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Translation 16

August 21, 2014

Extrait de Somnambule dans Istanbul, Eric Faye, 2012, pp. 15-16

Les chapitres qui suivent sont une ébauche de cartographie de l’imaginaire, à travers une pléiade de voyages. Voyages en des lieux signifiants, mais aussi d’un fragment à l’autre d’un puzzle à la surface duquel affleurent peu à peu les strates successives d’un moi, strates qui ont abouti à celui qui écrit ces lignes. “Je n’ai pas toujours été l’homme que je suis, notait Louis Aragon. J’ai toute ma vie appris pour devenir l’homme que je suis, mais je n’ai pas pour autant oublié l’homme que j’ai été. Et si entre ces hommes-là et moi il y a contradiction, si je crois avoir appris, progressé, changeant, ces hommes-là, quand, me retournant, je les regarde, je n’ai point honte d’eux, ils sont les étapes de ce que je suis, ils menaient à moi, je ne peux dire moi sans eux.” Or rien n’est fugitif comme le moi, état de l’être en un instant donné, et ces pages auront été un filet pour capturer un peu d’éphémère et tenter de le retenir. Stefano Landi, un compositeur italien de la Renaissance, a saisi l’éphémère dans le titre d’une de ses oeuvres: Homo fugit velut umbra, “L’Homme s’enfuit comme une ombre”.

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The following chapters are a beginning cartographical sketch of the imagination, through a host of travels. Trips to meaningful places, but also from one piece to another of the puzzle on whose surface show little by little the successive layers of a me, layers which led to the one writing these lines. “I have not always been the man whom I am,” wrote Louis Aragon. “I have all my life learnt in order to become the man whom I am, but I have not forgotten for all that the man whom I was. And if between these men and myself, there is some contradiction, if I believe to have learned, progressed, changing, these men, when I turn back and look at them, I am not in the least ashamed of them, they are the waystages of that which I am, they led to me, I cannot say me without them. Now, nothing is fleeting like the me, a state of being given in an instant, and these pages will have been a net to capture a little of the ephemera and attempt to hold it in place. Stefano Landi, an Italian Renaissance composer, grasped this ephemera in the title of one of his works: Homo fugit velut umbra, “Man flees like a shadow”.

 

Translation 15

August 20, 2014

Extrait de Somnambule dans Istanbul, Eric Faye, 2012, p. 15

Au fur et à mesure que je m’interrogeais, ce n’est pas une seule, mais une mosaïque d’identités qui se dessinait, un Gondwana personnel dont les pièces, assemblées, ne dessinaient pas un bon Français mais un individu trop peu patriote et peu chauvin, trop curieux de ce qui se passe en dehors de l’irréductible village gaulois. Peu de choses, en somme, étaient authentiquement nationales dans cette mosaïque. Pour la résumer, un aphorisme de Cioran me paraît pertinent: “On n’habite pas un pays, on habite une langue.” Oui, avant tout une langue, à quoi j’ajouterais une époque, celle où l’on a grandi, qu’on ne quitte jamais vraiment, quand bien même on voudrait être de plain-pied avec son temps. Bien plus que d’un pays précis, je suis du XXème siècle. Les briques qui me constituent ont été cuites à cette période et à nulle autre, quoi que je fasse pour prendre racine dans le nouveau millénaire.

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As I went on wondering, it was not merely a single but rather a mosaic of identities which took shape, a personal Gondwanaland whose pieces, put together, did not leave the outlines of a good French citizen but an individual who was too little patriotic or close-minded, too curious about that which goes on outside of the irreducible Gallic village. In short, little was genuinely national in this mosaic. To sum it up, certain words of wisdom from Cioran seem relevant: “One does not live in a country, one lives in a language.” Yes, a language before all else, to which I would add an era, that in which one has grown up, that one never truly leaves behind, even when one would like to be on even footing with one’s time. Much more so than a specific country, I come from the 20th century. The bricks making me up were fired in this period and at no other, whatever I might do to put down roots in the new millenium.

Translation 14

August 19, 2014

Extrait de Somnambule dans Istanbul, Eric Faye, 2012, pp. 14-15

En bon archéologue manqué, il m’a toujours semblé que les Troie, Mycènes et autres cités de légende avaient joué, bien avant d’avoir été exhumées, un rôle fondateur dans la mémoire collective. Longtemps avant elles, une bonne partie de la Terre était recouverte par un supercontinent, le Gondwana. Ses fragments se sont éloignés les uns des autres, des mers se sont glissées entre eux et cela a donné peu à peu l’Afrique, l’Inde et le reste de l’Asie. L’identité dont je cherchais à dresser la carte avait dû procéder de la même façon. Elle avait à voir avec un paradis perdu, à mon échelle aussi lointain que le Gondwana pour la Terre, et qui s’était également morcelé. L’écriture en était un élément cardinal mais elle n’en était pas le seul.

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It has always seemed to me, as a would-be archeologist, that the Troys, Mycenaes and other cities of legend had played, well before having been unearthed, a founding role in collective memory. Long before them, a large swath of the Earth was covered by the supercontinent Gondwanaland. Its pieces drew away from one another, seas slipped between them, and this gave rise little by little to Africa, India and the rest of Asia. The identity of which I sought to sketch a map must have come along in the same way. It had something about it of a lost paradise, on my scale every bit as distant as Gondwanaland was for the Earth, and which has likewise broken apart. Writing was a fundamental element therein but it was not the sole and only.

Translation 13

August 18, 2014

Extrait de Somnambule dans Istanbul, Eric Faye, 2012, pp. 13-14

Des années plus tard, un ministre dont l’histoire aura bientôt oublié le nom remit au goût du jour le concept de bon Français et lança un débat sur une identité nationale dont je me moquais comme de colin-tampon. Par ricochet, je m’aperçus cependant que je ne m’étais jamais penché sur la nature de ma propre identité. Jamais je n’avais eu l’idée de remonter jusqu’à sa source, ou plutôt ses sources. Je repensais alors au vieil homme du cercle de jeux. Car la notion d’identité avait à voir, chez moi, comme je le soupçonnais, avec celle de continents perdus que l’on s’échine à retrouver et à préserver en soi, par fidélité à une certaine idée de soi-même, ou pour quelque autre raison que j’ignore, qui a peut-être partie liée avec le mythe de Sisyphe et l’absurdité de la condition humaine.

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Some years later, a minister whose name history will have soon forgotten lent a modern styling to the notion “a good French citizen” and struck up a debate on a national identity about which I could hardly care more. As if by ricochet, I became aware, however, that I had never looked into the nature of my own identity. Never had it occurred to me to make my way back to its source or, rather, its sources. I thought back on the old man from the gaming circle. For the concept of identity shared something, in my case, as best I could make it out, with that of lost continents which one racks one’s brains to find again and preserve as is, out of loyalty to a certain idea of oneself, or for some other reason unknown to me, which is perhaps linked in part with the myth of Sisyphus and the absurdity of the human condition.

Dream Experiment CXXVII

August 15, 2014

?:?? am: On an adventure westward, not east, all gone wrong, swept along by the train through the Ukraine across the river and into Kiev. Passing through a sector from the past century or two, peopled by imposing, white, vaguely neoclassical structures with green tiled roofs, empty-eyed marble statues and generous gilding, perhaps erected for an exposition of times gone by. Head turning with the growing distance and angle, left to marvel at the unknown.

9:15 am: Normally, a dream of this kind can be attributed to the characteristic combination of meager real world knowledge with the infinitely generative dream-logic in order to fill a perceived gap. It is with some surprise that the dreamer finds certain signature religious buildings of Kiev to have green roofs not unlike those glimpsed from aboard an in-dream train. Such is that from which springs the uncanny nature of coincidence.

Dream Experiment CXXVI

August 14, 2014

?:?? am: Treading on toes through an old wooden house of three storeys, seeking with friends a new home. Two rooms on the lower, two on the middle, one storey forgotten. Up the dusty back stair and voluble agreement. Having left for some hours and then returning, finding the house to be at once the same and different. From the outside, a uniformity of appearances. Inside, some residents remaining but joined by new. The arrival of new people, the opening of up of new spaces within the house with some six discrete living spaces on the lower storey alone. New faces peopling the middle in previously unknown rooms. A familiar face here and there through it all. Back stair no longer accessible. And the forgotten upper storey having become a series of storeys stretching ever higher. Rushing towards the roof and open air.

10:00 am: Same and different: neither dream-subject nor dream-logic seem perturbed by the possibility of contradiction, merely the dreamer. Here, the principle of non-contradiction has been at the least set aside, if not overturned, and the dream-logic pressed into service as a means of exploring this breach in the laws of the waking world. For what would be a world free of such a law?

Dream Experiment CXXV

August 13, 2014

?:?? am: Men ransacking the stone and wood ramshackle at nightfall, dwellers left to flee. In the night, returning to salvage the remains and quietly avoiding patrols. Collecting the few remnants of value to load on a raft in the waters outside. In this way, the mother’s home and hearth emptied of everything of worth.

8:08 am: If, as has been maintained in previous Experiments, houses in-dream are people or minds out-of-dream, this pillaged structure is the mother or the mental content, about-the-mother. The dream would seem to indicate that this relation has been voided of all content and the about-the-mother a mere husk in the mind.

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