What exactly is mimesis you ask? It is in the most basic terms representation or imitation of the real world or what someone believes is the ‘real world’. In Anna Gibbs article After Affect we look at how mimetic communications or mimesis is “corporeally based form of imitation, both voluntary and involuntary,” thus we can view how babies learn to walk or how children learn to behave in public spaces as well as how they learn to play; through imitation. Children often look at an older sibling or a parent and it is almost instinct that they try to better themselves by learning to walk or talk in order to be ‘accepted by society. Gibbs also speaks of “facial expressions, vocalization, postures, and movements of those of another person” and that some expressions of the face or postures within the body are unacceptable in certain atmospheres. Think of a job interview for instance, you would not go to a interview and slouch before the interviewer because it portrays that you do not care for the job in order to showcase decent etiquette. In the article Gibbs discussed the idea of mimicry and that “the acceptance of parents as appropriate models for imitation is certainly based on biological patterns, and then the culture elaborates on that by inventing school teachers and psychoanalysts.” When discussing parent and child relationships, a fit parent is analyzed on a daily basis. Parents are taken away from their child if they do not set in place a good life style that allows society to categorize them as a good parent. In cases such as abuse in homes, some children may have grown up with discipline as a means of straightening out ones behaviour and thus will enabling that factor in their own homes because they may believe it helped structure their personality, but this is a bad image of mimesis because it hurts, more than it affects.
In class on January 31st, 2013 we did an activity where everyone was given a card, and only 12 people within the class had a scenario printed on it. It was a silent activity where the 12 people had to act out this scenario and the rest of the class tries to embody their emotions. I found it interesting how often people do not want to be an outsider and want to fit in the crowd. One of the males in our class had gotten bored of walking around and decided he wanted to stand against the wall and look upon the rest of the crowd as they moved around. It was as though he were the King of our class because once he moved aside ¾ of the class had moved to the wall and stood as though they were looking down on the rest. I was one of these people that had imitated this student and did not want to be an outsider. But, when I saw Kathryn still walking around and as though she was hurt, I wanted so much to go up to her and see if she was okay. Something drew me towards her reaction and emotions but I could not do much to ensure that she was not hurting. Later I found out she had a card and her scenario was to act out how she would feel if she was having the worst day of her life.
Imitation is such a powerful way of controlling people. We as humans like to believe that we are unique in our own way, but we do not realize that we are always being manipulated. In terms of fashion, when I was in high school when skinny jeans had risen in style, I said I would never wear it, but as time went on, all I found in shopping malls was skinny jeans, thus I had to indulge in that fashion statement. Fashion is one of many things that we imitate. Sometimes we imitate when we dance or speak. I have often changed my tone of voice in regards to who I am speaking to, or have felt a certain way because someone I know is feeling that way. New Years Eve had been a night where many people had broken down as soon as the clock struck 12 o’clock. A friend of mine was crying because of boyfriend troubles, and there I was wanting to cry because I did not want to see her this way. I did not realize until now that it is because I am able to sympathize with people easily, that I am able to imitate their emotions. Sometimes mimesis can be a positive thing and in other cases it can be a negative one.