Editor’s IntroductionIntroduction de l’équipe de rédaction[Notice]

  • Renée Desjardins

Celia Bryn McLean is a Winnipeg-based artist and photographer whose stylized work marries traditional photography and photo editing technologies. Her work examines what photography and digital alteration mean in an age where authenticity is connected to seemingly unfiltered images and tools like Photoshop are critiqued in some circles for their (supposed) inauthenticity. Her series “Fermenation” uses kombucha as a visual and chromatic muse.

Celia Bryn McLean est une artiste et photographe établie à Winnipeg, dont les travaux de graphisme allient la photographie traditionnelle aux technologies utilisées dans les montages photographiques. Ses travaux s’attardent sur la signification de la photographie et des modifications numériques à un moment où certains affirment que l’authenticité ne peut exister sans médiation filtrée et que le recours aux outils, tels Photoshop, signalent l’inauthenticité. La série « Fermenation », dont elle est l’auteure, utilise le kombucha comme muse visuelle et chromatique.

As a student in translation many years ago, I recall one of my instructors often advising our group of budding translators to ‘decant’ between drafts. In French, the figurative meaning of the verb refers to the process of organizing one’s thoughts and of allowing time for reflection. Much like a bold red wine enjoyed after a period of aeration, a perfectly crafted translation (or any creative text, really) is the product of a patient and paced process. Interestingly, this figurative meaning of the word does not seem as wide-spread or as widely used in the Anglo-Saxon sphere; although one could argue that the process of aerating wine from one vessel to another assuredly requires some (literal) thought and patience... This reflection, on wine and translation, is not without symbolic value. Prior to the CuiZine x Food, Feminism, and Fermentation collaboration, I had not given significant consideration to how fermentation and communicative practices, such as translation, might intersect. Yet, is there no better overlap than food-related metaphors that describe creative and communicative processes? The verb ‘to ferment’ is another thought-provoking example. In its denotative meaning, the verb means to undergo the process of fermentation, i.e. “the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat”. Figuratively, to ferment connotes deconstruction, transformation, incitement, provocation, and agitation. Given the current political and cultural climate on a world-scale, the verb in both its denotative and connotative meanings has particular resonance. Politicians, for instance, may ferment chaos. Activists, as another example and counterpoint, may ferment paradigmatic or ideological change. And it is precisely this idea of fermentation as transformation, as provocation, as agitation, that this issue’s contributors scrutinize. This idea brings me back to the French figurative meaning of ‘to decant’, and the process of making and consuming fermented products: fermentation, for all its transformative thrust, requires patience. It requires an understanding of product, place, space, time, and context. It requires communal, collaborative work. It requires effort. In this sense, fermentation is antagonistic to increased acceleration, the latter being emblematic of our era, but it is not an antonym of progress. The contributions in this issue examine fermentation in its transformative sense, as a critical lens to understand social relations within the food realm and beyond. The research and the creative submissions are a timely contribution not only to Food Studies scholarship, but to Canadian Studies and other related fields within the Humanities and Social Sciences. On behalf of the guest-editors, Maya Hey and Alexandra Ketchum, and myself, we hope that our readers will gain from this issue’s theoretical agitations and creative cogitations. Il y a plusieurs années, quand j’étais étudiante en traduction, je me rappelle que l’une de nos professeurs nous conseillait souvent de laisser ‘décanter’ notre travail entre deux ébauches. En français, le sens figuratif du verbe ‘décanter’ fait référence au processus qui consiste à mettre de l’ordre dans ses idées, et se donner le temps de réfléchir. Tout comme un vin rouge corsé dont on peut apprécier toute la générosité une fois qu’il aura été aéré, une traduction élégante et « savoureuse » (ou tout autre texte créatif, en vérité) est le résultat d’un processus qui exige patience et pondération. Curieusement, le mot ‘décanter’ au sens figuré ne semble pas d’un usage aussi répandu chez les anglo-saxons, quoique l’on pourrait toujours avancer que le processus d’aération du vin d’un contenant à un autre exige à coup sûr une certaine dose de réflexion et de patience (au sens propre) ... Cette réflexion à propos du vin et de la traduction n’est …

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