TRANSPARENCY, AND ROWE & SLUTZKY (A Reading of Between Différance, and Now: 3)

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


[1]In the combined practice of Anna J. Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe, the material is a method equal to its form. An earlier collaboration between Eyler and Lapointe, CEP I, contrasts the monolithic presence of concrete with Plexiglas. This transparent material unites much of the work in between différance, and now.

The nature of transparency in structural and architectural forms is written about by architectural theorists and historians Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky, in Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal (1982).

Transparency takes on a literal form (the material, that which we perceive), and the phenomenal form (a conceptual and spatial experience). These two forms of transparency contrast the act of looking versus that of reading. between différance, and now incites us to look, in that moment before the object becomes known by sign.


Rowe and Slutzky refer to transparency as it is expressed in Cubism. An intersection of layers that allow for simultaneity – a single representation depicts multiple instances of time.

Transparency is made possible in the Minimalist reduction of the visual form, to approach an expression of the essential. between différance, and now takes on simplistic rectilinear forms, stark palettes, and the unadorned character of its industrial materials. This reduction to the essential allows for a fluidity of meanings, identities and signs, achieving that dissociation from associated function. The essence, then, is beyond the tangible, beyond the phenomenal.


In a less figurative way, we can find this transparency applied to between différance, and now in its linguistic challenge: the multiplicity that comes before différance, and the expression of time in this rupture.

Transparency is the immediate: a linear representation of time distills the multitude into the singular. Anna & Nicolas’ use of “and now” refers to this exact temporal experience. In this way, the sought-after immediacy of encounter may be alluded to through the spatial layering of a material transparency.