Remediation – Computer – Materiality

Mimesis- typically defined as mimicry or imitation, but more accurately described as representation of the real world. Realism, if you will. In a way, it can be described as the lens in which an individual perceives reality and its eventual projection into the individual’s work.

The process of mimesis in individuals often starts once an individual witnesses another’s work that ultimately changes their perception of reality.

Automata have the ability to change people’s perceptions of reality by evoking strong emotions.


Onto-epistemic mimesis

Defined as “mimesis that changes a person’s way of knowing, and by extension, their way of being.” (p7 Kara Reilly)

A typical way for individual’s to most powerfully experience mimesis is through spectacle. Some well-known examples are Chuck E Cheese and Most Disney rides. This is where my life comes in.

As I have told many people, I grew up in Orlando, Florida, a mere 25-30 minutes away from the most magical place on earth…depending on the traffic. A good few individuals down in Orlando know at least one person that has or does work at a Disney park, and because of this, it is incredibly easy to get into a park if you know someone on the inside. Cut to family friend that worked at Animal kingdom. While being a Florida resident does make park tickets cheaper, knowing someone that can just sneak you behind the rainforest café and slip you inside helps, too. She worked with the Rhinos and was, all in all, a very cool individual.

While the magic kingdom is the park with the most animatronics focused rides, animal kingdom has a number of them as well including “Its Tough to be a Bug.” This isn’t a ride, but more of a show, much like the laugh floor in the Magic Kingdom. In this, the cast of A Bug’s Life give you a number of giggles and thrills, including spiders raining from above and mosquitoes attempting to spear you from behind. Because I was so young and didn’t understand that it was fake, this form of mimesis has ultimately given me a deep fear of spiders.

On a more positive note, many of the rides were rather run and highly inspirational. For example…

Many of the older rides are steeped in semi-realistically displayed animatronics.

Walt Disney presented the audio animatronic of Lincoln at the 1964 worlds fair in New York, demonstrating an act of patriotism which is a lens to which we can see Disney’s version of reality. The park itself is an idealistic reality, crafted by many, but inspired by the man himself. Because of the spectacle, it has shaped an altered many individual’s ideas of how their realities are perceived at a young age.

Today, audio animatronics are still used, but instead driven by electronic motors to create smoother and more life-like motions to further immerse the audience into the deception.


So why are humans obsessed with mimesis in relation to automata? In this ever-evolving cultural climate, we as humans seek perfection in some way shape or form, especially with the rise of the digital medium. The more we expose ourselves to other people, the more we want to perfect ourselves to either match or surpass the seemingly perfect human façades.

First, I’d like to pose a thought about things and why humans like things. Holding onto and collecting things is natural instinct. In some way, we view things as an extension of our being. Consider items special to you. Some old antiques passed down from generation to generation may hold no meaning to you, yet that one teddy bear you have stuffed in your closet is more precious than any of them combined. This is because those antiques are an extension of someone else, not you. The teddy bear is so ingrained in your history; it has become a thread in your tapestry.

This orchestrion, created by Ludwig Hupfeld, is the first orchestrion to utilize self playing violins, a near impossible feat at the time. Because of this impossible endeavor, the machine was dubbed the eighth wonder of the world.

So how does this mesh with mimesis?

We like things and we like perfection. If what we own or what we make is an extension of one’s self, then by extension by creating something through mimesis that is in your lens of reality, perfect, then you have created a sort of perfected gem of yourself.

Mimesis, in a way, is distilling the creator into a small fragment of themselves and hammering the imperfections out, creating a diamond that reflects their work, their life, their perceptions. A person’s creative work is a shard of their being.

We are obsessed with creating perfection because we seek it in ourselves.

“Any form of creating, whether it be drawing, painting, or anything else, is a deeply emotional experience. We create from a “different place”. Our work becomes an extension of our emotions and we often place our worth on what we create.”

In a sense, mimesis is a language of the self and how one expresses perceptions in a physical space. Using this thought process, mimesis could be considered a form of art, which wouldn’t be totally off as many forms of mimesis and automation are artistically expressed.