The Diplomat’s Walk in the Small Infinite

In 2017, departing from Isabelle Stengers’ conceptual figure of the diplomat, I initiated an exchange with artist Camila Sposati, on our view of the connections between our two countries—Portugal and Brazil. From this exchange, I initiated a reading of philosopher’s José Gil’s book “Portugal, Today: The Fear of Existing”, in which Gil explores the historical reasons for Portugal’s non-inscription. I took on the reading of this book through a practice, that of translating it into English, allowing for a very particular form of inhabitation of Gil’s words. Through the practice of translating the book, I experienced another way of reading and inhabiting words, disturbing, due to the physical experience of moving between screen and paper, but mostly, for how words became inhabited, affecting me. I experienced the discomfort of speakinganother voice, other ideas, words and rhythms. This inhabitation, as act of miscommunication, positions me in looking to re-inscribe a part of Portugals colonial/postcolonial history. This is the departing point for my work at Manifold Books, where I want to explore the botanical relations concealed within the common history of Portugal and Brazil. For now, I have moved into the space by inscribing a physical part of it into a book, Parede.

Manifold invites makers to develop a proposal between books and a space; I am proposing Stengers’ “Cosmopolitics II,” “Making Memory Matter” by Lisa Saltzman and creating two special editions: the first a handout of my translation of José Gil; the second a book that transports a wall of Manifold into the form of a publication through a process of literal re-inscription.

The process of translating José Gil was an experiment with another way of reading and inhabiting words. It was a process that provoked a strong sense of disquietude, as it challenged my perception of my own history, and how I inscribe my self as Portuguese woman and maker. Again it was very uncomfortable to “say” things that I do not agree with or do not want to deal with. It was a very new experience of studying a concept and ideas so attached to the exact words and rhythm with which an author chooses to express them. For Manifold Books I am currently preparing a copy of my translation to share with visitors during my presentation and the subsequent work period, in this way hoping to initiate exchanges based on this material.

Manifold Books invites people to work departing from books into the space of Manifold. I am creating a publication that literally re-inscribes the wall of Manifold Books into its own collection by rubbing a whole wall with graphite following a grid.

I am presenting my exchange with artist Camila Sposati in the chapters of Cosmopolitics II that refer to the Diplomat.

Here is the image used for the invitation for the presentation on the 21st of April.