2.2.1 mimesis & representation

2.2.1 mimesis & representation


the first known use of the term was in Plato’s Republic, where Socrates asserts that all art is mimesis. In the Platonic scheme of things, the world of sensory reality is in turn an imitation of the realm of Ideas. Therefore the artistic image is but a shadowy simulacrum of an already degenerated world. Plato concluded that art does not approximate the eternal, but rather arouses the passions and emotions of men. Thus he bans all artist from the ideal republic.
Unlike Plato, Aristotle only applies the notion of mimesis to the arts and treats artistic creation as a distinct and beneficial activity. Aristotle does not denounce art for depicting the sensory realm.

The tension between Platonist and Aristotelian notions of mimesis continued in Westurn philosophical traditions. in its modern incarnation the distinction between the represented and the representaion was mirrored ni the dichotomies between nature and culture, world. and word. Such dichotomies have been the target of several post-structualist thinkers. For instance, Gilles Deleuze reconsiders Plato’s project as attempt to distinguish essence from the copy, the model from the simulacrum. the difference between the two is that the copy is an image endowed with resemblance, the simulacrum is an image without resemblance, a difference that delineates the distinction between ethics and aesthetics, respectively. Delueze moves away from these dichotomies by rejecting the doctrine of the copy as the true resemblance.

i image, likeness, or reproduction.

the ability of the representation to become a form or a tool for media relates to its reproducible character. We can understand representation as a medium in that it stands between the real dn the spectator. Because of its ability to be copied or reproduces, the representation becomes more accessible to be communicated on a mass level.

Plato. Allegory of the Cave.
Plato’s distrust for media representations comes from his belief that representations create worlds of illusions which lead one away from the real things. Aristotle, on the other hand, viewed representation in an entirely different manner arguing that representations are necessary since mimesis is natural to man. For Aristotle, representation becomes man’s way of being in the world and his method of learning. Unlike Plato, Aristotle seems to view representation as a medium or channel through which man gets to the real.

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