Strategies of Thought : Roger Caillois on Mimicry

This week’s reading, Roger Caillois on Mimicry, began in the style of natural history text discussing the mimetic properties of insects, before moving into the philosophical applications of this idea. Personally I have to say I enjoyed the natural history portion more, and found some of the insect observations particularly interesting, whilst I lost my way towards the end of the piece.

As I had lost my way with the reading I didn’t really engage with the lecture as much as past Strategies lectures, but once again several interesting points were raised in the studio seminar following the lecture. The connection between mimicry and magic particularly piqued my interest, and I saw a connection between sympathetic magic/the talismanic power of objects and the sentimental value of craft objects and how these act upon the owner/viewer. As I have been looking deeper into the relationship between objects and places this area of sympathetic magic is something I feel could be vital to explore.

However, I think the main lesson I should take from this week’s reading is that even if at first I don’t feel engaged with the subject or style of the text, a closer look may reveal an idea that has real relevance and value to myself and my practice.

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