Is the change that nearly everyone of every pinstripe imagines to be necessary merely one of perception? Amidst the rancor inundating us from all sides, some of the more balanced (alternative?) ones among us must wonder whether even the achievement of political, economic, social or other goals will satisfy the vocal materialists.
If we glance back at our past in literary fiction for orientation, it must be conceded that the trials characters face in the classics mirror our own today, even if the mirror is foggy or fractured. The narratives of all cultures at all times are littered with complex relationships, shattered dreams, broken men and women, financial difficulties…
These and other classical themes are the rationale for derivative artistic works such as translation and adaptation or the genres of transposition and transadaptation that Angelika Friedrich, Henry Whittlesey and I have invented. When we face the past in all its immediacy through a work of art, we should be able to draw analogies to our own time. This is also the logic behind the perpetual rewriting of history. Whether explicitly mentioned or not, a history book aims to portray the past so we can gain insights from it and apply them to our present circumstances.
While the past-present framework is one approach for understanding the current context, an alternative would be to look at a cross-section of countries in the present. This is especially attractive in our globalized and internationally networked society. Below the political and corporate level, however, it is difficult to find representations of everyday life that can serve as references for potential analogies. The problems are manifold: The precariate, working class, service class and middle class all have little-to-no political support and, consequently, media megaphone to express their views and lobby for their interests; the global scale of our currently networked civilization is too large to be addressed by readers or viewers attempting to work, go to school, raise a family, and so on; the potential authors or producers of such representations are generally “trapped” by their own culture, as their achievement of a socially respected position requires overwhelming exposure to their native culture (schooling, internships, work will all be in one country). This is where the limited scope of the perypatetik project meets with eccentric translators to create a present-present framework for grasping our age through transadaptation in a cross-section of countries.
In Conceived, the second part of our transadaptation series begun with In the Middle, eleven of the twelve authors from the first volume in addition to a new contributor from America have “continued” their initial stories. By at least partially touching on childhood, they have laid the foundation for a concrete transadaptation that will be framed and fitted out over the coming years.
As the essays and short stories by these writers have shown, the translator-author has a unique ability to bridge the information gap between the pragmatic elites shaping our opinions in the mainstream media and publishing on the one hand and the vast silent majority of romantics struggling to make ends meet on the other. They are amorphous in not just their profession, but also their social position. Language skills are acknowledged; income is, relatively speaking, low; and, until the corona crisis, their tendency to work at home alone all the time was viewed to be somewhat strange. It is a profession of dissenters who can relate to the masses of romantic outsiders around them, even without belonging to them. Being largely equal, these translator-writers can live in nearly perfect harmony with construction workers, retail associates, delivery drivers, mothers not working, the retired, the unemployed or marginally employed. Similar to all romantics, they also know or are aware of pragmatists’ values, expectations, norms, but their job of working with words and sentences allows them to assimilate the impressions gained from the world of romanticism and describe this alternative in a manner that can be understood by pragmatists. In this capacity, the translator-writer goes beyond their cultural mediation in translation (shifting a text from one language to another). They translate the culture of romantics to words, either in non-fiction or fiction. In non-fiction, they have done this in The Archive of Instability (2017), The Codex of Uncertainty (2018) and The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes (2019). The first representation in fiction has just been released with the collection In the Middle (2020). Now we are continuing with Conceived.
Before we can figure out what change is necessary, we need to understand what is going – not just in our own country, but others as well.
January: The Pack – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
February: The Pink Shirt – Talia Stotts (America)
March: Dragging the Past out into the Light – Kate Korneeva (Russia)
April: Looking Forward to Spring – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
May: Every Little Thing – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
June: The Girl Who Chased the Rainbow – Toni Wallis (Sarah-Leah Pimentel) (South Africa)
July: Another World – Jonay Quintero Hernandez (Spain)
August: Life after Nare – Nane Sevunts (Armine Asryan) (Armenia)
September: Meeting My Homeland – Rayan Harake (Lebanon)
October: Catching Water (Part Two) – Javier Gomez (Argentina)
November: Remember – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
December: I Can’t Breathe – Veronica Cordido (Venezuela)
Background – Context
In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Cover photo: Eskişehir, Turkey – Schizophrenia – Phovius (Unsplash)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed