Derrida's Spatial Writing

Irving Goh (The National University of Singapore)

Note 3 in the author's " Promising "Post-colonialism": Deleuze-Guattari's "Minor Literature" and the Poetry of Arthur Yap"

Derrida uses the word "mainténant" in "Point de Folie, " his article on Bernard Tschumi's Parc de La Villette. In that "architectural writing," to use Derrida's own term, he writes, "mainténant announces not only an architectural event but, more particularly, a writing of space, a mode of spacing which makes a place for the event." In other words, it is an écriture that "has it out with the event; it no longer offers its work to users, believers or dwellers, to contemplators, aesthetes or consumers. Instead, it appeals to the other to invent, in turn, the event, sign, consign or countersign: advanced by an advance made at the other" (pp. 324, 330). Mainténant justice, therefore, as how I argue, is the event of endless signing and countersigning; of writing the event of justice, of inviting the other to write that event of justice. So as not to striate justice in an unjust, deadening stasis, to bring justice to a moratorium of its expanding horizon. Justice is always moving, "never stops taking flight" as Deleuze and Guattari say in Kafka (51).

To follow justice, and to ensure its genesis therefore, there is the need for such reterritorializing-deterritorializing writing: a nomadological writing, if one could say as such. Compare Derrida's "Force of Law." And also John Phillips. "Stricture: Justice/ Deconstruction." Paper presented at Seminar held by the Department of Political Science. The National University of Singapore. 01 March 2001. In that paper, writing as justice is one of the claims, if not the claim, made.


Derrida, Jacques. "Force of Law: The 'Mystical Foundation of Authority'." Trans. Mary Quaintance. Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice. Eds. Drucilla Cornell, Michel Rosenfeld, and David Gray Carlson. NY and London: Routledge, 1992.

_____. "Point de Folie -- Mainténant L'Architecture." Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory. Ed. Neil Leach. London and NY: Routledge, 1997.

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Last modified: 31 May 2001