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Step 38: Simulacra and Simulation, Baudrillard

Simulations are one thing, but what the heck is a simulacra? And what does Disneyland have to do with any of this?

Baudrillard’s idea of the simulacrum, the simulation that runs on without reference to reality, was introduced in the early 80’s but seems to make sense of so many events happening today.

If you are looking for logic, a string of events with deeply considered intentionality and mapped out implications, then you won’t find it in a simulacrum: the simulacrum doesn’t hide the truth, it is the truth in our hyper-reality. The implications of this are scary, profound, and enlightening.

music courtesy of Feslyian Studios [link]

Jean Baudrillard
Simulcra & Simulation

…The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.

Jean Baudrillard

The Basics

Baudrillard is frequently cited in the art world in reference to all things that have steps away from the original, just like any artist using multiples (lots of something) tends to mention Walter Benjamin. Once the simulation, the illusion, or the copy comes into play, we need to start thinking of how that new object (or idea) operates.

Baudrillard offers stages and steps that map out how we go from
1) “referencing a profound reality” to
2) “masking a profound reality” to there being an
3) “absence of profound reality” and finally,
4) the simulation become a simulacrum when there is no longer any relation to the real.

In this case, the simulacra, without relation to it’s original sacred drive or purpose, merely embodies or acts out the actions of a simulation without purpose.

The implications of an ungrounded simulacra, such as politics or money, are that they become pure theatre, in that good and evil are equivalent, as are truth and secrecy, where they are working to cover up the fact that there is no conspiracy, or that good and evil are relational values within a play or plot device, and thus equivalent, despite the real world pain and suffering they manifest.

Next week, we will take a look at Baudrillard’s essay “After the Orgy” in “The Transparency of Evil.” Hopefully, by digging in a bit further, we can understand more about how this equivalence of all things takes place, and consider the folly of fighting a system that punishes clear-sightedness more than crime.

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REFERENCES / RESOURCES

Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra & Simulation

Jean Baudrillard, The Transparency of Evil

Walter Benjamin, The Age of Mechanical Reproduction

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By Ryder Richards

Ryder is an artist based in Texas who happens to do other things, like reading, writing, and woodworking.

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