Hardly a Word to Say: Mise en Abym

mise en abym n. An artistic technique in which an image contains a smaller image of itself. Also, the visual effect of standing between two mirrors so that the image recurs infinitely. Literally, “placed in the abyss.”

Bambi trots through the abyss to make sure the Duck boys have their lunch.

My first experience of mise en abym was carrying this lunchbox to school in 1978.

My first experience of the term was yesterday reading Marc Tracy’s article, “The Most Radical Art in America Has Been Cut,” which laments the loss of the Miami Dolphins’ helmet dolphin’s Miami Dolphin helmet.

(That’s the sort of sentence thinking too much about mise en abym makes you want to write!)

Really, Dolphin? Swapping a brain-wrinklingly artful helmet for naturalism and traumatic blowhole injuries?