Next Screenings for Translation/ Transmission

Audre Lorde stands in a park

We are reaching the mid-point for Translation/ Transmission so wanted to remind you of what is coming up this week.

On Tuesday 18 March at 6pm we are showing Dagmar Schultz’s beautiful biopic of her good friend Audre Lorde.

The film is an intimate portrayal of Lorde which allows us to see her as a transnational feminist figure who worked hard to facilitate the collective identities of the Afro-German community in Berlin.

We will also be screening a very special video made by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, who will be reading a letter she wrote to Audre Lorde as part of her activist-educational project The Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.

Tickets are selling fast so make sure you buy in advance.

On Sunday 23 March at 1pm we are showing Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Surname Viet Given Name Nam, a profoundly personal documentary explores the role of Vietnamese women historically and in contemporary society,

Using dance, printed texts, folk poetry and the words and experiences of Vietnamese women in Vietnam—from both North and South—and the United States, Trinh’s film challenges official culture with the voices of women.

Image of the same woman taken from several angles

Bristol based academic and self-proclaimed film nerd Carol O’Sullivan will be on hand afterwards to help guide the debate.

We are reading criticism relating to the film at this Wednesday’s reading group at Hydra books, 7-9pm, if you want to engage with the film’s theoretical ideas. Download the articles here and here – all welcome!

Don’t forget you can buy your tickets for the Intellect Books raffle at all screenings!

Hope to see you at Watershed for one of the shows!


Translation/ Transmission theory reading group – information

The Translation/ Transmission theory reading group is less than a month away, so we thought it was a good idea to tell people what to expect, and how we are going to try to run it.

The group is meeting every Wednesday from 7-9pm throughout February and March at Hydra Books, 34 Old Market, Bristol.

The first meeting is Wednesday 5 February.

Our first readings will respond to interviews with film maker and theorist Trinh T. Minh-Ha,

We are screening Trinh’s film Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) on 23 March. Don’t forget you can buy your tickets now from Watershed’s website!

Each reading group will have two facilitators who will prepare a series of questions raised by the selected reading.

These questions will engage with the texts themselves, but we want to use our discussions to think about wider themes relating to translation and transmission.

How can these concepts help us to understand feminist cultural production, history, activism and theory across boundaries of time and space in different ways?

We hope that preparing questions will enable us to focus on specific aspects of the texts and help us to make the most of our time together.

We also hope that responsibility for creating questions will be taken by people attending the group in subsequent weeks.

We want to emphasise that no prior experience or knowledge is necessary to come and join the discussions, although you will need to have read the texts, copies are available on the website.

The reading group is free to attend although we will ask for a small donation to cover the cost of room hire.

Hope to see you there!

Mobilising Concepts – Elizabeth Grosz’s ‘The Practice of Feminist Theory’

Translation/ Transmission aims to explore how feminist cultural production moves across the boundaries of time, space, language, culture and genre.

The categories we use to think about feminist activisms across space and time can often be static and pedestrian. There are standard narratives and representations that circulate, perpetuating stereotypes and securing received ideas.

How then do we enable surprising points of contact to emerge across historical and geo-political differences?

How do we engineer ways to challenge our expectations of what feminists have done, and what they can do?

Our response to these questions is to mobilise already existing and emergent concepts – to use theory to elaborate movements of thought and action – such as the deployment of translation/ transmission.

In her 2010 article ‘The Practice of Feminist Theory’, Elizabeth Grosz describes the importance of inventing theoretical languages that can help us think ‘what is other than what is.’

‘Theory, philosophy, is not a luxury best savoured in less stressed times, but a necessity to the extent that it is the condition under which new ways of thinking and acting can understand themselves, question themselves, and elaborate themselves. And in times of social upheaval and political and economic crisis such as our own, it is more crucial than ever that we access resources—intellectual or conceptual resources as much as political and fiscal ones—that enable us to understand the logic at work in culture, social relations, or individual psychology, its points of vulnerability and its capacity for change […]

What does theory, or philosophy, do? […]

The task of philosophy is to create concepts and, especially, to create new concepts, even if these concepts resonate with and recall other concepts, concepts inherited or given, but always made over again, always revived and created again if the concept is to do the work of thought. Philosophy creates concepts: not discrete atoms that are brought together to produce larger units, propositions, hypotheses, arguments, but rather, concepts that perform the work of bringing together and forming thought.

Without concepts we can think, but we cannot think conceptually, we cannot understand abstractly, we cannot understand the hypothetical, the possible, the virtual, the counterfactual, the alternative, or what is other than what is.’

Elizabeth Grosz (2010) ‘The Practice of Feminist Theory’ in differences, 21: 1, pp.95-108, p. 96-97.

If you are interested in exploring more ideas related to Translation/ Transmission, come along to our theory reading group, taking place every Wednesday in February and March 2014 at Hydra Books.