Re:[-empyre-] of J-D and of resistance

Henry writes, 

> You can chit chat about Deleuze and Derrida until you're blue in the face,
> but these monsters don't care. They are out to destroy and intimidate voices
> of resistance.

And Alan writes, 
> will we be writing of
> claiming and losing a Jew, of what justice structuring the meta-forms
> of claim, and clearing a path of leaves, autumnal, and plains and meadows
> of infinite paths, and protean behavior and stochastic walks of
> the love and meanness of america
> murmuring of the world of the generation of 68 of the world and as with
> Byars, unanswered questions and their permanency and the problematic of
> their permanency of

To which responds an obit here rescribed.
(thanks to Joy Garnett).


NEWSgrist - where spin is art
An e-zine covering the arts since 2000
Vol.5, no.22
read it on the blog:
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Derrida's Quiet Gestures

[image: Derrida]

via ArtForum Online:
Derrida's last Interview
By Jennifer Allen
Critics, journalists, and fellow philosophers from across Europe remember
Jacques Derrida, who died last week in Paris at the age of seventy-four.
With stories from Le Monde, Libration, The Times (London), The Guardian,
Frankfurter Rundschau, Die Sddeutsche Zeitung, and Il Manifesto.

via The International Herald Tribune, Oct 15:
The real meaning of deconstruction
By Mark C. Taylor - New York Times [last week]
NEW YORK: Along with Ludwig Wittgenstein and Martin Heidegger, Jacques
Derrida, who died last week in Paris at the age of 74, will be remembered
as one of the three most important philosophers of the 20th century. No
thinker in the last 100 years had a greater impact than he did on people
in more fields and different disciplines. And no thinker has been more
deeply misunderstood.

To people addicted to sound bites and overnight polls, Derrida's works
seem hopelessly obscure. It is undeniable that they cannot be easily
summarized or reduced to one-liners. The obscurity of his writing,
however, does not conceal a code that can be cracked, but reflects the
density and complexity characteristic of all great works of philosophy,
literature and art.

What makes Derrida's work so significant is the way he brought insights of
major philosophers, writers, artists and theologians to bear on problems
of urgent contemporary interest. Most of his infamously demanding texts
consist of careful interpretations of canonical writers in the Western
philosophical, literary and artistic traditions, from Plato to Joyce. By
reading familiar works against the grain, he disclosed concealed meanings
that created new possibilities for imaginative expression.

Derrida's name is most closely associated with the often cited but rarely
understood term "deconstruction." When responsibly understood, the
implications of deconstruction are quite different from the misleading
clichs often used to describe a process of dismantling or taking things

The guiding insight of deconstruction is that every structure - literary,
psychological, social, economic, political or religious - that organizes
our experience is constituted and maintained through acts of exclusion. In
the process of creating something, something else inevitably gets left
out. These exclusive structures can become repressive, and that repression
comes with consequences. In a manner reminiscent of Freud, Derrida insists
that what is repressed does not disappear but always returns to unsettle
every construction, no matter how secure it seems.

As an Algerian Jew writing in France during the postwar years, in the wake
of totalitarianism on the right (fascism) and on the left (Stalinism),
Derrida understood all too well the danger of beliefs and ideologies that
divide the world into diametrical opposites: right or left, red or blue,
good or evil, for us or against us. He showed how these repressive
structures, which grew directly out of the Western intellectual and
cultural tradition, threatened to return with devastating consequences. By
struggling to find ways to overcome patterns that exclude the differences
that make life worth living, he developed a vision that is consistently

Yet supporters on the left and critics on the right have misunderstood
this vision. Many of Derrida's most influential followers appropriated his
analyses of marginal writers, works and cultures as well as his emphasis
on the importance of preserving differences and respecting others to forge
an identity politics that divides the world between the very oppositions
that it was Derrida's mission to undo: black and white, men and women, gay
and straight.

Betraying Derrida's insights by creating a culture of political
correctness, his self-styled supporters fueled the culture wars that have
been raging for more than two decades and continue to frame political

To his critics, Derrida appeared to be a pernicious nihilist who
threatened the very foundation of Western society and culture. By
insisting that truth and absolute value cannot be known with certainty,
his detractors argue, he undercut the very possibility of moral judgment.
To follow Derrida, they maintain, is to start down the slippery slope of
skepticism and relativism that leaves us powerless to act responsibly.

This is an important criticism that requires a careful response. Like
Kant, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, Derrida does argue that transparent truth
and absolute values elude our grasp. This does not mean, however, that we
must forsake the cognitive categories and moral principles without which
we cannot live: equality and justice, generosity and friendship.

Rather, it is necessary to recognize the unavoidable limitations and
inherent contradictions in the ideas and norms that guide our actions, and
do so in a way that keeps them open to constant questioning and continual
revision. There can be no ethical action without critical reflection.

During the last decade of his life, Derrida became preoccupied with
religion, and it is in this area that his contribution might well be most
significant for our time. He understood that religion is impossible
without uncertainty, that God can never be fully known or adequately
represented by imperfect human beings.

And yet we live in an age when major conflicts are shaped by people who
claim to know, for certain, that God is on their side.

Derrida reminded us that religion does not always give clear meaning,
purpose and certainty. To the contrary, the great religious traditions are
profoundly disturbing because they all call certainty and security into
question. Belief not tempered by doubt poses a mortal danger.

As the process of globalization draws us ever closer in networks of
communication and exchange, there is an understandable longing for
simplicity, clarity and certainty. This desire is responsible, in large
measure, for the rise of cultural conservatism and religious

Fortunately, he also taught us that the alternative to blind belief is not
simply unbelief but a different kind of belief - one that embraces
uncertainty and enables us to respect others whom we do not understand. In
a complex world, wisdom is knowing what we don't know.

In the two decades I knew Derrida, we had many meetings and exchanges. In
conversation, he listened carefully and responded helpfully. As a teacher,
he gave freely of his time.

But small things are the measure of the man. In 1986, my family and I were
in Paris, and Derrida invited us to dinner at his house in the suburbs 20
miles away. He insisted on picking us up at our hotel, and when we arrived
at his home he presented our children with carnival masks. At 2 a.m., he
drove us back to the city. In later years, when my son and daughter were
writing college papers on his work, he sent them letters and postcards of
encouragement as well as signed copies of several of his books.

Jacques Derrida wrote eloquently about the gift of friendship, but in
these quiet gestures - gestures that served to forge connections among
individuals across their differences - we see deconstruction in action.

Saturday, October 16, 2004 at 05:05 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink:
 soundart performance videoinstallation multimedia painting theory


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