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Simulacra & Simulation

Connecting the ideas of Baudrillard to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

christopher vaccaro

on 7 October 2013

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Transcript of Simulacra & Simulation

Simulacra & Simulation
Simulacra: An image or representation

Examples: Animated characters, androids, gaming avatars
Simulation: An assumption or imitation of a particular appearance or form

Examples: Virtual Reality, Flight Simulators
by Jean Baudrillard
“The simulation is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.”

Turn to the person next to you and discuss what this statement means. Be prepared to share with the class.
The simulacra that Baudrillard refers to are signs of culture and media that create the perceived reality; Baudrillard believed that society has become so reliant on simulacra that it has lost contact with the real world on which the simulacra are based.

We ultimately can only define our world through representing the real.
Theoretical Definition of Baudrillard's Ideas:

Baudrillard in particular suggests that the world we live in has been replaced by a copy world. Baudrillard borrows from Jorge Luis Borges the example of a society whose cartographers create a map so detailed that it covers the very things it was designed to represent. When the empire declines, the map fades into the landscape and both the representation of the real and the real become one and the same.
Simulacra and Simulation is most known for its discussion of images, signs, and how they relate to the present day.
Baudrillard claims that modern society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and therefore the human condition has become a series of experiences based on simulation of reality rather than reality itself.
What will be the representation of our world (our reality) 100 years from now?
Answer: Replica will define our world and therefore become our world
Consider the nature of history --

We understand our past only through books, stories, and documentary. All are forms that simulate the truth. There is no way to perceive the reality of history so all we are left with is the simulacra of that history.
The internet and social networking would fit into Baudrillard's claim perfectly. Both combine experiences that simulate aspects of real life rather than defining the reality of life.
Practical Application of Baudrillard's Ideas:

All forms of communication are based on representation. Consider -- language itself is a form of representing meaning. Taking that as a core idea, society becomes based on the notion of only finding meaning through representing the real rather than being able to comprehend or express the actual real.
How does this painting express the notion of representing the real?
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