Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Translation (Kittler, TIffany)

Kittler on Translation:

"A medium is a medium is a medium. Therefore it cannot be translated. To transfer messages from one medium to another always involves reshaping them to conform to new standards and materials. In a discourse network that requires an 'awareness of the abysses which divide the one order of sense experience from the other,' transporation necessarily takes the place of translation. Whereas translation excludes all particularities in favor of a general equivalent, the transposition of media is accomplished serially, at discrete points."

Tiffany on Bataille and translation:

"Yet one could also argue that by enacting the impossible (translation), the translator enters the realm of magic, death and madness. Thus, by evoking death, translation discourse (including the Marxian theory of exchange) evokes the impossible, the unknowable, the ineffable. Yet the impossible, as Georges Bataille observes, overwhelms utility, truth, and meaning, and thus engenders through translation unspeakable (and inconceivable) forms of exchange. Indeed, the impossibility lodged within translation is itself death, madness - and originality." (Radio Corpse, 187)


Blogger Ross Brighton said...

That second quote is amazing. Though I don't quite get the first one - I assumed that translation was, by (etymological) definition the "transfer[ence] of messages from one medium to another" and therefore a form of transportation (thus rendering "transporation necessarily takes the place of translation" redundant, as translation is a form of transportation (and transformation)). The idea of equivalency is imposed upon the process, rather than being an inextricable part of it. Or that's what I would think....

8:43 PM  
OpenID johnvincler said...

Translate is also "To carry or convey to heaven without death" Today heaven is the internet. And it is terrible.

I love your juxtaposition here. I've been reading both Bataille and Kittler lately so this is close to my current thinking.

In my translation of Kittler (from Discourse Networks) the word is "transposition" not "transportation." RE: Ross's confusion. Kittler's rhetoric takes some acclimating to. But the quote here, I think, maps onto much of the recent work in electronic literary circles, which has brought more focus to the materiality of literary production (e.g. N. Katherine Hayles, Matthew Kirschenbaum's Mechanisms, etc.). Translating from one language to another occurs on a different level from translating from one medium to another (book to film, or book to internet, etc.). He is underscoring this distinction.

In our late age of print the book becomes more visible, even more strange. This doesn't doom literature. It can in fact extend its potential.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Oh, that might be a typo. I read it as transposition anyways. I'm thinking a lot about translation with Bataille, media theory etc. I'd love to hear what you've got to say about it.


10:17 AM  

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