IRC17, Bengaluru, March 03-05, 2017


21. #DigitalisingKnowledge
Translation, Ethics, and Pluralisation: Digitalising Knowledge

Last updated on Nov 07, 2016.


Description of the Session

This presentation is made in the context of working towards compiling a Bibliography of Modern and Contemporary Art Writing of South Asia. An ongoing project undertaken by Asia Art Archive since end-2011, this annotated bibliography consisted of writing on art from over 13 languages, and posed immense challenges during the process of its compilation and its online rendering, particularly with regard to questions of language and its translation. It is against this backdrop that this presentation puts forward a few provocations: first, where does the imperative to translate all knowledge stem from? Second, if translation is, as Umberto Eco put it, an 'act of negotiation,' how do we read our ever-growing attempts to formalise, codify or in other words make 'language' of translation? It is common knowledge today that translation, or for that matter even transliteration, is subjective, ideological, and contextual, and consists in engaging with the poetics of language as much as with its syntax and meaning. In other words, if the erstwhile problem identified regarding translation was precisely its formalising devices, how do we account for ever-growing moves to do precisely the same where languages increasingly become objectified (albeit in a different tongue). Last and crucially, how does the ethics of digitalisation as such speak to these paradigmatic questions regarding translation other than merely repeating the rhetoric of the inherent democratising impulses of the digital?

Session Plan

The session is open to short papers or presentations that engage with the question of translation and multiple languages in the digital domain. Presenters may take as their starting point specific instances/examples (websites, apps, media, archives, collections) for further analysis. Presentations will also elaborate on the potential ways of negotiating these challenges at conceptual, pragmatic and technical levels. Each presentation/paper will be no more than 15-20 mins each.

Documentation Plan

Based on the discussion and feedback received during IRC, individual presenters will edit and finalise papers of around 2500-4000 words each, complete with references and bibliographies. These papers will be made available online for free public access either on the CIS/IRC website/blog, or on a new independent blog which can take these papers as a starting point to prompt further discussion regarding archives, internet and language.

Paper Abstracts

Not applicable.

Details of the Team

Sneha Ragavan is Researcher at Asia Art Archive, New Delhi. Since 2012, she has overseen AAA's Bibliography of Modern and Contemporary Art Writing of South Asia which is an ongoing project that compiles annotated digital bibliographies of art writing from over 13 languages. She has completed her Masters in Art History from M.S. University of Baroda (2008) with a specialisation in architectural history, and has received PhD in Cultural Studies (2016) from the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad for her thesis titled Building the National Modern: The Discourse of Architecture in Twentieth Century India.