Je est un autre. Mimicries in nature, art and society

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Mimicry, camouflage, transvestism, chance or cryptic anamorphism, fascination – all ways of changing clothes, habits and habitats in nature as well as in culture, in any symbolic field created by human beings during their history. Art and artification, aestheticization, stylization and beautification are all practices reflecting the need and desire for biological as well as social adaptation, all performances producing functional and fictional frames, boundaries or hierarchies in ordinary life, including the artworld. They can persuade and convince by creating consensus and belief, but they can also lead to a different common sense, a sensorium – a sensorial medium and an aesthetic mediation open to a new world and to new experiences. By investigating mimetism as a fundamental and polymorphic aesthetic performance, this issue of «Aisthesis» aims to rethink the concept, value, and function of mimesis and its media in the context of camouflage, simulation, and dissimulation, where images do not reveal themselves as such, but are to be perceived unambiguously as what they are not – as hieroglyphs or puzzles. In the animal kingdom, as well as in war or in ordinary public life, camouflage consists in taking on the traits, colours, and shapes of a given form or environment. This is a twofold process: on the one hand, by blending two or more shapes in one, the camoufleur seeks to remain hidden and to mislead the others in order to keep a vital secret or an ephemeral whim; on the other hand, however, he/she aims to be recognized by a specific milieu or group, thus betraying a craving for communication and familiarity, as well as a need to convey an agreeable appearance and to share a way of life.
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Archival date: 2018-01-12
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