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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 fathers French which carries a melodic and grammatically correct French from the Caribbean.
Without any exhibitions in the foreseeable future, Ive been thinking about what it means to continue making physical art without the physical art world. Its a bit like a collapsed building with a once-elegant facade, and without any walls, youre left looking at the remains of its foundation, wondering what it contains thats substantial enough to build upon.
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, Im thinking who is doing the translating?
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.
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?
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!
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 Holmess song “Deep Blue Sea.”
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.
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.