Doubling: the creation of an image of self serves multiple purposes, one of mimicry for society, and another as a way to alter the self.
The image comes first, then follows the forms of society. The garb of society is already formed, and we are aligned to our roles with repetitive actions.
For some background on where these ideas come from, I was taken with Benjamin H. Bratton discussing Jean Genet’s “The Balcony” 1956, before he goes into image-form, doubling, and architecture/terrorism/violence. (Which probably demands another episode.)
“The Balcony” is a play that takes place inside a brothel, in which the powerful city leaders -such as a judge, bishop and police chief- pay money to remove their uniform, and of course submit to depraved sexual things.
There is a revolution in the streets nearing the brothel, and the leaders realize they must not be seen in their uniform of office. lest they be torn apart by the citizens.
So, to escape the leaders pay for the staff’s clothes, to reduce class and become invisible, but this leaves the staff of the brothel with the police, church and court clothes. In the morning after the revolution burns out, the staff dawn the vestments of authority, step out, and are seen as authority rising from the ashes, and are instantly obeyed and revered.
What we see is that the former leaders escape takes is camouflage, clothing the body as mimicry to blend in. The inverse is, of course, to mimic authority rather than the masses, and this camouflage plays into the roles society craves: you enact the role of the stern patrician, and we will give you a uniform for it, all the while hating and submitting to you.
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Benjamin H. Bratton