Baudrillard's bewildering thesis, a bold extrapolation on Ferdinand de Saussure's general theory of general linguistics, is in fact a clinical vision of contemporary consumer societies where signs don't refer anymore to anything except themselves. They all are generated by the matrix. Simulations never existed as a book before it was "translated" into English. Actually it came from two different bookCovers written at different times by Jean Baudrillard. The first part of Simulations, and most provocative because it made a fiction of (...) theory, was "The Procession of Simulacra." It had first been published in Simulacre et Simulations. The second part, written much earlier and in a more academic mode, came from L'Echange Symbolique et la Mort. It was a half-earnest, half-parodical attempt to "historicize" his own conceit by providing it with some kind of genealogy of the three orders of appearance: the Counterfeit attached to the classical period; Production for the industrial era; and Simulation, controlled by the code. It was Baudrillard's version of Foucault's Order of Things and his ironical commentary of the history of truth. The book opens on a quote from Ecclesiastes asserting flatly that "the simulacrum is true." It was certainly true in Baudrillard's book, but otherwise apocryphal.One of the most influential essays of the 20th century, Simulations was put together in 1983 in order to be published as the first little black book of Semiotext's new Foreign Agents Series. Baudrillard's bewildering thesis, a bold extrapolation on Ferdinand de Saussure's general theory of general linguistics, was in fact a clinical vision of contemporary consumer societies where signs don't refer anymore to anything except themselves. They all are generated by the matrix.In effect Baudrillard's essay was upholding the only reality there was in a world that keeps hiding the fact that it has none. Simulacrum is its own pure simulacrum and the simulacrum is true. In his celebrated analysis of Disneyland, Baudrillard demonstrates that its childish imaginary is neither true nor false, it is there to make us believe that the rest of America is real, when in fact America is a Disneyland. It is of the order of the hyper-real and of simulation. Few people at the time realized that Baudrillard's simulacrum itself wasn't a thing, but a "deterrence machine," just like Disneyland, meant to reveal the fact that the real is no longer real and illusion no longer possible. But the more impossible the illusion of reality becomes, the more impossible it is to separate true from false and the real from its artificial resurrection, the more panic-stricken the production of the real is. (shrink)
Baudrillard's remarkably prescient meditation on terrorism throws light on post-9/11 delusional fears and political simulations. Published one year after Forget Foucault, In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities may be the most important sociopolitical manifesto of the twentieth century: it calls for nothing less than the end of both sociology and politics. Disenfranchised revolutionaries hoped to reach the masses directly through spectacular actions, but their message merely played into the hands of the media and the state. In a media society (...) meaning has no meaning anymore; communication merely communicates itself. Jean Baudrillard uses this last outburst of ideological terrorism in Europe to showcase the end of the "Social." Once invoked by Marx as the motor of history, the masses no longer have sociological reality. In the electronic media society, all the masses can do—and all they will do—is enjoy the spectacle. In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities takes to its ultimate conclusion the "end of ideologies" experienced in Europe after the Soviet invasion of Hungary and the death of revolutionary illusions after May 1968. Ideological terrorism doesn't represent anything anymore, writes Baudrillard, not even itself. It is just the last hysterical reaction to discredited political illusions. (shrink)
This text contemplates Western culture "after the orgy" - the revolutions of the 1960s. The author argues that the sexual revolution has led not to sexual liberation but to a reign of transvestism, to a confusion of the categories of man and woman, and a "transaesthetic realm of indifference".
Characterizing it as a "mythic discourse," Jean Baudrillard proceeds, in this brilliant essay, to dismantle the powerful, seductive figure of Michel Foucault. In 1976, Jean Baudrillard sent this essay to the French magazine Critique, where Michel Foucault was an editor. Foucault was asked to reply, but remained silent. Forget Foucault made Baudrillard instantly infamous in France. It was a devastating revisitation of Foucault's recent History of Sexuality—and of his entire oeuvre—and also an attack on those philosophers, like Gilles Deleuze and (...) Félix Guattari, who believed that desire could be revolutionary. In Baudrillard's eyes, desire and power were interchangeable, so desire had no place in Foucault's work. There is no better introduction to Baudrillard's polemical approach to culture than these pages, in which Baudrillard dares Foucault to meet the challenge of his own thought. This Semiotext edition of Forget Foucault is accompanied by a dialogue with Sylvère Lotringer, "Forget Baudrillard," a reevaluation by Baudrillard of his lesser-known early works as a post-Marxian thinker. Lotringer presses Baudrillard to explain how he arrived at his infamous extrapolationist theories from his roots in the nineteenth and early twentieth century social and anthropological works of Karl Marx, Marcel Mauss, and Emil Durkheim. (shrink)
This book marks an important evolution in Jean Baudrillard's thought as he leavesbehind his older and better-known concept of the "simulacrum" and tackles the new problem of digitaltechnology acquiring organicity. The resulting world of cold communication and its indifferentalterity, seduction, metamorphoses, metastases, and transparency requires a new form of response.Writing in the shadow of Marshall McLuhan, Baudrillard insists that the content of communication iscompletely without meaning: the only thing that is communicated is communication itself. He sees themasses writhing in an (...) orgiastic ecstasy of communications. Baudrillard navigates the Object'smaelstrom with the euphoria of the astronaut reentering Earth's atmosphere with no possibility ofassistance from Mission Control. (shrink)
An early work in which Baudrillard became Baudrillard. When Fatal Strategies was first published in French in 1983, it represented a turning point for Jean Baudrillard: an utterly original, and for many readers, utterly bizarre book that offered a theory as proliferative, ecstatic, and hallucinatory as the postmodern world it endeavored to describe. Arguing against the predetermined outcomes of dialectical thought with his renowned, wry, ambivalent passion, with this volume Jean Baudrillard mounted an attack against the “false problems” posed by (...) Western philosophy. If his Marxist days were firmly behind him, Baudrillard here indicated that metaphysics had also gone the way of sociology and politics: the contemporary world demanded nothing less than Pataphysics, Alfred Jarry's absurdist philosphy that described the laws of the universe supplementary to this one. In effect, with Fatal Strategies, Baudrillard became Baudrillard. In his extrapolationist manner, Baudrillard sought to replace Western philosophy's circular arguments with a ritualistic Theater of Cruelty. Using this line of thought developed in Fatal Strategies, Baudrillard went on, throughout the 1980s, to find new and shatteringly accurate ways of discussing American corporatocracy, arms build-up, and hostage taking. Fatal Strategies asserts a profound critique of American politics, and it is an important step towards his examination of evil.Jean Baudrillard was a philosopher, sociologist, cultural critic, and theorist of postmodernity who challenged all existing theories of contemporary society with humor and precision. An outsider in the French intellectual establishment, he was internationally renowned as a twenty-first century visionary, reporter, and provocateur. His Simulations instantly became a cult classic and made him a controversial voice in the world of politics and art. (shrink)
What does the turn of the millennium say about our relationship to time? The prophet of postmodernity untangles the "vital illusion" between the virtual and the actual, taking the pulse of humanity surrounded by a technological landscape.
The perfect crime -- The spectre of the will -- The radical illusion -- Trompe-l'œl genesis -- The automatic writing of the world -- The horizon of disappearance -- The countdown -- The material illusion -- The secret vestiges of perfection -- The height of reality -- The irony of technology -- Machinic snobbery -- Objects in this mirror -- The Babel syndrome -- Radical thought -- The other side of the crime -- The world without women -- The surgical (...) removal of otherness -- The "laying-off" of desire -- The new victim order -- Indifference and hatred -- The revenge of the mirror people. (shrink)
Baudrillard's unsettling coda: previously unpublished texts written just before the visionary theorist's death in 2007. History that repeats itself turns to farce. But a farce that repeats itself ends up making a history.—from The Agony of Power In these previously unpublished manuscripts written just before his death in 2007, Jean Baudrillard takes a last crack at the bewildering situation currently facing us as we exit the system of “domination” and enter a world of generalized “hegemony” in which everyone becomes both (...) hostage and accomplice of the global market. But in the free-form market of political and sexual liberation, as the possibility of revolution dissipates, Baudrillard sees the hegemonic process as only beginning. Once expelled, negativity returns from within ourselves as an antagonistic force—most vividly in the phenomenon of terrorism, but also as irony, mockery, and the symbolic liquidation of all human values. This is the dimension of hegemony marked by an unbridled circulation—of capital, goods, information, or manufactured history—that is bringing the very concept of exchange to an end and pushing capital beyond its limits: to the point at which it destroys the conditions of its own existence. In the system of hegemony, the alienated, the oppressed, and the colonized find themselves on the side of the system that holds them hostage. In this paradoxical moment in which history has turned to farce, domination itself may appear to have been a lesser evil.This book gathers together three essays—“From Domination to Hegemony,” "The White Terror of World Order," and "Where Good Grows"—and a 2005 interview with Baudrillard by Sylvère Lotringer. Semiotext launched Baudrillard into English back in the early 1980s; now, as our media and information infested “ultra-reality” finally catches up with his theory, Semiotext offers The Agony of Power, Baudrillard's unsettling coda. (shrink)
The art of living today has shifted to a continuous state of the experimental. In one of his last texts, Telemorphosis, renowned thinker and anti-philosopher Jean Baudrillard takes on the task of thinking and reflecting on the coming digital media architectures of the social. While “the social” may have never existed, according to Baudrillard, his analysis at the beginning of the twenty-first century of the coming social media–networked cultures cannot be ignored. One need not look far in order to find (...) oneself snared within some sort of screenification of a techno-social community. “What the most radical critical critique, the most subversive delirious imagination, what no Situationist drift could have done... television has done.” Collective reality has entered a realm of telemorphosis. (shrink)
All we have left of the millenarian dateline is the countdown to it. The digital clock at the Beaubourg Centre, which shows the countdown in millions of seconds, is the perfect symbol for this century as it illustrates perfectly the reversal of modernity's relation to time. Time is no longer counted progressively from an origin but by subtraction, as with rocket launches or time bombs. This is a perspective of entropy. We no longer live with a vision of a world (...) of progress and production. When you count the seconds separating you from the end, it means that everything is already at an end; we are already beyond the end. (shrink)
There are few philosophers today cool enough to be referenced in the Matrix , interesting enough to be mentioned on Six Feet Under , and popular enough to get over 606,000 hits on Google. Jean Baudrillard has succeeded in all of this and more. Now, in his latest book, Baudrillard presents his most popular themes--symbolic exchange, hyper-reality, technology and war--and applies them to the current global conflict between "the West and the Rest", including Islam. Ultimately, it is not simply about (...) the war against terror but about the bigger picture of capitalism versus everything else. This book serves as the summation of Baudrillard's work over the last twenty years and is the essential analysis of the fundamental conflict of our time. (shrink)
Fragments presents a set of brilliantly intriguing interviews with Jean Baudrillard whose work today occupies center stage in the analysis of consumerism, terrorism, and contemporary culture. In these frank discussions with François L'Yvonnet, Baudrillard reveals for the first time in detail the thinkers who have been the dominant influences on his work during his career. Instead of examining his work as a project of intellectual accumulation, he challenges all the major interpretations of his work by suggesting he has always adopted (...) an anti-system, anti-totality strategy. Even globalization is accompanied in his view by a Western culture which itself is no longer a well-founded confident universalism. Perhaps most interestingly, Baudrillard discusses his life's work in relationship to his contemporaries -- Bataille , Barthes, Lyotard and Deleuze - and explores his position as an outsider in the field of French philosophy. Baudrillard in these interviews is in sparkling form, and in his ownwords he presents not only a lively introduction to this great thinker but also gives readers a window into a brilliant mind. (shrink)
A focused exploration of Baudrillard's understanding and use of alterity and “otherness,” a crucial theme that appears and reappears throughout his work as a whole. Alterity is in danger. It is a masterpiece in peril, an object lost or missing from our system, from the system of artificial intelligence and the system of communication in general.—from Radical Alterity Where is the Other today? Can Otherness challenge our arrogant, insular cultural narcissism? From artificial intelligence to the streets of Venice, from early (...) explorers to contemporary photographers, Jean Baudrillard and Marc Guillaume discuss the traces of radical alterity in our world. These provocative seminars, held in 1990 and 1991, follow the multiple, intertwined trajectories first projected in Baudrillard's work and his reading of the “radical exoticism” posited by Victor Segalen—ideas Baudrillard extends into the realms of mass media, pseudonyms, technology, and that illusorily close yet radically foreign “primitive society of the future,” America. In a world where no corner is unexplored, the Other remains a challenge to thought, a crack in the shell of universal understanding, impossible to communicate but potentially the linchpin of communication itself. Together, Baudrillard and Guillaume explore the threatened and fatal figures of radical alterity. This collection is no longer available in French, and this English edition includes an additional essay by Baudrillard, “Because Illusion and Reality Are Not Opposed.”. (shrink)
What is a singular object? An idea, a building, a color, a sentiment, a human being. Each in turn comes under scrutiny in this exhilarating dialogue between two of the most interesting thinkers working in philosophy and architecture today. From such singular objects, Jean Baudrillard and Jean Nouvel move on to fundamental problems of politics, identity, and aesthetics as their exchange becomes an imaginative exploration of the possibilities of modern architecture and the future of modern life. Among the topics the (...) two speakers take up are the city of tomorrow and the ideal of transparency, the gentrification of New York City and Frank Gehry’s surprising Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. As Nouvel prompts Baudrillard to reflect on some of his signature concepts, the confrontation between such philosophical concerns and the specificity of architecture gives rise to novel and striking formulations—and a new way of establishing and understanding the connections between the practitioner and the philosopher, the object and the idea. This wide-ranging conversation builds a bridge between the fields of architecture and philosophy. At the same time it offers readers an intimate view of the meeting of objects and ideas in which the imagined, constructed, and inhabited environment is endlessly changing, forever evolving. Jean Baudrillard is one of the most influential thinkers of his generation and author of _The Vital Illusion_. Jean Nouvel has designed buildings throughout the world, including the new Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and is a recipient of France’s Grand Prix d’Architecture. Robert Bononno, a translator and teacher, lives in New York City. (shrink)
Jean Baudrillard is widely recognized as one of the most important and provocative writers of our age. Variously termed “France’s leading philosopher of postmodernism” and “a sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the post-Marxist left,” he might also be called our leading philosopher of seduction or of mass culture. Following his acclaimed _America_ and _Cool Memories_, this book is the third in a series of personal records in hyperreality. Idiosyncratic, outrageous, and brilliantly original, Baudrillard here casts his net widely and combines autobiographical (...) memories with further reflections on America, the crisis of cultural production, new ideas in fiction/theory, and the “verbal fornication” of the postmodern. In this wide-ranging discussion of events and ideas, Baudrillard moves between poetry and waterfalls, strikes and stealth bombers, Freud and La Cicciolina, shadows and simulacra, deconstruction and the zodiac, Reagan’s smile and Kennedy’s death, the “curse” on South America and the future of the West, the last tango of French intellectual life and the exemplary disappearing act of Italian politics. Writing at the site where the philosophic and the poetic merge, he once again offers us commentary in the form of the riveting insight, the short distillation of reality that establishes its truth with the force of recognition. _Cool Memories II_, Baudrillard’s latest commentary on the technopresent and future, an installment of his reflections on the reality of contemporary western culture, will entice all readers concerned with postmodernism and the current state of theory. (shrink)
Jean Baudrillard is one of the most revered philosophers of the past century, and his work has helped define how we think about the post-modern. In this fascinating book of interviews conducted with Francois L'Yvonnet, Baudrillard is on sparkling form and explores his life in terms of his educational, political and literary experiences, as well as reflecting on his intellectual genesis and his position as outsider in the field of great French thinkers. Perhaps most interestingly, Baudrillard discusses his life's work (...) in relationship to his contemporaries: thinkers such as Bataille and the Situationists, Barthes, Lyotard, and Deleuze, amongst others. _Fragments: Interviews with Jean Baudrillard _will be essential reading for any scholar of Baudrillard, but will also prove an attractive and informative starting point for any student trying to get to grips with his work for the first time. (shrink)
This new collection gathers 23 highly insightful yet previously difficult-to-find interviews with Baudrillard, ranging over topics as diverse as art, war, technology, globalisation, terrorism and the fate of humanity. From familiar themes to the less well understood aspects of his thought, these interviews give you an overview of Baudrillard's ideas - without the jargon typical of written texts. Read as Baudrillard himself discusses, explains and elaborates on his ideas, making this collection essential for understanding many of his other works.
Début 2003, un très important dispositif de guerre a pris position dans le Golfe. On soupçonne le dirigeant de l'Irak, Saddam Hussein, de disposer "d'armes de destruction massive" et de s'apprêter à en faire usage contre les Etats-Unis d'Amérique. On lui prête même, contre toute évidence, des liens étroits avec Oussama Ben Laden, le commanditaire présumé des attentats du 11 septembre 2001 à New York et à Washington. Le 19 février 2003, alors que s'intensifient les préparatifs de la première guerre (...) "préventive" de l'histoire - elle est alors imminente -, René Major et l'Institut des hautes études en psychanalyse reçoivent Jean Baudrillard et Jacques Derrida pour débattre de la situation. Débat intense, où chacun oppose ses analyses, autant qu'à son interlocuteur, à la situation elle-même, testant leur validité théorique : Qu'est-ce qu'un événement? Qu'est-ce qui résiste du réel, quand le virtuel lui dispute l'hégémonie de la représentation? Qu'y entre-t-il de l'inconscient? De quelle autorité dispose encore le droit, même international? Ces questions demeurent pressantes, aujourd'hui, que René Major "actualise" dans la présentation et la postface qu'il fait à cet échange exceptionnel. (shrink)
An analysis of how Mitterand came to power in France and how political power seduced the French Left and became a simulacrum. First published in French in 1985, The Divine Left is Jean Baudrillard's chronicle of French political life from 1977 to 1984. It offers the closest thing to political analysis to be found from a thinker who has too often been regarded as apolitical. Gathering texts that originally appeared as newspaper commentary on François Mitterand's rise to power as France's (...) first Socialist president and the Socialist Party's fraught alliance with the French Communist Party, The Divine Left in essence presents Baudrillard's theory of the simulacrum as it operates in the political sphere. In France, the Left, and even the ultra-Left, had been seduced by power. This scenario—dissected by Baudrillard with deadpan humor and an almost chilling nonchalance—produced a Socialist Party that devoted itself to rallying the market economy and introducing neoliberalism, and replaced an intellectual class with the media stars and hyper-professionals of the spectacle. Starting from the elections of 1977, Baudrillard analyzes—in “real time,” as it were—how the Left's taking of power had in fact been an enaction of not just its own death throes, but those of power itself. The Divine Left outlines a simulation of politics that offers discomfiting parallels to our political world today, a trajectory that has only grown more apparent in recent years: the desire and intention to fail. (shrink)
Jean Baudrillard is generally recognized as one of the most important and provocative contemporary social theorists. But in the English speaking world, his reputation is largely based on books published after the 1960s, as he moved towards becoming the premier commentator on postmodernism. This wide ranging and expertly edited book examines the work of the young Baudrillard, it deepens our understanding of his seminal work on consumer culture by presenting his early essays on McLuhan, Lefebvre and Marcuse. The influence of (...) German traditions of thought are clearly revealed, and Baudrillard's neglected and out of print writing on aesthetics is rediscovered and reprinted. Extracts from his political diaries and commentaries on European terrorism and the rise of the new Right, provide crucial insights into his later claims regarding the implosion of the masses and the rise of gesturial politics. Baudrillard emerges as a more nuanced and penetrating figure. His aesthetic and political interests are shown to be more deep-rooted and reflexive. In general, the book supplies the missing link for English speaking readers interested in understanding this prismatic and essential thinker. (shrink)
In 2000, during his visit to Oslo, Jean Baudrillard was interviewed by the editor and filmmaker Truls Lie. The following text is the first edition translated into Spanish of that meeting. Despite its brevity, the French thinker outlined aspects of significance in his work and contemporary society. After the interviewer's introduction, he reviews topics such as the notions of desire and consumption; the importance and value of nihilism in his work; his relationship with postmodernism, and finally, his opinion about death.