Repetition at its heart fosters the potential for reinvention so it is apt as a means of representation for the creative force displayed by the ICONs. Repetition enables reinvention by allowing new insights to occur through a cognitive process that promotes: concentration, disambiguation and distinction.
When applied to a photograph, it can establish authority in the repeated image or reinforce it and thereby elevate the photograph to a new level of expression. At the same time it can eliminate authority through disambiguation, thereby creating a polar opposition that fuels questions and contemplation. The polarizing ability of repetition (between elevating expression and demanding contemplation) forces us, as viewers, to make distinctions. The distinctions in turn coax us to search for meaning beyond the context in which we view the photograph.
In using repetition as the representational platform to express the creativity of the ICONs it serves, on a number of levels, to express the monotonous nature of their lives, the doggedness of their spirit and the distinctions they must make in their quest to renew or reinvent themselves.
Repetition, whether it be visual, verbal, or cognitive creates conditions for new meaning by placing the old (that which is repeated) in a new context of an expanded range of considerations. Conceptually, repetition is powerful; it creates infinite combinations from finite elements – just as the ICONs create infinite possibilities from limited choices.
Also inherent in repetition is the ability to bring about structures of distinction or “seeds of ideas”. In the words of Gilles Deleuze: “differential structures (what Deleuze calls ideas) are conditions for the creative transformation of things”. It is this creative transformation that the images seek to express and that the ICONs successfully accomplish. The artworks with their repeated imagery act like a rhythmic pulsing mantra; the images beckon the viewer to transform their perceptions of the ICONs by suspending their immediate recognition of what is at play and calls anyone who cares to listen, to look beyond the obvious.
Repetition is also fascinating from a philosophical perspective. It is on the one hand an expression of the mundane, the static and the predictable; it can also be considered as a desperate and manic desire for consistency, for a stable none changing state. On the other hand, repetition is dynamic; it is a means of creating a phase shift, a change. It is this paradoxical reality that the ICONs face – desiring both consistency and change.