Douglas Coupland “Lost and Gained in Translation”
October 16, 2010 Leave a comment
Fight Club, 2005 and Less Than Zero, 2005
Fight Club and Less Than Zero are part of series shown together as Lost and Gained in Translation, a body of work that is concerned with the intersection of language, books and visual culture in mass media. Part of Coupland’s process was to use a web site search engine to translate texts out of and back into English. The results were photocopied onto every available colour of paper at a Kinko’s copy outlet and then arranged in large, text-based mosaics. Fight Club and Less Than Zero gestures toward both the mechanics and the outcomes of telling stories through a strong interest in design and typography.
In Lost and Gained in Translation, Coupland investigates the new meaning of translation in a world of file sharing, search engine translations, and endless digital replication of text-based work. As the artist states, “Any paragraph pumped through massive translation ends up with a huge amount of chaff (strands of numbers, etc.). However, once removed, the remains are often a chilling reductive haiku of the initial text”. This is the impetus for his large translation pieces, based on a book project with Hans Obrist, called Do It. These pieces come across as intelligible word puzzles, a somewhat recognizable form of the original but different in an essentially mysterious way through the process of translation and re-translation.