Identity Practices > Discursive spaces

DS Untitled 2011

‘Writing is silent. Barren white spaces hold the cryptic black marks of text. Margins impose an imaginary wholeness, even as they establish a border of difference. They contain the marks and signal their separateness from other texts. I know something about margins and the centres they create. I know that the borders of any frame are permeable; other ideas, other texts come in to flood any ideas of originality or sense of ownership. Centres are relative, malleable and polydimensional. Margins are continually transforming, reforming and deforming their parameters. The ideas I present are never completely mine. They are compiled of a chorus of voices, a story told through other texts shaped into a speech/text through a tongue that has been twisted to an easy conformity. In citation there always exists the error of deficit. The movement of one context to another, from a larger whole to a fractured piece always involves erasure and excess. Writing is treacherous work; it resists containment. Words spin out in search of their own meanings ready to turn on author[ity] at any moment. Edmond Jabes writes ‘Any word is a place open to attack by formidable words ready to usurp the book when nobody is watching. The danger only escalates when the words are unleashed into the space of the public.’ ‘The place of the book is a walled in void, every page a precarious shelter which has its four walls, its margins. To expose them to light and eyes means to topple its walls and ceiling.’

Deborah Britzman writes: ‘But perhaps you only hear a language game going on, a game of doubt, a narrative that tries to refuse narrativity, a non-narrative narrative. And if this is what you hear, perhaps you will be willing to think against your thoughts, to refuse the uncanny in your own practices, to suppose the equality of intellect in every encounter, to find things in common placed between two minds, to make a practice that refuses explication.’

Translation as metaphor, as performance, as art form, as the perilous work of reading and writing across every difference haunts utterance. The act of translation is the process of making legible a foreign symbolic order, of migrating across different dimensions of language, culture and experience in the elusive search for mutual understanding […] In the words of Peggy Phelan I want ‘to construct a way of knowing that does not take surveillance of the object, visible or otherwise, as its chief aim.’ Look for multiple, resistant, rhizomatic readings. Read the white spaces, hear the silences, peer into the shadows, look beyond the margins. Reach for [t]hat voice at the edge of things [Anzaldua Borderlands 50]. I am there as well.’

Queer latinidad: identity practices, discursive spaces By Juana María Rodríguez pp1-3

See also Wolfgang Iser, The Range of Interpretation, ‘acts of translation designed to transpose something into something else.’