Translation: Mirroring Tears, Visages

Auteur / Author: 
John CAYLEY (Brown University, États-Unis)
Penny FLORENCE (Chair of Humanities and Design Sciences, Art Center College of Design et Brown University, États-Unis)
Lundi 22 Août 2011 - 17:00


The proposed presentation is a collaborative performance; consisting of a screening of a 5-minute digital poem, followed by a ten minute commentary/debate from the presenters that elaborates on it from their different points of view. This is the first of a series of enacted doubles: between collaborators; between source and target texts; between sound and image; music and poetry; and between textual subjectivities. Through these, we explore the potential of digital poetry as imaginary (individual and collective), critique and translation, hypothesising an analogy or stronger between the Mallarméen text and the digital, and, more broadly, the present and early Modernism. The starting-point is the layering of “Le Pitre châtié” over stanzas 3-5 of “Prose (pour des Esseintes)”, programmed in a variant of Cayley’s “Translation” (go to and click on Translation 6).

The two passages from Mallarmé are layered over and through each other via English. This follows in part the process of “transliteral morphs”, whereby letters are moved from source to target text in a sound-related trajectory. This reveals “abstracted underlying structures supporting and articulating the ‘higher-level’ relationships between the texts” (in Cayley’s words). The sound is adapted from Debussy’s “Chansons de Bilitis – Le Tombeau des Naïades”, itself both resonating with Louÿs’ fake translation of “Bilitis”, and thus a doubled identity of sex and authorship, and with Mallarmé. There is a further, visual dimension, that of “interliteral graphic morphs”. These terms will be clarified in the course of showing and commenting on the work.