Contagion: Shared ideas, images, texts, or videos can enter the realm of contagion. The notion of contagion can be removed from a literal viral context and thought of as a way of things getting done by group efforts. Mutation is central to the idea of contagion. Contagion occurs when differences are bridged as new hybrids create new meanings that include and reinterpret original forms.

“Contagion’s paradox: while the contagion proves our equality it changes the person that until then was “the same” as us, into “the other” the “abnormal” the not belonging to our group. Contagion doesn’t need to be medically bound : one can get infected by getting close to those who don’t belong to our group, through getting close to ideologies, religion or attitudes that are outside our group, that way you become “the other”, the one that is infected by the outsider: the threat to our continuity. To be infected has its price. The infected, the infectious must be removed.

But to be infected again gives belonging, identity: it is better to be infected then to be isolated, dead. Fashion is a social contagion that gives belonging, nazism is a contagion that gives belonging, the fear of aids is a trendy disease that gives belonging.” Gustavo Aguerre “Contagion is Equality”, 1995

Contagion is simultaneously fear of difference and desire to be part of this difference.

Felix Gozalez-Torres, Untitled (Public Opinion), 1991
Black Licorice Candy
Public Opinion spreads out as a carpet. An implied norm of the way things are that for some is hard to swallow.



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  1. * msmye says:

    the evolution of the Aristotlean concept of mimesis? particularly in relation to the arts…

    “At first glance, mimesis seems to be a stylizing of reality in which the ordinary features of our world are brought into focus by a certain exaggeration, the relationship of the imitation to the object it imitates being something like the relationship of dancing to walking. Imitation always involves selecting something from the continuum of experience, thus giving boundaries to what really has no beginning or end. Mimêsis involves a framing of reality that announces that what is contained within the frame is not simply real. Thus the more “real” the imitation the more fraudulent it becomes.” (Michael Davis, The Poetry of Philosophy)

    Posted 10 years, 11 months ago

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