František Kupka, Amorpha, fugue en deux couleurs

Occasional Evenings: Translation is Art — a Presentation and Panel Discussion

BISR Central
68 Jay Street, #425
Brooklyn, NY 11201

In 1923, Walter Benjamin prefaced his translation of Charles Baudelaire’s Tableaux Parisiens with an essay that proposed translation as a mode of aesthetic production unto itself. Attempts to articulate the task, ethical orientation, embodied practice, and political valence of the act of translating have proliferated in the century since. And with them, questions concerning power, asymmetry, situatedness, markets, values, and axes of exchange. What does it mean to claim, with poet and translator Sawako Nakayasu, translation as a rogue activity, as pedagogy, as error, rescue, divestment, self-portrait, and an extension of life?

Join us Wednesday, April 3rd, as BISR, in partnership with Ugly Duckling Presse and Barricade Journal, welcomes the Leipzig/Vienna-based collective Transletting for an evening of presentations and panel discussion. With a comparative look at Benjamin’s “Task of the Translator” and Nakayasu’s Say Translation Is Art (Ugly Duckling Presse) as our jumping off point, alongside an exploration of poets Uljana Wolf and Christian Hawkey’s translation of Austrian writer Ilse Aichinger’s Bad Words (Seagull), we will ask: What does infidelity in translation entail—socially, politically, and in practice? What is the position of the translator in relation to the work to be translated, and in relation to other discourses and fields of activity? How does translation, taken as an autonomous mode of aesthetic production, bring into focus asymmetries in power and value and, then, undertake to redress them?

The event is free to attend, with a suggested $10 donation. Beer, wine, seltzer, and snacks will be served. Please RSVP below.

Event Schedule

Wednesday, 7:00pm ET
April 03, 2024


Event is over. Check out our upcoming events.