Claire Huot

Transposing 85

In speaking on some aspects of translation, Roman Jakobson wrote that “poetry by definition is untranslatable. Only creative transposition is possible: either intralingual transposition—from one poetic shape into another, or interlingual transposition—from one language into another, or finally intersemiotic transposition—from one system of signs into another.” The 85 project, by Claire Huot and Robert Majzels, engages in all three kinds of transposition (a placing across) as it investigates the reception of the Chinese language and culture into English through various poetic and multi-media platforms. The 85 project involves many layers of transference and is in constant movement: from Chinese texts to literal character-for-word translation; from these translations into 85 English letters and visual poems; from the visual poems to the reading of those poems by others or to multi-media enactments, to a website and even to furniture.

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