TRANSCRIPT ONE NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 17, 1985 JACQUES DERRIDA, PETER EISENMAN, JEFFREY KIPNIS, THOMAS LEESER, RENATO RIZZI

PE Thank you for coming, Jacques. Before we begin to discuss our project, I would like you to meet a few people whom I anticipate ticipate in our work together. First, allow me to introduce my colleague Renato Rizzi. Renato shares an interest in the issues icern me and in my design methods, and he and I have collaborated on several projects. Second, please allow me to intro- Thomas Leeser, an associate and principal designgyftgur firm. Thomas and I work together on a day-to-day basis and he is ,,,, ,,,, Juable contributor to my design work. Finally, I wcujBHL/ou to meet Jeffrey Kipnis, a theorist with a strong background in both your work and mine. He anc ■-M8rri|1ftt because he thouglwIHw something about Jacques Derrida, though he soon discovered, as he says, that I have a veste< I »5t in misreading your work. I have asked him to join us today as a kind of guardian/provocateur, someone who will try to make sure that the exciting promise of this liaison is fulfilled. First of all, I would like us to establish a way of working together and to construct a philosophic program for our collaboration. You may currently be working with certain ideas which you would like to propose; alternatively, I could give you a brief introduction to my recent thinking about architecture, in particular that aspect which I see as deriving from certain philosophic attitudes expressed in ycjj^prk. Another possibility is for you to set out your philosophic expectations, for me to set out my architectural expectations, and then for us both to try to find a way to synthesize these. What seems important to me is that we search for a liaison w^gg^i!! be exciting for both of us — a challenge whose physical and intellectual results will reflect the experience. JK It seems ve f| :ant that you strive to dissolve your independent identities as philosopher and architect. JD Y< •fr""*3e. if that is possible. Kfc When I spoke to Bernard Tschumi he told me that you may already have some thoughts on the projec. pPPvery excited to hear these. JD Only very preliminary ones. Perhaps it would be useful if you would tell me a little about your work and your thoughts on the project. PE This situation is very strange for me, because Bernard Tschumi's La Villette project is, I believe, related to an earlier project of mine. The grid in particular is reminiscent of a scheme that I did some years ago for Cannaregio in Venice; many of my colleagues have also made this association. Bernard's invitation to work with you on a small project for La Villette therefore creates an opportunity for a misreading of a misreading — a displacement of a cer­tain irony. More important, however, is the opportunity to work directly wjth you. I have always attempted to get involved in interdisci­plinary situations — for example, I've collaborated with the America f t ' William Gass. Your work has a special importance for me, however, as I have long been critical af^|||itecture's traditional ir \ Bient with the notion of origin, Architects always relate what they are doing to the human figure; c i a & ^Hn rchitectur e really means anthropocentric architecture, and for some four hundred years "since the Renaissance," the idea of aPlfflginary scale — the human body — has dominated architectural thought. Even with the advent of Modern architecture, anthropomorphism still governed architectural form — take, for example, Le Corbusier's famous Modulor figure. In my own work, I have been mounting a critique of the systematic privileging of anthropocentric origins such as scale and function in traditional architectural aesthetics. You can see the consequences of such thinking in the room in which we now sit: its size, color, plan, form, and the shape and proportions of the door all reflect the classical tr^HjPn. Traditional architectural aes­thetics takes for granted hierarchy, closure, symmetry and regularity, thusJ|j|closing the possibiiP§f dissonance, non-closure, non- hierarchy, and so on. For me, this is no longer tenable. Aesthetics rep \ »what you might call textual possibilities, and has thus constrained the history of architecture. To take another example, traditlPSmy in architecture presence is solid and absence void, whereas in textual terms — that is, in a system of presences and absences — a void is as much a presence as a solid. Solid and void, presence and absence, positive and negative — these are all erroneously taken to be synonymous. For me, this system of presences represses what I believe you call difference, which requires the simultaneous operation of both presence and absence. If this is the case, then architecture has been one of the arenas in which difference is most repressed. This, to my mind, accounts for its status in the Greco-Christian hegemony. Finally, through your work directly, and indirectly through such writers as Susan Handelman and Mark Taylor, I have recently begun to consider Hebraic thought and its implications for architecture. There were no graven images in the temple, and, as I understand it, the Hebrew language contains no present tense of the verb "to be" — only "was" and "will be." Thus Hebraic thought deals more with absence than presence. And if my questioning of the issues in architecture is to come down to a cri­tique of the operation of presence in architecture, then it might be interesting to try to construct a relationship between Hebraic and architectural thought. I feel that we are linked by all of this and other issues as well. What I am searching for is a way to turn decon- struction from a mode of analysis into one of synthesis. I ask myself, "How does one turn Jacques Derrida into a synthesizer? How does one make him make?" This is one of the challenges and possibilities of our work together. JK Jacques' work, which has so pow­erfully exposed the uncritical operation of a metaphysic of presence ir^Hilosophy and the pursuit of truth in general, confronts archi­tecture, which traditionally is concerned with Vitruvian Veritas. It see^B Most self-evident that the confrontation with the built envi­ronment is a confrontation with presence. Yet I remember once           say, Jacques, that b^^ "ie self-evident, one may sus­pect a secret lurking. My own interest lies in asking why architecture is so resistant to decenterirj^W .n in its theory and in its prac­tice. I should also add, as I sit here listening, that I am reminded of the Eupalinos, in which Valery's Socrates relates the moment in his youth when he decides between architecture and philosophy. He chooses philosophy, if I remember correctly, because he is unable to penetrate the overwhelming presence of an undefined object to find its one truth. JD In fact the only idea I brought today was an interest in the role Socrates has in the stj^ jre of the dialogue of Plato's Timaeus. PE There are few architectural projects that can be called "critical" in the philosophic sense of the term. Tschumi's is one of those few, and must be applauded as such. Our gar­den must also be a critical project, and we must see it as trans^^' ~g its place in La Villette; we have a larger obligation, which is exciting. JD I am excited and anxious. This is a very difficult siti^V for me, as I am operating in two foreign elements: architecture and the English language. When Bernard Tschumi first proposed this project to me, I was da^^ d but surprised, as I have no com­petence whatsoever in architecture. Nevertheless, I think I understand in a discursive, philosi|^ fashion what you are saying. When I read your texts and examined Fin D'ou THou S,1 I recognized many things: your critique of origin, anthropomorphism and aesthet­ics is consistent with a general deconstruction of architecture itself. Your work seems to propose an anti-architecture, or rather an anar- chitecture, but of course this is not so simple, as what I do is antiarchitectural in the traditional sense of "anti." Yet I have always had the feeling of being an architect, in a way, when I am writing; I have a vague feeling that the form of whatever I am writing has an archi­tectural dimension of the type you were describing. Anti-architecture, but with an architectural design — not a reference to architec­tural forms or schemes, but definitely something that has to^fef m "building." The paradox, of course, is that on the face of it, archi­tecture seems to have nothing to do with absence. In onel^f degger's texts, he say^^t a temple is a place where God is pre­sent, but that implies that the temple is an empty place ready to receive God. It is ultim^B -l paradox of logocentrism. All other arts have a telos of representation, but architecture seems not to depend on it. So, becaus^i sts unique relationship to representation, architecture is more "present" than any other art, but at the same time, being the most "present," it is also the strongest reference to the opposite of presence, namely absence. This odd relationship to representation seems to suggest that in architecture we find some­thing that contradicts the metaphysics of representation and thus everything linked to representation, including the subject of repre­sentation. That is why architectUL s more logocentric and at the same time less logocentric than the other arts. PE The question I ask is whether or not the condition &f nuh you have spoker ie a fundamental condition of architecture or an artifact of its historic devel­opment. Until the fifteenth century, architecture dealt 4 j /'with presence. The form, the figures, the text and the discourse collab­orated in the Gothic cathedral: the cathedral was abom^J-rituals; the rituals about the cathedral. In the fifteenth century, Alberti, in his church for S. Andrea in Mantua, overlaid the secular form of the triumphal arch with the sacred form of the classical temple front in a gesture designed to strengthen the image of the power of God with an external reference to power, to the arch of Titus in Rome. In Alberti's use of representation, I believe, we find the beginnings of a split between presence and meaning. Since that time, archi­tecture has developed as a representational art; that is, it has invoked external sources to achieve its meaning. JK The Modernists claimed the opposite — an autonomous, non-representative architecture — though today, we see their reductionist aesthetic, their n and their social project as continuations of a representational architecture. PE The architecture that Heidegger speaks presence, or at the very least, of presence as dominant over absence. The architecture I am pursuing is one in which pres­ence operate equally. JD Well, you can strategically insist on absence as a disruption of the system of presence, but at Int you have to leave the theme of absence. PE In the work we have been doing, we distinguish between the presence of id the absence of presence. It is through this distinction that we attempt to activate absence and to operate simultane- nresence and absence in a critique of the anthropocentric tradition, which represses absence. To put it another way, tra- i, architecture centers, and its textuality speaks of center or presence. What we are trying to do is to create architectural texts centering, at the same time speak of an of/? era^ecentering. JD My difficulties have two sources. The first has to do with .unness to architecture. The second, and more ii     is that I cannot understand how, with the uncompromising axioms

,, discussed, you ca;.^^ anything in the city toc'^BPpiout some compromise with the client and so on. Such forces require, he idea of origin, ther f \ some consideration of use. PE You have to transcend use; you have to say, yes, there are cer- v/ens, but they will no longer generate the system of values or be representative of those values. JK In other words, the propo- s that what is inevitable does not have to govern, does not have to be thematic. PE These concessions to presence need not Jeff says, thematic. What we should be looking for together is a way to avoid having these considerations determine our work. , you remark that your work is in a sense architectural, I understand that. E.iflAtiat you and I will do together must ultimately be lust come to the architectural dimension; it must not exist merely in drawing and/or writing. What will differentiate our work from ■ -r displacing tendencies in architecture is that others                   the need to make sense in the built condition. Theirs is a flight architecture. JD That is what I mean when I say that I ciqjHbow how the ideas we are speaking of are engaged in the conflict with the demands of the real. PL^HBbut Jacques, you h a vclfoun d e rs ta n d how unable I am vis-a-vis your work. My training, in its classical extreme, probably mearfPPIf I am less able to do the architecture of which we speak than you. My tendencies are all towards the anthropocentrism, aestheticism and functionality which I am trying to critique. I gravitate towards them; they are in my bones. I must constantly work against this sensibility in order to do the architecture I am interested in. What is exciting in this circum­stance is that you are going to provide the crutch for me to overcome certain resistant values that I constantly face. On the other hand, I could provide a corresponding crutch, in that I am familiar with operating in the realm of the sensible. JD So, I will stop apologizing for not being an architect. PE And I will stop apologizing for not being an architect. JD So, let me go very quickly to the single Idea I have. When Tschumi asked me to participate in this projeflMHks excited, but at the same time, I was totally, totally empty. I mean, I had no ideas at all. I was in theygijjBt of writing a text in hdjPMmo the philosopher Jean-Pierre Vernant, which had to do with something I taught twelve years ago < f lung a very enigmatic passage in the Timaeus, a passage which has amazed generations of philosophers. In it, Plato discussesv#Hirtam place. The name for this singularly unique place is chora. In Greek, chora means "place" in very different senses: place in general, the residence, the habitation, the place where we live, the country. It has to do with interval; it is what you open to "give" place to things, or when you open something for things to take place. If I were to summarize very roughly the context in which those three or four pages discussing chora appear, I would say that it is something which is not simply Platonic. Chora is something Plato cannot immediately assimilate into his own thought. In the Timasus, Plato is explaining the birth of the cosmos. Cosmos, as you know, means arrangement: the world asay^ged, organized. Hi^ppieme is as follows: the architect- Demiurge, who gives birth to our visible world, is looking at the pc \ 1 the forms which are eternal; ideas as eternal beings. These forms have preceded him, they are already, and while looking atfBPlTie gives these forms a sensible inscription, they become sensible. This is the origin of our sensible world; it is a copy, a representation of these eternal beings. So, we have two kinds of being: the eidos, which is eternal and unchanging, and the becoming world, the sensible. Two kinds of being, one the copy of the other. Now Plato says — and there is something very strange here —that there is something else, the third element, triton genos. This third kind, or genos, is neither the eternal eidos nor its sensible copy, but the place in which all those types are inscribed — the chora. To dis­cuss this, Plato has to use what generations of philosophers have called "metaphors," though I do not think they are metaphors. These are the mother, the matrix or the nurse. You can compare, he says, the paradigm with the tather, the sensible world with the child or the infant, and chora, this place of inscription, with the mother or nurse. But these are only metaphors, because they are borrowed from the sensible world. So chora is not the mother, nor the nurse who nurtures infants. Chora is irreducible to everything that gives Plato's philosophy coherence. It is a kind of hybrid being; a kind of being that we can only think of in dreaming. Chora is not exactly the void, though it looks as if it were void, and it's not temporal in the sense of a sensible world. JK But neither can it be eternal in the sense of the eidos. JD It's not eternal either in the sense of the stable presence which is not altered by time. So it is something which cannot be assimilated by Plato himself, by what we call Platonic ontology, nor by the inheritance of Plato. Further, it has nothing to do with topos, though Plato sometimes uses the word toposa determined olace instead of chora. Chora is the spacing which is the condition for everything to take place, for everything to be inscribed. ЩШ ,-etaphor of impression or printing is very strong and rec­ognizable in this text. It is the place where everything is received as гЯ, rint. There have been rj^^ nterpretations of chora, typi­cally reducing chora or projecting into chora various systems, Kant's for example. Chora resists е^Ш -о interpretations. What inter­ests me is that since chora is irreducible to the two positions, the sensible and the intelligible, whichTiaVe dominated the entire tradi­tion of Western thought, it is irreducible to all the values to which we are accustomed values of origin, anthropomorphism and so on. I insist on the fact of this non-anthropomorphism of chora. Why? Because chora looks as though it were giving something, "giv­ing" place. In French we say dormer lieu: the р\а<Ш «г receiving or for giving. Chora receives everything or gives place to everything, yet Plato insists that in fact it has to be a virgin place, and that it has to be totally foreign, totally exterior to anything that it receives. Since it is absolutely blank, everything that is printed on it is autoi^^^Jly effaced. It remains foreign to the imprint it receives; so, in a sense, it does not receive anything it does not receive whaj^e pives nor does it give what it gives. Everything inscribed in it erases itself immediately, while remaining in it. It is thus an impossible surface it is not evenvice, because it has no depth. PE You have presented the outlines of a possible program, which, of course, would need elaborШЩ Now are we going to try physical­ly to embody this program? JK That would be the height of anthropocentrism. PE That's right to say that you can make chora. JK But you can make the absence of chora: aren't you saying what it is by saying what it isn't? PE That's it! We can make the absence of chora. The presence of the absence of chora. JD We can go back to the text of chora itself later on. But this text interests me because it is at the same time inside the Western philosophical tradition and irreducible to it; it is something which disrupts this tradi­tion from within. As I was telling this to Tschumi while we were walking in the labyrinth he was showing me his place and discussing what he wanted I tried to imagine what the architecturally^^ ^le translation would be. My concern was to have something a place in which something would happen that would be vi^^ -Apparently, it has to b_ ,cictrden, and we will have to come back to this: why does Tschumi want it to be a garden? This is a place, an open place in whJV /itors can walk, and something should happen to them as they cross the garden. My ... I won't say my idea ... my dream was ifflff „.flat was happening to them would have some essential relationship with the structure of chora, as if something was printed by reflection and instantaneously erased. There would be a surface sand or water, for instance. On this surface, some forms, representing the paradigm, could cast a shadow on the sand, a mirror reflection on the water, or something similar. Then the passage of the visitor could affect the forms in some way which nevertheless leaves no stable trac^ PE I think we would have to try to make something which has a general application. We should avoid materials which so obvious* 'ase themselves, like sand or water we should try stone. If we used stone or wood or concrete we might be able to suggest the presence of the absem / ' ,, юга without alluding to a sacred experience. The phenomenon you are describing would then be integral with the built environrrl!8f л absence. But in any case, we need a more specific program for chora. How do we make it sensible? I don't care if we make a garden or not. I mean, after all, there are any number of gardens. We should try to find a program for the presence of the absence of chora and concentrate on making that sensible. How can you be sure, Jacques, that I am going to receive your ideas when you write? You have to allow for misreadings, The possibility of misreading indi­cates a correct reading. We will have to work in such a way that what we produce can and will be misread, though we will strive for the correct meaning. JD It will be a very simple scheme. PE One thing which might be useful to talk about is the concept of poesis.

.. our architecture cannot be chora, but neither can it be merely a text about chora, confining itself to giving information. It

. i sible information, in what I call a constructive way. Traditionally, that has meant classical aesthetics. The difference iilding and architecture rests in a certain poetic content. I do not mean that in the classical sense, but perhaps in the ■ • ,-n sense. Some of your texts are poetic; others indicative. I think ours has to be both. It is not enough that you give us an : ..c attempt to embody it. We have to work in continuous exchange. JK When Peter has been most successful, and I believe ye also of your work, Jacques, has been when he has abandoned a single goal and given himself up to a process. PE I : with a goal, though I may not achieve it. JK Perhaps goal is the wrong word. You cannot know what you are going to luse that knowledge invokes the entire root sysjj^ of desires, the anthropocentrisms, which you intend to critique. What / is that chora is conceived as existing in an f "lovable and therefore non-dialectic tension between the sensible and . jiole. Further, we te^^^at if we can engage irlPPlcess which plays on the tension without resolving it, then we have a A/hat is most inte f la to me about the Romeo and Juliet project is that no one person "knows" it — not Peter Eisenman, c- to Rizzi, Thomas Leelseror myself, all of whom worked on it to some degree. I don't think its content can be known. PE I have ^bout the Romeo and Juliet project called Moving Arrows, Eros, and Other Errors2 which I would like to give you, Jacques. The _ :,:ne to me when, after I had given a paper at a theological conference, a very old Anglican canon said to me: "What was that 'moving eras'?" I replied, "No! Moving errors," and thus began this wc^j^fu! play on words. Jeff says my texts are calcu- ;0 prevent people from reading the project, though I do not agree. But I wSnt to show you the project, because, in a strange it can be said in retrospect that we were working                                                                                                                     We 9ave ourselves a fictional set of devices as a working

- ess, so that we were not working from the beginning tow<lH»me specific architectural function. JD Chora is a bit of fiction, it - no reference. A reference is Ј'JBB|inci real, about which ycnXcan tell a story. It is not a myth. The text on which I have been work­ing deals with the problem of myth , le opposition between logos and muthos; chora is neither the object of a logos nor the object of a muthos. It is a fiction, since it has no reference, but it is not a story. It is not an organized story with a beginning and an end. [The group breaks for lunch. Afterwards, the discussion resumes on the topic of the role of being Jewish, in the thought of displacement.] JD I suppose it has nothing to do with my upbringing ... I mean, of course, I am Jewish by birth, but my Jewish background and his­tory are very poor I am very surprised that my readers have located these traditions. PE The same is true for me. I have no Jewish religious experience at all, but I think that I sense in your work an innately Hebraic way of thinking. JK The currency of doubt, which is the medium of exchange in both your economies, is a Hebraic^^jHricy. JD There is something specific in the Hebraic tradition referring to architecture. PE There is thataaiple, which has been S>ed many times. George Steiner in a very interesting essay called "The Text, My Homeland,"3 tall f % the fact that the temple may have been a transgression against Hebraic thought. JK A transgression because it involves repreWUmon? PE Representation, concretization of presence and being. That is what so interests me about chora. As you say, it is a non-Platonic idea. To me, it seems more like a Hebraic notion. JD Many have thought that it is a foreign element entering Plato's texts from the early Greek materialists. I thought it was a foreign graft within Plato's text. But how is a graft possible, anyway? What makes one graft possible and another not? There are two ways of reading it, at least. One would be to say that it's neither sensible nor insensible, but both. It is a participation of the two. We have no language that can even struggle to describe this thing, because, as soon as we describe it, we project anachro|icaliy into it. That is i^Pp/ay Heidegger deals with chora, though he writes only a few lines on the subject. He says chora prepa{^^mbereiten is his word — the Cartesian extension of geo­metric space. JK The only way to work — it's very much like dreaming --§ JP?, give yourself into a process while resisting a telos. That is the only possibility of making that is not making something, thus letting the outcome be one of wish-fulfillment rather than goal-ful- fillment. PE Let me tell you some more about the Romeo and Juliet project. Every four years in Venice they have an international archi­tectural biennale. This year for the third international biennale, there were ten sites proposed as problems. One of these sites was that of the two castles of Romeo and Juliet in Montecchio, outside Venice. At present they are ruins. What interested us was that the story of Romeo and Juliet was first written about these two castles. The story was transposed from the site of the castles to Verona, and from the sixteenth century, when it was written, to the thirteenth century. Though we don't know if there is any historic truth to the story, in Verona you can actually visit the "house of Juliet," the "church where they were married," the "tomb where they were buried." Hence, the fiction of Romeo and Juliet has taken over the reality. What we wanted to do was to reimprint the castles in what we called a "hyper- fiction" — that is, a fiction of a fiction; to re-fictionalize the house of Juliet, the church of their marriage and the tomb where they final­ly came together in architecture. We took the labyrinth to be the architectonic concretization of the narrative dialectic of Romeo and Juliet between fate and free will — when you enter into it, your fate is predetermined. Furthermore, in the early texts of Romeo and Juliet there is an actual labyrinth. So, through the vehicle of the labyrinth, we attempted to express three structural aspects of the Romeo and Juliet story: division, union, and dialectical relationship. Tt)e orogram evolved through our work process — at least, that's where we were when we finished. [A slide presentation and discussion®® Romeo and Juliet project and Eisenman's process called "scaling" ensues.] JD But what about the question of reality? JK wJWK physically to realize tl"^_"^ect, we would have to build scaling disequilibriums into it; in other words, we would have to continue the process into "real" so^V Is that possible in building? How is it possible to have this built in stone with respect to the different scales? JK It is essential tnaf you always work towards build­ing. We used three narrative scales — scales used as text, rather than centrist authority. The three scales were intended to confront the traditional authority of a single, human-derived scale. PE When you write a book, you read it in the same sequence as you wrote it. You don't read architecture in the same sequ^ as it was designed. That's a very big difference. JK There is an illusion of begin­ning and end to a book, though I think it's a false musion. JD Well, the nominal structure is there — set. Whereas in architecture, the phenomenal structure is all at once. PE In classicism, you find agr^-'-pf structuring something in an experiential way. You can walk through a classical plan and understand its content because it v^V 'jsigned to be understood in that way. Architecture has two tex­tual dimensions: the vertical dimension, which you see from the outside as the facade, and th^fe which you never see as a whole. Romeo and Juliet is all plan — there is no treatment of the vertical dimension, yet. JD It is tl^^ f3rence between two forms of reali­ty. From where do we perceive this plan, where is the ideal spectator? PE Above — as it is shown in the plan. The ideal spectator would learn little more walking in it. JD God's view. PE Yes, God's view. But this has already been done and I want to go further. There is much about it that I find weak — for example, I doubt that you could experience the texts. JK It has always been my contention that there should be no expectation of "getting it" in a single walk through. Why not assume that the accumulation of many generations of walk-throughs produces the reading? JD Even an open-ended reading. JK Yes. I am surprised, Peter, that you continue to express the desire for the user to experience the "texts." That proposal <>an originary status a finitude that the whole project intends to con­front. In any experiential relationship that you might have wij^^ project, whether confronting one of its drawings or walking through some possible realization of it, the entirety of the project destabilizes any footing that f |juld expect in any normal architectural relationship. For me that's a sufficient condition. It's not necessary, or even desirable, tflsT u project in any finite period of time pre­sent its "real meaning," whatever that is. PE The only reason we are showing you this project is that in it are the seeds of our first effort at expressing discursive ideas in the realm of the sensible, in a figurative way. In this case, the idea was the transference of Romeo and Juliet back to the site through a process. What we are talking about for our project is the attempt to bring into figuration an idea of chora. Had we started with a noal in Romeo and Juliet, we probably would not have gotten as far as we did. That is what Jeff is cautioning us about — not to stf vith too specific a pmaram to make chora. JD Well, it was not my idea. PE What we must do is develop a discourse which we can then begin to figure. ;iive to set up the fictional premises necessary to establish a process that might lead us to chora. JK I agree. And we have a hint^ is in chora the pre-organization that has to do with the tension between the sensual and the intellectual. JD And something else. Chora is something that — and this may lead to the right thing — something that cannot be represented. Chora cannot be represented, except negatively. You may think of negative theology, but this would be wrong. It is nothing sacred or theological — it's a space. It is a space that cannot be represented, so it is a challenge to anything solid, to architecture as something built4 JK Architecture depends as much on signification as on solidity, or should I say, as much on text as on presence. PE The most difficult thing of all is to do something and then discover in it things that were wanted. It's almost like

; ,,ious and allowing things to happen. How can we accomplish that? What I would suggest is that we try to find a mech- ■ pi a sense, initially destabilizes the work we produce from a traditional architectural reading. It is also possible to desta- onal functionality. We could, for example, make it in part inaccessible. JD In La Villette you cannot make it inaccessi- PE / , ii can make part of it inaccessible. JD The concept of the garden is something that contains access, the product of the

......... ,, „. pleasure of walking. JK The product of the garden could just as well be the exteriorization of the human being — con-

, (ion of Eden. PE We have to make a mark. One of the important things is the presence of the absence of our authorship ; „ who walk through it. Its reason for being is to have our signature. I know what my signature would be in that situation, be that. I have to help you to find an archite||jM|signature to facilitate your ability to work in this process. I suggest we me to digest what we have said today. I war^lHfed Timaeus. Then I will try to make some drawings and send them to ^ n draw over ihes'^Mjggpt is, in some way maklPliitions as to what you find problematic, though perhaps not in the sense ^ meet draws. JD [ >uld not be able to do that. PE But you could draw in the sense of responding in writing to draw- ;n we could begin a regular exchange. JD And you could send me discursive propositions, if you are expecting me to PE What I think should happen now is that you will have time to read more of my writings and we will have time to study the ,s and your writing. JD The pages on chora are found about the middle of the book. It's just in the middle, a very small piece ne'e. I will also send you the text I'm working on now. PE We can get it tJ^ated. We have to put something down and say, - a beginning." That's the most difficult thing, but we have to make a start. JD Are you optimistic? PE Very optimistic. But if I were ■ , with a preconceived notion, then I would be back in th^Mriby of precluding . . . of predicting closure. The way I work and the i .ink we will work together is noUp know what will happf »^Tiething will suggest itself, something about your work — maybe d. You will have to allow u: \ mm with your text — perhaps that will suggest an architectural strategy. The text could become - ^ of the work. We should u'-wiRfi the Platonic text and yours as starting points. JD I thought of bringing the text, but it's a sort sophical essay. It has nothing to do with architecture. PE What about saying: a text of Plato, a text of Derrida and a text of . cia with Eisenman? In other words, that there are three levels of discourse. Plato is referring to chora. Derrida is analyzing Plato, missing is my reading and analysis of the Plato and Derrida texts. This would give us two layers — the architectural eguiva- Derrida's analysis of Plato and my analysis of Derrida, which could provide the fictional structure for the work. Then we would g to set up something similar to the Romeo and Juliet projectwtiich also had different texts superimposed one upon the other to begin with. JD As you will see from my essay, a major focus of r-^«№ing of the chora theme in the Timaeus is the structure of the dialogue itself. It has a very strange s^dgre of narrative within • ■•JPWve within narrative, which relates to the problem of chora. Another of my ideas is that Socrates ably playing the role of chora. He is neuter, he is a receiver. He says, "You speak, I am your listener. I receive what you're impflrang." Since chora is the place where everything is received, there is a striking analogy between the role and the place of Socrates and the role of fiction in chora. PE What you are saying is very stimulating. It may provide us with a way. How can we embody that narrative in this project, for example? How do we embody Socrates as receiver? JD The archi­tecture of the dialogue has to do with city building. The Egyptians used to say, "Your city will be destroyed." All cities were eventual­ly destroyed by floods and fires and so on. JK But it is a pitfall to think that the most architecturajj^ynterestinn part of the text will be that part that seems to be explicitly about architecture. In fact, that is v4|iM|he work miQht lapsflPb a tendency merely to illustrate the text. So, it might be more fruitful to look to where there seems to I »chitecture at all. 1. Peter Eisenman, Fin d'Ou T Hou S, Folio V, AA Publications, 1984. 2. Peter Eisenman, Moving Arrows, EroҐ§no Other Errors An Architecture of Absence, Box 3, AA Publications, 1986. 3. George Steiner, "The Text, My Homeland," 4. For more on the relationship between chora and negative theolo­gy, see Jacgues Derrida, "Comment de ne parler pas," Psyche, Galilee, 1987, esp. pp. 563-569.

 

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