194 internautes sur 211 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Scott J. Bogucki
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is by no means an easy text to read. For those unfamiliar with postmodern tropes-and especially those who have never read Baudrillard before-this text may seem especially daunting. I recommend that these people start with the essay entitled 'Simulacra and Science Fiction'. In this essay, Baudrillard details the three orders of simulacra: the first, natural simulacra, are operatic, founded on images, and aim at the restoration of "the ideal institution of nature made in God's image"; the second order are both productive and operative, based on energy, and work toward "a continuous globalization and expansion [and] an indefinite liberation of energy"; the third order, the simulacra of simulation, are "founded on information [and] total operationality, hyperreality, [and the] aim of total control" (121). The differences between the various simulacra exist in the distance between the real and the imaginary exhibited by each order. This illuminating interstice provides the locus for projecting critical activity and idealism. The first order maximizes the projection, allowing the utopia to stand in direct opposition to the real. The second order reduces this projection. Baudrillard describes it as a hyper-productive universe in which "science fiction adds the multiplication of its own possibilities" (122). As all previous models implode, the third order of simulacra witnesses the complete disappearance of the projection between reality and the imaginary as it becomes reabsorbed in simulation. To Baudrillard, this is the world in which we live: no more real, no more imaginary, no more fiction, just an endless regression of lost meaning with no foundation, or rather an endless precession of simulacra.
The book could easily be read like an apocalyptic Mythologies or a nihilistic Logic of Late Capitalism. In the first essay alone, 'The Precession of Simulacra', Baudrillard draws on such diverse cultural examples as the Tasaday Indians, the mummy of Ramses II, Watergate, and Disneyland. Bordering on the prophetic, Baudrillard heralds the end of Foucault's panopticon by referring to what was then (in the early seventies) only an experiment in TV verité, or what we now effortlessly refer to as reality TV. This first chapter heralds Baudrillard's "Anti-Copernican revolution": a world in which the universe presents itself as its own simulation, reality dissolves in its relentless self-representation, and Ockham's Razor loses its edge (42). As the book continues, Baudrillard presents history as false nostalgia, numbing fetishism, and desensitizing mythology. War and film find themselves conjoined by technology in 'Apocalypse Now'. 'The China Syndrome' further reveals the "telefission of the real and of the real world" as Baudrillard juxtaposes the images of the movie of the same title alongside those of the nuclear catastrophe of Three Mile Island, the latter occurring shortly after the release of the former. Defying causal logic, these events blur the distinction between symptom and effect (53-54). Baudrillard samples modern architecture ('The Beauborg Effect: Implosion and Deterrence') and current fiction ('Crash'), criticizes the effects of simulacra on historical tragedy ('Holocaust'), and, in 'Clone Story', warns of the dangers in allowing the reproduction of aesthetic forms in political forms. Through observing the media and the marketplace, Baudrillard sees society drifting away from the primary language of fascination as it becomes reinterpreted into a prolixity of discourse in which information far outnumbers meaning and semiology offers no recourse.
Most critics condemn this book for its dense prose, of which there is plenty. To escape this, the text should instead be read as a metafictional mystery novel. The crime Baudrillard reports is the dissolution of the real at the hands of productive operationality. As the precession of simulacra unfurls throughout the course of the book, the reader is provided with Lacanian quilting points, clues which lead forever forward while constantly trying to refer to the past. With every subsequent presentation of ordered simulacra in the hierarchy of simulation, readers find themselves referencing the previous order, only to be propelled farther from reality. One becomes lost in cultural references and almost gives up completely on the notion that reality exists at all. Clues implode upon themselves, losing all referentiality. Perpetrators are lost, or rather dispersed across the universe. We confront ambiguous motives, polyvalent modus operandi, and amorphous crime scenes. The crime itself becomes erased, the victim disappears, and what we are left with is 'The Spiraling Cadaver', "the simulacral side of dying games of knowledge and power" (149). Baudrillard, as the one who reported the original metacrime, offers up his own defense in 'On Nihilism': meaning is mortal while appearances are immortal, the latter remaining forever invulnerable to the nihilistic influences of the former. Referring once more to the beginning of the text, the reader finds renewed meaning in one of Baudrillard's first gestures toward the effects of simulacra. In 'The Precession of Simulacra', he shows that the police will react the same in a holdup regardless of whether it is real or simulated. As such, law and order remain nothing but simulation, therefore effectually nullifying any of our own detective abilities (19-22). Through investigating the crime, we lose all equivalence to the real, leaving the murder unsolvable. In order to fight the fascination we have with the mystery of reality's fate and the crime of its dissolution, we must marshal theoretical violence since truth no longer exists. Seduction, as opposed to fascination, begins through accepting the always already lost referential and the primacy of appearances.
Far from what the Wachowski brothers produce in The Matrix, Simulacra and Simulation is both unforgiving and relentless in its presentation of hyperreality. Unlike the movie, there is no transcendental savior, no neoplatonic allusions to ideals-only the stark unreality of our existence. Welcome to the real desert of the real.
44 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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I read this little book years ago as part of my grad studies. It is amazing to me how accurate many of Baudrillard's observations have proven to be. It's as if he were some kind of Prophet (LOL!). But, seriously, the loss of Reality is embodied in many different ways. Our use of the Internet is the number one example. Many forms of Virtual reality such as Reality TV, Chatrooms, Avatars, Online dating, even the Fashion industry qualify.
As for Desert of the Real, let me give you this example: Just 2 weeks ago I arranged a flight and never had to make any contact with anyone. I ordered my ticket online, printed it out, took it to a self-check-in machine, punched in my numbers, got a boarding pass, and walked on the plane. I have to admit I missed the human contact. But such is the post-Modern condition. Of course, there were people on the plane, but no individual attention, only contact as a group. Another example: Video games, email, Demographics, credit cards and direct deposit, Hollywood (originator of the Virtual), Celebrity culture (ex: Why is it that when they use certain people in a commercial they include the phrase "Real people, not actors"? Aren't actors real?), Paparrazzi, the Digital revolution. I could go on listing the many Virtual worlds we inhabit, but suffice it to say they are self-generating!
If you plan on reading this book, do yourself a favor and forget the Matrix (great movie, though). This is very real, Hyper-Real. Read Marxist ideology and some Existentialist "Being and Nothingness" Sartre, after reading Plato and Kant, and you wont be so put off by the big ideas. Baudrillard describes a world based on economic relationships only, and as such it is a system of objects, based on nothing but Material gains. To many this describes an impoverished system, morally bankrupt and soulless. Baudrillard is suspicious and critical of Capitalist Democracies and Socialism. He sometimes implies that Anarchy is the only way out of this Technocratic Police State we have so far evolved into.
In this scenario the invisible ruling class controls the masses with its House of Mirrors. Baudrillard seems to be saying we either join the Dance of the Marionettes, revel in our liscentious artificiality or smash the Glass House, being careful enough to move out of the way of the falling shards. Shiva must be allowed his Dance of Destruction before Vishnu can be born again to save the world, sayeth Brahma. But even such an allusion to an Ancient religion crumbles in the face of the Hyper-Real.
It is our physical connections to our bodies that we must not negate, negotiate, or re-imagine (but, we do). And that is the exchange-value for our status within this system of objects. It is also the original site of our Loss. Only a jarring blow to the body can wake us from our complacent complicity in doing violence to the Real. Violence is as real as it gets. Do damage to a physical body and there will be a reaction. Do violence to the State as a body and you partake in the Virtual discourse that is Politics.
If only I could truly understand all the delicious ironies and nuances in the French language. Bad translations are all we deserve. Great writing, forever misread, generates even more writing, cleverly said. I suspect the French don't truly want to be translated by the English, but that is an old war and I've always been the paranoid sort.
Not really as dense as many would have you believe. Blinded by the Light is more like it. Keep reading.