Published on March 3, 2014
Jean Baudrillard A Very Short Introduction!
Jean Baudrillard • 1929 - 2007 • French philosopher and cultural analyst • Agrees with many of the ideas we have discussed so far but focused more on ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ • Has three key ideas Simulacra, Truth and Hyperreality
Simulacra • Come and get: • An orange • Some orange juice • Some Fanta • Some Orange sweets • A bit of Terrys Chocolate • Plate
Sight The Orange Orange Juice Fanta Sweets Chocolate Smell Touch Taste Other Rating impressions – sound? 10
Simulacra • Describe the orange using reference to all of your five senses
Simulacra • Describe the orange juice using reference to all of your five senses • How close to the real orange is it – give it a mark out of 10 (10= just the same)
Simulacra • Describe Fanta using reference to all of your five senses • How close to the real orange is it – give it a mark out of 10 (10= just the same)
Simulacra • Describe the orange sweets using reference to all of your five senses • How close to the real orange is it – give it a mark out of 10 (10= just the same)
Simulacra • Describe the Terry’s chocolate orange using reference to all of your five senses • How close to the real orange is it – give it a mark out of 10 (10= just the same)
Reality Heightened and Exaggerated Simulacra Hyperreality
Simulacra • The new signs ‘images’, ‘objects’ are called simulacra by Baudrillard and together they create a hyper reality. • For Baudrillard, there is now only surface meaning; there is no longer any ‘original’ thing for a sign/image/ object to represent. We don’t know what the ‘real’ is • We inhabit a society made up wholly of simulacra - simulations of reality or Hyperreality
Hyperreality • We live our lives in the realm of hyperreality, connecting more and more deeply to things like television sitcoms, music videos, virtual reality, things that merely simulate reality • • ‘death of the real’ “In this space where everything is meant to be seen, we realize that there is nothing left to see. It becomes a mirror of dullness, of nothingness”
The Truth! • • Does not believe that there is one truth • ‘Truth is what we should rid ourselves of as fast as possible and pass it on to somebody else. As with illnesses it’s the only way to be cured of it. He who hangs on to truth has lost.’ The idea of the truth needs to be deconstructed so that we can challenge dominant ideas that people claim as truth (grand narratives)
The Truth! • Many people saw Baurillard’s position as offensive • • The alternative to truth is relativism (chaos) • All ‘truths’ need to be seen with suspicion Baurillard is not trying to remove one truth and replace it with another so there is no answer
How did we reach this state? • Every time they say the ‘Matrix’ think media • Clip One Clip Two
Theory in Practice • America • Baudrillard saw American as a glittering emptiness, a savage, empty non-culture, in short, as the purest symbol of the hyperreal culture of the postmodern age. • Film representations of the Vietnam War
Theory in Practice • • Disneyland • But because we see Disneyland as ‘fake’ we believe everything else! “is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation. It is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology), but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real”
Theory in Practice • Disneyland • a place which is at the same time a real, physical space, but is also clearly a fiction, represented world. • “Disneyland is there to conceal the fact that it is the ‘real’ country, all of real America, which is Disneyland, just as prisons are there to conceal the fact that it is the social, in its entirety, it its banal omnipresence, which is Carceral” ( Carceral = Prison, Michel Foucault)
Theory in Practice • The 1991 Gulf War never happened • How do we know that the 1991 Gulf War happened? List all the evidence you can think of.
Theory in Practice • The war was conducted as a media spectacle. Rehearsed as a wargame or simulation, it was then enacted for the viewing public as a simulation: as a news event, with its paraphernalia of embedded journalists and missile's-eye-view video cameras, it was a videogame. The real violence was thoroughly overwritten by electronic narrative: by simulation.
Theory In Practice • The ability to manipulate images • Men
Theory in Practice • Do we need actors anymore?
Theory in Practice • Our ‘real’ world?
Theory in Practice • Other examples? • Facebook and ‘friends’ • Viral marketing – watch the T Mobile ads ‘ Royal Wedding’ and ‘Welcome Back’. • What about this or this? • Perfume?
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