Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Three text finalists

Over the spring break, I did a lot of research on different literature types from different cultures...again, but this time I expand beyond poem and words.

Previous quarter I attempted the three following text constructing approaches...

1. Created a meshed world poem by using different words from different languages.
2. Used the source text pronunciations to provoke an emotion while the content itself may not be as important to the non-native listeners.
3. Created 4 translation poems by combining source text, literal/google translation text, target/polished translation text in a lyrical order.

All these approaches have its own advantages and weaknesses in this translation art I'm attempting. It is extremely difficult to keep a perfect balance between native text source and target translation. I want to look for a text that has a strong meaning and also sound interesting that doesn't sound like a ordinary sentence.

After endless head banging in the middle of the night, I was inspired by an ancient Chinese proverb:

世上无难事,只怕有心人 (pinyin: shì shàng wú nán shì, zhǐ pà yǒu xīn rén) (world+on+without+difficult+circumstances, only+fear+have+heart+people)

* Literally: You must persevere to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks.
* Moral: Everything can be done with enough perseverance.
* Compare: Where there's a will, there's a way.

And I came to realize this is exactly the text type I'm seeking for, proverbs/sayings from different cultures.

According to Wikipedia,

A proverb, (from the Latin proverbium), is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim. If a proverb is distinguished by particularly good phrasing, it may be known as an aphorism.

Proverbs are often borrowed from similar languages and cultures, and sometimes come down to the present through more than one language. Both the Bible (Book of Proverbs) and medieval Latin have played a considerable role in distributing proverbs across Europe, although almost every culture has examples of its own.


Proverb has the short, precise, flexible text element I seek but yet always contains interesting literal meanings when translated.



* 肉(ròu)包(bāo)子(zi)打(dǎ)狗(gǒu) (meat+bun(2nd and 3rd)+hit+dog)
o Literally: To hit a dog with a meat-bun.
o Interpretation: Punishment with a reward never works.
o Moral: Don't use the wrong method to approach a problem.



* Nō aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.
* Literally: The talented hawk hides its claws
o A wise man keeps some of his talents in reserve


* Avec des si, on mettrait Paris en bouteille.
o Literal translation: With ifs, Paris could be put in a bottle.
o Idiomatic translation: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.


* A perro flaco todo son pulgas.
o Translation: To a skinny dog, all are fleas.
o Interpretations:
+ If/when you are weak, it will seem that only problems surround you.
+ To the weak of character, all responsibilities are irritating.
+ To misers, all are parasites.



Currently I'm finishing up three final texts and will be done by the end of this week.

1. 4 different language poems under a same theme (like the ones I presented at the final critique last quarter), attempt to explore inner thoughts of similar poets through translation. More of a content oriented approach.

2. 4 different language poems with 4 different emotional provoking, but translations would potentially take out the language aesthetic. More of a sound oriented approach.

3. Proverb, using close to 100 proverbs from the 4 languages (25 proverbs/each language) to create a giant meshed language sound art that speaks "truth" through repeating and echoing. (Just thought of this method over the last weekend, so I need to finish a draft for this approach FAST.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Envisioning Final Installation

The final installation will be taken place at a corner of the gallery room.

The final parchment text print will be displayed 45 degree against the corner while two speakers take place from both walls, creating a surrounding environment for the listener.

Display lighting will radiate the parchment text from above ceiling, creating a visual focus center while dim the surrounding speakers.

<=The envisioned installation image...

Projected Schedule

WEEK 3 - 4.14 - Raitt 205
Research final print material (parchment)
Finalize the new script
Schedule and do sound recording with the French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese speakers.

WEEK 4 - 4.21 - Raitt 205
Acquire a 2.1 channel speakers and parchment
Sound recording with the French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese speakers, continue
Composing & editing
Seek feedback

WEEK 5 - 4.28 - Fremont
Revise and polish the soundtrack and texts
Do a second round of recording if necessary
test soundtrack to 2.1 channel speakers
Seek feedback
Midterm critiques:Group A Presentation

WEEK 6 - 5.5 - Fremont
Finalize the soundtrack for midterm critiques
Midterm critiques: Group B Presentation

WEEK 7 - 5.12 - Raitt 205
Re-polish the soundtrack and solve any art and technical problems from the feedback.
Complete the final text print
Seek feedback

WEEK 8 - 5.19 - Fremont
Final critiques: Group A
Installation testing; sound/lighting/print

WEEK 9 - Wednesday - 5.26 - Fremont
Final critiques: Group B
Solve any last minute problems

Thursday - 5.27 - SOA
Install begins at 5PM in SOA galleries... continues through weekend

WEEK 10 - Tuesday 6.1
Exhibition begins 4-6:30

Self Reflections

What do I want to convey? What is the reason why I started this languages sound art?

Do I have to use a specific language to provoke an emotion or rather attempt to answer a question I have toward "language" itself? IE, since French is a language of romance, does that mean I have to provoke a sweet loving emotion? or use German to convey anger or violent emotion?

I don't know by provoking different specific emotions using different unique languages is what I really want to achieve, because there's already a stereotype impression of languages among the public. And it serves no meanings even if I get it translated and let alone two translations.

I'm looking for a common quality of different languages that will get converged by the literal/google and target/polished translations. One feedback I received from last quarter's final critique is that my contents doesn't match the echoing feeling and suggested that I should find a more relevant text, whether it's another poem or dialogues, and try composing the three sound materials in different order.

Ultimately I want to achieve a mundane feeling of brainwashing through a series of sound transformation from native source to target text.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Additional Sound Onomatopoeia FRENCH, SPANISH and CHINESE

Additional Sound Onomatopoeia references

French Onomatopoeia



Japanese Sound Symbolism

One thing I remember studying in Japanese is the usage of Japanese Sound Symbolism.
Japanese has an unique sound system to mimic and illustrate various situations and object sounds. Similar to English sound words; Bang, Wham, Zap for example.

doki doki [suru] a throbbing heart

shiin to [suru] [be (lit. do)] quiet [sound that portray silence]
(suru not optional)

Wiki Japanese Sound Symbolism

I would like to use different languages sound symbolism words to add a secondary level of audio texture to the final piece. I hope by adding the cultural sounds, it would add additional sound uniqueness and richness to each segment of the poem.

Sample Text Audio

I've uploaded two sample text audio tracks for preview. Let me know what's your first impression and feel free to offer any suggestion.
This is only a rough vocal tone tweaks, more effects will be implemented in the final piece.

zSHARE - Saigyo_poem 1_effectv1.wav

zSHARE - Lilu_poem 1_effectv1.wav

It takes a bit time to load.