Skiagraphical Strategies and the Dynamics of the Secret

Auteur / Author: 
Ignaz CASSAR (Centre International d’Accueil et d’Échanges des Récollets, Paris, France)
Mardi 23 Août 2011 - 8:30


Skiagraphy, writing with or of the shadow, constitutes a representational strategy that delimits the work of representation, that is, the temporal shoring up of a presence proffered by its representational signs. The work of skiagraphy, on the other hand, unfolds precisely in and through the shadow of all those signs that summon us into a state of presentation and a manifestation of presence.
Springing forth in the shadow of the sign, skiagraphy cannot but begin with that which this sign is already leaving behind — reflected here as a grammatical present continuous: the sign’s shadow as a trace of its very representational work. As such, skiagraphy occupies a particular place within our representational framework, that is, by bringing to bear the figure of the secret within it. While still being a practice of “marking”, of writing at large, it nonetheless disengages us from an absolute referent since we might no longer be able to locate one, hence enabling a deconstructive moment. It is thus also deconstructive and psychoanalytic thought, notably Derrida’s and Cixous’s, wherein skiagraphy has been invested for its differing work.
In working through different material practices (photography, text, painting), this paper wishes to make a case for skiagraphy. Drawing (on) the shadow, skiagraphy works always already with a trace, which, in its deferring structure, nurtures also its enigmatic nature. Between the particular cast of a figure and the shadow that such figure casts, there are unclassifiable remains. This, then, could also be said to constitute the ethico-political significance of a skiagraphical practice: to open out our signs to their enigmatic underside.