Blog Features love.abz Video

In a blog post on, Tammi Coles writes:

“Otso Huopaniemi, a Finnish playwright, saw [playing with Google Translate] as an opportunity for artistic expression. He ran the full original Finnish text of his play An ABZ Of Love through Google Translate, rendering it in English, then transformed the output back into Finnish. Then, he translated the results into English once more, and back again, over and over.

Eventually, this gave rise to performances using the text altered by many passes through the Google Translate software. In love.abz, four different casts of actors use live machine translation to “explore the fragility of language, of understanding, of our ongoing relationship with machines, and [question] the notion of authorship as well,” according to an announcement for an April performance at Columbia University. An introductory video published by Mr. Huopaniemi — also a teacher at Columbia — says that the aim of the piece is to answer the question of what happens when humans are asked to work with machines to write drama. Having been staged in different locales around the world, the performance has grown to encompass different languages, and each performance forms a new link in the chain.”

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