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in:dépendance at Furka Pass

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1 October, 2022

During the summer of 2022, the chair of Jan de Vylder at ETH Zurich began a 3-year experiment at the Furka Pass in Switzerland (in:dépendance), 2429 m above sea level and only accessible 4 months a year. Responding to their invitation for proposals for short residences, Women Writing Architecture was represented by Helen Thomas, born in the UK, Emilie Appercé, born in France, and Jaehee Shin, born in Korea, meeting together in this high Swiss pass to consider the work of a woman from a far distant time and place.

The Tale of Genji is a fictional text written by Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century. Since the earliest moments of the WWA collective, this book has been an inspiration and a formative challenge: how can a narrative of 54 chapters with more that 400 characters and including almost 800 poems, written in one of the first forms of written Japanese – the traditionally feminine writing style called Kana ­­– on a scroll, in the Imperial court of Heian possibly be conceived of as an architectural text? At in:dépendance we decided to exploit its distance from our everyday reality to test out a chapter of the text called Yugao. One of our frames, the most formal, was its representations in paintings over the last 1000 years considered in relation to the physical conditions that we encountered at the Furka Pass in early September. Another was the issue of translation – in time, place and language – for us from Japanese to English, French and Korean, which we considered in relation to one of our current preoccupations with notation and especially glosses, an early method used in the transformation of vernacular oral languages to written form at around the same time that Murasaki was writing The Tale of Genji.

The Clouds

 

Translations and Glosses

1.
By guess It looks like him.
The glistening of
The white dew Lends beauty to
The flower of the Evening Visage.

Ai-je devine
car jài cru la reconnaitre
sous la blanche rosee
qui en avivait lèclat
fleur de la belle-du-soir

こころあてにそれかとぞみる白露の光そへたる夕顔の花

어림짐작에 그분이 아닐런가 생각하누나
흰 이슬 빛 더해져 박꽃 더욱 빛나네

2.
I know how miserable a lot
Was mine in the life before.
All the more difficult it will be
To keep a vow in a remote future.

Les liens du passe
a mon triste sort present
jài pu measurer
commet donc me fierais-je
a ce quàvenir prepare

前の世の契り知らるる身のうさに行く末かねて頼みがたさよ

전세의 인연 자연히 알게 되는 박복한 신세
앞날이 어찌 될지 지금 믿기 어렵네
3.
Without even being acquainted
With the soul of the mountain crest
It fades away –
The gleam of the approaching moon.
In the ether afar.

De la crete des monts
ignorant le sentiment
la lune qui va
tout la-haut dans le ciel
peut-etre seteindra-t-elle

山の端の心も知らでゆく月はうはの空にて影や絶えなむ

산등성이의 속마음도 모른 채 흘러가는 달
하늘 길 가다 말고 그림자 사라질 듯

: Hikarugenji was compared to the mountain crest, and the woman herself to the moon.
The lower part is read as a foreshadowing of death.

The Translations

Yugao (English) marked up, showing gloss poems

la Belle du Soir (French)

히카루겐지, 유가오를 데리고 폐원으로 가다 (Korean)

 

in:dépendance at Furka Pass

During the summer of 2022, the chair of Jan de Vylder at ETH Zurich began a 3-year experiment at the Furka Pass in Switzerland (in:dépendance), 2429 m above sea level and only accessible 4 months a year. Responding to t...