Discourse: Ellen Lupton's Deconstructivist Theory

Topics: Structuralism, Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes Pages: 4 (1181 words) Published: May 14, 2013
Discourse: Ellen Lupton's Deconstructivist Theory
Key concepts from Ellen Lupton's A Post-Mortem on Deconstruction? * Deconstruction is part of a broader field of criticism known as “post-structuralism,” whose theorist have included Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, among others. Each of these writers has looked at modes of representation – from alphabetic writing to photojournalism – as culturally powerful technologies that transform and construct “reality”. * The phrase “deconstruction” quickly became a cliché in design journalism, where it usually has described a style featuring fragmented shapes, extreme angles, and aggressively asymmetrical arrangements. This collection of formal devices was easily transferred from architecture to graphic design, where it named existing tendencies and catalyzed new ones. The labels “deconstructivism,” “deconstructionism,” and just plain “decon” have served to blanket the differences between a broad range of design practices and an equally broad range of theoretical ideas. * Rather than viewing it as a style, you can view deconstructivism as a process – an act of questioning. In Derrida’s original theory, deconstruction asks a question: how does representation inhabit reality? How does the external appearance of a thing get inside its internal essence? How does the surface get under the skin? For example, the Western tradition has tended to value the internal mind as the sacred source of soul and intellect, while denouncing the body as an earthly, mechanical shell. Countering this view is the understanding that the conditions of bodily experience temper the way we think and act. A parallel question for graphic design is this: how does visual from get inside the “content” of writing? How has typography refused to be a passive, transparent vessel for written texts, developing as a system with its own structures and devices? * The Western philosophical tradition has denigrated...
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