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Studio Sessions: Translation as Social Relation

Studio Sessions: Translation as Social Relation

24 Apr 2014

In this session we propose to address a question raised by Naoki Sakai: What kind of social relation is translation in the first place? 
This question requires us to rethink what exactly is invested and enacted in translation. What is it that ‘takes place’ in the translational act? Reciprocally, we wish to ask, what does the notion of translation contribute to our current conceptions and understandings of social relations?

Drawing on textual as well as filmic sources and as a result of our collective work, we will unravel different theoretical approaches to the contemporary problem of translation. In these propositions a key role will be ascribed to the concepts of "address" on the one hand, and "relationality" on the other - two concepts which we hope to debate with the public in the course of this session.

About the participants:

Lucie Mercier is a PhD student in philosophy at the Center for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), Kingston University. In her work, she attempts at articulating a "postcolonial" concept of translation, focusing on the interconnexions between translation, historicity and relationality. Her thesis is organised around contemporary critical reflections on translation, read through the lenses of two authors of the Western philosophical tradition: Walter Benjamin and Michel Serres - at the convergence of German critical theory and French structuralism.

Stefan Nowotny is a philosopher, a lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths and a member of the Vienna-based eipcp (European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies). His interest in translation is linked both to his experiences as a translator and to issues of political and social theory: thinking of translation in terms of articulating social relations rather than in terms of rendering given meanings gives rise to a set of questions about a whole 'politics of translation', specifically concerning some contemporary complexities of migration, postcolonial relations, or so-called globalisation.

Svenja Bromberg is a PhD student in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research is centred around the problem of emancipation in Marx and post-Althusserian thought, focussing on questions around the materialist dialectic, the role of politics and the State and philosophical anthropology. The two central issues at stake in her project are those of 'politics' on the one hand and of 'materialism or materiality' on the other as both notions continue to present a challenge to a philosophy trying to incorporate the lessons from Marxism on the one hand and French epistemology and structuralism on the other.

Led by staff and students in Art, Design, Architecture and Philosophy at Kingston University, Studio Sessions will engage a broad audience in discussion and debate about the future of these disciplines, and how they are increasingly important as ways of thinking about the world. As the venue for these sessions, the ICA Studio encourages debate and conviviality.

Studio Sessions are staged as part of the affiliation between the ICA and Kingston University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, and the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy.

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