[AH Index]

A/H: translation

See also: [Translation] (LIT entry) [Entropy} (mis-translation, interpreted text, etc) (as performed text) [Transitions] (as morphing) [Film: Fades, etc.] (as film element) See also the iconosphere zix42 entries: -[SCI x ART]- -[ TRANSLATION - zix entry]- Examples: -[Paris - a day; an impression based on Chopin's 2nd Piano Concerto]- On this page: NOTE: This page assumes that the INTENT of the translation is to provide as treu and accurate a rendering of the source to the target; eg, Blaise Cendrar's poem to Sonia Terk-Delaunay's six-foot (1.8 metre) tall painting, etc. Refer to the PERFORMED TEXT entry above for mis-translation, interpretive, etc. On this page: {Intro} {Interpretation} -[Interpretive rendering]- {} {} {} {} {}


The concept of translation is two-fold known: 1) Translating from one language to another. 2) Moving an object from one locale to another; while preserving its properties. Of these the first is the more familiar. We look at a story that was written in a foreign language and when we read it in a translated language, we hope that it has been *moved* from one language to the other with some degree of accuracy. But, more important than an exact word-for-word translation (which especially in the case of vernacular, slang, or local "colour") might lose something, we hope that the translateur has used some imagination in the translation. In the visual arts, we are concerned as well as with these two kinds of translation. If we draw a picture of a flower pot with a flower growing in it, we can place it on a table, a window-sill or in the middle of a flat-bed train car moving along, or on top of a melting glacier -- all to different effects. In a sense every stroke that we make is that flower pot - iconic, as simple as the smooth side of a vase or a pebbled texture on a garden walk. And yet from our alphabet of such flowr pots, we draw and texture them in different ways and then place them into these contexts - or more importantly on occassion we allow (force?) the flower pot to create / modify /re-create / or even translate the context into IT'S domain. The most common translation is an excercise in taking a piece of music and creating an art work that reflects that. Another is to take a work of music and create a touch-sculpture that "might" render it for a deaf person to experience. In the simplest example, the chosen pallet of colours gives the alphabet for the translation - if we take (eg) Mondrian's geometric constructions (both the directly geometric as well as the slightly organic/sculpted ones) and see these as a translation (with intent - see below) of the world around us into those terms. Thus, Mondrian chooses the simplest pallet of all (the primary and secondary colours) with out shade, blending, and only abrupt colour changes by the inter-vention of strict black lines. Even in his organic works of this nature, the interviening white spaces serve to segment the "words" of the painting into its array of sentences. But, it is not a strict matrix (as with Judd's or in many cases Paul Klee's use of the more geometric). Nor does it dip to the extent of the organic that we might see in somehting by Franz Klein thus, it's main "catalog" of vocabulary is drawn from the geometric with what we might term organic inflections. As to intent of Mondrain and the other idealists trying to construct a unviersal language of understanding and expression, we can only nod that this was indeed a nobel attempt to create a *clear* translation that would transcend ALL cultural differences, shed light onto the prdujudices of our short-comings, and provide a new parchment for the world to re-build following the "great war". As we seek our way in the modern world, we try to get a grip on this idea of translation and how it may be used to put into view that which we wish to say, and even more importantly what we feel. The ammends that we wish to carry out from our works in either a sewture-healing or a seradingly-cricital line across the landscape of the mundane and "taken as read" without introspection, thougth, or even minor notice - ie, to rattle the cage of complacency by which all of the myriad lies of our civilisation still cromp forward as if nothing were wrong. We find ourselves the artists of the time, but worse still the artists of a pack of lemings already over the edge and adrift into the void not necessarily below, but simply beyond. And it is to us to take these meagre tools of line and space and draw into the void an image of the dire conditions of the world, and somehow tilt the world aback to itself to see it as the dieing unity that it is - not just that the tail of the brontosauraus is dipping into the tar pit, but that the entire body must somehow be awakened to pull itself out of the trap before it becomes irrevocably doomed - as might well habe been the pople of Pompei - and not that long ago geo-time wise.


(that is analysis/extrospection/production) See also: -[
Interpretive rendering]- (performed text w/entropy) Here i wish to treat as carefully and directly (read this straight-line, scientific-method, systematically reductionist - yes, you can tell how angry i am by the directness of my writing; but, as Betsy Belcher (prn: BEL SHAY) sez, "Isn't it amazing what you can do when your angry?" As i stated above, the three steps seem to be: Anaysis of the thing Extrospection (the opposite of introspection, but not completely) Production of the translation

Interpretive translation: Intro

As artists we are hardly aloof and un-involved (read here John Donne's "No man is an islan" via "The Tolling Bell - an Elegy") and hence there can't be a totally pristine translation of something unless of course we have no care (ie, WITHOUT any passion) for the object at hand. However, in the same sense that langauge translators try to capture the "truth" of the thing (text) and not just the "words", we (i think) try to find some thread of truth in our translation that connects the thing with the translation and us being the mirror. Is it an imperfect mirror? Of course, it is us AS mirror and un-like some idealised portal or blinding revelation it must be limited to the lines that we can draw, the colours that we not only see, but AS we see them and in the end limited by what/who/how we are as artists. Rare are the Picasso's; rarer still the Dali's and Cassat's. Thus, we come up with our "studies" which are as flitting and ephimeral as Helen Keller's sense of light *filtered* through her blind and soundless world magnified by that great genius that WAS her as artist. So, as i often say: Ladies, Gentlemen, and Nethers we have no need of a "ghost come from the grave" to tell us how bad things are... Let's go to work.

Interpretive translation: Analysis

As we know, when we "look" at an object we take in the various aspects of it. If the object is a person who we are painting (drawing, sculpting, etc, infinity) then we walk around them and see of course nothing. Perhaps an interesting line, a nose (or none in the case of the Sphinx - alas bored soldiers), etc. If the object is a sound, or a mood then we use the same senses that we did when looking at the object. We know (as Brother Ceszane tells us) it is not until i take to draw something that i really look at it - prob not an exact So, until we take to listen to the sound of leaves, smell the flower, etc - we aren't even aware how "blind" we are. Thus, it is necessary to use a series of ANALYTICAL TRICKS to approach the object in question. And there is no end to learning these from other artists and indeed from other venues - how much do we learn from John Cage about colour, shadow, and light? How much from Newtwon "reversing the process" with TWO prisims and mathematical analysis could we learn? We are tasked with the impossible (the ghost sadly laughs at us), with translation of a swallow into a hat (both fly, and both are smooth to the touch, often both are either coloured brightly or drably so, and often both come in *ostensibly* male and female versions). Thus, in light and dark we take out our tools: 1) Formal description. 2) Historical/Scientific/etc and other *objective* "views". 3) Reflections/Translations of the object via other artists. 4) And in the end that least useful, most personal of all "tools" that so often fails us so miserably: Ourselves, our feelings, our chance thoughts, our our-ness as artists. Thus, in sound we, 1) Listen to the object, it's space within and without, 2) We can use recordings, musical/sonic analytical tools (from Fourier to counting beats, measuring intervals). 3) Listen to how the ENV responds to it - enhancing, synergistically/symbotically or anti-thetically/antagonistically or worse yet - invisible to its vibrations in the un-seen realm of sound. 4) And in the end, we become the danse of sound without light pouring alternatively dispair and hope into the realm of silent and the deafening. And in motion, 1) Watch the weft and weave of the movement and the medium. 2) Clock and photgraph, slowing/speeding time in captured image, invert forces, vectors, and velocities - the infinite velocity of light becomes frozen as ice crystals of mathematical points on the real number line, statues take flight and evolve into the atmosphere or melt into rivers of molten rock/metal/water/thought until at the end we have ONLY NUMBERS. 3) As the object moves, it (like the dustless footprints of the lizard) leaves an impression of an impression of an ... And we try to BE that motion and its effect and both its presence and non-existence. 4) We finally fall back into the lines of the Blue Rider group, the waves of the OP artists, and a hundred, thousand, million other ways that the aura of still colour manifests itself to us (and apparently no one notices - or is afraid to be thought insane to mention it) that the stillness of every thing (sight, sound, smell, feeling, etc...) is the spectral finger-print of its BEING. And in the end, we dip back in (at random) to Sartre's unfathomable world of Being and Nothingness, we are compressed to in-definably 0-dimensionality by PURE number and begin to rage out against the impossibility of our task, and so....

Interpretive translation: Extrospection

We begin to speak for the object. We tell its story (a very good friend of mine Scott the sculptor) beautifully captured this when he told the story of a "rock" and how he chanced to come upon it from time to time (possibly at ages separated in time - and he even went so far to talk about the rock in the third person singular as (progressively and pseudo-randomly) as "he" and "she" and "it"). Thus, the seven become the 3 and of course in the end the mouse becomes the cheese reflected through the eyes of a CAT CLOCK which always show *almost* three o'clock. -- But then we realis that even this is *mere* introspection and pause back from the object and its "proper" translation. But, our goal here is NOT one of interpretation alone, but more importantly TRANSLATION. And that is where it frightens us. We can make all of the arguments that we wish as to why Ad Rhinehardt's rectangles or Malevich's squares as such minimalist works are as great a work as Lodovicio's ceiling. But, in the end they (the arguments) fail to tranaslate. For we know (and continually try to teach) - Just let the work speak to you - just sit in front of it and lay your arrogance and armor to the side. And we know that no matter what: We can't be the perfect mirror, we can only hope to hear the silent whispers or the blinding darkness or the sharp/blunt edges/surfaces/arromas of the object and then *somehow* present it to the world. So, since we can not escape our own quantum interacation with the object for-ever re-interpreting it in our own terms that forever destroy an infinite number of OTHER-NESS-ES (as Picasso reminds us: Every act of creation is an act of destruction), so... We "unfold" this or that aspect of it (randomly but with our (supposedly) trained eye) into the various dimensions. If it's a sound, do we make it more green than pebbled? If it's a smell, do we make it more purple than alto? etc... Now the only formul that works would be to record as we go along what we are thinking and such. But then we become traped once again in Sartre's universe of thought/idea/and-nothingness and we create junk. So. That's a start me thinks.

Interpretive translation: Production

As Jasper Johns reminds us about doing art: Go into your studio and do something and then do something else and then do something else .. (well, you know) - no an exact quote And of x of y - in the end, we sit back (or on the next day) look at it and "go on to the next" - never really knowing what it's fate (the original) is, but hope-ing a bit that our vision aids in the mystery and clarity of all things... night all, frank 2008.03.03