Natasha Lushetich

The different forms of capitalism (industrial, informational, and the more recent semiocapitalism – a recombinant semiotic machine that exhausts mental capacities through acceleration and information deluge) have effortlessly appropriated philosophical theories (e.g. Deleuze and Guatarri’s), political struggles (e.g. Che Guevera’s), cultural resistance (e.g. punk), avant-garde art (e.g. the ready-made) and personal defiance (cool). This process of demotion, which turns socio-cultural and political landmarks into consumer matrixes or disposable fashion accessories, is largely due to gimmickification.

Employing Bergson’s theory of laughter (Bergson 1901), Stiegler’s notion of affective proletarianisation created by the pharmakon of mnemotechnics (Stiegler 2010), and Han’s concept of ‘perfumed time’ (Han 2016), this paper develops a phenomenology of the gimmick. It argues that the gimmick – embedded in gadgets, software, adverts, mash-ups, tunes and gestures – has the hailing power of a pre-modern master narrative. It is iterative and it recuperates its only antidote: that which breaks rhythms, patterns, habits and established perceptual regimes (the Guatarrian chaosmosis).