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On Translation Part Two

by Annette Finnsdottir last modified Aug 13, 2011 07:36 PM
Performance by Michael Kargl Mikrogalleriet 7.12.2008

Every day we have to make decisions. These are decisions between affirmation and negation, between yes and no, between 1 and 0. The path is a long one that finally leads a translation of a text to its new destination. There it becomes obvious that every linguistic entity and every specific category undergoes a change in meaning regarding the interpretation within the new context and the renewed reception. The performance on translation visualizes the multilayered processes of translation as a field of action oscillating between word-by-word translation and the freedom of interpretation, between mere transcription and contextual expansion. During the performance a computerprogram was written that translates a passage from Walter Benjamin’s text “The task of a translator” from ASCII-code to binary-code, just to retranslate it subsequently. The transcription from one sign system to the other, however, from one language to another is interrupted by means of a built in randomness. Randomness, the free will and interpretation are part of the process of translation and by this directly coupled to the person of the translator. Above that, the video-documentation shows a reflexion on translation – and becomes by this a translation itself.

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