This excercise in style is a permutation of combinations of the Arabic, Hebrew and Hindi language, as they were most common source languages in the Global Intelligence files, following the principle of Chinese whispers
Subject: Arabic Language Skills needed for translation and research
The content used for this exercise in style is taken from an e-mail titled: Arabic Language Skills needed for translation and research, which was sent more than a year after Wikileaks had published the e-mail document archive, and the news spread about using Google Translate for information of interest in the Middle East. Follow the gradual process of Google Translate Chinese whispers, observing the gradual changes with each new translation on the English version of the text.
Global Intelligence files
Global intelligence files is a piece of poetic computation and a synthesized version of the children’s game Chinese whispers, and an homage to Raymond Queneau, continuously translating leaked content from the secret service agency STRATFOR, that Wikileaks made public in 2012-13.
The content that is retranslated and reinterpreted is taken from excerpts of the hundreds of e-mails of the intelligence company STRAFTOR Wikileaks had released in the past years. Apparently STRATFOR has been Google Translating large amounts of data, while investigating confidential information of interest to their clients in the East and Middle East. Apparently they were also not encrypting their emails, which allowed the content of the emails to be accessible in the first place.
Exercises in style brings this method a step forward, translating content that is of interest, such as emails referring to their many peculiar strategies of generating intelligence. The languages for this exercise in style were chosen from the ones mentioned in the emails themselves, observing the gradual in-between steps in the process of loosing meaning.
Exercises in style of the everyday are an artistic exploration of language and translating- interpretation in the age of software mediated information. These exercises take the form of the children's game Chinese whispers, retranslating the same content through multiple languages, eventually returning to the original one, to find the meaning in an altered, sometimes unrecognizable state. Only, instead of human ear-to-ear retelling, the content is taken through the widely spread Google Translate service. Using this common algorithmic way of translating, the work questions the ever more common relying on technology and techno-positivist belief in a computerized substitution of every human task on an example of a precise and delicate matter that the human language is.
Fun fact: STRATFOR continued using Google translate for the translation of sensitive information after this information became publicly known, which lis visible due to leaks that happened in the period that followed.