Strata/Sedimenta/Lamina: In Ruin 1

Derrida Today 1 (1):42-58 (2008)

Abstract
Ruins, their evocations and enigmas, have been a source of fascination since the advent of civilization. Both coordinating and distressing the relations of space and time, ruins are unparalleled catalysts of cultural analysis, as both history and adumbration. Ruins, and the concept of ruin on which they ‘rest’ and through which they decay, can be regarded in space, as strata, in time, as sedimenta, and in dynamic terms, as lamina. This essay works down through each focusing on the forceof ruin occurring between them. The essay itself is a lamination: Anselm Kiefer's exploration of ruins as artefacts, in recent works such as ‘Falling Star’, shown at Paris’ Grand Palais in the summer of 2007 as the first installation in its Monumenta series, plays across many dimensions of ruins’ themes; Derrida's exploration of the very idea of ruin – not ruins but ruin, as artefacture – conceptualizing ruins’ liminal nature, at the very limit of phenomenology, in Mémoires d'aveuglesand elsewhere; the ruin-caught-in-motion of the virtually unknown French-Italian painter ‘Monsù Desiderio’; and the linguistic ruin of Samuel Beckett's ‘D'un ouvrage abandonné’ and ‘Sans’. Each contributes to the others as ruins and ruin accumulate. Finally, ruin's decay passes into and through a passe partout into the uninhabitable.
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DOI 10.3366/e1754850008000079
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