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<nettime> "I want to ask Jacques Derrida a question."
Alan Sondheim on Sat, 12 Dec 2009 16:10:56 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> "I want to ask Jacques Derrida a question."


"I want to ask Jacques Derrida a question."


I want to ask Jacques Derrida a question.

It is question about death, not in particular his death.

But a question concerned with the aporia of death, not necessarily his
own.

Such a question, which would have been possible several years ago, is no
longer possible.

We are thrown back on the words of Jacques Derrida.

We are immured there.

It would have been simple: Jacques, here is what I want to know.

Do you have a minute of your time.

The body of Jacques Derrida still exists.

His body, phoric, carries the aporia.

The aporia is not his own, nor can he speak and return an unraveling.

Today, words are never set in stone, and questions go unanswered.

Today, questions disappear, and their occasion disappears.

The occasion of a question: a gap, as in a detective story.

As if the question were sutured by an answered, when in fact it is sutured
by any reply at all.

An answer responds to a question; a reply responds to the occasion of a
question.

I remember Jacques Derrida, and would have tapped him on the shoulder,
saying, excuse me, but ...

There is an image I have of this tapping: the softness of his jacket, the
slight giving away of the flesh beneath, and he turns towards me.

When I move my hands, everything is empty.

Jacques Derrida is a remnant of matter.

... "If death" ... "names the very irreplaceability of absolute
singularity (no one can die in my place or in the place of the other),
then all the _examples_ in the world can precisely illustrate this
singularity. Everyone's death, the death of all those who can say 'my
death,' is irreplaceable." ... (Derrida, Aporias)

When I move my hands: when my hands are moved for me, are only moved for
me: mise en scene, a scenario or occurrence, chora.

I do not collapse time, Jacques, in order to speak to you: I speak to
you.

I do not collapse space, in order to speak: I touch you lightly on your
shoulder, I wait until you turn around, your glance moves in my direction,
momentarily you are caught up in my gaze, you hesitate whether or not to
return your own, your reply to my question, you return such, as if such is
returned, an exchange of gifts or misrecognition.

Of the good, there is the edge of a knife, and the fall which surrounds
it; of the spoken, there is a comprehension, empathetic alignment, then
nothing.

Of the spoken, the knife edge separates the question I give to Jacques as
a gift, an awakening, and the reply which shatters after a particular
time, calculable, unattainable.

Of the question: all questions are a permanence: It is impossible to
answer a question.

Jacques turns; I look at his shoes. Thinking of Van Gogh, of Heidegger,
of Jacques Derrida, I take several photographs. They are remnants, indices
with lost referents; they are abject. I am silent; I say nothing to him,
to Van Gogh, to Heidegger. Repeatedly I raise the camera; eye-level, I aim
downward, towards an incalculable earth. The images, lost, are digital;
they never were. Between one pixel and another, a hole, precisely the
width of death.


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