Problems of Translation

Problems of translation occur not only between written or spoken languages (such as Cantonese or English), but are a much more common phenomenon.

Translation is a challenge for all ‘gaps between disciplines’ (such as between art and technology). A closer look at the practices of programmers and painters, for example, might reveal that the principles and techniques they apply in their respective fields, have much more in common than is usually assumed. Problems of translation may not lie where most expected.

In the art archive, the verb "archiving" implies many kinds of translation, of the qualities and potentials of artworks and related materials. In digital art archives, such translation of qualities is present in many everyday acts of scanning, tagging, and uploading. The transformation of analog art works into digital items not only changes storage mediums and handling qualities, but also enters work into completely new relations, exchanges, and equations. Digital materials tend to multiply and to leak, to both create great wealth, and to provide great distraction. ‘Digital labour’ or changed work habits is another consequence of this, which in turn changes how we think about the production and growth of such archives. To realise the digital archive's full potential means to take the idea of translation quite seriously, as a basic unit for all kinds of distributive and transformative forces, indirect effects, and creative misunderstandings.

 - short for Public Access Digital Media Archive - is an online archive of densely text-annotated video material, primarily footage and not finished films. The entire collection is searchable and viewable online, and is free to download for non- commercial use. 

Its founders see PAD.MA as a way of opening up a set of images, intentions and effects present in video footage, resources that conventions of video- making, editing and spectatorship have tended to suppress, or leave behind. This expanded treatment then points to other, political potentials for such material, and leads viewers into lesser-known territory for video itself... beyond the finite documentary film or the online video clip. 

The PAD.MA project is initiated by a group consisting of from Berlin, the Alternative Law Forum from Bangalore, and three organisations from Mumbai: MajlisPoint of View, and Chitrakarkhana/CAMP.