Hillel Schwartz: The Culture of the Copy, 1996/2014

I Vanishing Twins
Identical twins are creatures of a terrible ambiguity, for they compromise the values we place upon the individual even as they promise what we so desperately want: faithful companionship, mutual understanding. The vanishing twin is our solution and absolution.

II Doppelgängers
Siamesed twins are our horror stories, in bondage to likeness; they remind us of fateful Doppelgängers from whom we can never be separated till death do us part. We minister to these doubles as we do to multiple personalities, trying to restore singularity, the wholeness that is difference.

III Self-portraits
Yet our hunger for likeness, driven by an economic system, a social fabric, and sets of technologies that profit by making the similar seem remarkable, leads us to ever more sophisticated semblances which we are hard pressed to distinguish one from the other.

IV Second Nature
Nor are we now so clear about the boundaries between ourselves and the rest of the animal world, especially where those animals who speak our speeches and act our acts appear to take on the best or most striking of human qualities.

V Seeing Double
Where, then, are our own skills at disguise, decoy, and deception leading us?

VI Ditto
Toward anticipations that the copy will transcend the original

VII Once More, with Feeling
and toward a faith in reenactment and replication as means to arrive at the truth.

VIII Discernment
In consequence, we confront on every horizon problems of duplicity and virtuality which must be resolved before we can reclaim or re-create a persuasive notion of authenticity.

Schwartz, Hillel. The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles. New York: Zone Books, 2014[1996].