Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How is Don Santo going to reverse the power of the Colonizers? How is it that the C.P. software converts the colonizers file in favor of the colonized? Or as Krista A. Thompson would ask, how are the objects that once denied the colonized its history be used now to produce its own history?[1] This is the question that Don Santo and I try to respond to with the use of copies of copies of incomplete copies. However, we recognize the irony behind our claims. This process of copying also operates under the same umbrella like the colonizers, because we borrow all our information and knowledge from the colonizers. The question is then, if we borrow everything from the colonizers, why are we so different? The answer is because we drain our energy to respond from a different source, the metis. For James C. Scott, the metis is a Greek term that comprehends all these sets of skills such as, intuition, common sense, folk wisdom, etc. [2] which pejoratively are labeled as informal knowledge by Bigger Software. The rejection of this informal knowledge is what Scott sees as the biggest problem of today. Any formalization or institutionalization of knowledge lacks the ability to solve the problems at a local level, because those local places where this informal knowledge governs are too complex and undecipherable for the formal or global knowledge to comprehend. “Metis resists simplification into deductive principles which can successfully be transmitted through book learning, because the environments in which it is exercised are so complex and nonrepeatable that formal procedures of rational decision making are impossible to apply.”[3] Don Santo and the C.P. software fall into this category. They are part of the informal or local knowledge. In fact, they are the product of local knowledge, they rely on intuition to collect their sources from folk culture. They produce their work using local items as well. Everything is fabricated at a local level. Any element that is alien to them is absorbed and reconstructed according to their local terms. There is simply no jurisdiction from the global theory to there.  

[1] Jay, Martin, and Sumathi Ramaswamy. 2014. Empires of vision: a reader. 497.
[2] Scott, James C. 1998. Seeing like a state: how certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed. New Haven: Yale University Press. 313.
[3] Ibid.,  316.

[1] Jay, Martin, and Sumathi Ramaswamy. 2014. Empires of vision: a reader. 497.
[2] Scott, James C. 1998. Seeing like a state: how certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed. New Haven: Yale University Press. 313.
[3] Ibid.,  316.

Monday, January 30, 2017

I have mentioned that this process of copying copies barely differentiates from the process of the colonial discourse. It is still operating under the same umbrella. This happens because the colonial discourse relies on mimicry to create the notion of the other. Hommi Bhabha defines mimicry “as a subject of difference that is almost the same, but not quite.”[1] Then the colonial power relies on this ambiguity to not let the local be part of the dominant culture, excluding them from any important plan or decision. This placed the colonizers on top of the hierarchy scale as the canon by which to measure everything. But how is it that Don Santo and the C.P. software reversed the power of mimicry? The response to this is in the incomplete copy. Bhabha indicates that the origins of mimicry are part of an intentional partial representation. “The success of colonial appropriation depends on a proliferation of inappropriate objects that ensure its strategic failure, so that mimicry is at once resemblance and menace”[2]. The intention was to generate dependency on the colonized or local’s mind.  However, this partial mimicry needs to fill out the gaps with something else. In the colonial discourse according to Bhabha it is filled with fixations and stereotypes.[3] In the case of the C.P. Software it is filled with inaccuracies.[4] Since the C.P.Software uses the metis as its main source of knowledge, this one adds new qualities to the object that is being copied and simultaneously reduces some aspects as well. This is how the process of copying copies helps the copy to escape from the power of the original. 

[1] Bhabha, Homi. "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse." October 28 (1984): 125-33. doi:10.2307/778467. 126.
[2] Ibid. 127.
[3] Ibid. 126.
[4] Many colonial paintings have their origins on mistakes. The artists eliminated what they did not understand or simply adapted it to their knowledge. For instance, Carolyn Dean mentions how some paintings of carts were altered because the locals had no idea of what they were copying. That’s why the image of Jose Gaudi, “Cart of the Tailors” looks more like an organ. In another painting “Corpus Christi Procession: Parish of the hospital de los Naturales” the document from the person holding it has disappeared. Now it looks like he is singing.
 Carolyn S. 1996. “Copied carts: Spanish prints and colonial Peruvian paintings.” Art Bulletin 78, no. 1: 98. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed December 13, 2016). 102

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Although, these incomplete copies are completed with mistakes and inaccuracies that occur in the process of making copies. They still have a long way to go. These new incomplete copies are not inert. Therefore, they start to build a new identity with the use of traditions, other objects, miracles, and legends. However, these incomplete copies are still similar to the partial mimicry in the sense that still depends on the first source. Their reliance on the original has not diminished yet. In order to break the link with the original, the incomplete copy needs to copy its incomplete copies more. This will erode and add new qualities to the new incomplete copy. The continuous repetition of this tedious process will break the link with the original. Once they disconnect from the power of the original, these incomplete copies can’t return to their original form anymore. Deleuze explains this aspect using the Catholic Church narrative. “God made man in his image and resemblance. Through sin, however, man lost his resemblance while maintaining the image. We have become simulacra. We have forsaken moral existence in order to enter into aesthetic existence.”[1] In other words, the incomplete copy is the result of this sin. Therefore, the copy cannot be traced back to its original source. Because they are not copies anymore. They are simulacrums of simulacrums. “The copy is an image endowed with resemblance, the simulacrum is an image without resemblance”[2]. Although, the original still forces the copy to look back at its own image, the copy does not do it with nostalgia. Instead it is looking at the original more as a way to see how far away they are from each other, how much the original has been eroded, and how much the copy has increased.[3]  

[1] Nelson, Robert S., and Richard Shiff. 1996. Critical terms for art history. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 33.
[2] Ibid.
[3] During the beginnings of the 20th century silent films were very popular in the US. However, in a research conducted by the library of congress many of these movies did not survived, they calculate that 70% of these films are completely lost. But thanks to the historian and composer Ben Modell, Some of the old films were saved due to what he calls ‘Accidentally Preserved.” He explains that companies in the 30s made copies for the people who wanted to watch it at home. The irony is that those copies had managed to survive the pass of time while the originals have not. Perhaps this is the evidence of how the history of western cultures was built.
Matheson, Whitney. "'Accidentally Preserved': Rare silent films come to DVD." USA Today. January 22, 2014. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.usatoday.com/story/popcandy/2014/01/21/silent-films-dvd/4721515/.