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The Mobile Space of the Essay

The Mobile Space of the Essay

Rabourdin, Caroline ORCID: 0000-0002-9694-0384 (2017) The Mobile Space of the Essay. In: Warp Weft Research Workshop, Monash University/University of Tasmania, Prato, Italy. (Unpublished)

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In 1958, Theodor Adorno compares the writing of an essay to the weaving of a carpet:

"In the essay, concepts do not build a continuum of operations, thought does not advance in a single direction, rather the aspects of the argument interweave as in a carpet. The fruitfulness of the thoughts depends on the density of this texture." (Adorno, 1958)

In this presentation I will undertake a cross section through my different teaching activities at the Architectural Association and at UCL. As in Adorno’s essay, I will proceed from a layering of thoughts, drawn from the various courses I run: ‘The Form of the Essay’, ‘Printed Matter’, ‘Taking Measure’, ‘Another Philosophy of Language,’ and show that, although they exist independently, their fruitfulness lies in their interrelations and connections.

From Saussurean connotations to interlingual translations, this presentation proposes to look at the fruitfulness of interdisciplinarity through the practice and theory of language, and in particular through the shifts and displacements which exist within, as well as between, languages. To this effect I will refer to literature and philosophy, and in particular poststructuralist philosophy, with the work of Hélène Cixous and Jacques Derrida.

Architects are no strangers to translation theories, in Words and Buildings, architectural historian Adrian Forty writes that:

" Although the trade between languages is in some respects a difficulty […], in another sense the problem of translation is simply a manifestation of the transitoriness of meaning that is central to the whole enquiry: the migration of ideas and words from one language to another is another aspect of what goes on within a single language as one metaphor is displaced by another." (Forty, 2000)

A few lines later, Forty adds that the act of translation, should not be considered as a problem, "for through translation words gain as well as lose." In so doing, he invites us to embrace the practice of translation. In this presentation, I will focus on the gains and the creative potential offered by a 'translatory' practice.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: The form of the essay, Theodor Adorno, translation studies, architecture writing, creative and critical writing, essay writing, interdisciplinarity, languages, Adrian Forty
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 23:19

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