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Michael Taussig, Mimesis and Alterity (1993) Summary by Martin F. Reichert 14.

The Talking Machine What happens with the native meets the phonograph? R.O. Marsh: phonographs allow one to make easy connection with Indians breaks down boundaries between Cuna women and foreigners, but also between Cuna women and Panamanian (negro) men: a threat to the chiefs cf. dissemination of US popular music, Hollywood: shaping the worlds ears and eyes (198) fascination of the whites with the natives fascination Why are white men so fascinated with the natives fascination with gramophones and cameras? the photograph is used to document, in rituals of scienticity, the native himself but when it comes to depicting natives enjoying canned music, the whites make every effort to represent their machines as magical so the aura of magic is extended and applied in film and photographic representations of the natives fascination with the phonograph cf. Nanook eating the record: Flahertys contrivance, a setup an anti-Benjaminian enchantment mimeticism: when Flaherty screens the walrus-killing scene, the whole village wants to participate in the hunt cf. Camp de Thiaroye [fiction!]: profoundly unsettling use of classical music by a Black Senegalese (who married a white woman) cf. First Contact: urgency of acquainting the natives with the Western music box => Taussig seems to root the white mans fascination with Others fascination with white mans magic (207) in the magic of reproduction: the West seems to have mastered reproduction, its part of our civilization/identity the shock of this magic has passed into the everyday but the shock lives on in the mysterious underbelly of technology READ 208: What does this mean? mimesis is power mimesis of mimesis: the Others fascination with a mystical object that reproduces likeness Taussigs proof: the invention of the phonograph in 1877 enthralled huge audiences link between mimesis, primitivism, and technological development (210)

15. His Masters Voice The chapter discusses the RCA logo. Do you find it appealing? Why does Taussig find it successful? cf. 208 The RCA logo (the talking dog) displays a mimetic superpower in action (213): the dog strains to tell copy from original the RCA logo is related to the 18ct automata: images of the mimesis of mimesis mostly women, negroes, or animals Jacquet-Drosz: accused of sorcery by the Inquisition cf. Horkheimer/Adorno: Western civilization has replaced mimetic behavior proper by organized control of mimesis the last one automaton was the sensuous Isis another meaning of mimetic: sensuousness cf. Frazer: sympathetic magic has an imitative and a contagious component What is Taussigs point? The dominant theme is the organized control of mimesis (220) by the State: cf. fingerprinting, invented by the British to deal with colonial Indians back to the talking dog: how to ensure fidelity of mimetic production with fidelity to His Masters Voice (223) Finally he talks about mola blouses, derived from body painting. Indian women put on and, in the view of Western anthropologists, magically transform Western commodities into something indefinable, powerful, refreshing happy subversion (Taussig prefers the term displacement) of capitalism Taussig brings in Benjamin and the Surrealists here as well as Dadaists: the preservation of traditions as an optical unconscious (commodities conceal indigenous cultures). Fetishes dont work in non-capitalist societies. Taussig and his style?