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The Power of Double Coding to Represent New Forms of Representation: The Truman Show, Dorian Gray, "Blow-Up," and Whistler's Caprice in Purple and Gold

Doubly coded artworks—artworks that are embedded in other artworks—sometimes represent an art form (a medium, a genre) that at the time they are made cannot be represented except through double coding. The phenomenon is rare and occurs only when several conditions are met. First, in the doubly coded (embedded) section, the subordination of one voice to the other voice is so extreme that the section can be likened to a duet sung by one voice. This hierarchical relation in which the materiality of the representation is fully controlled by the embedding voice permits a filmmaker or visual artist or fiction writer to speak or embody a world-making voice other than her or his own. The final requirement for double coding to enable representation of a new art form is the imaginative leap of a perceiver, who interprets the artwork in the fictional world (the artwork made by the fictional world-making voice) as an example of a new art form potentially capable of independent existence in our world.

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