Copy, Archive, Signature: A Conversation on Photography by Jacques Derrida

By Jacques Derrida

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This e-book makes on hand for the 1st time in English—and for the 1st time in its entirety in any language—an vital but little-known interview concerning images that Jacques Derrida granted in 1992 to the German theorist of images Hubertus von Amelunxen and the German literary and media theorist Michael Wetzel. Their dialog addresses, between different issues, questions of presence and its manufacture, the technicity of presentation, the volatility of the authorial topic, and the concept that of reminiscence. Derrida deals a penetrating intervention in regards to the particular nature of images vis-à-vis similar applied sciences akin to cinema, tv, and video. wondering the all-too-facile divides among so-called outdated and new media, unique and replica, analog and electronic modes of recording and proposing, he presents stimulating insights into the ways that we predict and talk about the photographic photograph at the present time. alongside the best way, the dialogue fruitfully interrogates the query of images when it comes to such key suggestions as reproduction, archive, and signature. Gerhard Richter introduces the amount with a serious meditation at the dating among deconstruction and images when it comes to the recommendations of translation and invention. replica, Archive, Signature might be of compelling curiosity to readers within the fields of latest ecu severe proposal, images, aesthetic concept, media reports, and French stories, in addition to these following the singular highbrow trajectory of 1 the main influential thinkers of our time.

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Example text

If one can erase images, since the imprint is no longer supported by a “support,” at least not the support of a stable paper substance, this means that we no longer have to do, one might say, with the recording of an image, even though one is recording something: recording an image would become inseparable from producing an image and would therefore lose the reference to an external and unique referent. As was perhaps always the case without our realizing it, we would be dealing with a photographic performativity, a notion that some might find scandalous and that singularly complicates—without dissolving it—the problem of reference and truth: the problem of a truth to be made, as Saint Augustine would have said, no less than revealed, unveiled, explicated, clarified, exposed, developed.

Take Cezanne’s painting, for example, where we see in the progression of a series of pictures on the same theme the painter’s efforts to maintain the line, while at the same time he comes to realize that it is disappearing. When Cezanne says that “you have to hurry if you want to see something, everything is disappearing,” this points directly to the problem, while at the same time it devalues the act of maintaining and fixing. Here, too, we have to do, in a way, with the question of death, for it is a matter to a certain extent of a stopping or a suspension, an arresting, which is also a continuation, a drawing back or a withdrawal that loses contact with nature, that disappears and confirms itself as a withdrawal.

What he proposed was rather a kind of choreographic writing that broke with the recording of the moment. In this sense we can see an opposition between painting and sculpture as a medium of intensive, animated temporality, and photography, which was perhaps misunderstood as a chronological medium. JD: One could dream of another archive: an archive of misunderstandings, of contempt and of misapprehensions [du mépris et des méprises]. There is the text by Baudelaire, which you must know, on photography and literature.

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