SOURCE: San Francisco Center for the Book

June 12, 2006 14:13 ET

San Francisco Center for the Book Presents "Found in Translation"

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 12, 2006 -- The San Francisco Center for the Book presents "Found in Translation," an interactive exhibition in the Center's gallery through July 21, 2006.

Although the language divide is often viewed as a chasm that separates people, in "Found in Translation" it's an opportunity for connection. The exhibition presents a far-reaching look into both the process and implications of translation: each exhibit turns an idea on its head by viewing it from two or more sides (languages, cultures, genders, points of view) -- in the process revealing more similarities than differences. Using text from many languages and in a variety of media, the exhibit also provides a hands-on interaction with the artwork.

Curated by Marshall Weber of the Booklyn Artists Alliance, a book art collective in Brooklyn, New York, the exhibition will also travel to New York City and Minneapolis, MN. The San Francisco Center for the Book is its first venue.

Exhibit highlights include:

Xu Bing's Square Word Calligraphy

Artist Xu Bing, one of the most famous contemporary Chinese artists, has "translated" words in our Latin alphabet to give them the appearance of Chinese ideograms, with each "character" representing a legible word. Visitors can type into a computer program that translates their words into Square Word, and then print out.

Lost Tibetian Texts

For more than 2000 years, Tibetan monks have been recording their philosophical, cultural and religious heritage into narrow, leger-style books. The Asian Classics Input Project is dedicated to locating, cataloguing, digitally preserving and disseminating books and other rapidly disappearing written treasures of Asia. The exhibit includes not only rescued books but also a video on the preservation and translation process.

Jack and Betty Forever

In the 1950s and '60s, a whole generation of Japanese studied English by using the textbook "Jack and Betty." For most, it was their first exposure to a foreign language. Jack and Betty's influence is still evident today in Japan -- almost everyone who used it remembers it well and can even repeat the first sentence: "This is a pen." In a humorous and insightful takeoff, the book, "Jack and Betty Forever" imagines the protagonists 30 years after they graduated from school.

Talking Books

To preserve the knowledge of the communities they study, botanists and anthropologists often give back training tools or documentation of their results to the communities they work with. However, for communities that are largely non-literate, doing so can often be quite a challenge. Nathaniel Bletter, an ethnobiologist studying in Peru and Mali, constructed "Talking Books" -- water-resistant, solar-rechargeable picture books that play, in the users' native language and in English.

Rumi, the 13th Century Poet and Mystic

In his poetry, Rumi combines philosophy, mysticism, and psychology in a language so piercing as to enter the realm of music. This element of his poetry has made it so irresistible to readers for over 700 years. In the book of Zahra Partovi's Translations, New York fine press publisher Vincent Fitzgerald provides a setting to match Rumi's penetrating insights.

About San Francisco Center for the Book

The San Francisco Center for the Book is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring and encouraging contemporary interpretations of the book as an art object, as well as preserving the traditional art of book-making. The center provides both a home for Bay Area book artists and a place where the wider community can discover book arts. Our scores of workshops foster learning at all levels: from introductory classes to year long courses, from traditional bookbinding to cutting-edge printing techniques to experimental book art forms. In addition, the center's youth program provides a forum for artistic expression and discovery of emerging literacy among the young. Plus, there's always an exhibition up at the Center, designed to inform and delight visitors. Free public programs abound, too, from poetry readings, to book signings to gallery talks. For a calendar of events, visit our Website

The San Francisco Center for the Book is a 501©3 nonprofit educational organization that depends on the involvement and generosity of individuals and on contributions from foundations and government agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts to provide many of its education initiatives, public events and book-arts programming.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:

    Kathy Barr
    (415) 565-0545 ext 13

    Riki Gibson
    (503) 957-6463