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Chapter 2, from the book Now See Hear! (1990), argues that the sociopolitical situation during the mid-1970s heightened the role of artists both as translators between competing contemporary cultures and as transformers of the relationships between them. The author draws on Walter Benjamin’s classic theories of translation as making possible the “afterlife” of texts in other languages and also on Jacques Derrida’s gloss that this encouraged the transformation of both languages. While translation was rarely an overt topic in early Conceptual Art, it was crucial to the work of Ian Burn and Mel Ramsden, for example, which the author takes as examples of the emergent sense that innovatory, avant-garde art could be made anywhere, not only at major art-producing centers. By the mid-1970s, Art & Language was exploring the consciousness of the inequities of power that circulated within the international art world.

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