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connaissance de la fugue


connaissance de la fugue

Dolan, Jessica Alexandra ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5148-623X (2017) connaissance de la fugue. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This collection compiles three distinct forms: the lyric poem, the haibun, and an invented form I am referring to as the 'code poem'. This thesis examines states of homelessness, insecure housedness, and attempts to encounter the underwriting impulse to run away from home through these various poetic formulations.

Often associated with a journey, the haibun seemed a fitting mode through which to translate some of these experiences. The inclination on the part of haibun writers to alter and omit aspects of their journeys render a vision of these forms of travel writing as being “...discursive creations rather than simply transcriptions of experience” (Carter 195). It is in this tradition that connaissance de la fugue persists - timelines are plural, the issue of then/now abuts the question of how the concept of we/us shifts, or is in conflict with the remaining ‘i’. This 'i' is manifestly the writer recording observations, very much skewed by distance, time, and imbricated subsequent reads and responses to situations that, when immediate, seemed entirely clear. To know what it is to run away - to have a knowledge of the fugue - is the propellant engineering the motion of this set of quasi haibun. Obvious travel is not always taking place, yet even in scenes of settled domesticity there grates a discomfort: disease at the excess of stability, disease at the state of housedness - a state forever changed, redefined, by the experience of homelessness, by repeated fugue, by the knowledge of it.

Fugue states, of course, filter in. The fugue in this context is a form of forgetting, erasure. It is fitting, then, that the original job description that sparked, named, cohered this collection has been altered in the time since this project began. Dans La Rue, a Montréal organization that works with street involved youth, posted a call for applications for a role at their drop-in centre. Published in French, the callout asked that, amongst other aptitudes and qualifications, potential candidates must possess a connaissance de la fugue: a knowledge of what it is to run away from home, to take flight. No succinct term for this exists in the English language - we do not language running away in this manner, therefore we do not speak of it or think of it in the same way. This project is interested not only in the impulse to leave and the subsequent knowledge that experience imparts on the subject, but also in the channeling of those subjects that occurs when they interact with the system of homelessness, of street life, of shelter life and all of the social work interventions that both sustain and constrict the fugueur.

The included code poems represent a series of sustained narratives. The mechanism of the constraint determining these pieces derives from the field of machine translation, specifically practices that involve an intermediary, an interlingua. The ideal interlingua analyses and codifies all possible characteristics of the source text, organizing meaning and producing a holistic, semiotically informed translation. This project represents an attempt on the part of the writer to enter into this relay, intervening on computer code and 'reading it' semantically, morphologically, and intuitively in order to produce a written text that is 'translated' through that code. This text draws on a knowledge base of autobiographical material, specifically a personal history of homelessness.

The source code selected for the work titled 'script mall' is an appropriated slide recovered from a database of academic PowerPoint presentations, originally titled “Sub-language processing for phenotype curation” by Hong Cui via the University of Arizona. The application of this experimental poetic process to a selection of code already intended to be a computational structure for sorting, organizing and narrativizing data has produced a series of texts that each respond to the innate cues or gestures perceptible in the code. Using the same process, source code from the website of Dans La Rue has been excerpted and interpreted in a corresponding manner to provide the basis for 'improving mental health' and 'the unlit lamp'.

A form of homolinguistic translation, this interdisciplinary poetic project violates the typical flow of information through computer code. By occupying the impossible: the 'mentality' of a component of machine translation, the writer becomes the ideal interlingua. This is an experiment in translation, an experiment in wresting an unmastered language by interpreting familiar words, symbols, and morphemes in order to force the code to communicate a monstrous, inappropriate-to-academia or seemingly 'untellable' personal history. The constraint-based nature of this work demands a complete co-operation with the structure and progression of the machine instruction. The resulting series of novel poetic works explore personal narrative through the semi-alien yet unexpectedly inquisitive interpreted logic of the appropriated segment of code.

Throughout the collection, theories of place and place attachment local to the field of environmental psychology offer ways of thinking place in the context of the connaissance de la fugue. This work is interested in the transposition of the 'third place' (a park, a public area) for 'first place' (the home) that may manifest during homelessness. The hyperbarren represents this inverse landscape: homes seen from the outside, homes escaped and recreated in the manipulable space of a backpack or even a leather jacket patched with wards and sigils: signs of association, of protection - the mark of the other that is also the mark of the insider.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Dolan, Jessica Alexandra
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:15 May 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Queyras, Sina
Keywords:homelessness, poetry, haibun, code poetry, homolinguistic translation, fugue, place attachment
ID Code:982856
Deposited On:09 Nov 2017 20:24
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55
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