Editorial

 

Dear Friends here and around the World,

 

 

Levure littéraire 14

 

 

invites you to discover the creations of its 270 international artists.

 

 

THEME FOR DISCUSSION:

Being(s) in Translation

 

 

 

 

Translation is, next to architecture, the most widespread metaphor, the one most used to describe, in a more or less spontaneous and thoughtful way, the complexity of the contemporary world. And they are, perhaps, metaphors of each other, reflecting the essential role of the between, of the intermediate, of the mean and the middle, of the medium, of the included/excluded third facet in our world.

But what does translation translate, that is, the use of translation as a (spontaneous) descriptive metaphor of choice?

Once it has become a universal metaphor, translation is something like the divinity: it is everywhere, but recognition is still difficult to achieve, even though that recognition is underway.

An essential dissymmetry therefore characterizes the place of translation in our world: the separation, the divorce between its omnipresence (interior and external) and its (almost total) lack of recognition.

But why this trend (as old as the world) toward the occultation of omnipresence, of the universality of translation (as the only authentic universality possible)?

Because translation sums up all the issues – ethical, political, economic, etc. – of the world, and their possible – finally! – practical solutions.

Translation is therefore everywhere, but it always has to fight for recognition. And that is the key word: recognition!

Because translation is, in « itself » (as an intermediary lacking an inner essence, and revealing, as such, that necessary repositioning of the essential of the essence, of our individual solipsistic interiority toward the social interiority of the « between-us ») a vehicle of recognition, a way toward recognition and ethical politics of recognition, it is still refused full recognition.

Recognizing that « everything must be translated, » instead of « communicated, » as the dominant technocratic ideology continues to dictate to us, it would be both more ethical and more pragmatic for us to translate even (and perhaps especially) where, in our « common » languages, we appear to understand each other « naturally, » it would mean recognizing that we should admit, recognize that a decisive paradigm shift is occurring, and that everything that is presented to us and extolled to us as « progress » and « development » is only resistance, fierce opposition to true progress, to the true globalization of the world, a struggle that is not avant-garde, but a rearguard action for the limitation of techno-economic globalization (the technology, which is becoming, as tool and intermediary, a domain of life and a living environment, revealing itself more and more, as Heidegger already foresaw, a technology of power with a view to domination).

Translation as recognition of the ontological idiomaticity (both relative and irreducible) of each one struggling to be completely recognized because their staggering potential is enormous.

Instead of reducing, of transposing bilaterally one into the other, translation creates third facets, and therefore multiplies, increases and proliferates. As single beings, we are already plural through the daily, unconscious acts of translation, and only recognition of translation as the only shared paradigm could help us recognize it as the only useful, acceptable attitude.

Because it is translation that permits us to make the world, by bringing us together with and through our differences. The macro-tension between globalization and identity withdrawal can only be resolved through the beginning of recognition of translation as the only universal language.

Because there is translation at all levels and meta-translation, or archi-translation, or translation of translation, between all the identifiable and imaginable levels of translation: translation is translated, and we are all in translation. It is translation that keeps us differently, singularly together, that allows us to make Being and World.

At a first level (not to mention the metabolic, molecular, cellular level, the level of chemical « translation, » for example), we could speak of prelinguistic auto-translation we do not act, we translate ourselves in acts.

At a second level, that is already called intra-linguistic translation (or inter-idiomatic translation, since « language » is an architectural complex of idioms that are translatable and to be translated), it is where the dominant ideological metalanguage tells us that we « communicate, » under the illusion of « natural » or « maternal » languages, i.e. national languages, that are presented to us as identical and shared by everyone, translation being occulted under a criminal (because altericide), purely and simply technological (i.e. purifying and simplifying) automaticity.

In a certain middle ground (not a centre), we find « strictly-speaking » translation, i.e. understood literally, inter-linguistic translation, the only one recognized, the one that is usually reduced, to contain it (to transform it into a continent the archipelago of translation), the total phenomenon of translation.

Then there is a certain inter-medial translation that occurs, the one that transposes us already into the revealing world of art, i.e. of the arts, in the plural, that forever and more and more is translated, adjusting to each other, which reveals the more and more obvious performativity of artists, which shifts more and more naturally from the written to the visual, from the acoustic to the corporal, thus finding expression in a kind of trans-writing (and in a trance of writing), in a trans-semy of the world already envisaged by Roland Barthes (for example). Art as uninterrupted transition.

By enlarging the framework, we come to intercultural translation. To make it more easily to understand and translate, one very little quotation (from a broad synthesis): « Starting in the second millennium, the diverse cultures and polytheisms of the ancient world had achieved a level of dominant intercultural translatability. (…) Tribal religions are ethnocentric. The powers that are worshipped by one tribe are different from the powers worshipped by another tribe. In contrast, the highly differentiated members of polytheistic pantheons lend themselves easily to cross-cultural translation or interruption. » (Jan Assmann, Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism, translated the German (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997; 1998), p. 45). It is at this level that begins the constitution and activation of the new global-immanent comparativism.

And « finally, » at a conventionally maximum level, we could and should talk about an inter-religious translation, which I would like to « track down » through two other quotations from the same great thinker on monotheisms (in the plural): « The conviction that these foreign peoples worshipped the same gods is far from trivial and self-evident. Quite the contrary, this insight must be reckoned among the major cultural achievements of the Ancient World »; « Revelation is the opposite of nature A revealed name cannot be translated » (Jan Assmann, op. cit., p. 46, p. 49). Theology as « simple » traductology, and religion as translation both vertical and horizontal (condemnation to translation in the myth of Babel and as the « gift of languages » on the Pentecost)?

But the other danger, the opposite and complementary danger of the non-recognition of translation is the one, even more pernicious, of its dissolution, of its automatic generalization and of its thoughtless expansion, which could suggest a hasty, inattentive reading, of the previous schema.

Yes, translation is everywhere, but no, it is not the same everywhere. The model, the matrix of all translation, the one that would not release the tensions of translation and would not dissolve into a flat indifference and indistinction (on the way, already, to a « translation » by machines), it is precisely what we understand most commonly (and traditionally) by translation: inter-linguistic translation (the one that, in our little improvised schema, is located, precisely, in the middle, in the place of translation and as the site of translation, spreading as a both obvious and mysterious translation of translation). The general, universal phenomenon of translation should be seen from the perspective of « strictly-speaking » translation, translation between languages, because it is here, on that infinitely thematic dividing line of human translation, with all its ethico-political issues, that all the tensions and all the chances of the saturated phenomenon (as Jean-Luc Marion would say) of what is translation are maintained and guaranteed.

We can only resist the temptation of the general equivalence of individuals and things, situations and latitudes through the attitude of translation, which only the experience of inter-linguistic translation can provide. That is why translation is and should become school.

Beings and things are only equivalent through the ambiguity of translation. Through translation, they are not equivalent, but equivocal. Translation means « to say one word for another » – but what polysemy, what untranslatability/wealth of translation, already, in this simple dictionary definition!

Translation is liquid, aquatic. An environment that is both internal, like blood, and external, like a planetary ocean of all transports and trades – the way, often ultimate, of refuge and refugees – it transforms us, as Édouard Glissant said, into an archipelago, revealing us to ourselves, by translating us into our own intention, as archipelagos.

Seen through translation, the perspective is reversed, and the world is a drop of water holding together, united through ceaseless translation as homeostasis, islands of earth, fire and blood (an inner sea). Translation as refuge from the land.

If truth (like virtue) is located in the middle – In medio stat virtus – it can only be between us, in translation.

 

 

Bogdan Ghiu

 

 

Photo : MIRCEA STRUTEANU

 

 
Translation: Howard Scott (Montréal)

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 

Intended as a ethical and aesthetic ferment, Levure is a space for creative initiatives and thoughts, without financial support, without hegemonic pretences, which favours the quality and originality of the constructive Act of Culture. In these times of economic crisis, and particularly of extreme moral crisis, when Peace, Education and Culture are being marginalized, since it is no longer in fashion to cultivate humanism, Levure persists in seeking with you the path to a secret bridge, toward a peaceful place conducive to meditation, beyond the barbarity and vulgarity of everyday life. With the intention of remaining in the tradition of the universal spirit of the Enlightenment!

 

A journal of information and education, Levure brings to your computer screens, 4 times a year, out-of-the-ordinary authors (100 to 245 per issue), themes and topics that are dealt with, tackled or exploited less often, agents and actors from the entire sociocultural spectrum (literature, visual arts, music, philosophy, ethnology, journalism, psycholinguistics, etc. – which by presenting countries and traditions, horizons rich in differences and similarities, likenesses, enrich us as they fascinate us. Through its thematic diversity, and through an impressive number of cultural players, Levure offers us and you a choice of many languages, sensibilities, tastes, needs for reading and information.

 

« Does saying that the other is my fellow being mean they are like me? »

 

In the Languages section, with its English title, you will find the source (maternal) languages, as well as the target languages (translations) of our collaborators, other than French, which is considered the basic language of this publication.

 

Levure littéraire no. 14 contains poetry, stories, excerpts from novels, pages from journals, literary essays, book reviews, traditional and philosophical tales, articles on psychoanalysis, painting, drawings, collages, sculpture, theatrical and cinematographic performances, music (jazz, rock, pop, folk, etc.), information related to international cultural events.

 

With the help of all the participants, we try to maintain and stimulate humanist exchange.

 

Our goal: reveal new authors, promote knowledge and the success of known authors, and give the perspectives of those who are at odds.

 

Culture helps us to better control and balance our destiny. Let us dare share it with the Others – Authors, those « strangers, » « soul thieves, » who always intrigue us a little… Let us recognize the identity of the Other, with their differences, while respecting their language, their traditions, their work and their culture.

 

Let us take part in the sharing of the innovative and liberating ideas of our cultures. Let us disrupt the manoeuvring of those who orchestrate the final fall of culture and society by maintaining insidiously its degradation for reasons as treacherous as they are Machiavellian and shameful.

 

Let us cultivate friendship! And friendship-love! To feed on culture is to live in harmony in the house of BEING, travel, migrate in artists’ frigates toward those « terra incognita » countries where unexpected Ways & Voices await us, with our hearts in offering.

 

Levure littéraire was created especially for all these talented people who have remained anonymous nationally or internationally, without connections, and without real possibilities of accessing fame…

 

Our journal has become multilingual precisely for those countries where the languages and cultures are ignored (forgotten in favour of the law of the offshore nabob and « group think »).

 

Without indulging in politics, we fight against those cultural predators who preach, arms crossed, mouths and pockets full, (the abolition) of culture. We condemn the lack of patronage and the cutting of culture budgets, and we denounce the perversion of the linguistic, human, aesthetic and ethical behaviours of our 21st century.

 

Let us protect art, while practising it with talent and confidence. Let us make art, while defending it with refinement and intelligence. Art has always helped us resist, to evolve with dignity, to love the world, and to believe in a better world. Art does not kill anyone. On the contrary, it elevates humanity. Let us not kill it, please! Let us not make it the subject of wild, sterile speculations and transform it into a mundane commercial product. The international art « business » … is not our art, but ANTIART, the « art » of diverting artists and their cultures from their paths and destinies! We refuse through art the immoral and suicidal laws of the « golden boys »!

 

Being contemporary does not mean adopting any crisis of the moment with its tides and whirlpools, without reflection, without both collective and selective consciousness. You have to belong to your epoch with lucidity, vigilance and perspicacity, while keeping a good distance, with spatial and temporal space, to better curtail troubles in the making. The contemporary does not substitute the present for the past. It seeks what the present contains in its future to come… without ignoring, however, the original foundations.

 

This latest issue of our journal will remain faithful to the positive energy it has shown since the beginning with respect to inventive creation. Quality content, in the face of the aggressiveness and vulgarity of the current world of politics that is monopolizing the stage in the media.

 

 

Rodica Draghincescu,
founder and general director of Levure littéraire

Translator: Howard Scott

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