Starting 26th January 2017, the Art & Theory Reading Group met once a month for four months, at Wollaton Street Studios, to discuss Jacques Derrida’s Given Time: 1. Counterfeit Money. Examining the implications for artistic practice of its ostensible theme of the gift, expressed in Derrida’s process of deconstruction and his “strict taste for refinement, paradox and aporia.”

Each of the four meetings was dedicated to reading one of the four chapters of Given Time, in preparation for which I wrote a series of posts summarising my own reading of the relevant chapter. I have shared links to these posts below.

Derek Hampson
(Art & Theory Reading Group Convenor)

The Luck of the Gift


The Unconditionality of the Gift and the Event (123) The event…the unique, the one-off, happening now and never to be repeated. Both the gift and the event must be unforeseeable and must be structured by the aleatory the “chancy,” apprehended in a “perception that is absolutely surprised by the encounter with what it perceives.” A […]

via The Luck of the Gift — Art & Theory Reading Group

The narrative structure of Counterfeit Money 2

What happens in the story happens to the narration (122) Derrida says that the effect of Counterfeit Money is that of an event that has taken place. This event is not the content of the story, that which the narrative is generally thought to report. What happens happens to the narration, to the elements of […]

via The Narrative Structure of Counterfeit Money 2 — Art & Theory Reading Group

The narrative structure of Counterfeit Money 1

The economic cycle of confession and unforgiveness (121) There is a structure of narrative relation between the friend and the narrator in Counterfeit Money. This is expressed in what the friend recounts to the narrator, “it was the counterfeit coin,” boasting and confessing, what in truth happened. This telling of the truth by the friend […]

via The Narrative Structure of Counterfeit Money 1 — Art & Theory Reading Group

What is unforgiven in Counterfeit Money?

Betrayal and the Failure to Give (GT, 116-120) Baudelaire’s Counterfeit Money, overview The story is a first person account, in which the narrator and his friend encounter a beggar, to whom the friend gives a two-franc coin, before confessing, to the narrator, that the coin was counterfeit. Surmising that his aim was to “pick up […]

via What is unforgiven in Counterfeit Money? — Art & Theory Reading Group

Why Counterfeit Money is a story of tobacco

A risky promenade (GT, 114-115) Derrida characterises his approach to Counterfeit Money, and his numerous digressions leading up to the final chapter, as a “risky promenade,” one which reflects the journey of the two friends in Baudelaire’s story.(114) He then seeks to justify his reading of Counterfeit Money as a story of tobacco, citing Baudelaire’s […]

via Why Counterfeit Money is a story of tobacco — Art & Theory Reading Group

The Economics of Poetry


Economic registers of the poetics of tobacco (GT 109-112) As a sumptuary product, i.e. luxurious – essentially wasteful, one could be tempted to think tobacco outside the economic cycle, resistance to this idea is possible in terms of several “registers” of the economic. The psycho-analytic The reason for smoking can correspond to an aim, which accomplishes […]

via The Economics of Poetry — Art & Theory Reading Group