Similar people in the world’s streets.


The phenomenon of a twin enchants and horrifies at the same time. On one hand, a twin seems to promise the long-expected end to one’s loneliness, and an encounter with an equivalent soul. On the other hand, it brings the momentous decline of individuality. Embodied mirrors, the twins reflect in one another, hinting at a possibility of interchangeability. They are the Siamese lovers; they are each other’s shadows, and poisonous roses.

The symmetry paralyzes humanism, and inspires slavery. When a creature’s copy is available, both of them are depreciated. When a copy appears, it robs its original of its exclusive nature, and, well, its original character. The dream of an army of clones is the dream of a spring garden filled with donor organs. The less of your own is there in you, the easier it is to disregard you. Average consciousness perceives “a similar creature” not as an animated brother but an industrially produced animal. Therefore, to dramatize its annihilation would be to dramatize the demise of a wooden log thrown into the fire.

It is important that the twin phenomenon not only exists in the context of a biological dimension or takes care only of a surface similarity. It may serve as a metaphor of conformism, and thus it may be characteristic of the entire human society. There are twins in outlooks and tastes, in their interests and thoughts. It happens that entire consciousnesses are woven from appropriated reflections, and it is not at all impossible to presume that the absolute majority of people are just the conveyor-belted tears of Frankenstein. Their narcissism is only Golem’s self-love.

If we accept the theory that there is an absolute twin to anyone, somewhere on the other edge of the world, the very notion of personality becomes a fantasy of pride, and the human society turns into a colony of helminthes that hallucinate their own “uniqueness.” It seems that life does not become less gripping after one realizes this, for even in one’s bowels, one can see a valley of flowers. But is it possible to gain a sense of freedom outside of its principal jailer, the consciousness that mediates the personality, and the fact of being human in general? It may happen that everyone is really a piece of mold that is born in mass and pettiness. However, the existence of art and evolution seems to prove that this mold can do much better for itself. A cognitive twin emerges only where a consciousness is replaced by humble emptiness.




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The photographer
Sylvain-Emmanuel P. thought of a project called Fake Twins. In his travels, he started photographing his chance encounters with pseudo-twins, the people in the same or similar in color clothes. These days, anyone can submit his or her snapshots of “similar people.” When the entire RGB specter of “twins” is completed, he will publish a book.

Anatoli Ulyanov

Max Nemtsov

art, pop