Dear Junk, video installation at the Brockton Collective until Sunday. Part of “Done Being Wrong”, #OCAD U’s end of year show for the #IAMD Program.

Dear Junk, video installation at the Brockton Collective until Sunday. Part of “Done Being Wrong”, #OCAD U’s end of year show for the #IAMD Program.

Semiotic Pathology (Sign Sickness) DSM 0


Diagnostic Criteria 300.5 (F47.8)

A. Some (or all) of the following symptoms persist involuntarily, as a result of sustained subjection to the emancipated sign manifested as the presence of persistent or recurring experiences of total simulation leading to clinically significant impairment or loss of the real, as described by one (or more) of the following: 

  1. Experiences of unreality, detachment, or being an outside observer to one’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, body, or actions (e.g., perceptual alterations, distorted sense of time, unreal or absent self, emotional and/or physical numbing)
  2. Experiences of a reality without appearances, without echo, without mirrors, detachment with respect to surroundings (e.g., individuals or objects are experienced as trauma, representations, automata, adaptations, or are phenomenologically distorted).
  3. Eurphoria, as a result of the destruction of causality, limits, and boundaries of objects, renders simulation entirely disposable and consistently replaced.

B. Recurrent exposure to the burlesque spectacle of tactile media.

C. The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or another medical condition (e.g., semiophillia).

D. A sign no longer constitutes a distinct material having finality and cannot be used for prestige, status and social differentiation.

E. Social relationships are subjected to the detailed deconstruction of the real, the paradigmatic close ‘reading’ of the object: the flattening out, linearity and seriality of part-objects.

F. The symbolic destruction of social relations as a result of prosthetic ideologies traded, borrowed, or stolen and worn like items from a costume trunk.

G. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:

  1. Through reproduction from one medium into another the real becomes volatile, resilient to finality, it becomes the allegory of death. 
  2. The reduplication of the disposable manifested as undegradable response to surgically precise montage.

F. Withdrawal, as defined by either of the following:

  1. The tourniquet of infinite reproduction used against secretions of referential value.
  2. The ceaseless devouring of emancipated signs to relieve or avoid the end of the spectacle, which brings with it the collapse of reality into hyperrealism, and the meticulous reduplication of the real, preferably through another reproductive medium.
  3. Infinite refraction is nothing more than another type of seriality in which the real is no longer reflected, but folds in on itself to the point of exhaustion

Diagnostic Features

The essential features of semiotic pathology begin when the gaze has legs, sensations, a body, or actions (e.g., several possible modalities of time, which absent of self, become an emotional and detailed deconstructive ‘reading’ of the object: the flattening of experience, the appearance of unreal, dreamlike, foggy life objects). A vision from within the game experience, wherein reality testing remains intact, duplicates every detail. Stress impairment in social occupation becomes the configuration of the sign. The dialectical effects of a substance (e.g., ecstasy, ketamine, alcohol, infinite refraction) become nothing more than a condition (e.g., seizures). The real is no longer reflected in a mental disorder (e.g., schizoexhaustion, acute semiotic stress, posttraumatic sensory dimension), which, long ago, was abolished with the forms. Social, historical, and economical disorders are persistent and recurring.

Episodes of depersonalization, detachment from, or unfamiliarity with, one’s own stranger makes the individual feel a detached aestheticization of life, or a having been outside of, or having no, decorated, embellished self. He or she may also feel that life is constantly confronted with ever-cluttering feelings (e.g., hypoemotionality; complete involvement in the game of reality; derealization symptoms). The cybernetic stage replaces the hot, false order. The consummate enjoyment, deadness, apathy, being-in, and being beneath violence replaces the more grueling episodes. However, the euphoria of simulation is packed with further symptoms of origin and end, replacing them with the early appearances of a major depression project. The diagnosis of the referential, as well as the operation of other meta-symptoms, causes one to succumb to the athletic hallucination of the real.

'It's a circus', 'it's a theatre”, are sayings not directly observed. The disorder can be an ancient naturalist denunciation. Alterations or discontinuities in turning the rage can result in counterfeit amnesia. Reality produced without common measure is filled with discontinuities of experience. This hand duals with identity and a two-room-kitchen-shower, which become depersonalized observers of ‘spatial power’. You could say “we feel powerless to stop (the sense of self)”. Such is an everyday aspect of the terrestrial vices (e.g., a child’s voice; crying; the voice of cosmic value; absolute décor).

Experienced as multiple, perplexing, indecent metaphysics, in the beginning one experiences no control, strong emotions, and transcendence of banality, which may suddenly emerge as hyperrealism. These emotions and impulses are frequently personal preferences. Everyone is already in possession of an envy shift. Then they shift back. Each individual may succumb to a reproduction of his or her own life as a small child, possibly in the opposite gender. First hand loss of personal agency may accompany knowing emptiness.

Associated Features Supporting Diagnosis

Individuals with semiotic pathology may have difficulty with the disruption of identity characterized by three kinds of unintentional parody, which may be described in some cultures as: counterfeit, production, and simulation. A consummate aesthetic identity, which involves marked discontinuity in the indefinable play of reading and related alterations in affect, behavior, media, fashion, models, cognition, and/or sensory-motor function typify this disorder. 

Possession, as a symptom of supreme identity, such that the individual begins speaking the object’s molecular code, may result in ample vertigo, realistic simulation of a “ghost” who speaks and acts as though they are from the real, but are actually just a paradigmatic demon or deity, results from the proofing process of linearity. An individual may exhibit impaired judgment and demand the incorruptible sixth sense of special effects.


Symptoms lasting an entire lifetime are common in the general population (e.g., veterans). Most affected are those who put an end to thought (e.g., “My thoughts feel like internal contradictions, there is nobody or body parts, or sensations, touch, opposition), which echoes the diminished sense of agency that accompanies self-duplication. Subtle periods of infinite reproduction mark all referential criteria with identical distortions of normal origin.

Development and Course

Symptoms effect a new generation of signs and objects, one saturated with panic systems absent of caste tradition. Therefore, a depersonalized status, which will never hang, aligns with the symptoms that occur only at the outset and in the end. They will be products of gender order, social anxiety disorder, or specific specificity, and their origin no longer has meaning.

The sore dimmer lacks panic disorder and progresses to the series: the very possibility. Relation between them is no longer an oration component of the presentation, but instead an orgy of reflections, but instead the domination of the series, but instead objects becoming indistinct experiences after 20 years of age, and only in the shadow of one’s own destruction. Real life is experienced as highly unusual. Onset of realism is inaugurated after 40 years of age. In such cases the real already signals that its status bears underlying medical conditions (e.g., the brain; the innocence of language; the discourse of disorder; the effect of reality). Surrealism was an episode, another continuous symptom contested, which when doubled eventually became the real. Surely, an interior still alive.

Risk and Prognostic Factors

Temperamental. There is a clear association between personal traumas reflected in a substantial portion of the remaining mirror, and this ailment, or extreme nature, which is another type of seriality, in which identity folds in on itself to the point of musical abuse. Here the paradigmatic parent, or unexpected death, or suicide of a syntagmatic dimension, is a much less common antecedent, but can even become an internal reflection. Only a tenant of the disorder can sever stress, particularly panic attacks, as illicit delineation of pure repetition. Before substances such as hero-realism, this tendency produced ecstasy, and here the project was to construct a void. Psychological subjectivity is the gap of this fact, is the only objectivity of the unaware object. It is easy to detect that information is missing in this circular seduction.

Environmental. The hyperreal represents a much more slippery disorder that manifests in hallucinations, which balance the undependable memory (e.g., what happened to representation of the rear; do your job; use a computer; read; drive), and emerged in pop art and painterly actions and tasks that they do not recollect the dope discerned in the nouveau roman shopping bags among their elite possessions. All around the real, in an attempt to eradicate all that they must have created, the possessions discover injuries. Order is to give it a pure objectivity. Dissociative fugues, wherein the person’s pure gaze, an objectivity final to us individuals, disregard the remains as a blind relay of the gaze they themselves develop at the beach, at work, in a night unconscious, trying to remain with their hinds loose, on a bed, or sofa, in the corner with no specific class–allegorical or individual–discovering dissociative paradise. Crossing, made up of mirrors, images, identity typically manifest as simulacra, they are transparent anal beings, let an outside person take control, exercise craftsmanship, and rat on the counter-action in a distinctly different manner. For exchange’s characteristic style is savoir-faire–the appearance that her identity has been what was ‘natural’–within what was armed suicide in the same community years.

Culture-related Diagnostic Issues

The disturbance is not a normal substance. Synthetic substances will guarantee eternal power blackouts or chaotic behavior during the invention of undegradable seizure, which through corruption, death, and even fire can creates a neuro-elastic identity. Note: In children, the symptoms are not bureaucratic.

Functional Consequences of Semiotic Pathology

Symptoms of depersonalization/derealization disorder are highly distressing. Such is the experience of recurrent inexplicable intrusions without echo, without mirrors, without obscured attempts to ruin the machine. Such is the experience of recurrent, inexplicable intrusions that are radically opposed to the self (e.g., voices; dissociated actions and speech; resemblance or dissemblance; no motives), alterations of sense of self (e.g., attitudes), changes of perception beyond every substance of production. A feeling of being detached from one’s body while an accountable drift marks the pure organ symptoms, often produces transient stress, which makes the marks all the more evident.

With the revolution you control speech or movements. Victorious human and generic readings of a split self, with one part what asking “what if capital wiped generic man out of body-experience?”, manifest in its most extreme form, the revolution’s golden caption: the origin; the end; the self.

Emotional-circulation is the only threat to the distortion of anomalous subjective recall. The only problem is the absorption of the apple (e.g., possession from presentation) and corporeal discontinuity, memory without echo, without mirrors, without obscured attempts to hide dysfunction.

Differential Diagnosis

The defining feature of semiotic pathology no longer has anything to do with extinct personality states or the rational claims of science. It is a project of covertness of these personality states, however hegemonic the phantasy of closed motivation (e.g., current levels of stress; culture; intense angels whose wings touch in resilience). Sustained periods of identity injury can be severe and prolonged. In many, this system puts an end to the myth of its own disorder, it has secreted itself over the course of highly overt identities. Most individual myth of origin puts an end to identity. They do not overtly display their longing for the real, or a referential. Only a small minority presents the clinical myth at its end. It is common for man in the age of capital, where amnestic behaviors circulate, to be unable to recall these myths, or to even remember their own name, or to bear witness to their own death. The revolution of appearances is not limited to stressful or traumatic outlines of everyday events. Hence, the original potential of man dispenses himself of his map in favour of living out his days in the genetic ward of capital amnesia.


In a convenience sample of veterans recruited for semiotic pathological research, lifetime comorbidities were high amidst utopian depressives and for those with auraphobia. A significant proportion of the sample had both disposiphobia and disposiphillia. Comorbidity with posttraumatic counterfeiting was low. The three most commonly co-occurring personality disorders were counterfeit, produced, and simulated.


Templates for Performance

Much of my recent reading has been towards what Erving Goffman calls “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”. I’m also exploring categorical templates for performance, such as the one that these fellows inhabit. This will come to reveal some exciting new directions in my research and practice.The distinction of disciplines are only true so long as the context that supports them remains. Plucked from the hallways these boys would look ridiculous. 

Reading: Roger Caillois on Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia

Having recently read Roger Caillois’s seminal essay Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia, I’ve gotten to thinking about how to apply these ideas to my analysis of disposable material culture. Charting the richly mimetic natural kingdom, Caillois identifies the problem of distinction as a matter of exercising the ability to select, to identify subject from context. This discussion must have felt timely as modernism attempted to universalize and the scale of urban masses was increasingly recognized through the global circulation of editorial photography. 

As a method of determining distinction Caillois suggests that emphasis be placed on a strict method of classification, based on facts and not interpretation. Anthropocentric tendencies complicate the reading of plant and animal markings. In exploring the matter of resemblance Caillois quotes Cuenot, who says “resemblance is therefore obtained by the sum of a certain number of small details” (65). So, one must ask: How few details of selection does it take to fool the perceiver? 
And, in turn the necessary response: “That depends on how perceptive the investigation is”. 
It very much depends on the degree of detail and mimic’s commitment to performance. If the disguise is sufficient, the investigator’s rigorous pole vault of classification may not offer passage onto the opposing shores of distinction, but instead may land her in the river of deception.  

Caillois offers a wondrous phenomenological insight when he suggests that morphological mimicry may be “an actual photography” (65), wherein a subject reflects its context to such a degree that it becomes a near perfect replica, thus dissolving the distinction between subject and object. This unifying process of total simulation, if too perfect, becomes quite dangerous, possibly even violent, as in the case of the stick bug pruned by the blades of the topiarist. 

When Caillois’ argument enters into the territory of sympathetic magic, founded on contagion, which says that like becomes like, it identifies mimicry as a question of space. An environment must effect its contents, for nothing can withstand the weathering of time and space. Mimicry is the imitation of one’s surroundings as an act of locating oneself, so as not to appear out of place. 

At this point the essay takes a strange turn as it introduces the obsolete psychoanalytic term psychasthenia. Caillois describes using himself as a subject of study, inducing a sort of introverted schizophrenic state that reveals the ego’s response to day and night. He writes, ”While light space is eliminated by the materiality of objects, darkness is ‘filled’, it touches the individual directly, envelops him, penetrates him, and even passes through him” (72). Caillois attempts to extend his study of the natural world into the realm of “civilized man”. He explains how the permeable ego of the human is confronted by its own dissolution and absorption in the face of mimicry. In this introspective state, one may realize that their position in fact becomes a possession of space, rather than the standard assumption that one’s state of being is in possession of the space around oneself. This is what he explains as “depersonalization by assimilation into space” (72). A rather psychedelic metaphysical meltdown. Thus the act of mimicry results in the feeling of a loss of personality and life, of being subsumed by something greater. Here a tired Adbuster’s argument might appear as a photograph of a suburb next to a pack of punk rockers, with a caption that reads: Homogenization for everyone! 

Exploring my own subjects of research on this blog, I believe that there is an argument to be made regarding how the semiotic pathology of disposable consumer culture can be read as a symptom of mimetic assimilation. Caillois explains earlier in the essay that mimesis produces ornamentation (64). The mimetic consumer engages with disposable material culture as a labour of elaborate self-production. Caillois ends his exploration on a reading of Flaubert, in which he describes Saint Anthony as “suffer[ing] the lure of material space: [Anthony] wants to split himself thoroughly, to be in everything” (88). This being-in-everything is the symptom of a culture without many guidelines for appropriate behaviour, of a belief in infinite growth. The sympathetic magic at the heart of advertising in consumer culture relays a series of prosthetic ideologies, which are temporarily grafted from disposable products, donned for only so long as is necessary, before the culture shifts so violently that it becomes indistinguishable from Italo Calvino’s fabled city of Leonia, who refashions itself anew each morning. 

My work, on the far left, was featured in the C Magazine Auction this evening. Very happy to help support a great publication. A very fun evening indeed! #cmagazineauction

My work, on the far left, was featured in the C Magazine Auction this evening. Very happy to help support a great publication. A very fun evening indeed! #cmagazineauction

Nine New #Isometric Shapes as part of a set of over 100 #shapes. #risograph #riso #design #illustration #art #geometric

Nine New #Isometric Shapes as part of a set of over 100 #shapes. #risograph #riso #design #illustration #art #geometric

In Praise of Copying: Chapter One, by Marcus Boon

I gave a presentation on the first chapter of Marcus Boon’s book In Praise of Copying, which can be purchased here, or had for free hereIn the introduction and First Chapter, Marcus Boon introduces a handful of key ideas and concepts that I believe will be essential in understanding this whole book. I’m going to give you a quick overview, introduce what I believe the thesis of his argument to be, and then I will address the main topics individually. We’ll be sure to stop along the way to ask a few questions. 

* * * 

The book begins with a trip to Disney World’s Space Mountain. Fittingly he quotes Baudrillard’s idea of modeling, which explores the phenomena of replicated environments (such as theme parks), and then introduces the nonconceptual state of Mahayana Buddhist meditation, suggesting that Mandalas are frameworks of imitation. He then proceeds to attempt the difficult task of pulling apart of western culture’s dualistic nature. image

He brings up some of the cultural disdain for copying (which really began around the time of Napster), and begins Chapter One by introducing the proliferation of replica Louis Vuitton handbags, asking what constitutes authenticity when a copy can be made so perfectly that even the best experts cannot distinguish between the two. He does a little taxonomic dance, similar to Umberto Eco, in exploring the different types of mimesis, copying, and imitation, and examines the artist Takashi Murakami’s involvement with Louis Vuitton, whose 2008 sponsored exhibit and “Superflat” style questions notions of authorship, authenticity and copyright. 


Boon describes the proliferation of copying as posing a sort of contemporary semiotic crisis, which becomes a perfect time to introduce our old pal Plato. Through Plato we learn of the first introduction of the idea of the Simulacra in philosophy. Turns out Baudrillard and Plato are down to party together (OGs). Boon discusses Plato’s distrust of art as mimesis, and introduces some alternatives to platonic mimesis through Continental philosophers and critical theorists, like Foucault, Heidegger, Derrida and the rest of the gang. 

As he puts all these big heads together the logic of Platonic Mimesis breaks down and we move in another direction, toward Eastern Philosophy, that of the Kyoto School, and more traditional Buddhist thought. Through this process the challenging concepts of emptiness, and essencelessness are offered, and we can begin to understand the relative nature of authenticity as Boon argues it.

Boon then explores the two parts of magical thinking, Similarity and Contagion, both of which make for very rich territories for understanding contemporary advertising and consumer culture.

imageChapter one draws to a close with the notions of “Bonding” and “Binding”, ideas which were first introduced by the medieval, alchemical tradition of Hermeticism. Boon ends with an observation on the Binding of Murakami with the Louis Vuitton Bags. 

* * *

Now, with that summary out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the thesis of the book. I believe the following quote summarizes his mission in writing this text:


Now we enter the real quagmire: with this worldview everything can be contextualized within the frameworks of Copying, Adaptation, and Mimesis.

Alright, let’s take a quick look at some of the keywords and terms that are introduced in Chapter One.  


With these words under our belt we can begin to dig a little deeper and get into the nitty gritty.imageIn Plato’s Republic, Socrates argues that everything in the world which humans experience is really no more than imitation. A copy of what you may ask? Well, Plato’s Ideal Forms of course. Plato argued that there was something almost like an alternate universe of utter perfection, which he called his world of “Ideal Forms”, and that everything in our lived world is cast from this mold. If we remember how Susan Sontag’s essay began, we’ll know that she told us of Plato’s distrust for art, that Art is an Imitation, a sort of distorted mirror held up against a world of reproductions. This is what Plato called a Simulacrum, which is an idea that inherently requires art to justify it’s purpose. 

In this struggle to justify itself, the content and form of art are separated, and thus we have a split, a division, a duality. Concept is given greater importance, and form seen as accessory. This is where there has been so much room for interpretation, and as Sontag argued, the site in which all sensuousness is bludgeoned out of the art experience.


Now Boon offers us the idea of Outward Appearance, when he says “It is outward appearance that makes something ‘like’ something else” (19).

We can see that to the discerning consumer the replica bags proves that just because two items both appear to be authentic Louis Vuitton Bags, it does not mean that they actually are Authentic Louis Vuitton Bags. 


The semiotic crisis that Boon mentions arises from the blurring of the original and copy. This is what Baudrillard described as Hyperreality, or total simulation. A sort of baseless state, a groundless ground. 


We can see that this semiotic argument suggests that

Original = Real. True Reality (The Platonic Ideal)

And Copy = The Fake, Simulated Reality (Which is Where We’re At)

Ah ha! So, we discover another Dualism. The Original and Copy. 

So, let’s explore this idea of Duality for a moment, and see if we can eventually wrap our heads around the Nondualism that Buddhism has at it’s core.

Western culture is entirely constructed on duality. Binaries, the opposite ends of a stick. Some classic and problematic examples are:

Man / Woman

Mind / Body

Good / Evil

Subject / Object

Inside / Outside

Real / Fake


If we accept his thesis statement, that there is no realm outside of copying, and thus no ethics to copying, we can stomach our first non-dualistic statement. 

Thus, Boon says earlier “[that] copying can help us rethink basic philosophical terms such as ‘subject’, ‘object’, ‘the same’, ‘different’, and ‘the other’ (7). 

Shunryu Suzuki states, In the book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: “Our body and Mind are not two and not one. If you think your body and mind are two, that is wrong; if you think that they are one, that is also wrong. Our body and mind are both two and one.”


He uses the metaphor of a coin. So, While the coin has two sides, it is actually one unified thing. This is the nature of duality, it is easily to lose site of the whole and focus on the two sides. If we think something is not singular it must be plural, and if something isn’t plural it must be singular. This is dangerous thinking says Buddhist Philosophy. 

SUNYATA, translated as ESSENCELESSNESS, or emptiness is one of the most difficult concepts within Buddhist philosophy, and an easy one to get hung up on, but entirely essential to Boon’s argument in this book.

He says “The critique of essence in Buddhism does not result in a nihilistic or languorous dismissal of the phenomenal world… Rather Mahayana Buddhism seeks to account for the way in which the phenomenal world appears to us, and to establish the true nature of this appearance” (27). 

Suzuki explains that many people have begun to feel the emptiness of our modern world. That there is no “real” beyond the simulation. This copy without an original is kind of like Nietzsche’s statement ”God is Dead”. There is no platonic ideal beyond the imperfect forms of this world, nothing beyond the illusion of existence. Everything is empty, without essence, and seeking an understanding of this is the Buddhist path.  


Many of these metaphysical arguments can be likened to the discoveries of sub-atomic physics, like the flickering presence and absence of photons. This idea of emptiness and essenclessness comes from the Prajna Paramita Sutra which states:

“Form is emptiness and emptiness is form… Form is form, and emptiness is emptiness”

Boon logically refutes Platonic Mimesis, because while it suggests an original form from which all things are cast, the essence of an original, if there were such a thing, could not be transferred to the copy. 

For example, if there exists the platonic ideal of a bag, does the Louis Vuitton Bag capture its essence, or is it just a bag, like every other? Thus he states:

Meaning is contingent, relative, dependent on causes and conditions” (27). 

The Buddhist philosopher would assert that the Vuitton bag is empty, without essence. Boon helps to explain by saying “this does not mean that it is nothing, or that there is nothing inside it; it means that the statement “this is a Louis Vuitton bag” is a relative and contingent one, dependent on an act of designation or labeling” (28). 

Thus, hopefully we can see that authenticity is an act of designation, rather than a guarantor of essence.

Under the sub-chapter heading Sameness, Nonduality, Difference, there is a kind of confusing section, which even Boon admits is awkward, about Benjamin’s Nonsensuous Similarity, which addresses that idea of “Outward Appearance”.

Boon explains: “Nonsensuous similarity is described by Benjamin as that which brings together a word and the object it designates, and makes them connected, ‘similar’” (30).

This sameness he speaks of is an attempt to get at the nonconceptual, nondual, essencelessness of things.  But even this sameness is likened to a sort of undifferentiated ocean from which all things emerge and return. And thus, we struggle with giving even emptiness some type of essence. To this boon says that  “Absolute emptiness is completely beyond all conceptual formulations” (32).

Which is why Buddhists say that a true understanding of emptiness results in nirvana, enlightenment, a transcendence from the trappings of the material world. 

In the debates circulating around Buddhist philosophy and critical theory, Youxuan Wang sees a commonality between Buddhist Texts and Derrida’s theories of  deconstruction. Boon explains:

"Wang sees in all [arguments] a destabilization of the hierarchy of the sign that reveals an infinite, interdependent, groundless chain of significations… Wang calls this groundless ground a ‘reversed mimesis’ in which, paradoxically, every appearance of a sign is a mark of emptiness" (32)

This type of breakthrough realization is what Baudrillard argues for in 3rd stage simulacrum. And Boon follows up with a rather Zen-like aphorism:

"Mimesis and therefore copying are aspects of this non dualism, through which appearance appears, production is produced, and manifestation manifests, without there being any locatable essence to them" (33).

So, let’s movie into our final concepts.

As I mentioned before, Magical Thinking breaks into two useful categories of thought. Similarity and Contagion. To explain this, Boon offers the idea of a voodoo doll, described as a “Potent Mimetic Figurine” (33), made in likeness, or with a similar outward appearance, of it’s victim. It’s thought to help with the magic if one can include some strand of hair, or vial of bodily fluid. This shared contact of material between the victim and voodoo doll is what constitutes the idea of Contagion.


Boon quotes Michael Taussig to explain further.

"Things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed" (Taussig - Boon, 33/34).

And he continues by saying:

"[It] becomes impossible to disentangle the aspect of substance from image, contact from likeness. Advertising, in particular, is driven by this magic" (34)


Now Boon comes back to Louis Vuitton, and tells us of these sultry images of Uma Therman getting intimate with the bag. Her contact with the bag, her expressive desire for the LV trademark, helps drive the consumer’s desire. Desire becomes a sort of contagion, transferred through the advertisement.

"Mimetic desire for the object has been stimulated by advertising and fashion, the energy of desire, competition, rivalry, which would otherwise lead to violence, will be channeled by market forces: by how much I am willing to pay for the bag, and by how many bags LV makes and how much the company is willing to sell them for." (Boon, 36)

Thus luxury is a context of scarcity. 


This reminds me of a story about the most Valuable Snot in History. While battling a cold during a 2008 appearance on “The Tonight Show,” Scarlet Johansson took a tissue from host Jay Leno, blew her nose twice, placed the tissue in a bag and signed it. The dirty kleenex sold for $5,300, with proceeds going to the charity USA Harvest. Johansson told Leno that she thought the tissue was even more valuable because she caught her cold from Samuel L. Jackson while filming “The Spirit,” making the germs doubly famous.

But if we can accept Boon’s earlier Buddhist argument, that everything is without essence, then what is transferred in this process of contact? What is the contagious matter, which leaps from host to the object? Is this the “essence”, “original”, “authentic”? 

Coming to the end of Chapter One, we focus in on the hermetic alchemical concepts of Binding and Bonding. Boon offers a definition:

“[Bonding is] the point where the non-sensuous and sensuous converge… [it] indicates a set of intentions, practices, and structures that work to produce the experience of subjective and objective things, including copies…” (Boon, 35)

He goes on to argue that it is these “semiotic constellations” that constitute the merging of what we desire to be the essence of something and what we experience as form. Bonding becomes a unifying gesture that flattens dualism and reveals copying as pervasive, as floating on essencelessness and impermanence.

Boon mentions the idea of a Nonconceptual state in the introduction of the book. His Buddhist teacher suggests that meditating, bringing the mind to an empty and still state, while riding the Disney World Space Mountain would reveal the framework that covers up the essenclessness of our world with illusion.

What other nonconceptual states that might reveal the constructs of the simulacrum? Can art, sex, or mind-altering substances provide nonconceptual experiences? How might we cultivate nonconceptual states to better reveal the truth of our culture? Might Sontag’s call for a more erotic and sensous experience of art, in Against Interpretation, be the same call to nonconceptual states? Might this experience lead to uniting the long-separated duality of content and form?

Thus, in conclusion, Boon has argued that Louis Vuitton bags, regardless of their manufacturing origin, either replica or authentic, exist within a framework that constructs their status. Through the cult of celebrity, and by strategically bonding with certain individuals, like Uma Thurman and Takashi Murakami, the bag takes on the illusion of an essence, when in reality it is actually empty, nothing more than an illusion…

Simulacra and Simulation Keyword Poem

The longer (236) the real (208)
remains itself (201), the same (177)
power (169) in meaning (156) makes order (150),
because (144) nothing (132) without simulation (130)
is social (130) death (130).

Even through (126) the still (113) 
system (102)
any (100) person thus (97) becomes a body (90) 
almost whole (86) without end (86), 
never (82) in imaginary (80) form (77), not today (77).

Science-fiction (23) something-else (18) without-doubt (14).

* * * 

This poem was written by running the entire text of Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation through an SEO keyword counter. The text was arranged according to word frequency, with minimal addition to better reveal the book’s intentions. 

Sneak peak of a new #illustration made up from over 100 shapes! #risograph #spectrum #colour #overprint

Sneak peak of a new #illustration made up from over 100 shapes! #risograph #spectrum #colour #overprint

The new #studio is finally set up! Amidst the enormous #shelves of #paper and products @kirstenmccrea is enjoying an afternoon coffee in the #Papirmass office. Stay tuned for an open house announcement! #toronto #design #smallspace #office

The new #studio is finally set up! Amidst the enormous #shelves of #paper and products @kirstenmccrea is enjoying an afternoon coffee in the #Papirmass office. Stay tuned for an open house announcement! #toronto #design #smallspace #office

Video still from Dear Junk. This is what printers do when they’re not printing! I am #destroying and #stomping on an #obsolete #inkjet #printer.

Video still from Dear Junk. This is what printers do when they’re not printing! I am #destroying and #stomping on an #obsolete #inkjet #printer.

You’re home is a garbage processing center where new things are purchased and slowly demoted through various stages of trashification until you’re done.

Starts out: you bring it home. Put it on the kitchen table. You read the instructions, you tell everyone in the house about it. And then some time goes by and you realize you’re not going to be so keen on drying out fruit and storing it in your basement (as you thought you were going to be.) So therefore the object is demoted to the closet where it lands on the floor. You start stepping on it to reach newer things that are just beginning on their journey to junk.

Jerry Seinfield
We’re going to be able to dump our ideas directly to digital. Could you imagine if we could leapfrog language and communicate directly with human thought?
Mary Lou Jepson (TED Talk)
It’s been a crazy week that has included a few really great #studio visits at #ocad u. Here’s a snapshot of my desk/research station all dolled up for the open house.

It’s been a crazy week that has included a few really great #studio visits at #ocad u. Here’s a snapshot of my desk/research station all dolled up for the open house.

I have been designing the issues for #Papirmass since 2014 began. Here is a lovely poem by Jenny Sampirisi and artwork by Angela Dalinger. Check it out at - collect a whole year of contemporary #art and #literature for only $69! #design #ornament #typography

I have been designing the issues for #Papirmass since 2014 began. Here is a lovely poem by Jenny Sampirisi and artwork by Angela Dalinger. Check it out at - collect a whole year of contemporary #art and #literature for only $69! #design #ornament #typography