Category Archives: translation

On the Courtyard, talk at Tate from January

On 26 Jan 2013, a talk at Tate Modern on the Sharjah Art Foundation Biennale proposed theme of New Cultural Cartographies. My views, given late in the day, reliant on Gayatri Spivak’s hugely influential work, and following talks by the excellent Sarat Maharaj, Yuko Hasegawa and Wael Shawky (interviewed). Slightly combative  and with a slip in putting the Danes in Chandenaggor, it is the talk I wish I could have parsed for Princeton – but that was not recorded, even though some people asked for it (thanks Anisha, Saleh, Ben). Click the picture to get to the Tate link.

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 23.19.39

translation slippage

“I am first of all against translation as it is mad,

its impossible,

it cannot ever be true to origins,

its a kind of violence,

it is always political,

it transforms,

it is creative,

it is heroic to try,

it is the essence of communicability,

it is exchange,

it disrupts parochialism,

it is the foundation of internationalism,

it is what we all should be trying to do,

it is the most revolutionary activity,

it is social,

it is life itself,

I am for it”.
.

So, translation slippage… my old post above from November 2005 is brought forward again as its both on Victor Alneng’s door in Sweden, and because here at Goldsmiths Ana Ama has activated a research project requesting examples of translational slippage – good term… As I replied to her just now:

“My favourite one is a typo (or was it?) in a bar in the northern Thai town of Chiang Rai – a real cowboy town. At this bar, part restaurant and not obviously a go-go joint, the menu offered a ‘Mixed Girl with Salad’. I do hope it was mixed grill, but …

Lonely Planet’s guide to India used to offer a lot of these sort of things. I remember them mentioning the great Scottish stable breakfast food “Podge” – And in my “Rumour of Calcutta” book (1996) I also mention the miswritten ‘Fried Children’ – instead of chicken.

There are some philosophical issues to be raised about this kind of translation-mockery humour however. So, I hope with the help of Blogospheric collaborationm she can achieve a fine global distribution of cultural put-downs…”

And from the comments page of the original post, Boris Buden translated it:

“3 Comments:

Carrie said…
And to think they call you “The Enemy of Anthropology.” 

24/11/05 10:30
Victor said…
beautiful, John, simply beautiful 

25/11/05 14:12
Boris Buden said…
“Prije svega ja sam protiv prevodjenja jer je to ludost, jer je ono nemoguce, jer nikada ne moze biti vjerno originalu, jer je oblik nasilja, jer je uvijek politicno, jer transformira, jer je kreativno, jer je herojski pokusati ga, jer je prevodjenje bit komunikabilnosti, jer je ono razmjena, jer podriva parohializam, jer je temelj internacionalizma, jer je to ono sto bismo svi trebali ciniti, jer je prevodjenje najrevolucionarnija aktivnost, jer je socijalno, jer je zivot sam, ja sam za prevodjenje.” John Hutnyk in CBS (Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian) 

9/12/06 15:13″

[Thanks – again – Kaori for trinket [image] from Japan].
.

Indian Curry Powder – theory of translation

I am first of all against translation as it is mad, its impossible, it cannot ever be true to origins, its a kind of violence, it is always political, it transforms, it is creative, it is heroic to try, it is the essence of communicability, it is exchange, it disrupts parochialism, it is the foundation of internationalism, it is what we all should be trying to do, it is the most revolutionary activity, it is social, it is life itself, I am for it.

[Thanks Kaori for trinkets from Japan].
.

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