It’s time for our yearly Summerswap, this means that MaMA is taking a step back to enjoy the (hopefully) sunny Rotterdam summerdays. In the meantime, we will hand over our keys to a talented initiative, which will get a card blanche in our showroom. This year it’s Fire is Scary turn, which will present the exhibition In the Borderlands from July 25 till August 25.

Visit the live performances on Saturday 24 August

15.00, 16.30 & 18.00


"In the borderlands we swim with so many arms and we stand with so many legs."

In the Borderlands
from and for Gloria Anzaldúa 


To survive the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads.

-Gloria Anzaldúa 


The borderlands is space between/across cultures.
The borderlands is overlapping flows and cycles of time.
The borderlands is shattering apart and weaving back together. 


We navigate the borderlands through translation

 as a generative method
as a hybridizing process
as a survival tactic.


Translation generates new relations,
through layerings of meaning and searches for equivalencies. 

Translation makes us hybrid beings,
moving fluidly between contexts and communities. 

Translation is a tool that we rely on day to day,
when we are living far from home,
in unfamiliar surroundings.


It is a movement, a process, a cycle.
It is an infinite, incomplete series.
It is both from and for.


In the borderlands
we swim with so many arms
and we stand with so many legs. 

In the borderlands
we fight all the lives
from the lives we have in us. 

In the borderlands
we dream as the mermaid;
the shy, small monster
who lives on the line drawn in the middle of the ocean.


Fire is Scary
Sol Enae Lee, Gordon H. Williams, Agustin Faundez Rojas and Ariel Sin Yu Lee

In the Borderlands is an exhibition from Fire is Scary (Sol Enae Lee, Gordon H. Williams, Agustin Faundez Rojas and Ariel Sin Yu Lee) from and for the queer, feminist theorist Gloria Anzaldúa. Using an interview with Anzaldúa as source material, Sol wove a new text through a process of translation between English and Korean, translating word by word, phrase by phrase, then restranslating repeatedly and adding layer upon layer through double meanings, purposeful mistranslations, and machine errors. Through a series of artistic translations, the collective will place Sol’s text in MaMA’s showroom in Rotterdam.

The exhibition unfolds as three spaces inside the showroom- the stage, the library and the laboratory. The stage presents devices, scenery, and costumes for a musical performance, which takes Sol’s text as lyrics, set to music by Gordon and performed by Agustin, Ariel and guest musicians. The library holds publications, books and references for Fire is Scary’s research on translation and the borderlands (space between/across cultures). Finally, the laboratory showcases the collective’s ongoing experiments on translation (in literal and metaphorical senses) with hydrophones, acoustic levitation, and sonoluminescence.  

In the Borderlands is a self-organized exhibition, presented under MaMA’s Summer Swap program for 2024.

Fire is Scary is a collective from artists Sol Enae Lee and Gordon H. Williams and musicians Agustin Faundez Rojas and Ariel Sin Yu Lee. The themes of their work together are translation and the borderlands (from Gloria E. Anzaldua- space between/across cultures). They share this work in the form of exhibitions, installations, performances, videos, albums, and workshops. 

Fire is Scary proposes translation as a generative method, as a hybridizing process and as a survival tactic- a means of shattering apart and of weaving back together. In their most recent work together, the collective takes the mermaid, the hybrid figure between/across water and land, as inspiration for their incomplete, infinite series of translations between text/image, space/time, and sound/light.

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