Olivier Salon : Clip from the interview

When I went to interview Olivier Salon, I knew I was meeting an Oulipian writer and an actor, but I had no idea I would also find myself in front of a translator! It was fascinating to hear Olivier explain how he understood his work as an actor as an experience in translation from a written text into spoken language. In the following video, he talks about the difficulties he faced as an actor and also as an Oulipian who understands the subtleties of the text when he was rehearsing for a theatrical adaptation of Georges Perec’s famous “W”.

For me, it was particularly interesting that the problems he pointed out as the most important when transforming one matter into another (writing into sound) were very similar to the ones Ian Monk said he encountered as a translator from French to English (see interview here).

As you, Dear Reader, know, Olivier Salon’s Cri printanier, an antonymy of Paul Verlaine’s Chanson d’Automne, was the inspiration behind my “Cities after hours” work (see link here). In the video, he talks about another Oulipian constraint, the “Beau present” (the Beautiful gift), and explains how he used it in his own poems and what were the specific difficulties he encountered. Needless to say, great material for me!

Many thanks to Prof. Timothy Mathews for his English version of Olivier Salon’s interview

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Ian Monk : Clip from the interview

Today I am posting a clip from my interview with Ian Monk, a British Oulipo writer and a translator.

I was especially happy that he accepted to come to my place after a long flight from Canada to talk about his practice, as it was a unique occasion to talk to a member of the Oulipo who actually writes in the two languages I was exploring for the project and who also is a translator of Oulipian texts from the French to the English.

As he explains here in a very tongue-in-cheek way, Ian initially wrote only in English but after many years living in France, he decided to start writing in French too. He even has a work in both languages now.

I was also very interested in his experience as a translator, which is quite unique. Ian is the translator of several fellow Oulipiens: Georges Perec, Jacques Roubaud and two writers I also interviewed for the project: Hervé Le Tellier and Frédéric Forte. He gives here his views on what the work of the translator is about and I chose a passage where he draws an engaging parallel between constraint and style.

Many Thank to my sister Dr. Mariana Saad for the french version of Ian Monk’s interview

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Fournel Workshop in Pau University

This 27th April, a workshop took place at the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour to celebrate Paul Fournel and I had the pleasure to present there for the first time the complete version of my interview of Fournel.

The title chosen by the organizers, Mmes Bérengère Moricheau-Airaud and Vanessa Loubet-Poëtte, was particularly appropriate: « Paul Fournel, goûteur de formes”, as Fournel has just published a booked inspired by his love of good food Le Bel Appétit.

The event was on the occasion of the literary award Prix Heptaméron, of which Paul Fournel was this year the president.

The workshop gave me the opportunity to present the Translation, Transcription project to a new public and make new acquaintances. I was delighted to meet the writer and translator Eliana Vicari, a member of OpLePo (Italia), who gave the opening presentation.

In the interview, of which you can see an extract here, Paul Fournel raises important topics. He talks in particular about the close links the Oulipo members always maintained with the English-speaking world. There have always been British and American writers at the Ouvroir, and the French members have always shared a common interest for the English language (Queneau and Roubaud, to give just two quick examples).

Paul Fournel makes also important remarks on the problems arisen by the translation into English of La liseuse – Dear Reader was just being published in the UK at the time of the interview-, and he speaks about what materiality of writing means to him.

All this was extremely useful for my own artistic work. The presentation of the interview also gave me the occasion to show to Paul Fournel the series of works inspired by Dear Reader I created for the project exhibition at UCL. He had never seen them before!

The Reader/La liseuse

matériaux mixtes, a partir du livre The Reader/La liseuse de Paul Fournel, Leverhulme Trust, UCL, UK 2015

I will finish this post on a very personal note: Pau is very dear to me as it’s the town where I spent my childhood and my teen years. At the time, I visited the University regularly and it was a real pleasure to go back to the “Faculté des Lettres” building, as it was known then, quite an outstanding example of beautiful modern architecture due to André GREZY.

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