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Le SENS de la TRANSLATION: Essays on the Bilingual Body

Rabourdin, Caroline (2016) Le SENS de la TRANSLATION: Essays on the Bilingual Body. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Rabourdin, Caroline

In his essay ‘Translation from Drawings to Buildings’, architectural historian Robin Evans argues that the translation of words can be compared to the translation of geometrical figures from one point in space to another. Yet, the substratum across which they travel, he adds, is not isotropic, and words get ‘bent, broken or lost on the way’. This description implies that words are autonomous objects of study, somehow disconnected from human experience and raises questions about the relation between language and geometry. As an architect and bilingual writer, I contend that the relationship between linguistic and spatial translation is not reducible to simple analogy, but instead offers a complex and fertile relationship. Not only does linguistic translation involve movement but also language is understood and sensed in movement through the body. The premise of this research is therefore to consider language as an embodied and spatial practice, as has been developed by poststructuralist philosophers and by phenomenologists. Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s conception of the body as expression and of the sensing body in particular, are fundamental to this study as well as to my practice as a writer. My research practice is the writing of the spoken word; it is the exploration of the translation phenomenon through a series of essays, which are subjective, tentative and performative. Fragmentary by nature, non-linear, the essays, as Adorno puts it in ‘The Essay as Form’, ultimately ‘seek the transitory’, and therefore dwell in motion, in perpetual translation. The essays borrow from philosophy, in the work of Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Jacques Lecercle, from poetry and literature, in the work of Caroline Bergvall, Michel Butor and Paul Auster, and from scientific disciplines, in the writings of mathematician Henri Poincaré, who invites us to rethink geometrical translation. Each essay originated as a conference paper and tackles the experience of translation, whether it be considered as linguistic or as spatial. What the thesis endeavours to show is that these movements can no longer be categorized as distinct, but rather join in the capacity of our bodies to sense and to make sense.

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Your affiliations with UAL: Other Affiliations > CCW Graduate School
Date: 2016
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2022 15:56
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2023 13:59
Item ID: 18887
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/18887

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