Reading Bourriaud’s The Radicant:

In proposing translation as an ethical effort that recognizes performance, meaning and incommensurability as inherent to altermodern human interactions, Bourriaud’s method converges, in part, with my earlier proposition of empathy as way to speak difference. Both translation and empathy admit that relationships between people will never be exhaustive in their ability to communicate experiences or identity. And yet, both empathy and translation challenge and mutate the individual by way of their effort to master a common tongue with another. Although empathy and translation will always be a bit broken in their attempts to communicate across difference, or even to speak difference, they represent meaningful efforts to reach from one to another. Bourriaud puts the engine of translation this way, and I hope that a similar momentum can be extended toward empathy: “The emergence of a system of thought capable of making connections between disparate cultures without denying each one’s singularity” (40).


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