The importance of diagrams in architecture as a field of cultural-political plasticity
Stage, Sky C.
MetadataShow full item record
The architectural diagram can be used as a device that blurs the distinction between subject and object, bringing forth tensions of looking in and through, of being in and out. Jacques Derrida, a French continental philosopher primarily interested in deconstruction, has notably theorized the use of the architectural diagram, and an important idea the Derrida has raised was that of différance. Différance, for Derrida, means not only to ‘differ’ but also to ‘defer’ the meaning if anything, endlessly, because it is never total or finished. This open process of meaning is an obvious fact of cultures since they are historical and changing. For Derrida, an architectural diagram subverts the dominant oppositions and hierarchies currently constitutive of the discourse, and can be modes of becoming an emergence of différance. Architectural diagrams in this sense can operate as an abstract machine that describes the power relations and the narratives of the city. Operating from a place similar to that of writing, the diagram can be experimental in the sense that it can achieve emancipation and autonomy in the discipline, it can be anti-hierarchy, anti-form, anti-structure, and it can reveal clearly the power relations and mosaic of the city through Derrida’s différance and de-centering, as well as Charles Jencks’s ideas of contextual counterpoint.