January 15-21, 2018
1214 Queen Street West
Reception: Thu, Jan 19, 7-10pm
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
In French philosopher François Jullien’s The Book of Beginnings he defines the “entering” of a way of thought as separate from exploring it through a Western lens. Jullien describes the polarity of the lexicons and the differing ways of thought between Chinese culture, European, and Western culture by comparing the first sentences of three classic texts originating from Greek, Hebrew, and Chinese—Hesiod’s Theogony, the Book of Genesis, and the I Ching (Classic of Change).
Jullien states that when entering a way of thought, by “beginning with terms that are your own, without disrupting them, without moving, without leaving: you have stayed within your initial categories—you discover nothing.” The same can be said of translation. By enclosing a text within a foreign language, you become a spectator from without, rather a participant from within.
The handwritten memoir of my grandfather appeared to me as a block of inaccessible information. According to the dates, it contains an extensive recollection of his life – from growing up in rural China to his eventual emigration to Boston, Massachusetts. The act of translating the text from one language to another entails many linguistic discrepancies—many images that may be hidden from the western eye.
Does (human) replication inevitably imply variation?
Is it possible to escape a way of thought and enter into a new one?
Perhaps the perfect translation is a fantasy, and we need to recognize the benefits of the hybrid.
It seems that by replicating something from the past, you lose the nuances of the original.
But at the same time, new subtleties appear as a result of the replication.
At what point in the translation do we begin to interpolate?
Perhaps every life is a secret.
Exhibition by Jeffrey Chiu.
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