Book Kernel Project
24th July 2013
Poetry, translation and the future of publishing
The Book Kernel project is one of the eight innovative initiatives funded in 2013 by AHRC REACT Knowledge Exchange hub which explored the future of digital book publishing by bringing together academic research and the creative economy.
Based within the School of European Languages, Translation and Politics and led by Prof. Alexis Nuselovici and creative agency Hodcha, Book Kernel set out to develop a model of publishing that takes into account the transient nature of poetry and translation as creative activities. Prof. Nuselovici describes poetry and translation as sharing the same “temporary condition” that makes them always provisional and never definitive, never ready to be consumed (or judged) as complete. How can such a notion of translation help to articulate the future of digital publishing? And how can digital publishing help explore and document transient artistic forms, such as oral poetry or live-translation events?
image © Glenn Davidson
These research questions were at the core of the development of Book Kernel, a digital platform designed to enable audiences to curate a book from a live event that can be either printed on the day or be continually changed and modified by a community of users. The Book Kernel platform was first piloted in March 2013 at ‘In your translating Eyes’, a live-translation event that saw the evocative poetry of Wales’ own Dylan Thomas translated and performed simultaneously in 10 different languages.
On 25 March at number 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea (his birthplace), Thomas’ poetry was translated, recreated and performed giving life to three “editions” of a book at 1pm, 6pm and 8pm. These were two online books (the 1pm edition and the 6pm edition below) and one physical book (the 8pm edition).
The books contain not only the 22 poems but also the joys, frustrations, discussions, tweets, comments, performances and photos of the translation ‘marathon’, offering a unique record of translation and poetry not only as artistic products but as ongoing, collaborative and dialogic processes.
We are currently working on a larger post-event edition that will offer yet another set of new translations, reworked and revised by the translators, together with introductions, reflections and notes providing unique insights into the creative process of translating and writing poetry while showcasing the incredible potential of the Book Kernel platform.
Hodcha in the meantime is continuing to develop the Book Kernel concept and producing books for important event such as Cardiff Digital Week and The Guardian Activate London 2013.
The Project’s blog and film are available at REACT projects 2013 Twitter keywords: #BookKernel; #dteyes