Official NBA Merchandise

I was in a client's office recently that featured an "official" framed photo of Antonio Davis, then with the Toronto Raptors, on the wall.

What made it official?

Besides the photo of Davis himself, taken during the 2002-03 season, there was a swatch of game-worn jersey, an NBA-logo hologram, and a 9-digit serial number prominently displayed within the frame. The requisite Davis signature and number seemed far less conspicuous.

Sampling Deleuze may offer us a theoretical underpinning (italics are his, boldface mine):

The disciplinary societies have two poles: the signature that designates the individual, and the number or administrative numeration that indicates his or her position within a mass. This is because the disciplines never saw any incompatibility between these two, and because at the same time power individualizes and masses together, that is, constitutes those over whom it exercises power into a body and molds the individuality of each member of that body. (Foucault saw the origin of this double charge in the pastoral power of the priest–the flock and each of its animals–but civil power moves in turn and by other means to make itself lay "priest.") In the societies of control, on the other hand, what is important is no longer either a signature or a number, but a code: the code is a password, while on the other hand disciplinary societies are regulated by watchwords (as much from the point of view of integration as from that of resistance). The numerical language of control is made of codes that mark access to information, or reject it. We no longer find ourselves dealing with the mass/individual pair. Individuals have become "dividuals," and masses, samples, data, markets, or "banks."

In this case, the numerical language of control grants us access to the authenticity of "Official NBA Merchandise".

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  1. sportsBabel » Secure Volumes and Docile Identities says:

    [...] first-generation hologram also eludes mere play, having become a serious marker of value and authenticity (one of many in what me might refer to as a security assemblage). The hologram provides a [...]