Interview: Gabriele Pasqui

Students: The difference defined into the whole vision of Derrida’s book “ L’animal que donc je suis” takes us to the consideration of an important question. “The animal responds or reacts?”. The approach to a project where over the human presence we must be taken into close consideration the animal, is gaining increasing ground in the last theoretical-architectural scenario. How can architecture adapt to a unstable scenario, in order to reconcile the needs of both man and animal? Must we consider a possible and unpredictable answer or an expected and automatic reaction?

Gabriele Pasqui: The animal certainly responds to an environmental condition, a “situation” (to use the expression of Dewey about Logic), which always appears as a force and a push to act. I’m hungry: I looking for the food. I sleep: I looking for a place to rest. I am chasing: flees. However, we are not animals, not “see” the world through the eyes of the animals (the “many eyes” of the fly, the side eyes of horse, etc… there are precluded). Therefore it is not for me to design thinking to an automatic response of the animal in relation to our strategy: it comes to acting “abductively”, Peirce would say, testing hypothesis that then only the concrete practices of life (human and animal) will make real.

S: One of the arguments advanced by Derrida is to understand if the animals suffer, as agreement “they can not be able.” Today the theme of the suffering caused by so many maltreatment is one of the most fierce battles that open a scenario in which Derrida’s philosophy sinks into ethics. The discontinuity between animal and man becomes more and more pronounced and at this point you may wonder how humans can cope with this problem, perhaps a harbinger of a lack of attention to the care of the same. From his point of view, Derrida, would be favourable to the creation of spaces in their suitable for the protection and preservation of the genre?


GP: I do not know. The theme of the suffering of the animal is for Derrida decisive to check some traditional conceptions of the difference between man and animal in the Western tradition. I do not think, however, that the theme is that of the planning of places “specific” for the animals, but to imagine a city that is open to the existing biodiversity, it becomes possible place for many species. If the animal is suffering, It is suffering also in nature, not only for the torture of men, and therefore we can not think that even into cities, the problem is that of safeguard of animal in pain (or what we, with our language, we call pain). Another matter is the limitation of technologization of animal. But that’s another story.

S: Probably, Derrida deeply knowing the human psyche and animal one, he wanted to bring the whole thing into a concept that brings shame to the nakedness of the human being, which differs from animals because they do not recognize themselves into this limit, the limit of shame, certainly missing in the animal. This concept can therefore reflect into the current inaugurated by him as that of “destructivism” leading to undermine the essence of the structure: so it is a kind of similar paradox between man and animal, structural nature – destructivism denaturalization?

GP: About this point I do not know the answer. But I have some doubt that Derrida

thought his philosophy and the so-called “deconstruction” as a design strategy. I think it should be very careful in applying to architectonical project the philosophical concepts. If you re-read the texts of Derrida about architecture you will find many precautions on the very possibility of an architecture “deconstructionist”. Another thing is to take some suggestions of Derrida as a background to think about the practice of the project today.