They were, those people, a kind of solution

The project They were, those people, a kind of solution is funded through European Union’s Creative Europe program.

Public coversation: Boris Buden and Stefan Nowotny

Labour and language beyond the translational societies

Gallery Nova, Zagreb

The discussion focuses on the linguistic aspects of labour mobility from the perspective of its historical transformation: the old world of gastarbeiters moving from one state/society and its closed, homogeneous linguistic space to another and back – a world of clearly demarcated linguistic boundaries and of the traditional concept of translation as the exclusive mode of their crossing – is gone. Labour mobility in the world of global capitalism takes place in a radically different linguistic reality. It implies a new heterogeneous time-space in which linguistic differences are mobilized in the proliferation of borders, and become a means of control, domination and exploitation; in which there is no longer clear differentiation between an inside and an outside of language; in which a linguistic migration mostly happens without body movements; in which the rationality of enlightenment finds its expression only in a new lingua franca, while the old national languages increasingly sink into a new vernacular darkness. We will discuss the impact of these changes on our understanding of linguistic practices and explore their social and political effects as well as the theoretical limits of the structuralist Saussurean linguistics.

Stefan Nowotny is a philosopher based in London. He teaches at the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London and is a member of the independent research institute eipcp – European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies. He has been part of several research projects on translation since 2005, resulting in several co-edited volumes as well as the co-authored book Übersetzung: Das Versprechen eines Begriffs (w/ Boris Buden; Vienna/Berlin, 2008). Various of his writings on translation are available on the eipcp’s multilingual web journal transversal,

Boris Buden is a writer and cultural critic. He studied philosophy in Zagreb and received his PhD in cultural theory from Humboldt University in Berlin. Buden is permanent fellow at the European Institute of Progressive Cultural Policies in Vienna. His essays and articles cover the topics of philosophy, politics, cultural and art criticism. Recent publications include: Transition to Nowhere (forthcoming 2018); Zone des Übergangs, (The Zone of Transition), (2009); Der Schacht von Babel, (The Pit of Babel), (2004). Buden lives and works in Berlin.

The program is supported by:

  • City Office for Education, Culture and Sports of the City of Zagreb
  • European Union’s Creative Europe program
  • Foundation for Arts Initiatives
  • Kultura Nova Foundation
  • Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
  • Office for Cooperation with NGOs of the Republic of Croatia