[-empyre-] Re: translation + minding the gaps

Hi everyone,
Lana here, long-time absent guest moderator slipping in at the last
possible moment. Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful and
interesting comments. Mariam, I just looked at the article you linked
to about Beijing internet restrictions. I was just thinking that the
violence you describe in Afghanistan isn?t aimed at internet users in
the same way in Asia. It?s a violence of a different kind ? censorship
and punishment for overstepping those bounds. It reminded me of some of
the news I had been reading a few years ago about the jailing of
internet dissidents in Vietnam. Free speech is definitely not pervasive
throughout the web. A quick indication of that can be confirmed by
these links.


I had been puzzling over Angel?s comment about internet access being
curtailed by class. Of course that?s true to a degree, but I was
thinking about how lower income had become less of an issue in the last
decade with the proliferation of low cost internet cafes. I?m referring
only to those places I?m a little familiar with, as in parts of Asia.
The photo accompanying the article Mariam linked to is a perfect
representation of the mesmerized hordes hooked into terminals with a
kind of cult-like mania in Taiwan and Shanghai. In these areas, the
internet has reached communities at all economic levels, although as
just mentioned, their degree of access is not democratic. 

This leads to the question about programming language, which I know
basically nothing about. I would presume, however, that the base
programming language of Chinese sites is English, because of the
complexity of converting Chinese characters into programming language.
The conversion of Chinese characters onto keyboards is baffling enough
for a novice like myself. Chinese/English websites are rife with
translation gaps, as was eminently clear to me when I was trying to
read the English versions of Chinese sites. On the other hand, so many
people in Asia are multilingual, they may be more accustomed and
skillful in negotiating those gaps.

Ricardo and Brian Holmes bring up so many points that I am unable to
respond to them, except to mention that Holmes and David Harvey had a
dialogue the following week where Harvey brought up that he was in
China giving lectures and struggling because his translator couldn?t
come up with an equivalent word for ?class struggle? in Chinese. These
are the kind of gaps we attempt to bridge in producing work that will
uphold an ?ethics of online cultural translation.? 


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> Today's Topics:
>    1. Re: Forward from Mariam Ghani: translation +	minding	thegaps
>       (ricardo miranda zuniga)
> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 09:22:25 -0700
> From: "ricardo miranda zuniga" <ricardo@ambriente.com>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Forward from Mariam Ghani: translation +
> 	minding	thegaps
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Message-ID: <E1EL1Av-0004IB-5I@host55.ipowerweb.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
> A couple weeks ago I attended an opening lecture and discussion for a
> weekend long workshop at 16 Beaver, NYC - "Continental Drift" with
> Brian
> Holmes ( http://ut.yt.t0.or.at/site/index.html ).  The workshop was
> dedicated to mapping tactics of resistance against current global
> hegemony.  
> In his opening lecture, Brian discusses the U.S. construction of
> large
> global economic blocs since the end of WWII, beginning with the 1944
> Bretton Woods Monetary System (international marketing system - U.N.,
> World Bank - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretton_Woods_system ), to
> the
> 1948-52 Marshall Plan... to eventually establish today's tri-dominant
> economic system with the U.S. dollar, the Euro and the Yen.
> I feel that Brian's questions and proposals are too closely aligned
> to
> the topic of our discussion to not put it forth as we near the end of
> the month.  Below I've copied Brian's overview to the project that he
> is
> engaged in.  It seems to me that Brian's project is invaluable in
> considering our roles as net savvy cultural producers that must
> investigate/utilize these liminal zones that Mariam and Ian have
> discussed and grab as much of that 2% net traffic for cultural
> resistance, representation and engagement - be it through ambiguity
> or
> in-your-face tactics.  Afterall, we play a role in articulating the
> border zones of the net and forms of engagement through artistic
> production.  It is through creative production that we can choose to
> either mediate "spaces for the partly visible and invisible" or to
> disrupt the normative borders that are manifested both within the net
> itself and that which the net mirrors.  Also through engagement and
> production we play a role in the formulation of an ethics of online
> cultural translation. 
> Overview for Continental Drift, Brian Holmes:
> "Continental integration refers to the constitution of enormous
> production blocs ? and particularly, to NAFTA and the EU (while
> nervously awaiting the configuration of a full-fledged Asian bloc
> around
> Japan and China).
> But continental drift means you find Morocco in Finland, Caracas in
> Washington, Latins in Americans, "the West" in "the East" ? and so
> forth
> in every direction. These are the metamorphic paradoxes of
> contemporary
> power.
> The continental blocs are functioning governmental units one scale up
> from the nation-state. They represent specific attempts to articulate
> and manage the vast constructive and destructive energies that have
> been
> unleashed by the last four decades of technological development, from
> the introduction of the worldwide container transport system in the
> sixties, all the way to the emergence of widespread satellite
> transmission in the eighties and the Internet in our time. Military
> strategies, the competitive rush for markets, but also the
> uncertainty
> and turbulence of the neoliberal globalization process itself has led
> capitalistic elites to seek forms of territorial stabilization ?
> however
> violent this "stabilization" may be. This means re-organizing, not
> just
> spaces and flows, but also hearts and minds, whether in the centers
> of
> accumulation or on the peripheries. We are all affected, wherever we
> are
> living.
> The main hypothesis I want to put out here is that the two
> really-existing blocs ? NAFTA and the EU ? are both developing not
> only
> a functioning set of institutions, but also a dominant form of
> subjectivity, adapted to the new scale. This form of subjectivity is
> offered to or imposed upon all those who still live only at the
> national
> level, or on the multiple edges or internal peripheries of the bloc,
> so
> as to integrate them. At the same time it serves to rationalize ? or
> to
> mask ? the concomitant processes of exploitation, alienation,
> exclusion
> and ecological devastation. In what different ways does this
> integration
> of individual and cultural desire take place? How is it resisted or
> opposed? How to imagine an excess over the normative figures of
> continentalization? Where are the escape hatches, the lines of
> flight,
> the alternatives to bloc subjectivity? And what types of effects
> could
> these exert on the constituted systems?
> To answer such questions in any meaningful way requires several
> different levels of investigation. First, the driving forces of the
> globalization process ? including neoliberal doctrine, the globalized
> financial system, the transnational institutions and Imperial
> infrastructures such as the Internet or the GPS satellite mapping
> system
> ? have to be identified and observed in operation. Second, the
> evolving
> forms of territorial governance and the constantly shifting
> territorial
> limits of the major continental blocs have to be described and
> differentiated from each other. Third, the dominant forms of
> subjectivity in each bloc - the models of success and jouisssance -
> have
> to be characterized, using the tools of social psychology. But the
> most
> interesting and probably the most urgent thing is to conduct singular
> and transversal investigations on the margins of these majority
> formations, to see how people are reacting, innovating, resisting and
> fleeing.
> The goal, then, is to map out the majority models of self and group
> within each of the emerging continental systems, to see how they
> function within the megamachines of production and conquest ? and at
> the
> same time, to cross the normative borders they put into effect, in
> order
> to trace microcartographies of difference, dissent, deviance and
> refusal. For that, it's necessary to travel and to collaborate, to
> invent concepts and also set-ups, ways of working. One tactic is to
> juxtapose sociological arguments with activist inventions and
> artistic
> experiments. Another is to crisscross the languages, and even better,
> the families of languages, and to reside in the gaps between their
> truth
> claims and sensoriums. But still another is just to drift and see
> what
> happens. The ideas of Felix Guattari, particularly in Chaosmosis and
> the
> untranslated study, Cartographies schizoanalytiques, can provide a
> kind
> of disorienting compass for these attempts to articulate something
> subjectively and collectively, outside the existing frames.
> Obviously, this kind of project is scientifically "impossible." No
> conceivable group of researchers, and certainly not an ad-hoc
> operation,
> could possibly synthesize the varieties of knowledge needed at these
> scales. This is where a de facto censorship begins to operate, with
> all
> kinds of consequences. To accept the impossibility is to condemn
> oneself
> to ignorance, not only of the contemporary macrocosm (the
> world-space),
> but also of the dynamics of your own microcosm (what happens in your
> head, what pulses in your veins). So we're gonna try the project
> nonetheless.
> Modularity and experimentalism will be the strategies for eluding any
> tacit censorship of this irrational desire to know. Modularity,
> because
> it refuses the totalizing construction and always leaves room for an
> extra module to be inserted in a line of questioning, completing it,
> problematizing it, or opening up a new bifurcation. Experimentalism,
> because the existing rationalities and protocols of truth are simply
> not
> enough to make a world, and only the undiscovered form or order holds
> a
> chance of breaking the deadlocks that confront everyone, at the micro
> and macro scales of disaster in the twenty-first century.
> This project stems from the geophilosophical desire of an individual,
> but demands only to multiply. The research will be done through the
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