Above: book “No more rules: graphic design and postmodernism” by Rick Poynor

Fig. 36 – Page from ‘No more rules: graphic design and postmodernism’ by Rick Poynor (2003)


Typestracts: concrete poetry by the Benedictine monk Dom Sylvester Houédard

Fig. 37,38 – Typestracts: concrete poetry by the Benedictine monk Dom Sylvester Houédard (2013)

On Deconstruction:

“Deconstruction” takes apart such oppositions by showing how the devalued, empty concept lives inside the valued, positive one. The outside inhabits the inside. Consider, for example, the opposition between nature and culture. The idea of “nature” depends on the idea of “culture,” and yet culture is part of nature. It’s a fantasy to conceive of the non-human environment as a pristine, innocent setting fenced off and protected from the products of human endeavor—cities, roads, farms, landfills. The fact that we have produced a concept of “nature” in opposition to “culture” is a symptom of our alienation from the ecological systems that civilization depletes and transforms.

A crucial opposition for deconstruction is speech/writing. The Western philosophical tradition has denigrated writing as an inferior copy of the spoken word. Speech draws on interior consciousness, but writing is dead and abstract. The written word loses its connection to the inner self. Language is set adrift, untethered from the speaking subject. In the process of embodying language, writing steals its soul. Deconstruction views writing as an active rather than passive form of representation. Writing is not merely a bad copy, a faulty transcription, of the spoken word; writing, in fact, invades thought and speech, transforming the sacred realms of memory, knowledge, and spirit. Any memory system, in fact, is a form of writing, since it records thought for the purpose of future transmissions.

The speech/writing opposition can be mapped onto a series of ideologically loaded pairs that are constitutive of modern Western culture:

interior to the mind/exterior to the mind
requires no equipment/requires equipment
present subject/absent subject

Lupton, E. & Miller, J. A. (1994)