projector-verse-10august2014Sunday 10 Aug. 12:30 – 2:00 PM [note earlier time]
Yoon + Strang + Fitzpatrick
a KSW series @
UNIT/PITT Projects, 236 East Pender St., housing the KSW library

Poets / writers presenting poems / antipoems / language.
Spoken; visually projected.
Each will read one short text, followed with open discussion.

Hyung-Min Yoon projects Vilém Flusser
Catriona Strang projects Colin Smith
Ryan Fitzpatrick projects Robert Kroetsch

Vilém Flusser
From “The Gesture of Writing”

thought associations as they press against my surface. Which shows again that writing is more akin to sculpture than to drawing: it consists of constant chopping. The result will be a “text”, namely a thought developed in lines consisting of letters and covering a paper surface. I have now a “Mesopotamian brick” covered with cuneiform incisions. My original almost shapeless thought has now achieved a recognizeable form. And I can recognize in it the fact that language has taken possession of it. The text I have before me is “German”, which means that it is valid for one specific universe only. I need not submit to such a limitation. I may translate the text into a different language. I can transcribe the text from one brick into another.
Let us suppose that I take the Portuguese language to be my next brick. It consists of an almost entirely different material from the first one. As I try to reformulate the written German text in the “silent spoken Portugese” I find that my thought not only changes, but also that it provokes entirely different associations. Although in a sense it is still the “same” thought, in a different sense it means a situation within a universe quite unlike the first one. (I am convinced that the problem of translation is the central epistemological problem.) As I begin to type my Portuguese text, in order to chop away the new associations which assault me, I find that I must not be content with the German text which now serves me as my system of reference, but that I must also take recourse to the almost shapeless thought which originally provoked my writing. (This is why I believe that the only “true” translation is the one attempted by the author of the text to be translated.) What happens during this process may be considered to be a reformulation of the original thought in a sense not always duly appreciated. The thought not only assumes a different shape, but it may even take a different direction, because the associations chopped away during the first writing may now be taken up again in a different context. It is as if the German and the Portuguese associations would now interfere with each other to suggest a quite new, (and in this sense richer), discourse. The text which will result from this writing will be Portuguese, to be sure, but the German text and the German associations eliminated from that text will somehow be hidden within it. A sort of palympsest not reasily decipherable, but still in a sense effective.
Now this process of translating from one brick to another can and must be continued, if the original thought is to reveal more than one of its dimensions. (Which is to show that in a sense thinking is after all meta-linguistic, although in a different sense it is also strictly linguistic.) But what is even more intriguing is the possibility of re-translation. Let us suppose that I have translated the thought from Portuguese into Englsh, and from English into French, and that I now try to translate it back into German. I shall find that my second Geman text will differ radically from the first one, althought the thought expressed in both texts is still the same thought..

Colin Smith
From “Play”

After the ice storm,
cars as curling rocks.
On the descent,
missed the canopy.
Accidentally shot
his camel through the head
during the charge.
Acted as though nothing had happened.
to the adjustments
to the adjustments
to the adjustments
to the
Rubber bullets
fired at the heads
of squeegee kids Acted
as though nothing had happened Hostages
slaughtered by rescuers Acted
as though nothing had happened Retribution
for the retribution
for the retribution
for the Mayhem
is caused
by the orderly
signing of the document Salutes
the flag
from the waist down We’ll never
understand the infield fly rule I walked

Robert Kroetsch
“Chinook Arch: Self-Portrait, A Sketch, Revised”

I wish I could honestly say I like the banana peel
there on the sidewalk, the blindness of the cartoon man
about to turn the corner. I laugh out loud. Or try to.

Will he be embarrassed, brushing the dust
from the seat of his pants? Will he philosophize
on disaster? Will he forget where he was going?

Okay, so it’s all in my head. Here at a sidewalk table,
I think about the way you laughed, just now,
when I said I am ready to animate silence.

You pour me a bit more wine.
Isn’t that just like you? you say. So do it, you say,
animate silence. With or without words?

This could be tricky. What if, turning the corner,
I slip on a banana peel, fall to my knees, bruise my hands?
Or, another possibility. What if there is no banana peel?

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