Writing in Space

On the Metaphysics of Presence in Absence

Let us place emphasis for a moment on this silent hyphen of mytho-history, this inaudible little dash which at the same time unites and separates the mythical dimensions from the historic substance of creative-being itself.
This little dash that dialectically separates and unites myth and history in the mytho-historic dynamics of creative-being belongs to that class of inaudible graphemes, these dead-silent spaces of writing, that work to punctualize the non-phonetic moments of pure language in its cipherscription.

We may recall that precisely this class of non-phenomenal phenomena of language, such that highlight the spatial arrangement of graphemes in a visual composition, was clearly perceived and put into relief by Jacques Derrida. In his seminal book—somewhat neglected by the fans of deconstructionism—Of Grammatology, he develops the case of iconographic writing in great detail:

If the nonphonetic moment menaces the history and the life of the spirit as self-presence in the breath, it is because it menaces substantiality, that other metaphysical name for ‘presence’ and ‘ousia.’ First in the form of the substantive. Nonphonetic writing breaks the noun apart. It describes relations and not appellations. The noun and the word, those unities of breath and concept, are effaced within pure writing (26).

By way of such passages we may begin to fathom the ‘deconstructive’ function of the hyphen of mytho-history which is at work in the general cipherscription of creative-being itself. At the same time, we may glean the shift of emphasis, from the “spiritual” to the material spirit of creativity, that the Derridian concept of archiécriture brings to the elaboration of creative-being in the epic dynamism of mytho-history itself.

Therefore, through these inaudible spaces of archetypal cipherscription, we enphasize the rejected materiality of signifiers and their spatial iconographic materials; at the same time, we overcome the idealistic framework of transcendental phenomenology with which we began our inquiries, following the historic trajectory made explicit by Derrida, from the spirit of transcendental phenomenology to that of deconstruction and psychoanalysis. Let Derrida indicate this historic road that ends with Freud while developing the notion of spacing as a kind of unconscious of pure language:

Spacing (notice that this word speaks the articulation of space and time, the becoming-space of time and the becoming-time of space) is always the unperceived, the nonpresent, and the nonconscious. As such, if one can still use that expression in a non-phenomenological way; for here we pass the very limits of phenomenology, Arch-writing as spacing cannot occur as such within the phenomenological experience of a presence. It marks the dead time within the presence of the living present, within the general form of all presence. The dead time is at work. That is why, once again, in spite of all the discursive resources that the former may borrow from the latter, the concept of the trace will never be merged with a phenomenology of writing. As the phenomenology of the sign in general, a phenomenology of writing is impossible. No intuition can be realized in the place where “the ‘whites’ indeed take on an importance” (Saussure, Preface to Coup de des). Perhaps it is now easier to understand why Freud says of the dreamwork that it is comparable rather to a writing than to a language, and to a hieroglyphic rather than to a phonetic writing. (68)

WORKS CITED

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: Hopskins UP, 1997.

Norland Téllez is an artist and teacher with over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry. As a scholar of myth and history, he remains committed to critical thinking through the power of the mythic image.

Writing in Space

WORKS CITED

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: Hopskins UP, 1997.

Works Cited

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: Hopskins UP, 1997.