on translated by, biggin’ japan at cca kitakyushu until 20 jan 2012

Translated By – London 2011

Translated By, Shumon and Charles’ exhibition of audio recordings of writing about place by a range of writers including myself, with a short excerpt from In Ramallah, Running  in the form of cut-together running texts, is currently on show at CCA KITAKYUSHU Ogura Gallery December 12, 2011 – January 20, 2012.

Shumon writes that for logistical reasons [sharp intake of breath!] my contribution to the exhibition is one of those that are not part of this version [actually, the point of the show is to make a new mixtape with Japanese writers/context included] but will be restored when TB reaches SALT in Istanbul later in the spring where “visitors will be able to run in Ramallah through the Ottoman Bank HQ!” Visitors to Japan are advised to pick up a copy of the book itself, then, after enjoying the new mix of course! Visitors to Istanbul this coming Spring… may now include myself because that sounds irresistible! [IR,R emerged from a summer visit to Palestine that began a day or two after the killings on the Mavi Marmara.]

It puts me in mind of the period a decade and more ago when I was teaching at the AA in London -where TB originated earlier this year coincidentally. Weekly, I ruinously expanded youngish people’s lives by lecturing to them in a series called ‘If to city were a verb…’ I remember a particular 5th year student from Japan whom I helped translate Lacan’s Seminar on Ethics line by line, using taped-together sheets of faxes that she was sent week by week in bits and pieces from home -a Lacanian loop if ever- because she so much wanted to understand -and I wanted her to too. Bizarre and perhaps even more difficult than its author intended!

I suspect that the absence of my firey and difficult Ramallah text is generated by a reason like this, amongst wholly proper others [I know/trust this much, this Note would be a peculiar complaint if I had any reason to think otherwise! In contrast, it’s a celebration of TB]. The book itself –In Ramallah, Running– is on the way to printers after the last commas were finessed during last Friday and will appear at the end of February/early March exactly as long intended/advertised. I had to re-read it twice last week and can at least brag this much; it’s success in conjuring the place that Palestine is not allowed to be in the English-speaking world, might earn me some respect from those I most respect and aspire to generate respect in, but is going to get me tagged or tasered in almost every other context. Ironically/ sickeningly, of course, it will be me that is called racist!

Sadly, and unrelated to the thought above [except in the way mind works; in fact these thoughts were generated by the ongoing scarcity of mainstream British critical responses to Arabic writing, esp. if it’s Palestinian] I suspect that IR,R might be dropped, missing, selected out, ‘unavailable’, unreading-listed, ‘on order’, “too much”, unreviewed; absented in various ways for the foreseeable future. However, I also expect it to exceed such contexts and have a long slow burn. But or so, for one thing make sure you chase yourself down a copy and come along to any reading or other event advertised to get one that way!

Meanwhile, for the duration of the TB in Japan show, anyone who would like to hear the really beautiful rendering of my extract [truly! it’s incredibly touching to hear the extent to which Geoffrey Streatfeild made it his own while retaining the singularity of my text too. Brilliant radio too but… of course, you know; BBC “impartiality”] can drop me an email and I’ll send it to you. Seems fair, no? -as well as being a[nother] form of collaboration…

I’ve been peculiarly detained with place this year, which takes on ever more crucial significance. Of course I mean ‘place’ in particular ways; actual, dusty, productive, bone-filled with time and held in common. I don’t mean its abstraction as space, when it is evacuated of substantive qualities/ wholly commodified and/ or fallen into the hands of fascists and those who would erase others/the other for a piece of the earth’s crust. As if! As if…

Herein lies the potency of the place I attempted and dare I say succeeded in partially capturing, conveying, bringing to your brow in my complete series of texts. A recovery of place as an act and/ or means of resistance, as resistance per se -in the context of this uniquely depraved Occupation which so fittingly received Newt Gingrich’s leaky-monkey-pants seal of approval this week!

TB, the book, is worth getting hold of for all the contributions and you can get a copy here [without my benefitting in the way some such links work! Ethics, wink] and/ or save your pennies, cents, rupees and dirhams for a copy of In Ramallah, Running [for which I share credits with the artists and writers who responded so brilliantly and honourably to my texts and whose contributions make it irresistible alone, truly!] which will be available from all the usual places after February 28th 2012…

As for place itself, well watch this space for ongoing, upcoming projects closer to home and perhaps also a resumption, sometime next year, of another one in my home-from-home. Yes, you know…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s