n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Punctured and stitched : Derrida's and intertextual polyphony in dandyism meets Athi-Patra Ruga's

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



The "" theme, as informed by Jacques Derrida's (2009 [1978]) appropriation of this term, speaks not only of fusion but also of the interrelationship between two entities that are conjoined, though they may be in conflict with each other. This could be read as a form of intertextuality - Derrida's text is indebted to Martin Heidegger's essay, titled "The origin of painting" (2008 [1950, 1957, 1960]), though he works at critiquing and subverting its content. The process of intertextuality is one that informs dandyism, a mode of strategic dress where the wearer is forced to operate with an existing or dominant sartorial syntax. In this way, the dandy's mode echoes Derrida's proverbial "rereading" of Heidegger's text "against the grain". For this reason, dandyism is characterised as a product of what Sima Godfrey (1982:28) terms 'intertextual polyphony', involving a tricky renegotiation between a dominant sartorial syntax and a subversion of it. Athi-Patra Ruga's artistic practice evokes the dandyist mode; not only does he work with a sartorial vocabulary but pushes it to its logical limit, affecting a subversion thereof. However, is it possible to interweave a discourse between his performance works, dubbed (2010-2013), the form of intertexual polyphony inherent to dandyism and the subject matter and mode of Derrida's text on ? Or will the form of definitional crisis attached to each of these ideas, bodies of work or texts prevent a smooth dialogue? Does the act of that Derrida advances inherently bring about a definitional crisis?

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