María José Giménez writes of stories contained in histories, of how words fold into other words, of how meaning emerges along the creases. She writes about crossings of language, asks What happens when we engage more closely with other/others' words?, and the question carries me to a history where the words of others required particularly close attention.
While I feel hard-pressed to finish what I had planned for this column within the time allotted, time is on my side—or lack thereof. One area that remains unexplored is the ways in which theories of artificial intelligence impact translation, especially given the huge impact of machine translation technologies. Forgoing the sense of translation, no longer routed through consciousness, one can embrace an inhuman speed which, while riddled with non-sense may evolve unforeseen sensibilities and new forms of intelligence—while still attending to the situatedness of the agen
Textile thinking leads quickly to thoughts on labor. Why? Because making cloth is an ancient art, because garment workers are always on labor’s front lines, because a garment surrounds us, houses us. We absorb the energy of the conditions of its making. So, too, with buildings. In this commentary, I consider cloth, garment workers, and transnational labor awareness. Then, I move on to architecture, buildings. As a garment houses us, buildings also do, and their walls have been set, built up, finished by workers’ hands and hands that operate machines. The carpet is laid. The chairs are unwrapped. Key card access is programmed.
“Traduttore, traditore”: a cliché perhaps not worth repeating (like most bon-mots about translation, including that singularly awful quote from Yevtushenko). Except that, pari passu and funiculi, funicula, it doesn’t get repeated enough. That is, in its original it’s a near sonic repetition, with only one changed vowel—it is a repetition, then, that is subject to disavowal when you say “translator, traitor” in English.