Saskia Holmkvist

Back Translati(on)(ng) (KLub)
(2001) 2019-2023
Film installation 20 min
Location: Stefania Palace

The film installation Back Translati(on)(ng) (KLub) is a performative translation and film which has evolved from the performance event KLub by Heather Allen, which took place in Belfast 2001.  KLub was an act of commemorating the murder of Margaret Wright, a symbol for the trauma of violence during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In every step in finding the performance KLub - an idiosyncratic searching and research - there was always a sense of disconnect and connect, fugitive darkness and a loss or misalignment of time. This work comes together through a process of back translating a performance in a place with a contested history, by an artist of a similar age to me who is no longer active, and a performance which is barely documented and archived.. Initially I only had a text about the performance which slowly grew into a meshwork attached to this work, linking the past with the present and the future.

There was a fragility for everyone involved in the process to how the fragmented scenes in the new film Back Translati(on)(ng) (KLub) evolved from listening and discussing contested and fugitive history, allowing for memory production through critical fabulation and the unfixing of a work of art. 

Back Translati(on)(ng)(Klub) came out of a necessity for connection in speaking back to the ephemeral quality of a past performance which attached itself and became a filter to enable memory production through ethical and politically probing positions to speak about art, politics, translation and de-colonial processes of today through embodied positions from different generations. 

Back Translation is also a term that comes from translation studies, employed to look back at a translated text by analysing the language of the source text, its cultural heritage and lingual construct. Back Translation has become both the umbrella title and a method for this work used as a metaphor to think through and reverberate the performance KLub from multiple angles of thick history, exploring the relation between the political contingent embedded within the performance KLub and its subjected carriers of agency of a score.


Saskia Holmkvist´s work is concerned with exploring the limits of translation drawing from ways of practice within the domain of translation and how it shapes and forms relations and historical trajectories, in particular the impact on agency. The work combines aspects of ethnography and theatre to create films and performances that relate through past artworks, language, and contested history. Always working with a diverse array of people from a variety of backgrounds, Holmkvist considers these individuals as the main agents of the transformative potential in creating non-linear narratives, suggesting alternative readings or possibilities, juxtaposing documentary with fiction and storytelling. Working in a circular mode of connectivity, bringing together themes of historic erasure and limits of translation through critical listening, oral speculation, repetitions into works of performance and film installation. Saskia Holmkvist lives in Stockholm and Oslo.