Blindness has been a pervasive theme throughout Derrida’s career. But Derrida uses the word “blindness” only once in the title of one his works. This text is, ofcourse, Memoirs of the Blind, Mémoires d’aveugle, an essay he wrote for the catalogue for an exhibition he organized at the Louvre in 1990. I argue that Memoirs of the Blind is more than just a phase in Derrida’s deconstruction of the metaphysics of presence. Instead, it opens a larger, more ambitious project that (...) we can call “the deconstruction of Christianity.” The article ends with a consideration of a new form of vitalism. (shrink)
Traditionally, the picture has been the archetype of all signs, even the word. Contemporary philosophy is beginning to doubt the traditional understanding of the sign as present existence which represents absent existence. The sign ceases to be limited to reference and retreats in favour of inference -that which surrounds the sign; that is to say, other signs. This trend is most apparent in the deconstruction of Jacques Derrida and is also implicit in Gombrich's Art and Illusion. The aim of the (...) present study is to present a comparison of the views of Derrida and Gombrich. (shrink)
For philosophers such as Kant, the imagination is the starting point for all thought. For others, such as Wittgenstein, what is important is only how the word 'imagination' is used. In spite of the attention the imagination has received from major philosophers, remarkably little has been written about the radically different interpretations they have made of it. _The HypoCritical Imagination: Between Kant and Levinas_ is an outstanding contribution to this vaccuum. Focusing on Kant and Levinas, John Llewelyn takes us on (...) a dazzling tour of the philosophical imagination. He shows us that despite the different treatments they accord to the imagination, there is much to be gained from comparing these two key thinkers. From Kant, Llewelyn shows how the imagination is the common root of all understanding. He contrasts this with the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, for whom the imagination plays an ambivalent role both as necessary for and a threat to recognition of the other. John Llewelyn also introduces the importance of the work of Heidegger Schelling, Hegel, Arendt and Derrida on the imagination and what this work can tell us about the relationship between the imagination and ethics, aesthetics and literature. _The HypoCritical Imagination: Between Kant and Levinas_ is a brilliant reading of a neglected but important philosophical theme and is essential reading for those in contemporary philosophy, art theory and literature. (shrink)
The book includes engaging discussions of all of the areas central to aesthetics: aesthetic experience, representation, expression, the definition and ontology of art, evaluation, interpretation, truth, and morality. As well as providing a solid grounding in the seminal theories of Plato, Immanuel Kant, and Benedetto Croce, it presents the ideas of contemporary analytic thinkers, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein and Nelson Goodman, and the iconoclastic views of continental theorists, such as Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida. Concerned throughout with enhancing the reader's (...) response to art, Colin Lyas brings his theoretical discussions to life with a wealth of topical examples of human creativity that are familiar to young people: Bowie as well as Beethoven, Warhol as well as Whistler. With comprehensive, up-to-date guides to further reading, Aesthetics is an invaluable introduction for students taking philosophy of art courses and essential reading for anyone who wishes to be informed and inspired to think about and experience art in a new way. (shrink)
The contemporary era is dominated by an Apollonian visual language, i.e. the visual language of mainstream cinema and the mass media, and this study concerns the role that critical cinema, as Dionysian subverter, plays under such conditions. I argue that critical cinema should not be viewed as something completely ‘new’ but rather as a new, or at least the latest, manifestation of an older subversive ‘Dionysian’ voice that has made its presence felt since the dawn of the hegemony of an (...) Apollonian disposition in Homeric epic. (I maintain that the history of western culture can be understood in terms of the persistent tension between Apollonian and Dionysian dispositions, and I use the distinction Derrida makes in Différance, between restricted and general economies, to distinguish between them, respectively.) I begin by considering the Dionysian echoes within Homer’s Iliad and then consider the way in which they became a ‘roar’ in the tragedies of Aeschylus. After Aeschylus a predominantly Apollonian voice asserted itself once again (to various degrees) through the work of Sophocles and Euripides. This was in keeping with the trend towards a more (Apollonian) restricted economy that is reflected in the writings of Homer’s literary successors, and which reached a crucial stage in Plato’s valorisation of ‘dialectics’, or what I term ‘dialecticis m’, which saw the birth of ‘dialectical language’. Through Plato dialecticism, or dialectical language, became instantiated as the ‘language’ of western philosophy and this predisposed western culture to develop along predominantly Apollonian lines. This continued from Plato, through the Middle Ages, until in the 17th century this Apollonian trend became manifest in the concept of the stable, integral, autonomous and self -transparent Cartesian ego, which is inextricably linked to dialectical language that promises certainty of ‘truth’ and maintains the possibility of representing the world in its entirety (as a system). In the contemporary ‘age of a world picture’, the hegemonic (Apollonian) visual language of mainstream cinema and the mass media propagates and perpetuates the belief in the possibility of representing the world in its entirety through the image, and insofar as it caters to audiences’ needs for stability and certainty (of ‘truth’) through providing such ‘complete’ representations, shapes their subjectivity along the lines of the Cartesian ego. According to Baudrillard, in contemporary society and culture the hyperreal realm of visual language has become far more significant for individuals than their immediate, empirical experiences, and that, as a result, they are far less predisposed to discussion and reflection and far more prone to passive ‘watching’. Also, Adorno maintains that it is impossible to have a form of critical cinema because of the way in which features inherent to cinema predispose it towards being an ideological apparatus. However, if both Baudrillard and Adorno are correct then the future appears increasingly bleak as it involves nothing other than the continuation and propagation of the hegemony of the visual language of mainstream cinema and the mass media, with no possibility for critical resistance. I argue instead that critical cinema is possible because the move towards a more restricted economy, motivated by an Apollonian disposition, did not develop from Homer to the contemporary era without meeting Dionysian resistance. I trace the presence of a subversive Dionysian voice through Homer’s Iliad, through Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, and through Plato’s Dialogues, where it echoes in the sentiments of some of Plato’s interlocutors, such as Callicles. In addition, I maintain that a ‘Dionysian’ voice resonates through both Nietzsche’s and Heidegger’s respective criticisms of ‘dialectical language’ and the ‘validity’ of the Cartesian ego. I argue that critical cinema, particularly Aronofsky’s postmodern critical cinema, parallels their similar epistemological and ontological perspectives in the way in which it engages with the (Apollonian) visual language of mainstream cinema and the mass media, and thereby, potentially, facilitates a more porous and protean subjectivity. t. (shrink)
My research and publishing has consistently been engaged with the relationship between art theory, aesthetics and philosophy - especially, Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy. The question of this relationship is central to my book ‘Introducing Aesthetics’ which introduces readers to the history of aesthetics and represents an original contribution to scholarship by arguing that aesthetics is not simply a branch of philosophy but the lynchpin of western thought in its transition from metaphysics to the radically atheistic idea of alterity. In this (...) context it emphasises the importance of the contribution of Kant’s and Nietzsche’s ideas to the ‘overcoming’ of metaphysics through a sense of experience as this is theorised by the branch of philosophy which became known in the eighteenth century as ‘aesthetics’. As such, the book focuses upon the Continental tradition of philosophy/aesthetics originating in Kant’s intriguingly contradictory ideas about both the sublime and the phenomenon/noumenon duality in which he claims that there are experiences, which are unrepresentable. Thereafter, the book proceeds to consider Kant’s legacy through a number of key thinkers, including: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bataille, Barthes, Deleuze, Derrida and Kristeva. Besides arguing for the importance of Continental aesthetics, the book is intended to make an original contribution not just to philosophy but also visual studies in so far as it explains different thinkers’ approaches to the issue of art and what the implications of their thinking is for art and art theory. (shrink)
This thesis examines the relationship between the practice of architectural design and the media through which it is represented. It makes a consistent critical appraisal of the philosophical presumptions under which architectural theory is made, in particular, the relationship between theories of expression and representation. The thesis presents seven distinct projects by the author which developmentally explore the degree to which architecture is able to represent the sublime - in particular through the concept of horror. In this instance horror emerges (...) as a category of excess that supervenes the uses of the term in the genres of film and literary studies. Within the thesis horror describes an objective for representation The thesis argues that the environment within which these philosophical questions of 'effect' may most resonantly be explored is, ultimately, digital media. The author draws on contemporary commentary by Jacques Derrida and Georges Bataille, in particular Derrida's discussion of the Parergon and contemporary discussion of l'informe, the informal to support these arguments. It is within the apparently 'real' environments of virtual reality that the presentation of the mise-en-scene of horror may be explored. Immersive digital environments, it is argued, provide an appropriate level of freedom and direction for the exploration of the spatial experience of the abyss. The thesis concludes by presenting observations on the antinomy of aspirations that any materialist theory of architectural practice must attend to when working within digital media. (shrink)
The author explains how the creation of a Web-based version of her book allowed her to make full use of parerga as a way to interrogate and dissent from the primary text, following in a philosophical tradition of the parergon that began in the 18th century with Nikolaos Mavrokordatos' Philotheou Parerga and has been further developed by Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Jacques Derrida, among others.
In the 1980s, when the American art market flourished, critics were heavily concerned with theory. In T_he Aesthete in the City_ David Carrier offers a personal view on the artistic activity of that decade. He begins with a theoretical perspective on the relationship between two very different forms of artwriting: art criticism and art history writing. Carrier surveys the developments within theory during the 1980s, focusing on constructive critical analysis of the then fashionable work of Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, T. (...) J. Clark, and Jacques Derrida. He provides detailed accounts of a number of painters, among them Thomas Nozkowski, David Reed, and Sean Scully, whose development he followed closely. Carrier argues that the greatest American artistic tradition,Expressionism, provides the basis for an ongoing tradition of abstract painting, a rich system whose potential has not yet been exhausted. Carrier's earlier work was concerned with a philosophical study of the methods of art criticism. This book turns to the theory and practice of art criticism, concentrating on a concrete discussion of individual theorists and artists. (shrink)
If the opening sequence of a film is a microscopic 'event' that achieves far more than setting the tone and whetting the appetite for what we are about to see, then Todd Haynes' I'm Not There is exemplary. This paper works its way through the conceptually dense and intricately woven textual layers of the film's opening to stage a three-way dialogue between Haynes, Bob Dylan and Jacques Derrida: three mavericks who defy simple categorisation, by transgressing the boundaries of their respective (...) fields (song writing, cinema and philosophy). By introducing Derrida's deconstructive logic of hauntology as a strategy for reading Haynes' biopic on Dylan, the figure of the ghost is called upon to situate the quest for an identity's authenticity as a perennial, irresolvable problem in song, cinema and philosophy. Belonging to a time that is neither past nor present, a place that is neither here nor there, the ghost offers the perfect medium to join Haynes, Dylan and Derrida in (re)thinking identity in terms that respond to a call (in the name of art, justice and truth, among other things) that is not based on an unyielding conception of authenticity. (shrink)
This book makes available for the first time in English—and for the first time in its entirety in any language—an important yet little-known interview on the topic of photography that Jacques Derrida granted in 1992 to the German theorist of photography Hubertus von Amelunxen and the German literary and media theorist Michael Wetzel. Their conversation addresses, among other things, questions of presence and its manufacture, the technicity of presentation, the volatility of the authorial subject, and the concept of memory. Derrida (...) offers a penetrating intervention with regard to the distinctive nature of photography vis-à-vis related technologies such as cinema, television, and video. Questioning the all-too-facile divides between so-called old and new media, original and reproduction, analog and digital modes of recording and presenting, he provides stimulating insights into the ways in which we think and speak about the photographic image today. Along the way, the discussion fruitfully interrogates the question of photography in relation to such key concepts as copy, archive, and signature. Gerhard Richter introduces the volume with a critical meditation on the relationship between deconstruction and photography by way of the concepts of translation and invention. Copy, Archive, Signature will be of compelling interest to readers in the fields of contemporary European critical thought, photography, aesthetic theory, media studies, and French Studies, as well as those following the singular intellectual trajectory of one the most influential thinkers of our time. (shrink)
Art is not only autonomous, following its own law, different from nonaesthetic reason, but sovereign: it subverts the rule of reason.In this book Christoph Menke attempts to explain art's sovereign power to subvert reason without falling ...
An exploration of issues of vision, blindness, self-representation, and their relation to drawing, which offers detailed readings of a collection of images from the prints and drawings department of the Louvre. The works under consideration depict blindness--fictional, historical, and biblical.
This PhD project engages the fields of contemporary art, performance studies and performance philosophy. It explores participation and the relation of ethics to politics, through performance art works in public places. The research developed through a series of performances by the researcher, the researcher’s participation in performances of others, and in the writing of this exegesis. The project engages a reference field occurring among selected texts of the ‘ethics as first philosophy’ of contemporary philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, selected texts of Jacques (...) Derrida, selected passages of David Wills’s Dorsality, performance works of Ant Hampton and Glen Neath, Martin Nachbar and others, and writings on performance of André Lepecki, Brian Massumi, Alan Read, Liza Kharoubi and others. Following the introduction of the project in Chapter One of the exegesis, Chapter Two explores becoming and belonging within performance practices in relation to locale and the there, prosthetics, and recording. It proposes a choreographic engagement with passing, attending and tethering, where it proposes these as something like the ‘quasitranscendental’ structures Rodolph Gasché proposes–as conditions of possibility of classes or categories, and conditions of impossibility of the closure of such classes and categories. In relation to this it invents the neologism 'attendeer' as a relation of attention to passivity. The engagement with tethering recalls an audio-recorded voice saying, ‘Bear in mind that you are tethered’, in Hampton and Neath’s performance The Bench or Hello for Dummies. The project’s engagement with choreography references David Wills’s writing in Dorsality¬ of a ‘technology in the back’ (2008: 12), a technology in the human animal that is behind, prior to, and undoing of, conceptual perspective. Chapter Three explores modes of resemblance within the performance practices in relation to Levinas’s proposition in ‘Reality and Its Shadow’ of a passive participation in ‘the image’ which suspends conceptuality, as no longer the participation of a subject or substantive. It proposes that at times performances, through their minimal differences with life in general in a locale, open an engagement with ‘the image’. Chapter Four considers this project’s methodology through an exploration of Levinas’s ‘The Trace of the Other’, and Wills’s writing of dorsality as modes of ‘bending back’. In relation to this it considers the project as practice-led research. Exploring relations on footpaths of passers-by and attendeers in my performance practice, Chapter Four begins an exploration of responsibility and relations of ethics to politics, engaging writings on performance of André Lepecki, Liza Kharoubi, Alan Read, and writings on politics of Simon Critchley. Chapter Five engages my performance practice in relation to Levinas’s writing of ethics as diachronic time¬–‘a saying prior to anything said’–and juxtaposes aspects of Levinas’s engagement aspects of Jean-Luc Nancy’s engagement with Listening. Chapter Five explores relations of saying, seriality and interruption, and considers Levinas’s proposition of ingratitude in relation to the possibility or impossibility of the movement of a work that is not a restitution to the same. ‘Figuring Diachrony: Ethics before the voice’ relates performance practice to the possibility or impossibility of figuring the trace of ethics. (shrink)
Christine Battersby is a leading thinker in the field of philosophy, gender studies and visual and literary aesthetics. In this important new work, she undertakes an exploration of the nature of the sublime, one of the most important topics in contemporary debates about modernity, politics and art. Through a compelling examination of terror, transcendence and the ‘other’ in key European philosophers and writers, Battersby articulates a radical ‘female sublime’. A central feature of The Sublime, Terror and Human Difference is its (...) engagement with recent debates around ‘9/11’, race and Islam. Battersby shows how, since the eighteenth century, the pleasures of the sublime have been described in terms of the transcendence of terror. Linked to the ‘feminine’, the sublime was closed off to flesh-and-blood women, to ‘Orientals’ and to other supposedly ‘inferior’ human types. Engaging with Kant, Burke, the German Romantics, Nietzsche, Derrida, Lyotard, Irigaray and Arendt, as well as with women writers and artists, Battersby traces the history of these exclusions, while finding resources within the history of western culture for thinking human differences afresh The Sublime, Terror and Human Difference is essential reading for students of continental philosophy, gender studies, aesthetics, literary theory, visual culture, and race and social theory. (shrink)
This article explores the role of disgust in Kant’s aesthetic philosophy, Derrida’s deconstruction of Kant’s third Critique in his article 'Economimesis,' and the figure of vomit in two films by David Lynch in order to argue for the ethical possibilities of not giving ground relative to one’s disgust—what I term an ethics of the worse than the worst.
This paper evaluates Jacques Derrida’s startling claim that “the relations between humans and animals must change... both in the sense of an ‘ontological’ necessity and of an ‘ethical’ duty,” through an assessment of the ethical appeal emitted by nonhuman witnesses of catastrophe. Drawing upon contemporary theories of ethics, photography, and animality, it analyzes Charley Riedel’s iconic 2010 photograph of a bird covered in oil in the Gulf of Mexico, arguing that attending to visual testaments to disaster is one way to (...) begin to challenge an anthropocentrism that has rendered life outside “the human” unworthy of ethical and political consideration. (shrink)
The debate regarding representation is haunted by the fact that it takes place within a context of general suspicion whereby everything, it is claimed, is always representation. Such is the hurdle that Foucault identifies and Derrida attempts to elucidate in his debate with Heidegger, in which he takes issue with Heidegger’s critique of the “age of representation.” Derrida’s deconstruction of Heidegger’s account of the history of representation leads to a reconstruction that privileges the motifs of dissemination, of envoi (sending or (...) dispatching). In art too, Derrida confronts Heidegger, this time with the aim of re-thinking the relationship between the work and what lies outside and beyond it. By framing the Derrida/Heidegger debate within a consideration of the Lascaux cave drawings, and by examining the positions of Girard, Bataille and Blanchot in relation to the question of the origins of art, it will be possible to re-draw the boundaries of representation insofar as they lie at the intersection between philosophy and art. (shrink)
This paper concerns broadly with the works of such ethical postmodern theorists as Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, Giles Deleuze, focusing on how we can contribute to the development of their ideas by discussing Laozi and Zhuanzi’s Taoism, Buddhism, and modern Korean Neo-Confucianism of Toe-gae Lee. I claim that for criticism and art, literature, film and culture as well as philosophy itself, we are now facing this new need of another notion of subjectivity that not only accepts difference but takes the (...) position of whole positivity toward the Other. This different view of subjectivity that can be called "the sublime subjectivity" or the sublime totality of a human being or a society is essentially an aesthetic one, rather than one that depends upon logic, and it is vital to take advantage of Oriental ideas. From the perspective of the ethics of Levinas, I first place the sublime, jouissance, or pure enjoyment, at the heart of literary criticism. The pure sensibility of the sublime, or jouissance, unlike the raw feelings of pleasure, is an aesthetic sensibility beyond the ontological unity of feelings of pleasures and pains. Then with the Oriental thought, I make an attempt to contribute to the development of the ideas on the ethics of the relation of the reader and the literary text’s language. Laozi’s Taote Ching, Chuanzi, Diamond Sutra, and Toe-gae Lee’s notion of Taeguk are briefly explored in view of the aesthetic transphenomenal dimension and the sublime totality. (shrink)
In recent years, researchers and theorists of music education have taken a stronger interest in questions of justice. Meanwhile, in educational research more broadly, there has been a simultaneous growth in efforts to bring deconstruction and the theories of Jacques Derrida to bear upon philosophies of education. One significant difficulty with the latter effort, however, has been Derrida’s insistence that justice, about which he wrote a great deal in his later years, is impossible. This article suggests that, nevertheless, music education (...) can perhaps present special opportunities for something like Derridean justice in the classroom. The author suggests that his own encouragement of DJing and MCing in his inner-city music classroom may have made possible precisely such a seeming impossibility. Given, however, that Derrida’s conception of justice is contingent upon aporia, any decision on this matter must be infinitely deferred. Despite this, the article suggests that elements of Derrida’s theoretical insistence upon aporia can remain valuable to teachers who would strive for an ethical classroom practice. (shrink)
This study firstly addresses three threads in Chris Marker’s work – theology, Marxism, and Surrealism – through a mapping of the work of both Giorgio Agamben and Jacques Derrida onto the varied production of his film and photographic work. Notably, it is late Agamben and late Derrida that is utilized, as both began to exit so-called post-structuralism proper with the theological turn in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It addresses these threads through the means to ends employed and as (...) ends proper (as production of semi-autonomous works that also, paradoxically, index a much larger field of inquiry and theoretical praxis). It is perhaps French “schizophrenia” regarding theological versus political agency that best accounts for the sardonic deployment of irony and humor in Marker’s work in the face of Big History. Such means to ends (plus a subtle anti-intellectualism vis-à-vis fashionable academic trends) tend to underscore the severity and ultimate sincerity of Marker’s overall cultural-political project. -/- Dossier Chris Marker is also a study of a late-modern chiasmus, impersonal-personal agency, as it comes to expression in the works of Marker, as the dynamic interplay of political and subjective agency. As chiasmus, the complementary halves of this often-apocalyptic dynamis (a semi-catastrophic, temporal or historical force-field) also – arguably – secretly agree to meet, through the work of art, in the futural (problematized in contemporary French post-phenomenological and post-post-structuralist theory as “the event).” Consistent with the classical figure of concordia discors, Marker resolves these irreducible warring aspects of life experience in an atemporal and ahistorical moment that inhabits the work of art from its inception. This redemptive aspect in art is also the ultimate gesture of the artwork as autonomous subject and “mask” (or “screen”) for forces that reside beyond the frame of the image or work, as its proverbial Other, or within the frame, as other to that Other. -/- Despite the complications of the as-yet unresolved post-modern condition (its nihilist-relativist bias), and its similar, mostly circular concerns with the image and/or media, Marker’s work is clearly not post-modern. In fact, when tested against immemorial cultural epiphenomena, that work withstands all attempts at categorization and/or art-historical analysis proper. It remains unassimilable to the post-modern cause ... What emerges, upon closer examination, and through rigorous re-contextualization, is the prescient force of Marker’s works toward that futural state buried in art that is also “theological,” versus atheological, and heedlessly anterior to cultural politics per se. -/- In the case of Marker, this age-old or immemorial “thing-in-itself” (the artwork as image of world-chiasmus) finds its foremost or penultimate formation in his very-still photography – the singular images that are also the building blocks for his renowned ciné-essays. Not without irony, this same austere, reductive force of the still image (as form of proscription) also inhabits the more complex, synthetic works (or montages) that he has formulated and presented “dramatically,” here and there, through the often-sketchy apparatuses of his new-media experiments, as of the late 1980s. Ultimately, this world-image as chiasmus was always present within his earliest literary projects, from the 1940s forward – most especially in books and essays, with or without actual images. -/- Marker’s “return” to photography (to exhibiting still photography in galleries), in the late 2000s, is in many ways a return to the singular object of the artist-critic’s desire; the image in/for itself, while that image – endlessly troubled or interrogated for decades – continues to speak “in tongues” anyway, often against, or oblivious to, the voice of the author/artist/narrator. -/- Marker is a High Romantic Christian Marxist. The “Christic” aspect is rightly well-hidden, but emerges when the eschatological versus historical center of his work is exposed (the existential-metaphysical fuse such as also inhabits the works of Caravaggio), and when his early years are examined in light of his later and/or final years. Marker’s semi-personal/semi-impersonal apocalyptic vision is writ large in diverse works that cross decades, figuring a redemptive, world-shattering formation of art as pleroma. (shrink)
In this paper I focus on recent artworks by South African artist Nandipha Mntambo. I read these for the ways in which the discourse of species works within and against the humanist sacrificial economy of the subject that Jacques Derrida calls “carno-phallogocentric”. Drawing on Derrida's “metonymy of ‘eating well,'” Achille Mbembe's analysis of colonial violence, and Julia Kristeva's theory of abjection, I argue that these works inscribe and disturb a speciesist, sexual, and racial politics of animalization, and do so by (...) figuring a transgressive animality that stalks the “origins” of “the human” and troubles its carnivorous and colonial relations of “eating the other.” The works render ambiguous the humanist border that separates “man” from what he calls “the animal” and thicken the singular division between edible and inedible bodies, and literal and figurative eating. I suggest that this figures what Haraway might call an “eccentric subject”, one that not only holds open the possibility of a nonanthropocentrism but, as Haraway would say, “nourishes indigestion” at the heart of “carno-phallogocentric” power. But this is risky practice, as a recent controversy about reading Mntambo's work shows. (shrink)
David Clarke examines the complex relationship between phenomenological and semiological understandings of music and consciousness through the window of time. He also explores the polar tension between Husserl's phenomenology and Derrida's critique of it, considering what the experience of music might have to offer in response to the crucial question of what is most primordial or essential to consciousness: the unceasing, differential movement of meaning, or some pure flow of subjectivity that underpins all our experience.
In The Truth in Painting , Derrida insists that Heidegger's treatment of “a famous picture by Van Gogh” marks “a moment of pathetic collapse.” While we would agree, we would insist that this example does not render Heidegger's entire philosophy of art suspect. Instead, if his reading of Van Gogh's painting is “derisory and symptomatic,” it is nonetheless “significant,” if only insofar as it provides an indication of Heidegger's underestimation of the plastic arts in favor of the elevation of poetry—an (...) underestimation that may be corrected in light of what we might regard as his true philosophy of art. Our aim, then, is to see (with some help from Derrida) what Heidegger could have seen in looking at Van Gogh's Old Shoes were the work not reduced to an illustration in a presentation whose destination is poetry, not painting. What, in other words, would Van Gogh's painting look like were we to view it in light of “The Origin of the Work of Art,” assuming that the latter does not require insistence on the priority of linguistic work but on the creation of a truth that belongs to the Earth, in the case in point, as the ground of painting? (shrink)
This paper will proceed, via a brief discussion of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s anti-aesthetics of architecture, to outline why the architectural metaphor in philosophy is never simply a metaphor, using as a guide the critique of origins and sources contained in Jacques Derrida’s essay Qual Quelle. The question will be raised as to whether the tools and structures of philosophy, such as the difference between materiality and non-materiality, abstract thought and practice, are entirely adequate to architectural debate; and whether, in questioning these (...) structures, it is possible to address Bataille’s critique of architecture (as interpreted in Denis Hollier’s Against Architecture) as the expression of pre-existing social order and power. (shrink)
At once photographic analysis, philosophical essay, and autobiographical narrative, Athens, Still Remains presents an original theory of photography and throws a fascinating light on Derrida's life and work.The book begins with a sort of ...
In On Touching Derrida locates Jean-Luc Nancy (and, briefly, Gilles Deleuze) within a tradition of haptic ethics and aesthetics that runs from Aristotle to the present. In his early work on Husserl, Derrida had already claimed that phenomenology's commitment to the genesis of sense and the sensible is at one and the same time a commitment to pure and rigorous philosophy at the same time as it threatens to over-turn the primacy of conceptuality and cognition.Whereas Nancy (and those other figures (...) whom Derrida cites, such as Merleau-Ponty) express a faith in a return to the sensibility of flesh, Derrida presents his own work as manifestly more cognisant of the necessary distance between flesh and sense. Another ‘approach’ to the haptic is suggested by Gilles Deleuze, whose work Derrida locates within phenomenological presence, despite Deleuze and Guattari's trenchant rejection of ‘the lived’ and the human organism that inevitably subtends any discussion of the relation between sensibility and sense. Rather than decide for or against this border between flesh and cognition, between post-deconstruction and deconstructive rigour, this essay examines this curious border of touch between philosophy and sensibility, and does so by referring to William Blake's problem of returning the signs of sense to the sensibility of the hand. (shrink)
This article analyses some of the shifts in tone and argumentation in Derrida's work by comparing the treatment of the topics of theatre and theatrical representation in his early writing on literary and philosophical texts with the conception of a politically committed ‘ethics’ in his late work. The topic of theatrical representation is particularly useful for a critical assessment of Derrida's later ethics because it allows us to give careful consideration to his position on different types of, and contexts for, (...) involvement. I argue that some of the important differences in tone and argumentation in Derrida's work arise not just because of the different exigencies that distinguish readings of literary/philosophical texts from analyses of political circumstances and events. There is also a shift in his work from attempting to account for the aporetic economy that supports positions held and defended to the terms of his advocacy for ethical commitment. In the case of his early writing the emphasis falls on accounting for meaning in terms of a typology of conversion effects; positive values are aporetically joined with negative ones. In his later work aporias do not present occasions for examining conditions of meaning. Rather, they become compelling imperatives to act. Despite the differences between these perspectives they both articulate an important role for aesthetic experience in meaning. I conclude by considering the consequences that such a position on meaning imposes on Derrida's use of the vocabulary of injunctions and imperatives to ‘compel’ a response. (shrink)
The focus of this paper is Derrida's idea of rhythm. I will analyse how the idea of rhythm can work in a contemporary semiotic, and in particular in a semiotic of interpretation, in order to eliminate the confusion between interpretation and semantics and to constitute a syntactic model of interpretation. In ‘The Double Session’ Derrida uses the Greek word rytmos in order to indicate the ‘law of spacing’. Rytmos is a form that is always about to change or to break (...) up, because it is not a definitive form. It is a not-proper form. But when I say here that a rhythmic relation is a not-proper form, the word ‘proper’ is intended in the sense of Heidegger's Eigentlichkeit. In this sense a not-proper relation is a relation which is not grounded on a justification. What I'm trying to demonstrate in this essay is that the rhythmic relation discovers another sense of the word ‘proper’, another meaning, which is far from Heidegger's Eigentlichkeit. In this sense, it is possible to say that the problem of a rhythmic relation is the problem of a relation between ‘two’ that is not justified by the third element which makes it proper or eigentlich. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the conceptualisations of space which underlie debate of gentrification-related displacement. Using Derrida's concept of the spatial metaphor, the paper illuminates the Cartesian understandings of space that act as architecture for displacement debate. The paper corrects this through arguing that the philosophy of Heidegger and Lefebvre better serves to understand displacement. Emphasising the topology of Heidegger's Dasein and, following Elden, relating this to Lefebvre's understanding of space, the paper 'constructs' displacement in a way that avoids the (...) abstraction of displacement-as-out-migration and instead emphasises the lived experience of space. (shrink)
Deconstruction and the Visual Arts brings together a series of new essays by scholars of aesthetics, art history and criticism, film, television and architecture. Working with the ideas of French philosopher Jacques Derrida, the essays explore the full range of his analyses. They are modelled on the variety of critical approaches that he has encouraged, from critiques of the foundations of our thinking and disciplinary demarcation, to creative and experimental readings of visual 'texts'. Representing some of the most innovative thinking (...) in the various arts disciplines, these contributions offer important challenges to existing disciplinary orthodoxies. Also included in this volume is a long interview with Derrida, published here for the first time. (shrink)
To highlight care in architecture, I resuscitate Epicurus’ valorization of friendship in philosophy, contending that friendly love of wisdom is a practice of well-being, ataractic know-how. I emphasize the body as the instrument of the ataractic project of living. John McDermott and architect Christopher Alexander argue that affection has a place in contemporary design: what a person feels love for in the initial situation guides design. I argue that friendship with things leads us to care for and repair them. Repair (...) familiarizes one with materials, makes one a maker, increases bodily skill. Reparative architecture revivifies natural human affections for place. (shrink)
"The four essays in this volume constitute Derrida's most explicit and sustained reflection on the art work as pictorial artifact, a reflection partly by way of philosophical aesthetics (Kant, Heidegger), partly by way of a commentary on art works and art scholarship (Van Gogh, Adami, Titus-Carmel). The illustrations are excellent, and the translators, who clearly see their work as both a rendering and a transformation, add yet another dimension to this richly layered composition. Indispensable to collections emphasizing art criticism and (...) aesthetics."--Alexander Gelley, Library Journal. (shrink)
I begin with the hypothesis that Jacques Derrida's Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins is in a way the illustration of Speech and Phenomena and therefore Derrida's critique of phenomenology, intuition, perception, and seeing. I also want to show in this regard parallels with both Husserl and Kant. I emphasize that what is at issue in Memoirs of the Blind is art, visual arts; and in the great thematic richness of this text, I note the high points (...) as well as the low points concerning the arts of the "visible." The fundamental question is: Does Derrida "see" the drawing, the painting, and indeed listen to the music? (shrink)
Is it body or spirit that makes us appreciate beauty and create art? The distinguished Canadian critic Ekbert Faas argues that, with occasional exceptions like Montaigne and Mandeville, the mainstream of western thinking about beauty from Plato onwards has overemphasised the spirit, or even execrated the body and sexuality as inimical to the aesthetic disposition. The Genealogy of Aesthetics redresses this imbalance via a radical re-reading of seminal thinkers like Plato, Augustine, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger and Derrida. Professor Faas attacks (...) both the traditional and postmodern consensus, and offers a new pro-sensualist aesthetics, heavily influenced by Nietzsche, that draws on contemporary neo-Darwinian cognitive science. A work of both polemic and considerable learning, The Genealogy of Aesthetics marks a radical new departure in thinking about art, of interest to all serious students of the humanities and cognitive sciences, which no future work in this field can afford to ignore. (shrink)
Although philosophers have characteristically taken the view that art is a vehicle of some universal meaning or truth, art historians emphasize the concrete, historical location of the individual work of art. Is aesthetics capable of sustaining these two approaches? Or, as Michael Kelly argues: Is art actually determined by its historical particularity? His book covers the views of four philosophers--Heidegger, Adorno, Derrida, and Danto--ultimately iconoclasts, despite their significant philosophical engagement with the arts.
This book provides an accessible account of Kant's aesthetic theory, classifying the epistemological status and scope of Kant's justification of the validity of aesthetic judgments. The latter, the book shows, led Kant to investigate the relationship between beautiful objects, subjects, and morality. The book pursues these and related issues, linking Kant's work to contemporary commentaries,including those by Crawford, Crowther, Derrida, Guyer, Makkreel, and Rogeson.