Translation in the context of artistic work and research points out the distance and relation of different forms of writing in the case of artistic work – photographs, painting or any other medium – and in research-style of writing and abstract constellations. My approach to this broad understanding of the term follows Walter Benjamin's notion of two different tasks of translation – fidelity or likeness to the original and reproduction of meaning – where the latter underlines the fact that the original text appears to be neither of the translations but something that happens only in the very act of translating. In the context of artistic work, I suggest that the translation is constantly made so that the origin remains unknown and the act of translation should be emphasised. This notion further suggests that the medium of artistic practise should remain undefined and the artistic research should then work as expanding the field of artistic work rather than defining it.
How should we navigate through the world of digital images? What are the coordinates for it? Is there any map for it?
I will start once more — this time from a point of digital sphere, a pixel. It is homogeneous, indivisible, a kind of atom that represents nothing other than itself. To represent something one needs to collect a group of these small pieces and make a map out of them, a bitmap.
The logical consequence of this structure is that the amount of variation is finite. It also means that images are not only somewhere in the world to be captured, but already latent in the array of the pixels. Most of the combinations in this array are of course nonsense, visual noise, but among them there are also all the possible representations i.e. images.
Laura Marks elaborates this idea further in her book Enfoldment and infinity. Instead of thinking of image as a representation, the digital image can be understood as an interface that opens an access for the viewer to information, the space of images, and the information is an interface to the infinite. (Marks 2010, 6)
Although Laura Marks makes an interesting remark by relating the digital aesthetics with the classical Islamic art, I would like to underline that the relationship between the image and the infinite is not evident. Rather, I would like to remind that in the contemporary digital technologies we are still dealing with finite values no matter how vast they appear. The infinity plays the crucial role only in the interpretation of the data or in the understanding of the abstract structure that defines it. Here the question of translation — or translatability — once again returns. The translation, in the sense that Benjamin analysed it, takes part in "the maturing process of the original language". The notion of the interface operates in the similar manner as translation: “A real translation is transparent; it does not cover the original, does not block its light, but allows the pure language, as though reinforced by its own medium, to shine upon the original all the more fully.” (Benjamin 2002, 260)