Sunday, 26 July 2009

Jacques Derrida: Through the Looking Glass

I dreamt of Derrida last night. I think I was interviewing him, although it may have just been a regular conversation. We were in a house, in a kitchen or maybe a sitting room, at either side of a large farmhouse table. In the centre of the table, along most of the length, was a structure made of mirrored glass.

The structure looked like it was made of shards of mirror, although the pieces were placed in an organised fashion. The construction was about 2 feet high and contained in a metal frame, with gaps between some of the pieces of mirror, which were all placed vertically. The structure was not very deep. To see Derrida I often had to move my head so as to keep him in view and so as not to see myself in the reflections instead.

We talked about old-age and death. He believed he was going to die soon, but not in a way you do when you have a terminal illness as a sign. He said he was very old, although he didn't look that old, and to me was the same age as he was in his film. I said he didn't look like he was going to die and that my father was older than him. He said he was sure that he was going to die imminently, but was unable to explain to me the reason for this belief.

He was relaxed in an intense kind of way, if that doesn't sound like a contradiction. I felt comfortable in his company and the atmosphere was one of familiarity, although not close friendship. Looking at his face, especially his eyes, seemed to give a glimpse into the activity of his mind. It looked like he never seemed to stop thinking, in a deeply philosophical way, about the world.

At one point I managed to get him framed perfectly between the sections of mirror.

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