Irma Erlingsdóttir

Forms of Resistance and the Question of the In-between in Assia Djebar‘s work

Taking the writings of Assia Djebar as a point of departure, the paper focuses on the struggle—so central among Francophone writers—between the “inner” and “outer” aspects of languages within a transnational cultural and political context. Djebar‘s literary task— as a woman and a writer—is to find a way to avoid being incorporated into a purely French literary tradition or into a reified, local, and primordial Algerian culture. It is a reflection of the specific conditions of Francophone writers, in general: to have two or more tongues— the official (patriarchal) one and their (m)other tongue(s). Their backgrounds appear as inscriptions of irreducible differences as regards language, politics, history, culture, race, sex/gender and geography.

“Between-two-languages/tongues” (l ́entre-deux-langues) is a main concept in Djebar‘s writings. The concept expresses the interstice that “connects” French and Arabic. It will be argued that this connection is not only marked by conflict and distrust but also, in some cases, by mutual respect. For Djebar, it is a question of infusing the French language with Arabic influences. Thus, she “bi-tongues”—or translates into French—foreign history, Algerian experiences and voices. As will be stressed, one motive is to highlight the oppression and silencing of Algerian women from historical and contemporary perspectives, while at the same time underlining their various forms of resistance.

Excursion: Reykjanes Peninsula

St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hafnarfjörður – performance/installation/sermon/; followed by an excursion to the town of Grindavík. Along the way a peep into the open earth. Food for body and thought

An excursion out of the city, first to the neighbouring town of Hafnarfjörður into a closed space, a chapel in a hospital that has been out of use for some years. A happening organised by the artists and scholars Steingrímur Eyfjörð, Unnar Örn Auðarson, Karlotta Blöndal, Birna Bjarnadóttir and Haraldur Jónsson will take place accompanied by a sermon by Gauti Kristmannsson on the futility of work in a performative installation by the artists of The Expedition to the Magic Mountain. The installation echoes a dialogue with the threads of insomnia casualties during the bright nights of Ísafjörður, in the Westfjords, in June 2014. This operation is a gradual exploration of body and soul in a moribund space.

After the performance, under the guidance of the artist Haraldur Jónsson, the trip will take the participants to Grindavík, a town on the corner of the Reykjanes peninsula, en route they will explore the underbelly of mother earth, and visit the Guðbergur Bergsson Centre and crown the expedition with a meal together.

The performance in the chapel of St. Joseph ́s Hospital was made possible by the support of the town of Hafnarfjörður and Fasteignir Ríkisins.

The Grave of Icelandic Studies – A Workshop Expedition under an Open Sky

The workshop is not static but dynamic and consists of an expedition under the open sky. Conference participants are invited to walk from the Nordic house and Nýi Garður in a procession to the foundation of a building which will be dedicated to Icelandic studies in an unknown future. In this “graben, hole, grave” a participatory performance will take place under the auspices of a group of artists and academics named The Expedition to the Magic Mountain,* which will invite all to experience Icelandic culture from a new perspective, viewing both the land and the stars.

* The group consists of the artists Haraldur Jónsson, Unnar Örn Jónasson Auðarson, Karlotta Blöndal and Steingrímur Eyfjörð, film director Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir, Gauti Kristmannsson professor of translation studies at UoI and Birna Bjarnadóttir, head of the Icelandic department of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

Hoda Thabet

The Feminist Sublime

As a horizontal, rather than a vertical process, the Feminist Sublime may offer an organizing principle of discourse capable of embracing doubledness, male/female, and subject/object, without either subjugation or triumph. Transcendence, if it is part of the postmodern sublime, must differ from the egotistical aggrandizement of the classical, masculinist sublime. A sublime that encompasses the structures of power exerted on the subaltern, the grotesque, and hysterical, even as it avoids defining and limiting their experiences and identities, may be useful to feminist analysis.

The Feminist Sublime is a radical revolt from the recreation of such obliteration or marginalization, because it is essentially non-binary, allowing us to reframe, acknowledge and explore our thoughts, language, and beingness in polymorphic rather than dimorphic terms. Nancy Mairs explains the legacy of binary thought that stresses our separation from rather than our relationship the Other, which so many have inherited:

The fundamental structure of patriarchy is thus binary: me/not me, active/ passive, culture/nature, normal/ deviant, good/bad, masculine/feminine, public/ private, political/personal, form/content, subjective/objective, friend/enemy, true/false. . . . It is a structure, both spatial and temporal, predicated upon separation, not relation. (41)

The feminist sublime, offers a different way to negotiate otherness and opposition than simply striving for domination over them.

Martin Regal

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere as a model of hybrid flux

Neverwhere began life as a six-episode television series on BBC 2 in 1996, conceived and written by Neil Gaiman in collaboration with British comedian, Lenny Henry. Gaiman, dissatisfied with both the experience and the end-result, then added to and restored elements of his original script to produce his first solo novel, published by the BBC in the same year. Since then, Neverwhere has undergone further transitions, including a comic book series (nine issues, beginning in 2005), a revised novel (2006), a number of stage plays (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013), Gaiman’s own audio version of the novel (2007) and a six-part radio dramatization (2013). While this paper presents Neverwhere as typifying the state of flux that contemporary works cannot avoid inhabiting, its primary focus is on the concept of hybridity. In doing so, it borrows something from the theorizing of hybridity by Homi Bhabha and others in the early 1990s, making connections between the anxieties of cultural liminality and medium specificity, but also ventures into the complex and, I hope, potentially more productive realms of biological hybridity that have so far been largely neglected by intermedial and adaptation studies .

Ásdís Sigmundsdóttir

Translation as a Space for Self-Promotion

Common ideas of translation that visualize it as a mediating process between cultures often render the translator near invisible. In this formulation the translator is a go-between that facilitates the movement, transition and transformation of cultural products but is himself less important. Historically this has not always been the case. To exemplify how notions of translation and the projected image of the translator has evolved I will discuss how 16th century translators used their translations as tools for self-promotion. How the nature of translations as being “in-between” or mediators between cultures opened up a space which gave the translators a chance of displaying culturally valued skills and knowledge. To demonstrate this I will discuss a little- known English verse rendering by Thomas Delapeend of a French translation of an Italian novella from 1565. The poem is a rewriting and a translation with numerous changes and additions, both silent and signaled. The difference between the silent changes and the ones the translator draws attention to, give an idea about what the translator wanted to emphasize in his own work. They also pose questions about changing cultural values, the production of art and its practical application.

Gauti Kristmannsson

Mutations in Art. The New Memes Created by the Poems of Ossian

This paper looks at a cultural phenomenon of the eighteenth century which indeed ushered in a paradigm shift in Western culture. The Poems of Ossian were not only all the rage of the latter part of the eighteenth century, but a revolutionary bulk of poems which changed the outlook of many poets and scholars, as to how poetry should be and where it originated. The list of names is long, but people such as Wordsworth, Goethe, Herder would never have written the way they did, were it not for the Poems of Ossian. Not only that, but the influence on other arts was massive, and it is the objective here to look, however briefly, at these transformations of a translation, oft condemned as forgery, pseudotranslation, which on the other hand had the finest minds and artists of the best part of a century in its grip.

Jia Yucheng

Context Reconstruction in 独立的人们(Independent People)

Literary translation means not only transition from a source text to a target text, but also reconstruction of contexts in the target text as close as possible to those in the source text. Although the accepted view that there is no absolute in literary translation this implies and, to certain extent, encourages individual creativity. Context reconstruction can still be a touchstone, which not only translation critics, but also readers employ to decide whether a translated work is successful or not. As the only translation of Halldor Laxness‘ Independent People in mainland China, 独 立的人们 (dú lì de rén men) is undoubtedly a significant debut of Icelandic literature for Chinese readers. However, unfortunately, some obvious deficiencies can be found in the translation, which not only beset Chinese readers, but also, more seriously, bring depreciate the fame of Halldor Laxness‘ great work. By analysing context reconstruction in 独立的人们, the paper tentatively puts forwards ways to reconstruct context in literary translation.

Elizabeth Henry

The Curator as Translator

Translation is not limited to texts as curating is not limited to exhibitions. But both roles are humble roles relying on networks, taste, and leadership. In this paper, I explore 21st century practices by emerging translators and rising curators to situate themselves within highly dynamic cultural discourses and shifting economic realities. Building a case with arguments and examples from contemporary practices, I explore the power relations and hegemonic realities of translating and curating. I draw from theory, discourse, and many characterizations of these roles to explain how the fields are changing.

Ólöf Gerður Sigfúsdóttir

In Between

In this presentation I will reflect on “In Between,” an exhibition project I curated at Hafnarborg museum in 2011. Aiming to provide an alternative to curating practices on the one hand and academic research on the other, the project explored the possibility of moving beyond the dichotomies of practice vs. theory, intuition vs. knowledge, artistic practice vs. scholarly practice. It was the output of a collaborative working process involving a group of contemporary artists and scholars from the field of humanities and social sciences, reflecting on the concepts of collecting, wonder and knowledge. The project was rooted in the Renaissance, drawing on the history of museums as public institutions with particular attention to curiosity cabinets and the dawn of the scientific revolution. Employing an institutional critique  approach, my intention was to create a platform for artists and scholars to examine the historical and cultural context of the means and modes of knowledge production within the particular context of museums. Central to the project was the juxtaposition of universities and museums as institutions for the production and dissemination of knowledge. Being a PhD student wanting to place academic work a cultural sphere, I found myself oscillating between the two contexts. Both are vehicles for fostering and hosting research, although museums tend to present themselves as repositories of knowledge while universities like to think of themselves as producers of knowledge. In many ways, the Renaissance curiosity cabinet can be seen as a common denominator between the two, being an attempt to make sense of the hitherto unknown world in an empirical, tangible way; through the process of collecting, storing and displaying of natural and artificial objects.

In this presentation I will describe the curatorial process as epistemic practice, with particular attention to the visual artwork made for the exhibition and their situatedness in the museum space.