Jean Baudrillard, ¡§The
Ecstasy of Communication¡¨
in The Anti-aesthetics
1998/10/22 Liu Wanli
There is no longer any system of objects,
for this is the era of obscene and ecstasy of communication.
The first book of Baudrillard, le Systeme
des objects, contains a critique of the object as obvious fact, substance,
reality, use value. In this critique two principal logics interfered with
a phantasmatic logic that referred
principally to psychoanalysis; and a differential social logic
by referring to sociology. Behind these
logics, it is a sacrificial logic of consumption, gift expenditure,
potlatch, and the accursed portion.
This was the era of the discovery and exploration
of daily life, this other scene emerging in the shadow of the historic
scene, with the former receiving more and more symbolic investment as the
latter was politically disinvested.
Today the scene and mirror no longer exist;
instead, there is a screen and network. In the place of the reflexive transcendence
of mirror and scene, there is a nonreflecting surface¡Xthe smooth
operational surface of communication.
the characteristic of our era:
¡÷¡÷our own body
and the whole surrounding universe become a control screen
the proteinic era of networks, the
narcissistic and protean era of connections
Roland Barthes indicated this in regard to
the automobile: little by little a logic of ¡§driving¡¨
has replaced a very subjective logic of possession and projection. But
instead a tactic of potentialities linked to usage.(cg., the example of
Private ¡§ telematics¡¨:
each person sees himself at the controls of a hypothetical machine, isolated
in a position of perfect and remote sovereignty, at an infinite distance
from his universe of origin.
quotidian nature of the terrestrial habitat hypostasized in space means
the end of metaphysics. What was projected psychologically and mentally,
as metal or metaphorical scene, is henceforth projected into reality, without
any metaphor at all, into an absolute space which is also that of simulation.
¡§hyperrealism of simulation¡¨:
the elevation of the domestic universe to a spatial power, to a spatial
metaphor, with the satellitization of the two-room-kitchen-and-bath put
into orbit in the last lunar module.
an ever greater formal and operational abstraction
of elements and functions and their homogenization in a single virtual
process of functionalization,
the displacement of bodily movements and efforts
into electric or electronic, commands.
the miniaturization, in time and space, of
processes whose real scene is that of infinitesimal memory and the screen
with which they are equipped.
Simulator of leisure or of vacations in the
home¡Xlike flight simulators for airplane pilots--become conceivable.
The decisive mutations of objects and of the
environment in the modern ear, have come from an irreversible tendency
towards three things:
in its new version invades everything, as public space disappears.
¡÷¡÷It is the
same for private space. Now this opposition (public/ private) is effaced
in a sort of obscenity where the most intimate processes
of our life become the virtual feeding ground of the media.
The body, landscape, time all progressively
disappear as scenes. And the same for public space.
The relationship of private space and alienation:
the Other exists, and that otherness can fool you for the better or the
worse. (* cg. Kafka¡¦s novels)
Obscenity begins precisely when there is no
more spectacle, no more scene, when all becomes transparence and immediate
visibility, when everything is exposed to the harsh and inexorable light
of information and communication.
in the ecstasy of communication. And this ecstasy is obscene. The obscene
puts an end to every representation.
obscenity: All secrets, spaces and
scenes abolished in a single dimension of information.
a whole pornography of information and communication of circuits and network.
Marx set forth and denounced the obscenity
of the commodity, to the abject principle of free circulation, beyond all
use vale of the object.
form is the first great medium of the modern world. But the message that
the objects deliver through it is already extremely simplified: their
exchange value. It is the medium that imposes itself in its pure circulation.
This is what Baudrillard¡¦s ecstasy.
The commodity is readable: in opposition to
the object, which never completely gives up its secret; the commodity always
manifests its visible essence, which is its price.( vs. Jamerson¡¦s
7.The hot, sexual obscenity of former
times is succeeded by the cold and communicational, contactual and motivational
obscenity of today. The whole tendency of our contemporary ¡§
culture¡¨ will lead us from a relative disappearance of form
of expression and competition to the advantages of forms of risk and vertigo.
The ecstasy of communication: All functions
abolished in s single dimension, that of communication.