Collapsing distinction into flat affect

Modernity collapses distinctions, where we *attempt* to be indifferent to presentation. (Our reaction to a car wreck, fancy toaster, or poster of sneakers becomes equivalent.)

Andy Warhol did this through repetition, occasionally of the banal object but also of stars such as Monroe or Elvis, flattening and spreading their effect through excess.

To expand “affect,” we inflate (blow up) and fetishize difference as sexy: we engorge a minimal distinction into profound appeal, but over time and distance, deflation inevitably leads back into commonplace.

The result of overall flattened expansion is an impersonalized “affect” (or influence) that can be widely distributed when stripped of complex particulars. In an abstracted reductive state, modern images accelerate beyond emotion or psychology into an environmental milieu: a low-grade background hum of banality to which we learn never to react.

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