Do It: Translating Languages

Subject ACUR70001 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24
Total Time Commitment:

96 Hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Faculty of the VCA and MCM Student Centre
Ground Floor, Elisabeth Murdoch Building (Bldg 860)
Southbank Campus
234 St Kilda Road, Southbank, 3006

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

‘do it’ is an international archive of instructions for artists, written by other artists, architects, poets, philosophers, scientists and others. Started in Paris in 1993 by the writer Hans Ulrich Obrist and the artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier, ‘do it’ has been presented in many major museums and galleries through out the world. In 2008 the Centre for Ideas joined with Hans Ulrich Obrist to present ‘do it’ for the first time within a university curriculum. In this subject we will give consideration to various philosophical accounts of translation, starting with Walter Benjamin’s famous essay ‘The Task of the Translator’. We will explore translation between languages –Chinese into English, English into French etc. between art forms and knowledge domains, while negotiating gendered and cultural differences. Student will work together to present a new ‘do it’ exhibition as well as contribute to the archive of instructions.

Learning Outcomes:

This subject will enable students to:

• contribute to an international archive of art instructions;
• extend the capacity of students to engage conceptually across the visual and performing arts and across linguistic and philosophical knowledges;
• examine the influence of cross-cultural and sexual difference in translation;
• explore possibilities for the materialisation of language as image and sound;
• examine feminist interpretations of the performative body in the arts and literature;
• foster cross-cultural sensitivity and respect;
• explore possibilities for the development of individual systems of notations, symbols, signs, pictograms and forms of representation in the arts, using structures of natural language as models.


5000 words or equivalent written and practical project, developed in conjunction with supervisor with feedback throughout the semester. (100%)

Prescribed Texts:

Subject Reader

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completing this subject students will have:

• the ability to communicate, cooperate and collaborate in a range of cultural contexts internationally;
• a deep awareness of and respect for cultural differences, protocols and aspirations;
• the ability to generate and promote intercultural dialogue through the arts;
• an ability to initiate research projects and develop highly innovative and experimental modes of representation and communication;
• a high level of understanding and appreciation of transnational practices across the art form;
• the capacity to interpret and translate into clear English a range of discipline-specific vocabularies and languages ;
• a capacity for innovative and original thinking marked by well-developed and flexible problem-solving abilities;
• the capacity to clearly communicate the results of research and scholarship by oral and written communication;
• a profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of research and scholarship;
• a capacity to cooperate and collaborate with people across all national, social and cultural divides.

Related Course(s): Master of Transnational Arts

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