China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This panel interrogates radical translation practices in contemporary Chinese cultural production. Papers address the productive potential of translation, examining the innovative and experimental uses of translation within the literary and cultural spheres. Moving away from a clear demarcation between source and target languages, this panel highlights the ways in which translation is deployed as a creative strategy, as well as the technological innovations that make such interventions possible. Jane Qian Liu addresses the subject of pseudotranslation, considering the implications of a text that merely poses as a translation. Liu probes the fraught relationship between ethics, authority and agency in seeking to redefine the boundaries between translated creation and creative translation. Kate Costello’s contribution examines the creative potential of machine translation, focusing on Hsia Yu’s machine poetry. Continuing to explore the ethical implications of translation, how do we ascribe creative agency to the co-creation of a human and a software program? And what if a machine translation is a fraud? Jonathan Stalling ventures into the realm of conceptual art, further probing the relationship between poetics and technology. Stalling poses transgraphic art as translational practice, exploring the creative potential of interlanguage. Finally, Tong King Lee turns to translating concrete poetry as a reflexive exercise. Lee takes the work of Chen Li as the basis for an exploration of the limits of the translator’s autonomy, using meme translation to undercut traditional assumptions about aesthetic agency. Contributions sidestep questions of fidelity in celebrating the subversive, productive and destabilizing elements of experimental translation.