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Considering the hérisson (hedgehog/porcupine): Writing-designing the context essay

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  • Design
  • Literature


This paper initially articulates Derrida’s attempt to overcome the distantiation of writing from the thing written about - which, he addresses in his essay-poem ‘Che cos’è la poesia?’ (‘What is poetry?’). Thereafter, using the hérisson (hedgehog/porcupine) of this essay-poem as touchstone, the paper then goes on to describe the ‘context essay’ which is written as part of final projects on both UG and PG degrees in Goldsmith’s Design Department. The context essay challenges the borders between different types of writing and design practice, and is an essential part of the design process of the students’ final projects. The last part of the paper sketches the different ideational stratagems that may be used in the content and in the form of the context essay; stratagems that inter-ventilate different theories (accounts), different practices (acts), inter-splice theories and practices and, of course, also utilise the technicity of writing itself (applied grammatology) to open up the possibilities of design practice.

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