In collaboration with Eugene Ostashevsky, I am working on a visual translation of Tango with Cows, a key document of Russian Futurism, modernist typography, visual poetry, and artists' books. Printed on brightly colored pentagonal wallpaper in Moscow in 1914, the book contains visual poetry by Vasily Kamensky set in a riotous variety of typefaces. The book is particularly known for its six ‘ferro-concrete poems,’ which entirely dispense with the linear order of text and instead allow the reader to encounter the page spatially and associatively.
We translating the poetry into English, while simultaneously preserving the typography and materiality of the original. Roman typefaces have been created or found to exactly match every one of the fifty-nine Cyrillic fonts used in the book. Additionally, the wallpaper will be recreated using silkscreen on handmade Japanese paper, and the book will be printed letterpress as was the original. A facsimile and commentary volume will accompany the translation.
The project website can be found here.
Some preliminary translations were featured in the Art Institute of Chicago's The Artist and the Poet exhibit and can be viewed along with the original here.
This project has been generously supported by grants from the PEN/Heim Translation Fund, the College Book Art Association, the Community Arts Assistance Program of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Interdisciplinary Arts Department of Columbia College Chicago.