Archive for January 24th, 2012

24 January 2012

En abîme, notes / writing in English as a foreign language

Writing in English as a foreign language is a necessary tool allowing me to enact distance in language and to work with form in an exaggerated manner. Often words in the text appear as signposts pointing elsewhere, rather than as signs capable of resolving the narrative tension per se. This is another reason why I often choose to use repetition: I choose to make the most of the vagueness and of the sense of direction – in some cases, of exhaustion – inherent in my signpost-words as they appear on the pages; to leave them hover mid-air as signifiers but to let them move the narration as vectors; to uncover such tension by means of recurring patterns of clichés, while their meaning is disclosed by movement, by accumulation, by a time-based process, rather than by a fixed form or textual sign. If I think of my work in En abîme as a trace of the experience that made it, then the idea of word patterns constantly crashing into the now is one of its tropes, and the choice of repeating those patterns to the point of exhaustion further supports the experiential mode disclosed by the project.
A certain idea of abandon to English as a foreign language was also consolidated by a number of reflections on Walter Benjamin’s The Translator’s Task (1923)  – although I was not thinking of translating a language, but of translating the foreign background that informs my writing in English in particular with regards to notions of translation as afterimage, as a mode of intention aiming for an ever-changing harmony, and as a receptacle of other languages and cultures.



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