Decon and Derrida

In John Pohrylo's interesting piece containing extracts from Mark Wigley's
writing on decon two things struck me as perverse:

1) "[The projects] do not derive from the mode of contemporary philosophy
known as 'deconstruction' ."

I suppose that I would have to agree that they do not derive from it, since
deconstruction is a form of literary criticism which, as its own guru
admits, is rather difficult to transplant to architecture, although it is
having a jolly good time of it in architectural CRITICISM (sp?).

But, surely, all those involved in this are exploiting to the full any
connection they can get with Derrida and deconstruction, even if it is to
write lengthy and incomprehensible pieces about how little connection there
is! I might note that Prof Wigley himself is a good example of this, as his
latest book shows.

2) "Deconstructivist architecture does not constitute an avante-garde".

This is, surely, disingenuous in the extreme. The context of the quote
implies that 'avant-garde' equates with 'new', but that is not at all
right. Artistic avant-gardes are all those who wish to overthrow the
existing order of their field, to install themselves as the good and the
great. How they do it, what they espouse, whether a return to something old
(a glorious golden age) or an advocacy of something new, is irrelevant. The
content is just a vehicle in the constant competition of newcomers against
the establishment to make it to the top.

In that sense, all the decon architects and critics are very much an
avant-garde, and doing very well out of it, too. It certainly has made the
reputation of Academy Editions and its (former) publisher Andreas
Papadakis, not to mention Mark Wigley and so on.
Garry Stevens
Dept of Architectural and Design Science
University of Sydney
NSW 2006
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