I am in an underground car

I am in an underground car.

I know that the first sentence in every story presupposes a past. In this
case my identity, all the general information about myself and my
background, but also more specific information, such as to which line
this car belongs, if I‘m sitting or standing, where I’m going and where I’m
coming from, what time it is. I won’t talk about any of these
presuppositions. Not because they don’t matter, but because I don’t
have any clue about them. I am just the protagonist of a story and I have
every right to be in an underground car without knowing anything else
about it.

Continue reading

Cycling as Metaphor

My first bike in London was a trusty red and silver Apollo mountain bike, the one I’d had since I was a teenager. Over the course of a year or so, I ran it into the ground, giving up on maintenance and ended up dismantled it completely, living with bits of its metal carcass piled around my room for months after the autopsy was finished.

My second bike was stolen after I carelessly locked it up near my friend’s Bermondsey flat – a sad memory I tend not to dwell on. Continue reading

Issue 4 – Call for Submissions

For Issue #4 of the print publication, we welcome contributions that engage with the theme ‘traces’. The theme is open for creative interpretation, and contributions could explore – but are not limited to – the following ideas:

  • Traces as an indication of existence
  • Traces of the past and/or future
  • Traces that are visible or geographical
  • Invisible traces
  • Traces as inspiration
  • Traces as a narrative

You can submit short stories, prose fiction, poetry, images, visual art, or non-fiction writing, including reflections or short essays. Continue reading

A Tangential View of History

I can see that it has its problems, but I think that the metaphor of a tangent has something compellingly to do with the interpretation of history. The term “tangent” unavoidably means a straight line in space, at least when we think of it in its geometric sense. That fact by itself will probably not endear it to historians looking to reflect on their own practice. A linear history is likely an evolutionary history, a teleological one. It might imply that historical process straightforwardly means historical progress, which is unpalatable to many. Continue reading

Translation as Excavation

As a translator, my daily work revolves around excavating truth and meaning from crowded clumps of unruly words. And there’s lots of ways to go about such an activity – no trowels or shaker screens needed! When I first began my doctoral research, after having spent some time working in industry, I was a bit overwhelmed at how quickly my discipline had moved on, leaving me behind, buried under years of new findings, theories, and developments. At the same time, venturing into the wild world of theatre translation, I was about to hit a very steep learning curve. Despite all that I had learnt during my training and work experience prior to coming to Queen Mary, I quickly came to see that meaning does not exist exclusively within a word. There are other sites that need to be excavated, and urgently. Our all too mortal bodies, the mundane spaces that we traverse, cast-off trinkets, and even deadly silences have the potential to shed much needed light on meaning and truth. We simply need to roll up our sleeves, select the right tools, and start digging. Continue reading

Excavation: a lifestyle approach

Excavation, from the Latin excavare, refers to the act of digging, unveiling an object placed under several layers. We should probably pay more attention to this term. We should take it literally when we research new data for our projects. Or, simply, when we meet new peers and instinctively engage in small talk. This would prove extremely beneficial in both cases. Continue reading