Saturday, May 05, 2007

Literal Translating confuses me.


In yesterday's La Presse Anabelle Nicoud writes a nice article about the upcoming biennale. But, I am left scratching my head. In English the title is 'Crack the Sky' and Wayne Baerwaldt told Christine Redfern "'Reportage, shifting identities, hybridity and the return of the museum of curiosities'... Wayne Baerwaldt uses these words to describe the themes of the upcoming Biennale de Montréal."

In French the title is 'Remuer ciel et terre' which literally translates into something like shaking heaven and earth, which is a French phrase meaning to move heaven and earth or 'tout mettre en œuvre pour atteindre un but.' Which is not at all anything even close to "Reportage, shifting identities, hybridity and the return of the museum of curiosities." Then to continue my confusion, Mr. Baerwaldt says in French «Remuer ciel et terre, c'est vraiment une métaphore pour évoquer l'idée de frontière. De nombreux artistes abordent cette thématique de leurs oeuvres, tout comme celles du confort matériel et celle de l'immigration.» Which I roughly translate as 'moving heaven and earth is truly a metaphor that evokes the idea of a border. A lot of artists use this theme in their work, as well as those of material comforts and immigration.'

Now if I squint hard, I can sort of make out a connection between "shifting identies" and "themes of immigration." But how the other ones fit in is way beyond me. Or am I just dumb as dirt?

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