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Made of linguistic forms and failures: inquiry in times of isolation

Invitée à écrire en Anglais, les idées me viennent en français. (trans.: Invited to write in English, I can only think about the content in French.) I hear in French. I understand sounds in my native (and contracted) French Canadian, with a hint of my father’s French which carries a melodic and grammatically correct French from the Caribbean.


Without any exhibitions in the foreseeable future, I’ve been thinking about what it means to continue making physical art without the physical art world. It’s a bit like a collapsed building with a once-elegant facade, and without any walls, you’re left looking at the remains of its foundation, wondering what it contains that’s substantial enough to build upon.

In Conversation

The losses we carry across: an afternoon with Azza El Siddique and Sahar Te

What a slippery and fugitive word translation is. There are so many factors that come up and collide in this way. When I begin to reflect on translation, I’m thinking who is doing the translating?

Thinking about you, thinking about translation

For after all, to reject a language (to forget a language, to be kept from speaking a language) is an act of violence. To hold on to a language otherwise lost is an act of love.

Poetic Intention:
Correspondence in isolation between Daisy Desrosiers and Jesse Chun.

That desire for authoring new modes that reflect the diasporic, non-monolithic condition of language is what drives my interest in translatability. Who is being translated, and for whom?

KHAAREJ NO.3 (2019)

We mimic each stressed syllable, internalize the prosody, and embody the segmentation of slogans. Our phonological awareness surpasses the ability to detect, segment, and manipulate the sounds in language. We are masters of rhythm, teachers of rhyme, poets of turmoil, and deliverers of the voice!

What Sound Does The Blk Atlantic Make?—on translation in the work of artist Alberta Whittle

Whittle’s filmwork was filmed in part within the North British Rubber Company archives, surrounded by documents and objects relating to their former Edinburgh factory site, singing the mournful lyrics of African-American blues, jazz, and folk singer Odetta Holmes’s song “Deep Blue Sea.”

In Conversation

Marble benches, Anatolian weavers, and Madonnas: Shannon Bool and Daisy Desrosiers

If you work in a really involved way with materials, you inhabit this realm of translation, in a sense, because the preoccupation with material systems stays within these specific languages. You didn’t pick a broad topic that you could put things into. You picked one that has to become a process.


While I am teaching her language, she has been teaching me babble. She has reminded me that meaningful communication is not dependent on language. I am no longer sure how much language facilitates understanding between fluent adults. Sometimes language is distraction, it is noise, it is everything but what we mean.

The Twofold Room

Deschamps’s interest in the losses and gains through the process of translation illustrated a mode of construction based on altered meanings. Just like a foreign language, the hotel is an abstract location that, through a visual and literary discovery process, becomes a familiar one.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2020

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