chapter
16 Pages

On Taking the Blind in Hand

In this fecund primordial soup of the double negative, where things are but are not (or where things are not, but are [not not]), mimesis makes all things slippery: the seeming original slips in and out of the ostensible copy, which slips around and through the original. Slippery, mimesis always gets away from us if we search for precision - especially if we seek an origin. The First Copy, like a first second, is an oxymoron par excellence. Mimesis itself can have no origin. This is different than saying that mimesis has no history - Benjamin makes it clear that it does.s Nevertheless, a linear narrative history of the mimetic faculty will be ultimately troubled if it reaches, teleologically, for a root. The effort to locate origins of representational practice in a distant "human" past raises deliciously murky questions due to the paradoxical project of articulating original copies. If our mimetic faculty defines us - if we are, with Aristotle, mimetic creatures at base, and if, with Benjamin, the mimetic plays a "decisive role" in all of our "higher functions" - then perhaps our capacities to generate copies precedes anything that might be located as authentic human practice. The first truly human would have to have been the first being "apeing" human. The copy, thus, would have to precede the original, as well as follow it. The original would copy the copy, the copy would be the original, and the theatre would have to have staged the invention of an everyday life beyond its frame.