By Jacques Derrida
Athens, nonetheless is still is a longer statement on a chain of pictures of up to date Athens by way of the French photographer Jean-Franois Bonhomme. yet in Derrida's fingers observation consistently has a manner of unfolding or, higher, constructing in different unforeseen and together illuminating instructions.
First released in French and Greek in 1996, Athens, nonetheless continues to be is Derrida's such a lot sustained research of the photographic medium in courting to the historical past of philosophy and his such a lot own mirrored image on that medium. right away photographic research, philosophical essay, and autobiographical narrative, Athens, nonetheless continues to be provides an unique thought of images and throws a desirable mild on Derrida's lifestyles and work.
The booklet starts off with a kind of verbal picture or aphorism that haunts the complete publication: we owe ourselves to death.Reading this word via Bonhomme's images of either the ruins of historic Athens and modern scenes of a still-living Athens that also is on its approach to destroy and demise, Derrida interrogates a philosophical culture that runs from Socrates to Heidegger within which the human-and specifically the philosopher-is inspiration to owe himself to demise, to a definite considered demise or comportment with reference to loss of life.
Combining philosophical speculations on mourning and demise, occasion and repetition, and time and distinction with incisive observation on Bonhomme's pictures and a story of Derrida's 1995 journey to Greece, Athens, nonetheless is still is considered one of Derrida's so much available, own, and relocating works with out being, for all that, any much less philosophical. As Derrida reminds us, the note photography-an eminently Greek word-means the writing of light,and it brings jointly at the present time right into a unmarried body modern questions about the murals within the age of mechanical copy and masses older questions about the connection among mild, revelation, and truth-in different phrases, a complete philosophical culture that first got here to gentle within the shadow of the Acropolis.
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Extra resources for Athens, Still Remains: The Photographs of Jean-Franois Bonhomme
He is the one who asks Phaedo what happened. What, exactly, took place? While the verdict had been pronounced long before (palai), the death had been put oV until “much later” (poll¯oi hysteron phainetai apothav¯on). ” What ship? The one, following an ancient Athenian tradition (we are still recounting the history of Athens), that once carried the seven boys and seven girls whom Theseus led to Crete and whom he then saved in saving his own skin. It is, in short, this saving, and the pledge that followed, that is responsible for granting Socrates a reprieve of a few days, a provisional salvation, in this case, the time for an unforgettable discourse on true salvation, salvation by philosophy.
The most living thing can let the debt be heard, as soon as it is taken in photography, the baby chick in its cage or the bouzouki player. indd 48 8/13/10 1:29:35 AM all these musical instruments, radios, telephones, and tape recorders did not recall it, the phonogram of this music of death would resonate here in black and white, from one photo to the next. Like a silent song. Like a dirge of mourning that recalls, for example, Demeter weeping for Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades and whom Theseus, yes, him again, tried to carry away by descending into the underworld.
But also (and this is another world of significations with which the figure of Persephone is associated) a goddess of the image, of water and of tears, at once transparent and reflecting, mirror and pupil? Kore¯, Persephone’s other name, means both young girl and the pupil of the eye, “what is called the pupil [kore¯n kaloumen),” and in which, as Plato’s Alcibiades I reminds us, our face is reflected, in its image, in its “idol,” when it looks at itself in the eyes of another. One must thus look at this divinity, the best mirror of human things (133c).