this is not an engima
(31 min. : 42 sec.)
digital video, poetics, W+W tyepface, morse and found audio score
Alissa Bell, H.R. Buechler, Kate Casler, Helen Chadderdon, Courtney Cloutier, Izzie Elliker, Chris A. Price, and Steph Minarik.
In totality, this is not an enigma + this is not an enigma (in-translation) is a two-part collaborative project with students in the Wells College book arts special topics course, The Collaborative Book: Production In-Flux. In this course, students were exposed to and gained an intimate understanding of various theories and methodologies implemented in, and the personal particulars which inform pieces in Wires + Waves, an exhibition of works produced by interdisciplinary artist, H.R. Buechler, during her time as Victor Hammer Fellow at Wells College between 2016 and 2018. this is not an enigma (in-translation), is contingent on the existence of this is not an enigma.
this is not an enigma is the primary publication, the origin, the source. At 31 min. + 42 sec. in length, the piece features a full-length poetic text, carefully workshopped with students to exist as a stand-alone piece of poetics. As a piece of poetics it was curated from a collection of fragments written by H.R., all of which gain cohesion in their interrelationality of subject and voice. All additional sonic and visual components of the piece were gathered and generated by students. This piece provides the foundation for and necessary constraints around which the digital book, this is not an enigma (in-translation), as meta-translation, manifests.
Armed with a the necessary social, theoretical, and methodological understanding to “read” the works in Wires+Waves (and more specifically, this is not an enigma) students were then tasked to perform the role of translator. Utilizing various languages of visual production (from letterpress printing to typewriter to watercolor paper to hand-drawn) each assigned section is reflective of that particular translator’s understanding of the original “text’s” intent a/o meaning—felt, sensed, or otherwise. It is the amalgam of seemingly disparate material that itself both fails and succeeds in the task of communication—as the primary function of any language—and speaks directly to the work of Wires + Waves in process and outcome.
this is not an enigma (in translation) is a meta-translation: the result of subjecting meaning to repeated media transactions. It is a companion and extension to the digital book, as video, this is not an enigma. It is nothing without its origin.