our words make worlds

Make the English language bark

Session: Make the English language bark 
Session type: Workshop 
Convenor: Mihai Florea, University of Bristol

Philosopher Vilem Flusser notes that the immigrant is 'unsettling to the native […] because he exposes the beauty of home as pretty kitsch'. Language is a part of 'home.
This workshop was inspired by the process of writing Nu Nu Theatre's Billie Killer: Nu Nu is a Bristol-based company employing professional actors who use English as a second language.
During the workshop, we sought to uncover the role that oblivion (manifested through forgetting, stuttering, getting it wrong) plays in the process of writing theatre when the writer is caught somewhere in-between a first and a second language. How does the relation between the two languages unfold in such a context?
Drawing on Marc Auge's idea that: 'The best way to crack a word half open in order to let the thought or thoughts it shelters be revealed […] is to try and translate that word', we also tried to understand how playwriting in a second language can trigger new linguistic horizons.
We applied Gilles Deleuze's thinking, when the philosopher notes that: 'Great masterpieces are always written in a sort of foreign language.'
Our workshop debated the idea of being partially foreign to the language we are writing in, and that of architecting a new style in the language, creating alternatives in its syntax and grammar: through forgetfulness, stuttering, grammatical/syntax error, omissions, the writer 'foreignizes' the language, it makes it bark (in Deleuze's words).
We concluded the workshop by announcing the concept of a language-becoming-another language (Romanian-becoming-English, or Polish, or Chinese, or... vice versa), invoking the Deleuze-Guattari metaphor of the wasp and the orchid: an orchid attracts the figure of a wasp and their meeting is aided by the (mal)function(s) of memory.