Deformation Zone, a pair of essays from Johannes Göransson and Joyelle McSweeney on the subversive nature of translation, is exactly what we should expect from two of the most exciting writers today: radical, witty, and above all, insightful. Those familiar with Göransson and McSweeney’s blog, Montevidayo, will find themselves at home in the ideological make-up of these short pieces, which betray a predilection for postmodern (especially Baudrillardian) theory. However, though the essays do require a modicum of patience, specifically when they use the same terms to different effects—“medium” becomes particularly difficult—they lack the sort of obscurity and convoluted syntax that turns many away from contemporary criticism. Nor do the authors shy away from calling out what they see as a complacent, conservative view of translation that locates its ultimate good in its transparency—as McSweeney remarks, the idea that “the best taste is that which cannot be noticed,” an idea she and Göransson attempt to dismantle.
It ends with some questions that I’ll answer in the near future.