Translating the Untranslatable

Description (in English): 

A comparative presentation of a digital poem and a video poem, both composed as complementary translations and interpretations of Rilke’s 8th Duino elegy. The digital poem moves across English, French, Italian and German, while the video poem moves between live action and the paintings of Kate Walters. If anyone would like to volunteer to translate these lines into Portuguese, and to correspond with me about their translation, I’d be truly delighted. The exploration of plagiotropy is partly to be found in the movement across languages, and partly in tracking tropes across natural languages, programmed language movements and the paintings. I have only recently returned to video poetry, but you will be able to see Doaryte Pentreath from the 1980s on my website by late January. I will send the link. This work develops out of my ongoing collaboration with John Cayley. The element of direct translation will be of the following fiveand-a-half opening lines: Mit allen Augen sieht die Kreatur das Offene. Nur unsre Augen sind wie umgekehrt und ganz um sie gestellt als Fallen, rings um ihren freien Ausgang. Was draußen ist, wir wissens aus des Tiers Antlitz allein; […] (Creatures see with their entire gaze wide open space. Our eyes alone seem trapped in reverse, focused on self, sealed without escape. Through animals’ faces only, we sense What exists beyond […])

(Source: ELO 2017: Book of Abstracts and Catalogs)


Penny Florence, “Translating the Untranslatable”

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Filip Falk