net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

Italian “translation” of Separation / Séparation

Mauro Carassai and Renata Morresi made an Italian powerpoint and javascript translation (2012) of Separation/Séparation (2002). They didn’t have the flash source codes and so imagined how translation of this piece of E-lit could be done from its experience alone.

Translation, Mutation, Decay.

The powerpoint version is hilarious (after clicking through 184 slides it stops – the poem can’t be read completely).
The javascript version doesn’t work in all browsers and lacks some features, but does give an impression. ( View source: )

That’s what time can, will do with a piece of electronic art, I thought.
E-lit also is like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.

Carassi and Morresi wrote an article about their adventure which appreared as Verbal Disengagements: Translating Language Games in Annie Abrahams’s Separation/Séparation in Translating E-Literature (2015). Eds. Regnauld, Arnaud and Abrioux, Yves. Bibliothèque de l’Université Paris 8 (Saint-Denis, France).


Born out of a generative conversation between a PhD candidate working on e-literature and an Italian poet-critic and translator working on experimental women writers, our Italian translation of Annie Abrahams’s Separation/Séparation aims at highlighting the importance of ‘behavioural code’ both in human and machinic practices and has become an inquiry into the ways in which Abrahams’s responsive literary device (involved in linguistic and extra-linguistic practices) partakes in reconfiguring our rule-guided intersubjective behaviours at the level of literary negotiation. In Abrahams’s work negotiations of visualized words are purposefully meant to undergo readjustments and modulations whose effects are rarely under complete control of either the author or the work’s reader/“empathizer”/interpellator. As Wittgenstein remarks in Philosophical Investigations, “it is in language that an expectation and its fulfilment make contact.

Assuming, with Henry Meschonnic, that translation does not concern the sign, rather the organization of the movement of speech and the negotiation of elements such as rhythm and prosody, pauses and positions, expectations and deviations, we address the translation of an electronic work considering the procedure as constitutive of the creative act and its subjectivization. All the more poignantly in the case of Separation/Séparation, a work conceived as an exercise in the managing of respite and excess in the human-machine interaction.”

Filed under: Articles / Texts, e-literature, Net art, , , , , , , ,



Annie Abrahams
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