Gained in translation
(On translation and registers)
We all know that translation is impossible. Because of its unavoidable failure in the exact semantic movement from a specific language to another, just as specific. But translation, for being impossible, is maybe precisely a recommended practice for experiencing difference and heterogeneity as a base for emancipation. As the French philosopher Jacques Derrida put it, translation is a trait d’union. In French a trait is a line, a stroke or a mark and a trait d’union, a hyphen, a line that combines and juxtaposes at the same time, that links meanwhile it separates. Hosting difference without absorbing it suggests to think of difference as simultaneous creative potential. The translator’s tragic fate of failing, betraying and loosing in translation turns here into an ‘interesting failure’, to use the words of Samuel Beckett. A minus into a plus. What if we start to think that we definitely gain in translation-s?
A register is the form that language takes in different circumstances, and ‘code switching’ is the ability to go from one register to another guided by the specificity of ‘one’ context. Valon paino doesn’t choose one register of production/translation but is based on the simultaneity of a multiplicity of them in order to experiment what generates a permanent code shifting in between an exponential number of registers…
The organ of the Bremen Cathedral on wich Ligeti‘s Volumina should have been played – but was cancelled because of a dance performance (!) – counted 98 registers.
Let´s count here dance as one register, five perfomers as 5n registers, 60’s and more history of dance as n registers. Light, sound, set, costume, black box, audience as xn registers. Let’s add, this is a non-exhaustive list, e.g. distance, celebration, humour, pressure, pleasure, synthetic fur… as positions, matters and topics -registers…
Valon paino could be thus presented as the transformative result of the synchronous and dissonant activation of this exponential number of registers of translation. It would be meant to be additive, addictive and dizzily enjoyable in terms of infinite probability of combinations.
All together a piece, a mass, or a mess? Audience as ultimate translator is invited to take position, by getting closer, or taking distance, keeping still or moving around, and eventually to merge its own editing in.