The project Multilingualism in contemporary literature in Finland is intended to organise the relationships between language, literature and culture in a new way. The three-year project (2014-2016) is funded by the Kone Foundation. The project looks at contemporary authors who move between languages or mix languages, and the ways in which they use two or more languages in their works. At the same time, the project analyses the tensions between the multilingual practice and the idea of monolingualism advanced by the literary institutions.
The research group, made up of both artists and researchers, will produce new information about multilingual practices in both literature and comics , as well as their esthetical, ethical and political implications. The central research questions are:
What kind of details affect the author's decision to use different languages in his/her works?
What kind of language variations, combinations and thematic strains are there and what kind of possibilities does the visual dimension found in comics offer for playful use of language?
What kind of signs there are in fiction, reviews and literature histories of the norms, which have been and are still used to moderate multilingualism?
On the other hand, in what kind of situations can multilingualism be seen as something that is positive, or even fashionable?
Artists and researchers will search for new, even surprising ways to look at multilingualism. The participants approach art and its multilingualism differently, because of different practices, different ways of knowing and language backgrounds. The group is multilingual in many ways: in addition to the Finnish, Swedish and Russian languages, different variations or bilingualism are represented.
Chronologically the research will span the time from the large social changes at the end of the 1980s to present day. The material will include not only fiction, comics and non-fiction, but also interviews, literary criticism and other media texts. The work done in the group will also offer new material for research, with which the co-operation and multilingual practices between researchers and artists can be reflexively considered.