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Joe Milutis, Stéphane Mallarmé's The Conversation


Stéphane Mallarmé's “Demon of Analogy” is a prose poem about demonic nature of mishearing. Francis Ford Coppola's “The Conversation” is about the demonic technologies that allow us to hear all-too-well.   Joe Milutis' “Stéphane Mallarmé's 'The Conversation,'” with little to no editing mashes up these classic texts, to suggest that one may be a mishearing (or spooky translation) of the other. In addition, the original text of the Mallarmé poem is translated by way of a number of bending techniques that, while getting back to the original sound and meaning of the French, bend, distort and remix the original.

This project is part of a larger scholarly and creative exploration of experimental translation as an extension of remix and appropriation practices. A number of chapbooks, videos, lectures and performances have emerged from this project, including Monkey pOm! (a translation of Hanuman Chalisa), Mao Vincit Omnia (a translation of Mao's Little Red Book), The Numbers (a translation of a German translation of Robert Creeley's number poems), and Twenty Beloved French Poems, Treated Poorly (a translation of 19th-century French poetry, of which “Stéphane Mallarmé's 'The Conversation'” is a part).


Joe Milutis is a media artist and writer whose interdisciplinary work includes experimental sound and radio; video works; new media; experimental narrative and poetics; theoretical writings; and various media/literature hybrids. He is the author of Failure, A Writer's Life (Zer0 Books, 2013) and Ether: The Nothing That Connects Everything (Minnesota, 2006). Since the early 90s, after having produced a number of radio art broadcasts, his work has focused not only on sound art, but also on those new genres and media that have uncertain status and value. He was an early proponent of digital multimedia essays, and continues to work in the intersections between new media and contemporary writing. Most recently, he has been exploring experimental translation, and is working on a scholarly assessment of this emerging area, in tandem with a creative project utilizing Michael Maier’s seventeenth-century alchemical emblem book, Atalanta Fugiens, as his source material.

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