Lost in Translation III

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Shifting wor(l)ds or: poietic encounters

The act of translating fundamentally belongs to the human experience. Whether it is from one language, from one medium, or from one culture to the other, translation is key to understanding and communicating across linguistic and cultural boundaries, facilitates the dissemination of ideas and knowledge, and quite generally mediates between parties that otherwise would not be able to interact with one another. It requires the ability to listen and understand, to pause and reflect, and ultimately to find a response to a particular situation. In its essence, translation is imperfect. It describes no straightforward process but comes with difficulties, trial and error, and potential to conflict. There always remains the possibility of misunderstanding, hence one may literally feel lost in translation.


As a concluding event to the series, the Istituto Svizzero invites you to a reflection on the subjects of intercultural exchange and interlinguality. Each language is strongly related to a specific form of life in which it emerges and evolves – what does this mean in the present times, where moving from one language to another has become a widespread condition and a common practice, especially for actors engaged in the scientific, cultural, and artistic fields? How do these shifts between languages affect our way of thinking and acting? And which kinds of translation processes are here at stake? The roundtable discussion aims to address these and other questions by way of looking at different experiential horizons and various professional settings. Artists, writers, and historians explore what it is to be living and thinking in different worlds and how otherness and questions of identity are being articulated. Language takes a pivotal role in these processes of negotiation and mediation. If the words we use and the way we use them shape our ways of interacting with others and our environment, playing with words is indeed no idle game.

In collaboration with the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK.


H18:00 – Welcome

H18:10 – Panel presentations

Ann Cotten (Literature, Kunstuniversität Linz, Wien)
Marianna Maruyama (Arts, Reale Istituto Neerlandese di Roma KNIR)
Valentin Groebner (History, University of Lucerne)

H18:45 – Moderated discussion with Douglas Pompeu (Literature, Freie Universität Berlin)

The discussion will be held in English, an Italian-English and Italian sign language translation service is provided.
To participate visit the zoom link.

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