How different is the narrative of one journey from the next?
TRANS. A prefix meaning: across, beyond, through. A prefix used in combination with an element of origin: transatlantic. A prefix implying a state of change: transmit, transfer, transfix, transport. A prefix implying poetry: transverse. From the Latin versus: literally, a turning, to turn. Every verse has a re-verse. In Greek verse, Strophe sets out from east to west across the stage. Antistrophe replies from west to east. Neither voice is in either place. Both are calling: across, beyond, through.
MISSION. A group or committee of persons sent to a foreign country to provide assistance, conduct negotiations, establish relations, initiate communications, build fortifications or in any other way forge something familiar somewhere strange. The business with which such a group is charged. An operational task, designed to carry out the goals of a specific program. A computer program, for instance. function produce_stories() From the Latin missio: a sending off, to send. On a mission.
DIALOGUE. A conversation between two or more persons. A literary work in the form of a conversation: a dialogue of Plato. From the Greek dialogos: dia-, meaning: across + logos, meaning: a word, saying, speech, discourse, thought, proportion, ratio, or reckoning. Akin to légein: to choose, gather, recount, tell over, or speak.
[A.DIALOGUE] begins like any other transmission. With a call: Begin! Followed by a response: How? With a question. What we write is always a question. A question desires a reply. What emerges from a question? Distant shores, to lure us. One coastline implies another, implores a far shore. This entreaty, this call intrigues me. In Writing and Difference, Derrida observes, "Site, this land, calling to us from beyond memory, is always elsewhere. The site is not the empirical and national Here of a territory. It is immemorial, and thus also a future." In her long poem, The Fall of Rome: A Traveller's Guide, Canadian poet and classicist Anne Carson writes: "A journey …/ begins with a voice / calling you name out / behind you. / This seems a convenient arrangement. / How else would you know it's time to go?"
And so Strophe sets out from east to west on a treacherous mission, across high seas and frozen wastes, in search of a Northwest passage, in hopes of trade routes, and fountains of eternal youth. And Antistrophe returns from west to east with scurvy, captive natives, and furs. Neither ever arrives. Both only just barely finish leaving. Likewise a reader can never quite reach the end of this TRANS.MISSION. Mid-way through a new version is generated. The sentence structures stay the same, but all their variables change. Relations shift as time passes, so that we have immigrants now, where once we had explorers; a persistent tap eclipses a strange whir; a message instead of a passage; Nova Scotia in place of Scotland; a submarine cable replaces a shipping network. How different is the narrative of one journey from the next?
Topically, TRANS externalizes a poetics of technology. Codes, their creators, the modes through which they operate, propagate, and communicate, and the confusion they instigate are the main topic of the dialogue TRANS.MISSION generates. TRANS.MISSION [A.DIALOGUE] generates cacophony, liminality, atemporality and asynchronous exchanges of mixed messages pertaining to miscommunications and network failures. Strophe and Antistrophe call and respond between here and there with Chorus running interference in between, confusing and confounding boundaries between physical and digital, code and narrative, past and future, home and away.
TRANS.MISSION [A.DIALOGUE] has been presented in the following cotexts:
TRANS.MISSION [A.DIALOGUE] > > >
TRANS.MISSION [UN.DIALOGUE] > > >
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