Thursday, 12 June 2008


Image : Rhys Jones, February 2008

I've been interested by some of the thoughts of French philosopher Jacques Derrida without claiming to understand all of them. In particular his thoughts on secrecy. He describes how a writing desk (secretaire) can be used to lock away papers and then describes how a secretary (or assistant) can be employed to conceal things (his example is Phaedrus who concealed Lysias's speech under his cloak). A 'secretary' can by analogy with 'syllabary' also be an ichnography in which a trace (ichnos) can be collected written or described. At the bottom of traces are secrets.

"Form is a trace of the formless; it is the formless that produces form, not form the formless..." - Plotinus

I have this image in my head of the metal drawers of a filing cabinet containing papers and photographs which can be arranged and re-arranged and locked away. Traces of a person's life which contain secrets just waiting to be found.

1 comment:

Susan Richardson said...

This is really interesting, Rhys. And your image of the metal filing cabinet made me think of Virginia Woolf's metaphor for her writing journal. She wanted it to be a 'deep old desk or capacious holdall' into which she would chuck a 'mass of odds and ends' from her life without sorting them through. She hoped that when she returned to the desk, she would find that, over time, everything had miraculously ordered itself!