T’ai Smith: is an Art Historian looking at fashion capitalism. Smith departs from definitions of style and branding, in which the latter can be characterized by the metaphor as an epigenetic mutation (cellular phenotypic variation, that effects our life and what it means to be human) and in that sense brand a futurity as well as intersubjectivity. Branding thus implies an mnemonic system that is nevertheless flexible enough to self-actualize, close to Plato’s concept of anamnesis, i.e. how an idea changes over time. Branding as exteriorized collective memory, is an epigenetic mutation of style, and with branding we become the type value form Marx described. But here is where the metaphor of epigenetic mutation dissolves, as it becomes a literal reality:
Recently it was discovered that a common brand of antidepressants could create epigenetic mutations in mice and perhaps also human patients. These blue or yellow gel-cap devices apparently change the way gene proteins attach and replicate, thereby reforming neural links—that is, the way we think about or fashion ourselves as emotional beings. Taking an SSRI every morning does not simply affect this body now, on this day, like changing one’s clothes from Prada to Gucci; it is reformatting the computational logic of my psychical genes. So my psyche is branded and rebranded in keeping with the seasons, and then some future anterior. This is not because I’ve changed styles, but because I’ve restyled these cells and their mode of replication.
However, it seems the author is also interested in how this case is also able to feed & reinforce metaphor of cultural propagation as epigenetic mutation, perhaps proposing a rhetorical two-way link (my association) of this concept of branding—akin to the blockchain technology that @karenarchey describes above. I wonder what motivated the author’s omission of Dawkin’s meme as an epigenetic mutation? It seems that Dawkins did enough to brand that metaphor already, but there seems to be a lots of interesting cracks to explore Dawkin’s hegemony over the metaphor against its grain here.