Thoughtful Shelves by Matt Dennis; Image via by:mrd
Of the more interesting and funny scenes from the relatively unspectacular 2002 documentary "Derrida" are those which capture the domestic life of the late philosopher. In one charming segment, "Jackie" mulls around the house trying to find his morning routine while struggling to put on his coat in front of the camera crew, oblivious to his disheveled bed hair while being prodded by his wife to not to forget his keys. Later, he sits patiently in a barber's chair getting a haircut as a passage from "The Ear of the Other" is ominously intoned overhead by the narrator. And so it goes. "This is what you call cinéma vérité? Everything is false," he tells the camera man. Best is when the philosopher gives a tour of his library, with walls lined to the brim with books and papers. "Your trophy case?" "Yes," Derrida responds, after which he claims to have only read only a handful of the books on display. "But I read the hell out of them."
A fabrication to be sure--Derrida "read the hell" out of a great deal more books--proof that no one is invulnerable to the pressures of identity-making. Speaking of bookshelves! We recently featured the BookBike, a bookshelf that doubles as a bike rack and which follows in the tradition of the bookcase as invested space towards the cultivation of identity. Similarly, designer Matt Dennis has created a bookcase that simultaneously acknowledges the you-are-what-you-read (or pretend to read) credo and pokes fun at its ludicrous self-importance. "Thoughtful Shelves" is essentially an embodied meme, arrayed with two mirrored thought bubbles ostensibly pinched from a text message convo. As Dennis writes, "The design was intended to convey the creation of an idea or conversation and makes for a unique piece of furniture. The bubble shelves create a focal point for the piece and this allows you to show off the ideas and concepts you love most." Though a bit of a one-liner--semantic depth is rarely afforded to puns--the bookshelf design, which Dennis envisions in different colors and finishes, would sit comfortably in any the offices of any start-up company, alongside the Facebook bed and work desk.