Wigley relentlessly tracks the tacit argument about architecture embedded within Jacques Derrida's discourse, a curious line of argument that passes through each of the philosopher's texts. He argues that this seemingly tenuous thread actually binds those texts, acting as their source of strength but also their point of greatest weakness. Derrida's work is seen to render architecture at once more complex, uncanny, pervasive, unstable, brutal, enigmatic, and devious, if not insidious, while needing itself to be subjected to an architectural interrogation.
Wigley provocatively turns Derrida's reading strategy back on his texts to expose the architectural dimension of their central notions like law, economy, writing, place, domestication, translation, vomit, spacing, laughter, and dance. Along the way he highlights new aspects of the relationship between Heidegger and Derrida, explores the structural role of ornament and the elusive architecture of haunting, while presenting a fascinating account of the institutional politics of architecture.
Mark Wigley is Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at Princeton University.