FORGETTING BEING, AND THE DIVINE (A Reading of Between Différance, And Now: 2)

Originally published for Studio Sixty Six, in conjunction with the exhibition between différance, and now, by Anna J. Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe.



between différance, and now, stated by Anna J. Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe: “investigates the shared understandings of the sacred that have existed over time and across cultures”.

The sacred that cannot be explicitly associated with the religious exists before language. Divinity is negated through sign. A non-definition of the sacred allows for the sacred.

Derrida quotes Heidegger: “The forgetting of Being is the forgetting of difference between Being and beings.”*

Such a forgetting is a sublime absence of signification and sense of the ‘other’. It is the naivety of a universe of which everything contained is as changing water, indistinguishable. The totality before the binary, light before the distinguishing of colour. It is a forgetting of a suffocating memory to which an object-event is bound is the recovery of an ancient world, before the politics of the object.

* Jacques Derrida, “Difference”


Absence of declared function is as the first draft of an ideogram with no definition. Formed: the [inspiration] for an iconography, before being bound to the material. The state of suspension between the object and its nature of ‘prior-being’ that is before the assignment of symbol—this is what Derrida refers to as freeplay, or “the occult zone of the nonknowing”*.

Freeplay: “field of infinite substitutions in the closure of a finite ensemble” ** / buoy is suspended above water, its action indeterminate in what might be a moment before falling. This stasis is certainty suspended, function unassigned, action suggested but not executed. A line of lights illuminates the bottom of the Plexiglas tank. Each light suggests: moment, serialization, progression. An echo of A Barrier Against the Abyss. Water rests in the tank in an eerie stillness.

* Jacques Derrida, “Difference”

** Jacques Derrida, “Writing and Difference”, trans. Alan Bass. London: Routledge, pp 278-294


The sacred is found in the moment of the indefined, as it is, in [between différance and now].

This can be reflected in a concept found in Japanese philosophy, known as Ma. In this, undefined space is recognized as equally important to defining object / event as the material. To encounter the sacred is to recognize the boundary of sign and the limitless space [void] that encompasses: a state between the known and the unknown.

Note: To be revisited under “Mono-ha and the Interrupted Object”.


Lyotard writes further, “the object of the search is no longer God or truth, but the search itself”.*

The question of between différance, and now is turned to the act of identifying the divine. Sacredness: is necessarily a distinguishing, therefore différance. Where the sacred is lost, we remain enraptured with false ideals, indebted to an incorrect divinity, adhering to crooked symbol. Language killed the sacred by making God: the religious and the political.

Why not consider this problem of object-bound politics—where predetermined sign manipulates our relationships with objects, events, and their significance—that is inherent to symbol?

Can we relate to such a problem on purely visual terms, where the wordless image—the hieroglyphic with no written or spoken form—becomes the interpretive mode of knowledge?

Can we substitute the role of language, which stands now as the secondary, interpretive element to the “original and lost presence” (Derrida), for the world in its immediate encounter? Is this act not a radical act that disrupts and reclaims the construction of sign, and thus, the significance and relationship to the inhabited world?

Iconography is acceptance of sign: an ecstatic rapture. Acceptance is to permit the history and author of the sign: this is the political.

* Jean-François Lyotard, “Libidinal Economy”, 44.