Saturday, October 13, 2012

Jean Baudrillard - Precession of Simulacra: Hyperreality – Map and Territory

In "Precession of Simulacra" (in Simulacra and Simulation, 1981) Jean Baudrillard describes what he calls "the third order of simulacra" in which simulation functions through breaking down the difference between the world and representation in order to produce a "hyperreality".
Baudrillard addresses two scientific advancements that changed the way we see the world and allow for the production of hyperreality: the discovery of the DNA and the invention of digital technology. DNA is a code for life who determines who we are before we are allowed to do so. It is the map that precedes the actual territory. Digital technology functions in the same manner that codes reality and allows for its production.

The creation of the simulacra of hyperreality is described by Baudrillard through three orders of simulacra manifested in four types of images. In the first stage the image is "at one" with the actual world and reflects a deep meaning. This is the basic form of life which completely distinguishes the real from its representation and map from territory. The following images correspond to the three orders of simulacara as described by Baudrillard. The second image disguises a deep meaning while damaging it. The third image describes by Baudrillard in the process of creating simulacra or hyperreality is one which disguises the absence of a deep meaning. The fourth and final image is one that lacks any connection with reality, a "pure simulacra" and map which completely replaces territory. For Baudrillard all types of images can coexist or be built on top of each other, but the age of simulation makes it more and more difficult to manifest images of the first and second order and we are left with mostly hyperreality that has lost its connection the actual reality and that can no longer signify anything but itself.

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