Documentary Elegies, traduction par Samuel Martin pour la revue Copper Nickel

Copper Nickel

Traduction en anglais américain par Samuel Martin

Spring 2019, issue 28

« For someone with such a varied body of work, from poems, photographs, and collage installations to essays and academic criticism, Muriel Pic (born in Nice in 1974) remains strikingly consistent: her creative as well as her scholarly output always originates in the archives, with what she calls « the experience of the documents. » Her 2009 monograph on W. G. Sebald, one of the first of its kind to appear in French, showed how potent the montage of text and image can be in shaping the memory of catastrophe, and it could be said to have laid some of the groundwork for her own Élégies documentaires (Éditions Macula, 2016), five of which are reproduced here. When »objective chance » led Pic to several archive collections that touched in different ways on the calamitous history of the early 20th century, she decided- much like Sebald setting out to write his novels that a lyric rather than an academic response was best suited to the documents’ intensity. The three elegiac cycles that comprise the volume are thus an intricate montage of quotations and photographs, woven (or, at times, thrust) together by the researcher-as-poet. The first cycle, « Rügen, » from which the present selection is taken, explores the archives of Prora, a 1930s seaside resort built on an island in the Baltic Sea by the leisure organization of Nazi Germany; the sec-ond, « Honey, » mixes the archives of kibbutzim colonizing Ottoman Palestine with those of Franz Kafka, who briefly considered following in the settlers’ wake; the third, « Orientation, » orbits around an anonymous photograph of the Orion constel-lation, taken on the eve of the Second World War. As Muriel Pic writes in her afterword to her book: « An island and mass tourism, beehives and the utopia of a classless society, a constellation and massive destruction: there are some of the associations from which dust has become elegy ». S. M.

« Under the wandering stars

the endless metamorphoses and movements

of all the elements of matter.

Nothing to be done

the nature of things is irregular.

Nothing to be done

the truth is always in ruins.

Nothing to be done

the sufferings endured

do not make the past more real. » M. P.





© 2024 - Muriel Pic