Decalcomania publication available online

We would  like to share the Decalcomania publication, if you would like a digital copy please click here:

Decalcomania Publication

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A few images of the exhibition

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Worry du jour

Its Sunday night and now its less than a week to go. The week ahead looks intense. The Install. Excitement propells us forward and everyday we learn something new. But also every day there is something diffrent to worry about. The monsters of today eat the worries of yesterday. Yesterday worries about the post, that got resolved so today it’s the sound. Maybe that goes to show you must not spend time worrying.

Sometimes in Tom & Jerry cartoons – or perhaps it was in Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner –  when they get in a really awful scrap, a picture of flowers comes up with the line: ‘We would rather show you this bunch of flowers instead of the violent scenes that follow’  (or something to that effect).

We feel the same.

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Bearlean or I want to fly a kite too

Adam is in Berlin. I wonder what he gets up to there?

Posted in Adam Burton

Felines for Decalcomania

Felines for Decalcomania.

“I do feel happy today. No reason in particular”.

A pose from Clementine in London and a kiss from Michou the Fluffer in Porto.

Posted in Ana Carvahlo

Site visit 3 and last *Tiago Pereira

Tiago is supposed to come on Tuesday but he can’t make it. As we wonder why, we spend time with Ana and organise local musicians to film. Phone calls and emails shower the day.

Tiago arrives late because he had to be on a prominent Portuguese culture talk show.  From the moment he arrives Tiago is open, he is here as a friend.  He is open to the surprises of British culture, to jokes and advice, to ambivalent outcomes, peculiar circumstances and even accepts the weather.  Tiago tells us what he likes and when he ‘s happy.  He listens when he is told to avoid coffee. He works very hard, as promised.     We don’t party at all, just have a beer but never at lunch time. It feels like a communal enterprise. We are a team.

We watch him on the talk show on line, although it’s in a language we don’t know,  Tiago’s love and dedication for the archiving project of Portuguese music  A Musica Portuguesa a gostar dela propria is enough to reduce one to tears.

Driving around Cornwall learning about dreams on film and a life in music. I try to learn some Portuguese but I sound Spanish. Tiago gets addicted to  al’ight mi ‘ansome – a staple phrase. On the last day a realisation strikes: I have never paid as much attention to music as at the hour filming. A new experience, alone with the music.

ps. look on Tiago Pereira’s Vimeo for Cornish Decalcomania Sessions.


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Site visit 2* Ana Carvalho

Ana Carvalho makes a journey to her old favourite Falmouth, although she stays in Penryn – in a sunny place kindly offered by Mette. Most importantly she meets Laura. We learn about Ana’s life as an academic, her travels as a performer and about hundreds of stories she’s tied into a book.
We laugh and employ lateral thinking when discussing any sort of verb. Questions come up; philosophical questions that will never leave us. Driving in the car we talk about cooking from your imagination not by the rules, following a different path. Around the table, on the beach Ana shares her experience on calmness and memory and mischievous artists.

What can I say? Ana knows what she want and she knows how to get it. Veni Vidi Vici.
She takes away flowers and captured sun to fashion into poetry, performance and film.

Posted in Ana Carvahlo

“The Translation of Untranslatable Words”

I hope that this is in some way appropriate. I had to type it up out of a book for something else and I thought it might be a good thing to put on here.

It is from New Worlds of Indigenous Resistance by Noam Chomsky and lots of people (who have voices) from North, South and Central America. This text is part of the introduction by Lois Meyer.

Cover of New Worlds of Indigenous Resistance

Another caution is relevant to this complex translation effort, one which the anthropologist Malinowski described almost seventy-five years ago in his accounts of extensive field work in the Trobriand Islands of Oceania. He cautioned ethnographers about “the translation of untranslatable words”: “In brief, every language has words which are not translatable, because they fit into its culture and into that only; into the physical setting, the institutions, the material apparatus and the manners and values of a people.”

While we might wish to believe that such untranslatable words are “but freaks or peculiarities,” Malinowski assures us this is not the case; words such as numerals, parts of the body, prepositions, “words as ordinary as bread and butter,” will never be used in exactly the same linguistic contexts with exactly the same meanings in any two languages on earth, no matter how closely related those languages may be. True translation of words or texts across any two languages depends upon “a unification of cultural contexts,” claims Malinowski. For real understanding to occur across languages, this unification process is always a “difficult, laborious and delicate” one, even when two cultures have much in common. But when two cultures differ profoundly, “when the beliefs, scientific views, social organization, morality and material outfit are completely different, most of the words in one language cannot be even remotely paralleled in another.”

It remains to be seen whether our English translations, supported by an abundance of explanatory footnotes, succeed in “unifying the cultural contexts” of an array of Latin American settings with those cultural settings familiar to English-speaking readers. Humbled by Malinowski’s warnings, we nevertheless hope that this is the case, at least to some degree. But there are two Spanish words/concepts used repeatedly throughout the Latin American commentaries that we found impossible to translate fully into English: comunalidad and interculturalidad.

We acknowledge their status as “untranslatable words” by leaving them in Spanish, marked by italics, throughout our book.

The term comunalidad has already been employed several times in this chapter, defined in shorthand as the principle and practices of communal like and the source of indigenous identity and resistance. The term itself comes from the Oaxacan indigenous context and is described in considerable detail in this volume by two of its foremost expositors, Jaime Martínez Luna and Benjamín Maldonado. Several commentators from Central and South America appear to misinterpret comunalidad as referring to the more limited meaning of “community” (comunidad). At least two other terms which seem, at least superficially, to convey the deeper meaning of comunalidad have surfaced in these commentaries: minga from Ecuador and ayllu from the Aymaras in Bolivia. However without extensive fieldwork or at least some expert corroboration, we will not rush to the assumption that these words have the “same meaning” within their respective indigenous contexts. We are even less willing to risk the English translation of “communitarianism” or any of its derivatives, each of which is burdened with sociopolitical history and meanings in U.S. and other Western contexts. For all these reasons, we have left the term comunalidad (and the other terms italicized in this paragraph) untranslated, allowing each author to provide the meaning appropriate to their text and context.

The term/concept interculturalidad, which also appears frequently across the commentaries, we have deemed equally “untranslatable,” but for somewhat different reasons. To our knowledge, a term such as “interculturalism” or “interculturality” has no meaning in English; indeed, we would be forced to invent both the term and its meaning, which provides no solution in the translation task. The familiar English term “multiculturalism” is entirely inadequate as a translation for interculturalidad. Multiculturalism has its cognate in Spanish, multiculturalidad, but the contextual meanings of this term in Latin America imply a status-quo, non-critical “appreciation of other cultures” approach to diversity; in contrast, the term interculturalidad has evolved precisely to recognize and challenge the disparities of power and status between cultural groups in society. Despite its more political, critical intentions, several of our commentators (for example, Marcela Tovar Gómez and Grimaldo Rengifo Vásquez) suggest that the term interculturalidad in the official rhetoric of Latin America has been so co-opted and gutted of meaning that it now functions as a tool or a mask of continued patronization and cultural subordination. To avoid facing Western readers with a long list of “untranslated” Spanish words embedded in English texts, in some cases we have created an “English translated form” of derivative terms (such as “intercultural education” and “intercultural teachers”), though it would be difficult to explain an author’s meaning of these terms in an English cultural context. However, we consistently leave the base terms interculturalidad and comunalidad, in their original Spanish to mark these words and cultural concepts as “untranslatable.”

A third term, cosmovisión, is perhaps equally untranslatable. However, here we have taken another tack; we rejected “world view,” the translation provided in several Spanish-English dictionaries, in favor of creating our own literal, Anglicized translation, “cosmovision,” implying a philosophical or spiritual perspective that attempts to account for or include a way of understanding the entire cosmos and humanity’s place in it. We feel this suggests the possibility of envisioning multiple worlds, not just one, and approximates both the expansiveness and the unity conveyed by cosmovisión in indigenous thought.

Posted in Adam Burton

Site visit 1 * Sarah Tripp

In the summer, in June, Sarah Tripp comes to visit. Its her first visit to Cornwall. She is thinking about being by the sea, ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ and small communities. Sarah and Maria spend some time exploring and experiencing The Exchange. Blair shows them round, even the basement and the offices.

We make this out of air drying clay in Newlyn. Sarah is the rounded shapes, Maria is the squares (and the little explosions). We meet Kirsty. Sarah has some good questions. We have lunch in Penzance and its raining. Sarah is going to do a performance on the first day of the exhibition. Probably in the Engine Room.
We listen to an unexpected concerto.

We are always talking. No matter what we are saying we return to notions on ‘having a practice’. Where does ones practice stand in relation to making finished works of art?
We believe it a key and that unlocks something. Sarah cares, notices and thinks about everything and everyone. We have dinner with LR who joins in. We carry on talking with bursts of laughter, about what art school makes us into, the friends of friends we rather avoid and food. We drink tea and go to bed early.

Everything is inspiring. Everything makes sense. Sarah has a good day in St.Ives but the trains are capricious. All ends well with fish and chips. The memory left is the strength of the gentle and the power of the small. Thank you Sarah Tripp (for the gifts, say the daughters)

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Succès d’estime

The wonderful people at the Arts Council approve of Decalcomania and have offered us the funding. Thank you Arts Council and Thank you all for your help.

The game is afoot.

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