My term “infinite digression” is a cute, clever, AND brilliant allusion to “infinite regression.”
I think that the term “infinite regression” is first heard in the 1971 movie Escape from the Planet of the Apes. Dr. Otto Hasslein explains the appearance of intelligent apes from the future in the present day: “Time can only be fully understood by an observer with a god-like gift of infinite regression.”
It is more broadly called the Droste effect, the recursive appearance of a picture within itself in a spot where a picture would logically appear.
It is known in the art world as mise en abyme (placed into an abyss). In fractal geometry, the term would be “strange loop” or “tangled hierarchy consciousness.” It occurs when moving through a hierarchal system, you find yourself right back where you started.
When I think of the infinite regression / the Droste effect / mise en abyme / strange loop / tangled hierarchy consciousness, I think of Land O’ Lakes butter from my childhood. I noticed her recursive appearance.
There are many other examples in packaging and brand images:
Etc. And so on. Infinitely.
Not really. Just and so on.
I showed these to my friend. He has a couple of phobias, true phobias. Thomas the Tank Engine. Hello Kitty. Circus clowns. And, it turns out, all things Planet of the Apes. He nearly shut down seeing the poster and needed some quick intervention to keep him leveled out. He giggled at the images and then went to retrieve this.
“Ummagumma, double album, Pink Floyd. Released October 25th 1969. I was at Winterland that night.”
“Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane, the Dead. “Dark Star” was jammed out beyond words, lots of teases. Jerry was awesome. And this is infinite regression, no?”
If “this” referred to the Pink Floyd album cover, yes, it is the Droste effect.
He showed me an old Ace Backword cartoon:
Yup. That’s one for sure.
And then he whipped out a Mad Magazine cover. “And this?”
Yes, in fact, I gave him that. He handed me this too, which I had not given him.
To prove that he was hip to contemporary popular culture, he Googled one more image, the opening credits from “Modern Family.”
OK – an interesting variation. But enough about him and his images, what about me, what about the photos I collected?