Miming Capital, Capitalizing on Mimesis; ACLA, March 20-23, 2014 at NYU
This seminar will explore how capital denies, appropriates and incites heterogeneous forms of literary and social imitation. While remaining sensitive to the risks of mimetic practice, we seek to understand mimesis as a fraught concept that reflects the precariousness of the subject under capital. Theodor Adorno and Jacques Derrida have already analyzed mimesis in economic terms: the former pitting mimetic comportment and the magical against the rationalizing drive of capital; the latter cynically grouping imitation and exploitation together under the term "economimesis."
With these two poles in mind, this panel seeks proposals that:
Rethink classical theories of mimesis from an economic, materialist perspective.
Explore the potential of mimesis as a sustained form of critique–both as engaged art and as engaged criticism.
Suggest how capital opens up new modes of imitation and representation, even as it denies others.
Imagine the convergence of literary technique and social comportment–i.e. life miming art, art miming life–as well as possibilities for literary mimesis to inspire concrete forms of empathy.
Conceive how mimesis might model the exchange inherent to "mixed" artistic media, literary genres and social forms as an alternative to the violence of appropriation.
Ask how technological advances have reconfigured "the representation of reality."