Caligo Caillois



The project entitled "Caligo Caillois" is an visual project that inspired by “Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia” article written by Roger Caillois ideas mentioned in the text that is about what does "Mimicry" indicates to and how does the term relate to visuality question.

In the article referring to “Mimicry” indicates to Nature. He gives lots of examples from Nature until the Caligo to Praying Mantis. And also he mentioned two concepts relates to visuality these are idea of Resemblance and Distinction. Resemblance exemplified in Nature, some animals something like Caligo butterflies to Smerinthus Ocellata resemble each other. And according to text there is no accidental resemblance.

Caillois defined the problem what it is about distinction; between the real and imaginary, waking and sleeping, ignorance and knowledge etc. (Caillois & Shepley, 1984, p. 16) By referring that point we can correlate today’s problems with idea of distinction. For instance today’s contemporary Art scene problem is about representation. Representation is a good problem to understand Art what it is about, which topics are covered and where borders are coming started. Representation phenomenon is related with distinction because of several reasons. First reason is distinction between the real world and imaginary world is topic that also covered by Art in terms of reality of representation. In terms of representation of reality and contemporary art scene problem are related with Mimicry. By looking at Mimicry we see what the problem is about today's art scene. Resemblance and Distinction appears in Nature, and it always relates with reality. Today's contemporary art scene problem is about representation because of reality is gone away. We can't capture it by anywhatsoever. If we can able to achieve capturing reality, it; captured reality has to be gone again. There is no ideal form to storage what we can able to capture what is called reality in the concept. In other words, there is no medium that actually exist or possible to represent reality itself. Art wants to dealing with that existential problem itself by creating “new” mediums to represent reality again, but it does not enough to represent reality again. That is why we can not able to present or represent reality again.

Mimicry as visual phenomenon relates to space according to Minkowski explanations “He tries to look at himself from any point whatever in space. He feels himself becoming space, dark space where things cannot be put. He is similar, not similar to something, but just similar. And he invents spaces of which he is the convulsive possession (Caillois & Shepley, 1984, p. 30) The project entitled "Caligo Caillois" creates own space by turning own similarity. The space created again in itself. "Dark space envelops me on all sides and penetrates me much deeper than light space, the distinction between inside and outside and consequently the sense organs as well, insofar as they are designed for external perception, here play only a totally modest role.” (Caillois & Shepley, 1984, p. 30) In the image there is no point that indicates to what is similar to. Sequences are separated from each other to identify any similar except own similarity. The final image is generated by own source image that resembles and distinguish at the same time.


Caillois, R., & Shepley, J. (1984). Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia. October, 31, 16. doi:10.2307/778354

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