Derrida, Doom Knots and the Blank Page

Fusco, Maria. 2008. 'Derrida, Doom Knots and the Blank Page'. In: The Aesthetics of Trash: Objects and Obsolescence in Cultural Perspective. University College Dublin, Ireland 4 - 6 Sep 2008. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

“On the one hand there is the condition of a priceless archive, the body of an irreplaceable copy, a letter or a painting, an absolutely unique event (whose rarity can give rise to surplus value and speculation). But there is also paper as a support or backing for printing, for technical reprinting, and for reproducibility, replacement, prosthesis, and hence also for the industrial commodity, use and exchange value, – and finally for the throwaway object, the abjection of litter.” Jacques Derrida, Paper Machine, 2005

This paper will examine the link between “the abjection of litter”, the blank page and the potentiality of trash as a point of focus or departure for the production of new forms of creative art writing and artists’ publishing.

Particular focus will be given to a selection of artists’ books which position the blank page as their primary creative tenet: Point Blank by Kendell Geers (Ghent: Imschoot Uitgevers, 2004), a blank book which has been shot seven times by a gun, and Modern Optical Experiments in Typography: Univers Ultra Light Oblique (1968), by Tim Lee and Mark Soo (Vancouver: Emily Carr Press, 2005), completely blank except for four pages, each printed with one of the words; ‘think’, ‘fast’, ‘hip’, and ‘pies’.

These publications are meta-critical in nature, in that they draw attention to the conceits of their own materiality and functionality, calling into question their very use value as books, or as trash? For if a book may not be read, how then may it be used?

The paper will take the form of a conventional academic presentation, inter cut with DOOM KNOTS, 1982 (a piece of original art writing by Maria Fusco), thereby self-reflexively demonstrating its subject.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



5 September 2008UNSPECIFIED

Event Location:

University College Dublin, Ireland

Date range:

4 - 6 Sep 2008

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Dec 2009 10:22

Last Modified:

13 Jun 2016 15:33


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