Language, Vision, Translation, Representation
Individuals, social groups and states have long used language and images in ways that demonstrate mutual interpenetration and complex, fluid senses of identity. Now, in a time when the increasing pace of globalisation is everywhere apparent, the transnational and the transcultural define the world in which we live and, inevitably, we find ourselves translating one way of understanding reality into the terms of another. The act of translation is both linguistic and cultural; it is both a specialised activity and a habitual practice of the everyday as we move between media; between languages and visual cultures; between geographical, religious, cultural and social boundaries; and through different modes of considering the passage of time. Translation entails transformation: cultural meanings might change dramatically as a result of reception and translation, creating new knowledge and forms of inspiration. Translation is a reproduction, a remediation, a new presentation of events, circumstances and experiences through different cultural perspectives.
The BSR’s interdisciplinary community effects acts of translation and re-presentation in its own work, crossing disciplinary boundaries and finding new ways to combine separate but interrelated methodological approaches. The combination of scholars and artists studying over two thousand years of history and culture in a city which is both intensely local and symbolically universal is highly productive. The cultural dynamics of translation, interpretation, transfer, imitation, transformation and exchange bring together many areas of inquiry at the BSR, and also connect with the highly important theme of reception studies. Rome, a city whose internationalism is and always has been conspicuous, provides a perfect locale for this research theme on cultural mediation.