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 “UNVEIL, UNCOVER, UNDRESS”, implores Sephora, and moreover, “DARE TO BARE YOUR SKIN”—just not too much (after all, we’re not perverts). Note the age­-old trope of ‘tasteful nudity’ first provokes, second attenuates, and third amplifies its effects in the wake of the retraction (she ‘reveals by veiling’). But here (quite typically), the foreground limb placement (emblematic of her modesty) also (by implication) covers over a background of dismemberment (an index of her helplessness). That is to say, lest she cause offense, she loses her defense (so perhaps we’re perverts after all). Not to belabor the point, but, in reading the cross­-promotion of/by celebrity tattooist—“Kat Von D MAKES HER MARK”—we wonder how, exactly, we suppose she makes any mark whatsoever without the use of her hands? In Kantian terms, if we wish to comprehend (synthesize and hold) we first must apprehend (analyze and grasp). Or again, as Aristotle put it, “the soul is analogous to the hand; for as the hand is a tool of tools, so the mind is the form of forms”—thus, hands (and feet), unless severed (or bound), are the concrete means by which a body expresses an agent.

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 The agentive inversion of active to passive pulls slowly into focus on the verbs of fig.49 (above). Taken as a force vector, by whom or what is a bond caused? We find this ambiguity in agent—and by extension, in actor (e.g., in Speech­-Act Theory), and in actant (coined in Greimas’s Narratology, now found in Bruno Latour’s Actor­-Network Theory)—which, in any case, remains the key concept­-term of psycho-socio-political theory. In practice: we can translate Bruno’s “vincienstransitively, either as “bonding agent”—to connote one person who represents another, who performs a mediating role (e.g. bondsman, attorney, notary), or as “binding agent”—a substance that facilitates or forestalls a chemical reaction (e.g. cornstarch, cellulose, albumen). The doubling of bind/bond extends to equivocate both bound and bounded: the former denotes transitive contractual obligation of persons (to actively bind or to be passively bound by?); the latter denotes categorial demarcation of variables unto intransitivity (to bound or to be bounded by?). But merely to state that “an agent” is anything (or anyone) that “does something” fails to show for whom (or what) it acts.

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