Jean Baudrillard: ¡§Procession
Presented by Brian Chen,
October 22, 1998
Thesis: We are living in a world dominated
by mass media, images, signs, and any other simulacra. It is a realm of
hyperreality and simulations where truths no longer exist.
Baudrillard's idea of the "new universe" is
that of communication.
About "Procession of Simulacra":
" . . . the generation by models of
a real without original or reality: a hyperreal" (253).
" . . . a hyperreal, the production of an
irradiating synthesis of combinatory models in a hyperspace without atmosphere"
" . . . characterized by a procession of the
model, of all models around the merest fact (?) ¡Xthe models come
first, and their orbital (like the bomb) circulation constitutes the genuine
magnetic field of events" (264).
Dissimulate/Simulate and Representation/Simulation:
feign not to have what one has.
feign to have what one hasn¡¦t.
the reality principle intact: the difference is always clear; it is only
the difference between ¡¥true¡¦ and ¡¥false,¡¦
between ¡¥real¡¦ and ¡¥imaginary.¡¦
from the principle that the sign and the real are equivalent.
from the utopia of this principle of equivalence, from the radical
negation of the sign as value, from the signs reversion and death sentence
of every reference.
to absorb simulation by interpreting it as false representation.
the whole edifice of representation as itself a simulacrum.
B. The Four Phases of Images:
C. Baudrillard is opposed to science:
The image is the reflection of a basic reality;
The image masks and perverts a basic reality;
The image masks the absence of a basic
The image bears no relation to any reality
whatsoever: it is its own pure simulacrum. (256)
D. Baudrillard is oppose to American culture:
1. ¡§science never sacrifices itself;
it is always murderous¡¨ (257).
2. ¡§The confinement of the scientific
object is the same as that of the insane and the dead¡¨ (258).
1. What is ¡§Disneyland¡¨?
a place of illusions and phantasms;
a veritable concentration camp;
It is there to conceal the fact that it is
the ¡¥real¡¦ country, all of ¡¥real¡¦
America, which is Disneyland.
Presented as imaginary in order to make us
believe that the rest is real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of
A deterrence machine set up in order to rejuvenate
in reverse the fiction of the real.
E. Baudrillard¡¦s argument
on TV media:
2. What does ¡§Watergate¡¨
a. Baudrillard¡¦s Marxist
idea: ¡§Power is unjust, its justice is a class justice, capital
exploits us, etc¡¨ (263).
b. TV news:
=>A succession of surface images, only signifiers
=>A collage of fragmented images of images
=>The final hyperreality.
=>In it, there is a postmodernist denial
of historicity; the past is treated as
a resource bank of images for casual reuse,
a collapse of everything
into the present.
3. The game of assassination is a game
¡§Power . . . produces nothing
but signs of its resemblance¡¨ (269).
F. What is ¡§IMPLOSION¡¨?
1. He agrees McLuhan that the medium is the
message¡Xnot content but the form of the media is of importance.
2. The function of TV and mass media is to
prevent response, to privitize individuals, to place them into a universe
of simulacra where it is possible to distinguish between the spectacle
and the real.
3. We are in a universe where there is more
and more information and less and less meaning.
4. The refusal of meaning is the only form
of resistance possible in a society like ours which suffers from information
5. We are bombarded with information-rich
6. What we can to do it is to accept images
only as signifiers, only as surfaces, and to reject their meanings, their
G. What is ¡§DETERRENCE¡¨?
derived from Nietzche¡¦s ¡§nihilism¡¨:
the rapid erosion of binary meaning-making structures.
¡§The mass¡¨ wants ¡§spectacle,¡¨
not ¡§reality¡¨ or ¡§meaning.¡¨
¡§The mass¡¨ consumes
bourgeois culture; the weight of the mass threatens the structure.
III. Baudrillard¡¦s comments:
comes from the very situation which excludes
the real atomic clash excludes it beforehand like the eventuality of the
real in a system of sign.
excludes war¡Xthe antiquated violence
of expanding systems.
the neutral, implosive violence of metastable
or involving systems.
not a strategy, it circulates and is exchanged
between the nuclear protagonists like international capital in that orbital
zone of monetary speculation, whose flow is sufficient to control all global
Everything is ¡§hyper,¡¨
¡Vin excess of itself.
Postmodern culture¡Xthe era of consumer
Baudrillard: We live in the world of
simulations. There is no ¡¥real¡¦ external to them,
no ¡¥original,¡¦ no longer a realm of the ¡¥real¡¦
versus that of ¡¥imitation¡¦ or ¡¥mimicry¡¦
but rather a level in which there are only simulations.
Traditional distinctions and hierarchies (?)
Polyculturalism is acknowledged.
Kitch, the popular and difference are celebrated.