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Volume 8, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533


In an economy that increasingly trades in electronic information products, the copy assumes a new reversibility, as a figure at once valued for its rapid exchangeability and vilified for of its associations with counterfeit and fraud. The incorporation of confidence measures into the design of electronic information products is symptomatic of a primary crisis of belief installed within empiricist epistemologies, of which anti-circumvention technologies and knock-off economies are merely the incorrigible children. The aesthetic strategies practiced by Albert Oehlen and N.E. Thing Co., which mirror the information hiding techniques employed by steganography software and technologies of trust as well as the circumvention tactics employed to defeat them, register an emergent preoccupation in contemporary visual culture with structures of belief. They also disclose a Humean attention to processes of devivification, which figures in these artists’ work as an effect of the multiplication of the same. The trope of the ‘false bottom’ deployed in the 1930s novels of British artist and author Wyndham Lewis serves as intertext in this genealogical investigation of the politics of circumvention.


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