By Tristan Amadeus
My Mum dropped me on my head when I was a baby
The other week, the amazing Patrick Collister talked about deconstructing an ad.
What does it want to say? What is it saying? Where is it winning? Where is it failing?
This got me thinking about the critical theory of deconstruction, heavily influenced by the writings of Jacques Derrida.
Deconstruction is concerned with the relationship between text and meaning.
Language is a system of signs, and words only have meaning because of the contrast between these signs.
Heads like Aristotle and Bertrand Russell used to think words acquired meaning by being the unmediated expression of something non linguistic, e.g. a sense-datum, a physical object, a platonic form, an emotion).
However Derrida argued words only have meaning because of contrast effects with other words.
As a consequence, meaning is never present but rather is deferred to other signs.
A concept then must be understood in the context of its opposite, such as being/nothingness, big/small, black/white, smooth/jagged, etc.
What’s astonishing is this cracked out way of thinking has created a ripple effect through a plethora of subjects including, art, architecture, music, comedy, literary criticism, sociolinguistics, psychoanalysis, aesthetics and hermeneutics (to name just a few).
The area I think it has had most impact on is architecture (and in the future, the creative industry).
In architecture, deconstruction inspired deconstructionism.
A movement characterised by fragmentation, an obsession in manipulating a structure’s facade and non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of architecture, such as structure and envelope (similar to deconstruction’s dislocation of text and meaning).
The result is a building that David Trott would call a X amongst 0’s.
My favourite deconstructivst building is Rem Koolhaas’s Seattle Central Library.
It’s unpredictability and controlled chaos is genius, just like my portfolio will be.
P.s. The other night over spag-bol, my mum gave me an insight into my brain: I was officially dropped on my head when I was a baby. Thanks for the clickbaite and deconstructivst thoughts Mum x