jacques derrida’s “gift of death”
10th anniversary memorabilia
In October 2004, the founding father of deconstruction died. Born in 1930 Algeria, Jacques Derrida started his studies in philosophy soon after WWII. When he entered the prestigious École Normale Supérieure in Paris, this was the 1950s, which saw the emergence of a spectacular breed of philosophers the likes of Althusser, Barthes, Deleuze, Foucault, and Lyotard. Phenomenology was in fashion. Thinkers like Blanchot, deBeauvoir, Lacan, Levinas, Ricœur, and Sartre were still around. Derrida first used “deconstruction” in 1967 to describe his project, when at the young age of 37, he released a whopping three books: Writing and Difference, Speech and Phenomena, and Of Grammatology. The term caught on, and has since defined Derrida’s work and thought.
A key premise of deconstruction is that Western literature and philosophy implicitly rests on a “metaphysics of presence, where intrinsic meaning is accessible by virtue of pure presence”. A pure presence is simply impossible, from deconstruction’s standpoint, and hence there can be no essential or stable meaning — this has huge implications for ideas about truth and reality. Deconstruction is so pervasive, it has permeated and influenced whole fields of discourse, such as art, aesthetics, architecture, epistemology, ethics, hermeneutics, music, ontology, and the philosophy of language. It is with great pleasure – and a kind of Rortyian irony and pragmatism – that we issue a B&W broadside and two postcard magnets in French colors, to commemorate the 10th death anniversary of the great thinker Jacques Derrida.