This is what distinguishes Crash from all science fiction or almost all, which most of the time still revolves around the old couple function/dysfunction, which it projects in the future along the same lines of force and the same finalities that are those of the normal universe. There fiction surpasses reality (or the opposite), but according to the same rules of the game. In Crash, no more fiction or reality, it is hyperreality that abolishes both. Not even a critical regression is possible. This mutating and commutating world of simulation and death, this violently sexed world, but one without desire, full of violated and violent bodies, as if neutralized, this chromatic world and metallic intensity, but one void of sensuality, hypertechnology without finality - is it good or bad? We will never know. It is simply fascinating, though this fascination does not imply a value judgement. There lies the miracle of Crash. Nowhere does this moral gaze surface - the critical judgment that is still part of the functionality of the old world. Crash is hypercriticism (there also in contrast to its author who, in the introduction, speaks of the "warning against that brutal, erotic, and overlit realm that beckons more and more persuasively to us from the margins of the technological landscape"*2). Few books, few films reach this resolution of all finality or critical negativity, this dull splendor of banality or of violence. Nashville, Clockwork Orange.
lost. All around us there are nothing but dummies of power, but the mechanical illusion of power still rules the social order, be- hind which grows the absent, illegible, terror of control, the ter- ror of a definitive code, of which we are the minuscule terminals. Attacking representation no longer has much meaning either. One senses quite clearly, for the same reason, that all student conflicts (as is the case, more broadly, on the level of global so- ciety) around the representation, the delegation of power are no longer anything but phantom vicissitudes that yet still manage, out of despair, to occupy the forefront of the stage. Through 1 don't know what Möbius effect, representation itself has also turned in on itself, and the whole logical universe of the political is dissolved at the same time, ceding its place to a transfinite universe of simulation, where from the beginning no one is repre- sented nor representative of anything any more, where all that is accumulated is deaccumulated at the same time, where even the axiological, directive, and salvageable phantasm of power has disappeared. A universe that is still incomprehensible, unrecog- nizable, to us, a universe with a malefic curve that our mental coordinates, which are orthogonal and prepared for the infinite linearity of criticism and history, violently resist. Yet it is there that one must fight, if even fighting has any meaning anymore. We are simulators, we are simulacra (not in the classical sense of "appearance"), we are concave mirrors radiated by the social, a radiation without a light source, power without origin, without distance, and it is in this tactical universe of the simulacrum that one will need to fight—without hope, hope is a weak value, but in defiance and fascination. Because one must not refuse the in- tense fascination that emanates from this liquefaction of all power, of all axes of value, of all axiology, politics included. This spectacle, which is at once that of the death throes and the apogee of capital, surpasses by far that of the commodity described by the situationists. This spectacle is our essential force. We are no longer in a relation toward capital of uncertain or victorious forces, but in a political one, that is the phantasm of revolution. We are in a relation of defiance, of seduction, and of death toward this universe that is no longer one, precisely because all axial- ity that escapes it. The challenge capital directs at us in its
For the purposes of this paper, my focus is on higher education, and even more pointedly, on the university where I work and teach, Mahidol University International College (MUIC). MUIC is the first public university international college of Thailand, founded in 1996. And until recently, it had espoused the values of a liberal arts education, which was the founding and progressive principle of the college. With the advent of greater competition in the international education market, and the waning exclusivity of MUIC as an international education provider in Bangkok, founding educational principles are being compromised for the more pressing needs for marketing and student recruitment. This has brought about significant distress to educators like myself. While MUIC is used as a case example for critique in this paper, it is not intended as a denigration. It is intended as a documentation of how market forces are co-opting the IE brand, and thereby transforming the organizational values and identity. A discourse analysis of images derived from promotional materials will show the changing currency of IE, from an education discourse to a symbolic one. It is argued that this shift is consistent with the critical theory of simulacra and simulation established by JeanBaudrillard, and that the case of MUIC falls in line with others described in organizational theory literature that draw on his seminal work. This paper is offered as a potential conceptual framework that may challenge other critical educators and researchers in international programs, particularly from the Bangkok Metropolitan Area, to find resonance in their own contexts.
A videogame is an automaton – a virtual self-moving entity constituted by parts that are themselves software automata. Espen Aarseth makes this clear in his analysis of the components, or ‘part(icipant)s’, of the text-based adventure genre of computer game. The game is constituted by, and constitutes, a dynamic system of databases, algorithms, simulation and representation engines, players and bots (Aarseth, 1997: 103). Videogames are not virtual playgrounds as such, not Euclidean (cyber)spaces forming stages for the interaction between discrete bodies and objects. Rather, gameworlds are cybernetic systems – loops that are brought into being by, and bring into being, virtual objects, avatars and topographical features, virtual physical laws of soft gravity and friction, and actual objects and entities (not least players) (Giddings and Kennedy, 2007).
17 William Uricchio, ”Simulation, History, and Computer Games,” in Handbook of Computer Game Studies, ed. Joost Raessens and Jeffrey Goldstein (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005), 327–38; Kurt Squire, Replaying History: Learning World History through Playing Civilization III (Bloomington: Indiana University, 2004) <http://website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/ dissertation.html> [accessed 1 December 2012]; Henry Jenkins and Kurt Squire, ”The Art of Contested Spaces,” in Game On: The History and Culture of Video Games, ed. L. King (Lon- don: Lawrence King, 2003); Adam Chapman, ”Is Sid Meier’s Civilization History?,” Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 17, n.º 3 (2013), 312–32; Chapman, ”Privileging Form over Content: Analysing Historical Videogames,”; Digital Gaming Re-Imagines the Mid- dle Ages, ed. Daniel T. Kline (London & New York: Routledge, 2013); Jeremiah McCall, Gam- ing the Past: Using Video Games to Teach Secondary History (New York: Routledge, 2011). 18 Niall Ferguson, ”How to Win a War,” New York Magazine, October 15, 2006.
While ‘Beehive tetherball’ transforms real safety measures into on-camera images that artificially create a heightened a sense of danger for the cinematic audience, the ‘Gorilla in a hotel suite’ skit functions somewhat inversely, creating a sense of real danger vis-à-vis an image of fake danger. The ‘Gorilla’ skit is a variation on simulacra slapstick in a sense, because unlike ‘Beehive tetherball’, for example, physical pain is not intended to befall any of the actors. Instead, the punchline for ‘Gorilla in a hotel suite’ is the emotional trauma that actor Bam Margera’s parents, April and Phil, experience when they check into their hotel suite and encounter a full-grown gorilla. The animal is fake, nothing more than actor Chris Pontius in an extremely realistic gorilla suit. April and Phil, of course, don’t know this. This scenario is further enhanced by the fact that April and Phil have been recipients of countless pranks at the hands of their son over the years, both in the Jackass franchise and in a spin-off television production starring their son called Viva la Bam, so there is a strong precedent that the element of chaos makes occasional, unexpected appearances in these people’s lives. This particular skit, however, tries to exploit that precedent by making it appear that this is not a prank per se, but a prank gone wrong. The ‘Gorilla in a hotel suite’ does not perform a real prank, but a copy of a (fake) prank. What this skit dramatizes is the impossibility of staging an illusion in the era of simulation, when images are exchanged only with each other. As Baudrillard (1994: 19) writes: ‘The impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real is of the same order as the impossibility of staging illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible’. In other words, faking a prank shows us that a real prank is itself just a performance produced in the image of all the pranks that came before it. Staging a real prank and an illusion of a prank are both impossible in the era of the hyperreal, as Baudrillard (1994: 20) argues in his depiction of a fake holdup:
simulation. The Platonic tension between reality and its representation therefore implodes in Baudrillard’s examination of postmodern media; as he puts it, “[t]he impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real is of the same order as the impossibility of staging illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible” (Baudrillard 1994: 19). It is through such declarations that one can note the passage from the “modern”, situationist Baudrillard of The Consumer Society and Symbolic Exchange and Death, to the postmodern Baudrillard of Simulacra and Simulation. This transition is apparent in the opening lines of Simulacra and Simulation, where Baudrillard turns away from the dualistic relation between the real and its representation, stating that “[i]f we once were able to view the Borges fable in which the cartographers of the Empire draw up a map so detailed that it ends up covering the territory exactly […] as the most beautiful allegory of simulation, this fable has now come full circle for us, and possesses nothing but the discreet charm of second-order simulacra”
This dilemma signifies our times, characterised by Baudrillard as those of the third phase of the image (Baudrillard, 1995). For Baudrillard, arrival at this point, wherein interaction with the world, self, others and ‘ society ’ is increasingly mediated by a digital abstraction layer, has proceed through three orders, each grounded in a relationship between humanity, the representational image and reality (Baudrillard, 1995). The significance of this, to the analysis of the data below pertaining to the Yes and No cases, is not only the resonance between popular argument and Baudrillard ’ s stages of the image, but also these orders provide a thought framework for reflection upon the impli- cations for liberal-humanism arising from this resonance. However, with the first order grounded in dissimulation (Baudrillard, 1995, pp. 2 – 4), it is, then, the second and third that are of more relevance here. In the second order of simulacra, a shift takes place, from dissimulation to simulation, the move to simulate or ‘feign(s) to have what one doesn’t have’ (p. 2). In the second order, roughly from the Renaissance to mid-twentieth century, industrial technologies impact image production, including (analogue) photog- raphy leading to mass production and re-production of copies. Still, a difference remains between the real and copy. An analogue photo cannot be mistaken for the real.
Road, this novel presented a full view of the cause of the catastrophe and the things
that resulted to the catastrophe. In this novel, similar to The Road, it was found that some signs were no longer used for the things signified and the reality preceded the image and the sign, and they no longer had a name. It was seen in the novel that the world and knowledge of the world were turned into signs and those signs were stored on CDs. But when the humanity was wiped out most of this knowledge became simulacra. The concept of virtual reality was also a major notion that was discussed by Baudrillard and manifested in the novel. Games on the web were examples of virtual reality that were seen in the novel. It was found that games were some examples of simulation and the real was replaced with something else. The games were hyperreal. Also, websites were instances of simulation as they tried to replace the real world and present the feeling of being real in the novel. It was found out that Jimmy fell in love with the hyperreal girl in the video, Oryx. The hyperreality contributed to the seduction. This was one of the major examples of the effect of technology through hyperreality and it was one of the topics discussed by Baudrillard. It was seen that the progress in biotechnology had resulted in creation of multiple creatures in the society before the catastrophe. The notions that had been constructed by movies and imaginations came into reality by humans. Humans had eliminated the reality and constructed a hyperreal world. Oryx was forced into participating in porn videos which were examples of hyperreality.
At the level of history, this innoculation of simulacra and appearances in reality, gains its impact from the way in which we interpret what has taken place. In fact, it is this aspect of simulation that led Baudrillard to maintain that, immersed in the culture of spectacle that characteriZes our times (to paraphrase Debord), the Gulf War “did not take place”. This was not because the war was not authentic but rather because its character of reality was determined by its character of the spec(tac)ular, “ to falsify ends and all calculation with respect to these ends, to falsify time and the occurrence of things and thereby precipitate our tendency towards impatience with respect to fulfillment. Or, to secretly intuit that the promise of fulfillment itself, too, is false and diabolic” 56 . Events,
Jean Baudrillard’s theory of the three orders simulacra as addressed in Simulations and Simulacra (1981) is well documented, well read and well, done. However, when addressing his theory of the fourth order of fractals and its variant forms, criticism tends to err on the side of caution and implies rather than explicates the meaning behind the metaphor. There are explanations for this reticence. On first inspection the fourth order appears to be a prosthesis of simulation, however, just like a fractal under closer examination, what is immediately apparent is not always definitive. Therefore, through using pictorial reference to fractal sets this paper looks to redress the balance and examine the methods in which fractals can be used not as theoretical empirical methods of reading the social, but as metaphors, operating as a system where different phenomena can be observed as reaching what Frank Tipler regards to be the Omega point, a locus of technological determinacy which are considered to be a singularity. The critical introduction of Tipler’s work revises the Baudrilladrian idea of singularities evolving from outside of the system, and instead argues that singularities are an inherent product of the system itself.
then suggest that Harvey’s aetiology of postmodern capitalism will then be shown to underestimate the importance of signification in contemporary capitalist societies while presenting economic processes and the ‘natural’ categories of time and space as forming the privileged ground of the social. This approach, it will be argued, is based on a Kantian ontological schema that conflates cultural and ‘natural’ categories in a ‘realist’ attempt to provide a grounding for human experience. In contrast, Baudrillard’s concept of postmodern capitalism as the latest of three order of simulacra, three discrete orders of signification, will be detailed as an alternative to the orthodox Marxist conception of capitalism as being economically derived. Attention will be paid to Baudrillard’s contention that capitalism has shifted from being based on the production of commodities to the reproduction of commodities as sign-objects, the reproduction of simulacra or signs with no anterior referent but the model or code that governs their reproduction. In the course of this discussion, concrete examples of simulation derived from conservation and the heritage industry will be considered. The chapter will argue that Baudrillard’s main strength is his avoidance of economism but that he effectively marginalises the economic to the extent that his analysis effectively displaces economistic reductionism with a ‘semiotic’ reductionism. Baudrillard’s theory of simulacra will therTevaluated against a Marxist conception of the role and limited autonomy of signification and its impact on commodity exchange in contemporary capitalism, which acknowledges the limitations of essentialism while avoiding Baudrillard’s theoretical tendency towards an unchecked valorisation of the sign.
The idea of simulation and simulacra is a powerful one in terms of political imagery and communications, but it also has been demonstrated in this paper that it can apply to economic and political institutions as well. While economic transition in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has been an iterative and uneven journey, the process of transition itself has been treated as a simulation by many countries. This false reality has thus created simulacra of institutions in various Soviet successor states, with the most prominent examples being Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and (only because of the exposure of the simulacra to scrutiny) Ukraine. In this sense, perhaps I was too hasty earlier when I dismissed Baudrillard’s (1994b: 163) assertion that “everywhere, always, the system is too strong: hegemonic,” for it seems the communist era in Central Asia, Russia, and Ukraine has survived the assault of “neoliberalism” by adapting the very same institutions behind labels and symbols of its antithesis. Political processes throughout the post-Soviet space have thus appropriated reality, given it a new symbol, and removed any vestiges of the reality behind the institutions themselves. Even where institutional change has occurred in such an unreformed political environment, as in the divorce of the police in Ukraine from the Communist party, the political processesleft-
By expressing in symbolic form the whole venture of the communist regime to create a ‘reality’ that will match the grandeur of its utopian vision – of an ideal, just, multilaterally developed society liberated from all its past, present or future enemies – the spectacle becomes the reflector of that social unreal reality. In fact, the spectacle situates itself in a long series of forgeries that make up the tableau of a simulated reality, and becomes in Jean Baudrillard’s terms a ‘simulacrum’, a representation of an ‘original’ reality that has, itself, never existed in the first place. The absurdity and unreality of a world of ‘simulacra’ projected by the totalitarian ideology is accentuated by the personality cult blown to grotesque proportions, the meaninglessness of the dominant official discourse suffused with clichés and the fake numerical reports transmitted by the media which were meant to highlight and praise the grandiosity of the regime’s achievements in all domains, from education, science and technology to agriculture and food supplies. Frederic Jameson (1999), adopting himself the concept of ‘simulacrum’, compares the communist world with Disneyland (which is considered one of the most famous materializations of the concept of ‘simulacrum’).
Psycho,” for example, Martin Weinreich wagers that Ellis “deliberately” adopts Jean Baudrillard’s stance critical of postmodern consumer capitalism and brings to the narrative level his concepts of hyperreality and simulation to offer a compelling social critique in composing arguably his most famous—and infamous—novel (2004: 65). As Weinreich writes, “In the postmodern city, labor in the traditional sense has vanished, and the mode of production has been surpassed by what Baudrillard refers to as ‘the structural revolution of value.’ American Psycho portrays the city after this shift from production to consumption; the city as ‘the zone of signs, the media and the code.’ Consequently ‘metallurgy,’ workforce and labor, has become semiurgy, ‘the operation of code’”(2004: 66). What American Psycho does, for Weinreich, is exemplify Baudrillard’s “dictum of proper socialization,” which asks simply that one become socialized (ibid). One is not asked to “do” or contribute much of anything to postmodern society; in fact producing too much is bound to raise suspicion (as any perspicacious schoolchild can attest). Importantly, Weinreich agrees with previous scholarship that the murderous character of Patrick Bateman, is “simply a gap, a vortex into which the structural environment would collapse were it not upheld by the consensus of value relations that maintain it” (Busonik qtd. in Weinrech 2004: 72). While I agree that Patrick Bateman— and many of Ellis’s seemingly disaffected characters—are a kind of nothing or void, I do not contend that they are the points where ‘structure would collapse.’ It is quite the opposite; characters like Patrick are the impossible points in the symbolic that cohere and order the system. Reading in terms of Baudrillard strictly prohibits us from
Both JeanBaudrillard and Slavoj Žižek have produced work which retains a post- Marxist commitment to a political critique of the economy and articulates the conditions under which such a critique can or cannot take place. Moreover, both make what might be broadly called the ‘post-secular’ turn in as much as both refuse a positivist critique of religion (in the case and Baudrillard) or Christianity (in the case of Žižek). Yet it is this specific difference between the anthropological approach of Baudrillard and the theological approach of Žižek I wish to explore. I begin by introducing Baudrillard’s development of post-Marxist critique within the context of semiotics and the simulacra. In both cases I situate his work in relation to Lacan. I then look specifically at the modes of political resistance Baudrillard draws upon, principally ‘symbolic-exchange’ (the anthropological) and ‘seduction’ (the
⑤ こころの門 simulation image 2014 / 365 x 355 x 320 cm
Kokoro no mon is double heart shaped artwork. The shape of the piece changes form depending on the angle you admire it. The artwork invites the spectator to go through it, as a monumental gate in the gardens.
Cette bibliographie mise à jour couvre la période 1957-2017, soit une période de 60 ans. La « Bibliographie de Jean Roudaut » est accompagnée d’une « Bibliographie sur Jean Roudaut ». Nous espérons que toutes deux, ainsi que la liste des « Cours de Jean Roudaut » à l’Université de Fribourg, contribueront à faire connaître son œuvre et élargir le cercle de ses lecteurs. Enfin, nous tenons à remercier Jean Roudaut, pour ses précieux conseils, Serge Assier, pour l’illustration de couverture, et Thomas Henkel, responsable de la formation documentaire à la BCU, pour son soutien technique. D’éventuels compléments ou d’éventuelles corrections peuvent être signalés à l’adresse suivante : Michel.Dousse@fr.ch
T H E T R A N S P A R E N e Y o F E V I L
when a sudden epidemic strikes the computer world, a common and not incomprehensible reaction (except among computer professionals) is hilarity.
The general effect is reinforced by other factors too. Art, which is every where susceptible to fraud, to copying, to simulation, and at the same time to the raving hyperbole of the art market, epitomizes a body irradiated by lucre. Consider terrorism. Nothing more closely resembles the chain reaction of terrorism in our irradiated societies than the chain reactions associated with AIDS, with Wall Street raiders or with software saboteurs. (And, by the way, what are these societies irradiated by? By the superfusion of happiness and security, information and communication? By the disintegration of symbolic nexuses, fundamental rules, or social contracts? It is anybody's guess.) The contagiousness of terrorism, its fascination, is every bit as enigmatic as the contagiousness of these other phenomena. When a programmer introduces a 'soft bomb' into his software and uses his resultant destructive power as a threat, is he not in effect taking the program and all its applications hostage? Likewise, are corporate raiders not taking and holding businesses hostage when they speculate on their demise or resurrection in the stock market? All these phenomena operate on the same model as terrorism (hostages have a quoted price just like shares or pictures), but one might just as easily explain terrorism in terms of a parallel with AIDS, with computer viruses, or with public stock offerings. No phenomenon in this constellation of phenomena has