What we experience—the information that impacts our consciousness—frames how and what we are able to think. How we frame and understand what we experience influences our approach to the world, opens (or closes) us to new experiences, new frames.
Translation is effortful: that’s part of its appeal and provocation. Translation, like any form of cross-cultural or cross-language communication (and I sometimes wonder if all communication, even communication within the self, is some form of “cross-cultural” communication? but perhaps there are gradations or spectra of “cross” in that construct...) highlights both separation—difference, distinction, divide—and connection—affinity, mutuality, movement towards.
Let me contradict myself immediately: on a good day, when the confluence of written and writer and translator is particularly generative and delightful, translation can feel like channeling, accessing some other river-like flow of speech just beyond the ways we normally articulate ideas. It’s never easy—it’s always an effort—but it can feel tremendously fluid, perhaps precisely because of the distance from self and ego that translation inherently entails.
This post is simply to express my gratitude to the three artists whose images have accompanied my writing for Jacket2—Sandra de la Loza, Pato Hebert and Michelle Dizon—in these final weeks of my stint as a commentator. The presence of excerpts from their work in the header of each of my posts (like the company of writers and artists contributing to the vibrancy of this new incarnation of Jacket) gives me something to live up to each time I sit down to write. I often ask myself which conversations I most passionately want to inhabit, and how best to go about creating and/or entering the spaces of those conversations. When I consider work like Sandra’s, Pato’s and Michelle’s, I realize I am (at least some of the time) already in those conversations.
If you didn’t have a chance to explore some of the links in the sidebar text during the past months, please begin your investigations now! The current sidebar text features information on Michelle Dizon.