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Poetics Text Translation and Technology The Case of Chen Li Lee Tong King The University of Hong Kong Question How do text translation and technology intersect and interact in contemporary ID: 510485 Download Presentation

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Slide1

Towards a Material Poetics: Text, Translation and Technology

The Case of Chen Li

Lee Tong King

The University of Hong KongSlide2

QuestionHow do text,

translation, and technology intersect and interact in contemporary poetics?

TEXT

TECHNOLOGY

TRANSLATION

POETICSSlide3

Point of departureelectronic literature; cyberliterature

Katherine Hayles How We Think: Digital Media

and C

ontemporary

Technogenesis

(2012): “the Age of Print is passing” – the printed book has

lost its privileged status as “the default medium of communication” (ibid.: 249, n.1)advent of electronic literature prompts a rethinking of the textuality of print literature Slide4

Point of departuredigitized print literature - another burgeoning

form‘new’ definition of media translation by Hayles (2003: 263): “the transformation of a print document into an electronic text as a form of translation, which is inevitably also an act of interpretation” that involves gains and losses. Slide5

Point of departurea distinct breed of textuality that is not only electronic but also

embodied engenders a new form of literary criticism that emphasizes the physical embodiment of texts as much as their conceptual contentm

ateriality of literature

role of media translation (

Hayles’s

definition) in the constitution of literary materialitySlide6

Point of departureBrian Stefan (2007:121, cited in Hoover 2012:li):

cyberpoetry covers two distinct types of writing: 1. poetry written with the aid of advanced computing technologies, using such multimedia tools as “the internet, or graphics programs such as Illustrator or Photoshop, or animation/audio/interactive programs, such as Flash – in their creation and presentation”

;Slide7

Point of departure2. poetry that is not written with the aid of digital media but is “informed by new ways of thinking brought about by the way digital technology has impacted our world

”, including “recombinant poetics that can be done without the computer, such as William S. Burroughs’s ‘cut-up’ fictions, concrete poetry

, and various

Oulipo

practices that address the language as replaceable physical matter rather than ‘necessary expression’

”Slide8

Concerns of this presentationmaterial poetics: how literary works invoke visual, aural and kinaesthetic participation – embodiment; multimodality

manipulation of language as material signsrole of technology (digital and non-digital) in enactment of cross-medial literary experiencetranslation as both concept and practiceSlide9

Chen Li 陳黎 (b.1954) Slide10

Chen Li

陳黎

(b.1954)

one of the most active practitioners in Chinese experimental poetry

has won several accolades, most recently

the

「2013 台灣文學獎」圖書類新詩金典獎

for his poetry collection「朝/聖」embodies the spirit of the literary avant-garde, as exemplified in his penchant for tuxiang

shi 图像诗or concrete poetry and deconstructionist poetics, as well as in his extensive use of multimedia

resourcesSlide11

Translation in Chen’s oeuvretranslation as theme:

translingualism-in-writinginterlinguality: writing

through

translation

intermediality

: the

printed poem and its media ‘translation’intersemioticity

: creative transpositionsSlide12

The translingual signifierconcrete poetry (aka

‘visual poetry’): operates on fonts, patterns and typography, where “the arrangement and properties of the words on the page are integral to the meaning of the work” (Morrison 2010: 152).

it seeks to fulfill the sensuous aesthetics of a literary text by invoking the visual, sonic and kinesthetic potentialities of the verbal sign. Slide13

The translingual signifierof particular interest here is how translation and the translational operate to foreground the sensory qualities of a literary text.

Chen Li consciously exploits the space between multiple languages and language representational systems in making his aesthetic

point

the translingual signifier: a sign that inscribes within itself a crossing of languagesSlide14

The translingual signifier‘inscription technology

’: any discursive device that “initiate[s] material changes that can be read as marks” (Hayles 2002: 24). Includes the computer, telegraphy, film, video and the printed word.

i

n

this view, the formal properties of a literary text, by virtue of their being an inscription, always point back to their own

materialitySlide15
Slide16

The translingual signifierthe aural-visual signifier ㄇ

the Zhuyin representation

注音符

of

the Chinese sound/morpheme mo 摸

(literally ‘touch’)

ㄅㄆㄇㄈbo po

mo

fo

ㄅㄆㄇㄇ

bo

po

mo

mo

摸Slide17

The translingual signifierthe aural-visual signifier ㄇ

ㄇis a pictorial translation of a goalmouth, which is in turn a metaphor for a woman’s vagina (Chen, personal communication).

Lines 36-39:

“I

give you [a] goalmouth/give you [a]

ㄇ/you raise my leg/to send it into/ [the] gate…” Slide18

The translingual signifier

here ㄇis both an icon of the vehicle of the metaphor and a phonetic representation of the Chinese word for ‘touch/caress’, hence affording the phrase gei

ni

ㄇtwo simultaneous interpretations: ‘give you a goalmouth’ and ‘let you caress (me)’.

the use of a phonetic symbol (an instance of inscription technology) causes slippage (a translational effect) between language representational systems and between pictorial and auditory significationSlide19

The translingual signifierthe use of lexis from indigenous languages creates a translingual text through code-switching and translation

.Line 29: the use of Duo Luo Man

哆囉

滿

in

place of the modern name Hualien for the Taiwanese prefecture inhabited by several indigenous peoples

.Lines 13-14: the word e

luan 鵝鑾 is the Pai

Wan (an indigenous tribe in Taiwan) equivalent of the Mandarin fan (‘sail’).Slide20

The translingual signifier它張開鵝鑾,我張帆

‘It opens [its] e luan, I open

[my

]

sail’

translational and also translingual: the second clause denotes the same act, albeit with a different agent and with the key noun rendered in Mandarin rather than the

Pai Wan language. Slide21

The translingual signifierIn Lines 25-26, the poet shifts to the Ya

Mei tribe, playing on the phonetic similarity of the lexical items for ‘yam (plural)’ (sosoli) and ‘breast’ (soso

)

.

趁黑,摸摸紅頭嶼的芋頭,摸兩下他們說是

sosoli,

快摸一下,啊 soso,變成我的乳房

。(Caress the yam of Hong Tou

Yu, caress it twice [and] they call it

sosoli

, caress it once quickly, ah

soso

, [it] has become my breast).Slide22

The translingual signifierthe comic humour

intended here is caused by a slippage between the phonetics of two close-sounding indigenous words and between their starkly different equivalents in standard Chinese.code-switching

reveals the chasm between indigenous and dominant cultures and also the need for translation, which is what happens in this line

.

this

translational interplay between languages with different symbolic power also indexes the dialectic between various cultural identities in Taiwan.Slide23
Slide24

The translingual signifiera tribute to the Japanese writer

Hachikai Mimi 蜂饲耳

(

b.1974), whose last name bears the Chinese character for ‘ear

’.

阝(the radical for ‘ear’)  ‘

B’  bee

蜂耳/B/Bee, with the three components bound in an uncanny relation inflected with translation and

graphemic

transposition.Slide25

The translingual signifier‘Our Concertgebouw

’: concertgebouw is the Dutch word for ‘concert hall’ (also the name of a famous concert hall in Amsterdam).

the composite signifier

/B/Bee does not refer to an extrinsic signified: it points back to itself, setting up a reflexive translingual/translational network

between the title and

body text.Slide26

The translingual signifiera piece of word technology that “mobilizes reflexive loops” between the sound-image conjured up by the poem and “the material apparatus embodying [it] as a physical presence” (

Hayles 2002: 25). ‘technotexts

’: literary texts that “strengthen, foreground, and

thematize

the connections between themselves as material artifacts and the imaginative realm of verbal/semiotic signifiers they instantiate” (ibid.).Slide27

Intermedialitythe computer has been a major agent in Chen’s

writing since the early 1990s. the various MS Word functionalities (copying, pasting, insertion and page layout adjustment), picture viewer, media player and the automatic translator have all had an impact on his method of composition (Chen 2011:232). Slide28

Intermedialitymany of his shape poems, for instance, were inspired by the ease with which one could manipulate text documents in all sorts of ways with a Word processor. These include the “precise calculation [and] arrangement of the number of rows and columns” (ibid.)

digital technology allows him to “quickly assemble a poem or the preliminary shape of a poem” 很快圍堵出一首詩,或詩的雛形 (ibid.)Slide29

IntermedialitySlide30

Media translationKatherine Hayles

“Translating Media: Why We Should Rethink Textuality”: “I propose regarding the transformation of a print document into an electronic text as a form of translation, which is inevitably also an act of interpretation” (2003:263

)

following Dene

Grigar

, Hayles

maintains that “the adage that something is gained as well as lost in translation applies with special force to importing print documents to the Web” (ibid.).Slide31

Media translation“Translating the words on a scroll into a codex book, for example, radically alters how a reader encounters the work; by changing

how the work means, such a move alters what it means” (2003:264).on electronic textuality: “navigational functionalities are not merely ways to access the work but part of the work’s signifying structure” (ibid.)Slide32

Chen Li’s ‘media translation’illustrations and

colour codes are added to the electronic versions of several of his collections.Little Barbarian Treaty 1731,

whose subject matter is a historic treaty between an indigenous tribe in Taiwan and the Qing Dynasty of China, comes with a scanned image of that treaty

.

the print version of

the same poem in Chen (2011: 71-72) does not come with the imageSlide33
Slide34

Chen Li’s ‘media translation’musical accompaniment, an auditory add-on that is obviously exclusive to the digital platform

.hyperlinking possibilities and intertextuality

r

outes

of travel within and without Chen’s website give rise to a layered reading, whereby more than one text/language/mode/genre engage in dialogue and expound on each other

an alternative mode of engaging with literature and potentially a different perspective on the concept of readingSlide35

Chen Li’s ‘media translation’Hayles (2003: 278) calls ‘Work as Assemblage’: “a cluster of related texts that quote, comment upon, amplify,

and remediate one another”the cross-media translation undertaken here projects a different image of his literature – one that is more intertextual, intersemiotic and

sensorially

sophisticated – from the entirety of his works available in print. Slide36

Interlingualitytranslations of Chen’s poems available in French, Dutch, Japanese, English and German.

Chen’s translations of the works of other poets into Chinese (with Chang Fen-ling). Among the poets translated by Chen include Pablo Neruda,

Harold

Pinter, Philip

Larkin, Sylvia Plath

and Hachikai

Mimi. by constructing himself as both poet-translator and translated poet, Chen weaves an intercultural fabric through his website, thus providing an added layer of multilingual texture to his cyberspace enterprise. Slide37

Interlinguality“In 1979, I translated

his [Neruda’s] “Alturas de Macchu Picchu” (The Heights of Macchu

Picchu), a long poem in Canto General. The theme of death and birth, of oppression and rising, and the idea that poets should be sufferers’ spokesmen have since been deep-rooted in my heart.

In this poem Neruda piles up a litany of 72 noun phrases, which inspire[d] me to boldly juxtapose 36 noun phrases in “The Last Wang Mu-Qi,”

a long poem written the next year about a mining calamity. Later in the poem “

Taroko

Gorge, 1989” I appl[

ied] the technique of cataloguing, listing 48 names of places in the Atayal

language

, and in the poem

“Flight over the Island,” I list[

ed

] 95 names of mountains of Taiwan deriving from different languages.

All these can be seen as an extension of Neruda’s writing techniques

.”Slide38

Interlinguality“

I often tell others that I am not the real author of this poem. I was simply possessed by “Chinese characters”: one morning I woke up, turned on the computer, took five minutes to key in and duplicate those four characters, and then it was completed. In my prose “The Delight of Animations”, I mentioned “

Konflikt

” (Conflict), an animation made by the Russian animator Garry

Bardin

(1941- ) in 1983. A green match troop comes into conflict with a blue match troop; they burn each other to death. This animation never crossed my mind when I was writing “A War Symphony.” Not until a female artist in Taiwan re-presented it [translator’s note: here referring to

War Symphony] in [the] form of animation did it occur to me [that my poem resembles

Konflikt]. You may say my poem translates Bardin’s

film.”

(

Chen 2012,

n.p

.)Slide39
Slide40

Garry Bardin KonfliktSlide41

戰爭交響曲 A War SymphonySlide42

Interlingual translations兵

乒

Chang Fen-ling’s translation:

non-translation

‘A man’

‘Ah-man

‘Ah-men

‘Amen

Bruno’s translationSlide43
Slide44

Intersemioticityseparate section devoted to audio-visual material. It contains several of Chen’s works intersemiotically

translated and performed in various modes.《

家具音樂

(Furniture Music

): mp3 file, a You Tube video clip with subtitles (i.e. the poem), the Chinese text of poem (appearing in the layout as it was published in print) and a PDF file containing a copy of Lu Yan’s handwritten musical manuscript and

notations.Slide45

IntersemioticitySlide46

Intersemioticity《

滑翔練習》

(Gliding Exercises):

poem inspired

by a work by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo (1892-1938), which Chen translated into Chinese

as

《在我們同睡過許多夜晚的……》

based on his Chinese translation, Chen splits the first line of the poem into different constituents, which in turn form the first words of each stanza of his new poem.Slide47
Slide48

IntersemioticitySlide49

Intersemioticity在音樂創作上,先運用如滑翔般的

一長串半音下行音符,呈示出瓦烈赫原詩句的主題,在後面的每段開頭,則

以字詞在主題句中所對應的音高開始

,並

隨著詩意作音高、音色、音樂情感上的改變

。此

曲使用了大量半音階、大小二度與轉位音程、全音音階等素材,試圖透過種種音樂要素的變化,來呈現出這首詩作的意境與情感

。In the musical composition,

an extended string of semi-tones progressing downward in what seems like a gliding movement presents Vallejo’s theme. Each of the following paragraphs is headed by a high note that corresponds to a word in the theme sentence

, and

modulates its pitch, timbre and emotion according to the emotive quality of the poem

[

shiyi

]. The piece makes extensive use of chromatic scales, second intervals, inverted intervals and perfect intervals to create musical alternations that express the mood and emotion of the poem.

(from

Chen Li’s Literary Bank

)Slide50

Intersemioticitymultiple reception channels crossing semiotic and linguistic borders

.a poem has in effect proliferated itself into various incarnations on several sensorial planes through intersemiotic translation to

what extent does a musical transposition of a poem count as its translation?

what

kind of equivalence may be posited between a written text and its cross-semiotic

transcreation

? Slide51

Intersemioticitysemiotic fluidity within

a multimodal ‘reading’ experiencethe text (i.e. poem) does not reside in one semiotic plane, but disseminates across different media.

a

virtual

entity;

mediated by digital

technology; emergent rather than fixated; arises from the reader’s reception of it in its plural

modalities; exists as a holistic continuum that weaves through various sensorial platforms. Slide52

Intersemioticityintersemiotic

translation and performativitynetwork of related texts spanning various media is symptomatic of the potential of intersemiotic translation to perpetuate a text beyond the confines of the printed word and of the spatial boundaries of the page/book.

translation gives birth to multiple ‘afterlives’ of a poetic text; however, each ‘afterlife’ represents

an

embodied restitution in its own semiotic realm. Slide53

IntersemioticitySlide54

Intersemioticityliterary experience – both visceral and

translationalmulti-sensorial interface between reader and text, where poetry ‘reading’ is simultaneously reading, watching and listening, as well as the clicking/scrolling of the mouse

virtualisation

of the literary text

p

olymorphous text interactiveSlide55

Intersemioticity‘reading’ and ‘text’ have therefore come to take on different senses

.the spatiality of text and temporality of reading alterSlide56

Translation, technology & material poetics

translation, technology and material poeticsChen Li poetic signature:foregrounding of form and

platform

play on the sensuousness of reading

materiality of the linguistic sign

pictorial qualities of the Chinese script

phonetics of indigenous languagesmultiple semiotic modes of production & receptionembodimentSlide57

Translation, technology & material poeticssense of virtual movementsemiotic modes (visual-aural-kinaesthetic);

technological platforms (print-digital); webpage-webpagelanguage-language

the reader needs to travel, to traverse different medial and sensory dimensions

a

heterolithic

space of readingSlide58

Translation, technology & material poeticsrole of translation in the writings of Chen Li

the etymological origins of translatussomatic perspective on literature: in and through

the body (physical body of reader; media-platform body)

translation as effective virtual movement

bet. phonetic sign and graphological script

displacement of a book by its digital version

transposition of poem into musical performanceSlide59

Translation, technology & material poeticshow to conceptualise

translation in Chen’s poetics:within the translingual textbet media platformsbet languages

bet semiotic modes of literary communicationSlide60

Translation, technology & material poeticstechnology: “material means of production, such as calligraphing

in a scribe culture or typesetting and word-processing utilized by the printing industry” (Chang 1992:133)writing is “situated in and conditioned by the technologization of” (ibid.) material means of production.

Chen’s

technotexts

: from concrete poetry to online textual networksSlide61

Translation, technology & material poeticsSlide62

Translation, technology & material poeticsall three are fluid entitiestranslation and technology are spectrums rather than static points

text + translation + technology = text-complex (‘rich text’, i.e. a continuum of several manifestations (translations) of the same ‘text’.“an aesthetic of textual pleasure” (Barthes) –

not from interpretation but from an embodied involvement in the corporeal forms and platforms of literatureSlide63

Translation, technology & material poeticsliterary criticism lacks the conceptual tools with which we can fully appreciate the materiality of literature

incorporating translation and technology in critical readings of contemporary poetry would help us articulate a more holistic view of how the literary text engages us conceptually and sensuously.Slide64

Electronic literature & translation in the Westtranslation as design concept in electronic literatureJohn

Cayley’s Translation (2004) and riverisland

(2007)

Shom More....
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