

Sonja Polanc in Being One's Own Translation, photo Radovan Čok Sonja Polanc in Being One's Own Translation, photo Radovan Čok Sonja Polanc in Being One's Own Translation, photo Radovan Čok Sonja Polanc in Being One's Own Translation, photo Radovan Čok Sonja Polanc in Being One's Own Translation, photo Radovan Čok
Sonja Polanc in Being One's Own Translation, photo: Radovan Čok


Being One’s Own Translation (BS-LP), is a perpetuum mobile of translation, that occurs in a constantly evolving, malleable form, transformed upon every contact with a new culture. The process was initiated within the framework of Ljubljana, World Book Capital 2010 UNESCO programme, and evolves around the radical translation of a Slovene poetry collection. It has been transcreated into a live audiovisual performance event, verses were cut and re-assembled, visualized as generative content with computer language translation, sonified as a labyrinth of human language translations, and spatialized as a network of dance/movement language translations.

BS-LP is an ongoing experiment of new ways of staging poetry, a hybrid, multicultural landscape of poetic stanzas, intended for both, readers and nonreaders, theatre and gallery goers, locals and foreigners, for all interested in otherness, cultures and sharing.

Open participatory form allows for re-stagings and adaptations in line with the festival’s/public’s ideas, and each new occurrence collects/produces new translations, multimedia content and contributions, that help evolve the event according to specific local context and needs, in line with the given experimental premise.

Experience of this work is highly individual and diverse, and the language barrier prooves to be a catalyst for creative interpretation, rather than any form of inhibition. As one reviewer puts it ...the visitor is gradually enchanted and lured into a state of a pleasant trance.

Sound recording of live performance

Sound recording of live performance at ŠKUC Gallery, Dec 2010

Concept, Script, Visuals and Directed by Urban Belina
Performers Sonja Polanc or Daniel Petković
Sound design Miha Erman
Software developer Žiga Kranjec
Lighting design Ljubljana and Smederevo Davor Balent
Lighting design Koper Jaka Varmuž
Poetry Gašper Malej
Costume design Damir Raković in Urban Belina
Photos Radovan Čok
Makeup design Nastja Starič
Matija Barl (German), Izidor Čok, Klarisa Jovanović (Greek), Franco Juri (Spanish), Andreja Kalc (Russian), Taja Kramberger (French), Breda Biščak (English), Katjuša Ručigaj (Dutch), Marko Sosič (Triestinian colloquial speech), Mario Steffé (Italian), Goran Ziraldo (Croatian), Iva Ziraldo (Japanese, Korean).
Marco Apollonio (Italian), Urška P. Černe and Matthias Göritz (German), Vid Jeranko and Matija Ravitz (Spanish), Klarisa Jovanović (Greek), Andreja Kalc (Russian), Nagisa Moritoki Škof (Japanese), Sonja Polanc (Serbian), Milan Rakovac (Croatian), Mateja Seliškar Kenda (Dutch), Marko Sosič (Triestinian colloquial speech), Nataša Varušak (French), Christopher Whyte (English), Breda Biščak (English), Iva Ziraldo (Korean)
Special mention
  • Special mention for interdisciplinary approach in performance at international festival Patossofiranje in 2013
  • Production
    Center for Slovene literature
    Co-production LJUDMILA, KUD AAC Zrakogled, Italian Community Santorio Santorio Koper
    Partners ŠKUC Gallery, Koper Theatre and RTV Koper Capodistria (Studio Hendrix, sound recording engineer: Mitja Maršič), journal Monitor ZSA and journal Kula.
    Financial support
    Projekt was part of Ljubljana World Book Capital 2010 Projekt was realized with financial support of City council of Ljubljana and City council of Koper
    International performance in Serbia was supported by City council of Koper
    Performances in Slovenia
  • Koper Theatre, 30 Oct 2010 - work in progress
  • ŠKUC Gallery, 8 to 10 Dec 2010 – Première and two additional perfomances
  • List of international activity
  • (SR) Festival Patossofiranje in Smederevo, Serbia in July 2013 - premiére of new version *special mention
  • (CRO) SC Zagreb, 2012, *artist talk
  • (AU) The Edge, Avstralija 2012, *video presentation
  • (AU) The Concourse, Avstralija 2012, *video presentation
  • (AU) Perth Cultural Centre Big Screen 2012, *video presentation
  • (FR) Inštitut INALCO, Pariz, 16 Nov 2013, *video presentation
  • (FR) House of Slovenian Poetry, Cultural centre Tinqueux, 18 Nov 2013, *video presentation
  • Reviews
  • Medprostorja: O uprizoritvenem delu projekta Ljubljana, svetovna prestolnica knjige 2010, Ana Perne, Dialogi, 2011 [1] [2] [3] [4] [English Translation]
  • Šarmanten proces brez produkta, Ksenija Zubković, Pogledi, 2010
  • Belina, BS-LP: Biti svoj lastni prevod, Andrej Zavrl, 2010
  • Babilon jezikov, blodnjak identitet, Andraž Gombač, 2010
  • V tesnobnosti zgodovine, Andraž Gombač, 2010

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