The translucent : between transparency and lucidity - June 15, 2011

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University of Montreal / Comparative Literature / Post-Scriptum : Interdisciplinary Journal for Texts and Medias

The translucent : between transparency and lucidity

Post-Scriptum invites graduate students in all disciplines to consider what becomes of 'lucidity' when transparency is occluded in some way. In the physics of light, translucence is an intermediate stage between transparency and opacity : this English word and its proximate French origin, translucide, recall metaphorically their common Latin origin – lucere, to shine. The lucent – that which glows or gives off light – when fused with the prefix 'trans', signifies that which allows light, but not detailed images, to pass through or across some filtering medium. At issue, then, is what becomes of lucidity in a representational medium that is translucent, in some degree remote from the plenitude or full presence of transparency.

As an interval, translucence is the site of a certain tension between transparency and opacity. What is the status of meaning and signification in a translucent medium ? If it foregrounds and renders manifest the strategies of mediation, which may be said to constitute the dispositif of the translucent, in what ways does translucence serve as an implicit critique of transparency ?

If our faith in transparency arises from an anxious desire for the immediate and authentic understanding of the object – our desire that the object be apparent across ('trans') the representational medium – then it relies upon a problematic model of lucidity itself. As a kind of clairvoyance, such lucidity can be considered as much a mystical revelation as a rational elucidation. Is perfect transparency a utopian illusion ? Does it conceive of the object as unmediated ? Or rather, does it imagine the medium of representation to be entirely self-explanatory ? Does the interval or 'between' status of the translucent compromise knowledge, or does it enhance knowledge ?

The Editorial committee of Post-Scriptum invites graduate student researchers in all disciplines to rethink the translucent. Various possibilities include :

* the supposed transparency of political media, Wikileaks, and public information
* clarity, objectivity, and lucidity in philosophical discourse
* the effacement of the medium as an ideology or goal of technology
* virtual reality, transparency in the hypermedial
* the interstice and the strata in modern and contemporary art
* intellectual honesty and its ethical implications
* the materiality of literary language and poetics, and the fate of tranparency
* the porousness of borderline and boundaries in languages, identities, geographies, and ideologies
* the material between the visible and the invisible : the viscous, the milky, the halo, the aura

Contributors are invited to submit their abstracts of 250-300 words by June 15 2011 to