electronic mimesis

Finally let me suggest that, since subatomic particles are connected by mutual physical bonds, it is possible to speak of electronic mimesis. Mimesis, according to Frankfurt School theorists Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, is a form of representation that is mediated physically rather than symbolically. The mimetic faculty is usually superseded by symbolic means of representation in modern society (we are more likely to represent an airplane with a word or a drawing than by zooming around with our arms outstretched). Nevertheless, mimetic representation still at least partially underlies abstract representational systems, such as language. Similarly, the physical interrelationships between subatomic particles underlie the symbolic transmission of digital information.

I have argued that in the analog electronic image, because of the enfolded wave-particle relationship, a strongly indexical or mimetic relationship is maintained between object and image through all stages of recording, transmission, and reception. Moreover, even the digital image remains a physical object. Although it no longer bears an analog relationship to its initial object, the digital image relies for its existence on the fundamental interconnectedness of subatomic particles. Electronic images, like all of us, owe their material being to electrons and their associated wave forms. We are physically implicated in the virtual realms we inhabit, and far from divorcing ourselves from the world when we enter electronic spaces, we may be more connected than we imagine.

Marks, Laura U. “How Electrons Remember” Millennium Film Journal No. 34 (1999): 66–80.