Book Discussion – Simulacra and Simulation (Jean Baudrillard) – Rezki DK and Regina Chandra

Host: Ivan Kurniawan Nasution

First order which the Simulacrum (plural word for Simulacra) represents the reality that it references, it act as a pure imitation.

Second order of Simulacrum which it started to denatures the reality it origins from.

Third order of Simulacrum which it started to appear as it were a different reality, a completely separate order as it loses its reference. A hyperreality.

The session started with a quote from the book;

“The simulacrum is never what hides the truth – it is the truth that hides the fact that there is none. The simulacrum is true.” – Ecclesiastes

Some of the effects from the simulation world were discussed throughout the session, so that we can relate of what would be happen if these put into ease, which they were;

The loss of significance
Hyper commodities
Visual spam
The dissolving of public-private space

Baudrillard explores Simulacra further in the book through various short examples which are elaborated in stand-alone chapters. In the last week discussion, we had the opportunity to discuss some of those examples.

Hypermarket and Hyper commodity,
as in this chapters, it questioned the position of human nature as a subject. Nowadays, there are no subject that take controls over something else, it was merely a connection between objects and objects. We (humans) treated as commodity oppose the market. For example, if you go to a department stores, which promotes a lot of things, things we may/may not need. These “things” mingling all besides us, it act as a tests, we are the object of the tests.

Implosion of Meaning in Media
this chapter proposes three hypotheses about significance. These hypotheses essentially speaks about the loss of meaning in the verge of information bloke. One of the hypothesis which were already happened to us is that information nowadays operates outside the meaning itself. As Baudrillard feared, signs and symbols became more and more manipulative and destructive, the same goes with information as simulacra. Information simulates meaning then to produce it. These information is the double, the seemed-to-be perfect, stable, and functional ahead of the meaning, therefore dissolves and slowly create the implosion of meaning itself in some period.

Absolute Advertising,
the idea of advertisement as language that holds power over public’s fascination through its simple and seductive language. It displays the characteristics of simulacrum as political and social ideas that are translated into the language of advertisement will be simplified, distorted, and its meaning will be reduced.

Questioning the idea of Simulacra becomes crucial when it is put in the context of today society where we are streamed with a vast amount of information on what is happening around us. This information forms our perspective of reality. The inability to control the overwhelming amount of information could create society that lives in hyperreality; as signified by habits such as prioritising gestures over meaning, superficial standard of life, loss of significance due to saturation of information, and blurring the distinction between private and public realm. This could lead to the ultimate consequences of hyperreality which are the end of social life and dehumanization.

In conclusion, through last week book discussion, we are faced with the question of ‘What are you going to do if the things that you believe are the truth are actually just a representation of what is real? Moreover, what if that representation is actually not representing the truth at all, that it was distorted?’. This act as a wakeup call to search for significance and meaning instead of gestures and mere simulacra in our everyday life. Learning from this concept, we are also pushed to be more critical and selective of our surrounding, as well as to take more control in deciding what kind of reality we want to live in.Show less

Let’s learn and be inspired!

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