≠ | Christopher Kit Maddox | Perfect bound book printed on onion skin
paper | Purchased by Stanford University's Green Library ~ Special Collections, October, 2017
EXHIBITION RECEPTION :: December 9th, 2017, 6-8pm, Arts + Literature Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin
“≠” (Antiparallel) investigates shifts of meaning that occur when prose is translated.
This analytical and poetic study is built from two versions of The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges: a version translated by Borges and his close creative partner Norman Thomas di Giovanni, and a more recent Penguin Classics release, translated by Andrew Hurley at the bequest of Borges’ surviving heir, Maria Kodama, who wanted to cut di Giovanni out of a royalties contract.
A central theme, conveyed in the title of the story, is the notion that one might imagine a multiplicity of personal existences, each of which expresses a choice made in life that initiated a sequence of events and a particular existence–parallel but unique realities. Such paradoxical antiparallels are mirrored in the text-based works of my project–particularly the enclosed book which presents a line-by-line analysis of two translations in their entirety. This piece reveals the complete body of discrepancies between two translations, and in so doing provides insight for the reader into difficulties inherent to translation. It is at the same time a concrete poem, conveying concepts embedded in the texts through its own typographic form of two parallel lines of text, that are paradoxically equal and not equal simultaneously.
Borges’ characters discuss a mythical labyrinth, and I believe this conversation alludes to
the impossibility of seeing the true nature of our predicaments for want of a view of the total territory we occupy. Antiparallel searches for connections between this labyrinth and the paths we follow through living that offer continuous choices. It explores how paths not taken may linger in the mind and develop into persistent fantasies, ruminations, or narratives of desire and conquest. It suggests that dreams are constructed from the vapors of roads not taken.