Beaudrillard and hyperreality

Here are some resources  and commentary on this fascinating philosopher and postmodernist.

The first is an interview with critical theory scholar Alan How:

His example of Marlon Brando on the wall in an Italian restaurant reminds me of the popularity of/fascination with Tupac Shakur in Africa, particularly among young soldiers in Sierra Leone and Congo (see and What other examples of this phenomenon (a culture grasping on another’s icon as a hero, representation of something meaningful) can you think of?

Likewise, the example he offers about Diedrich Barlow (?) reminds me of the  Murphy Brown and Dan Quayle controversy in the 80s.

Here’s a video discussing Baudrillard’s philosophy in relation to The Matrix:

If by chance you haven’t seen The Matrix, I highly recommend it – it was (and remains) a groundbreaking and mind-boggling film.

One of the interviewers refers to the map metaphor I mentioned in class (it comes from a Borges fable). The clip is from a documentary called “Return to Source – Philosophy and the Matrix” which you can watch here. I’m fascinated by the transition of the Wachowski Brothers (who made the Matrix, Cloud Atlas, and other films) to the Wachowski siblings (when Larry became Lana) to the Washowski sisters (when Andrew became Lilly). This, in turn, also reminds me of a strange film called Palindromes (2004) by Todd Solondz, the central character of which is a girl of about 12 named Aviva who is played by eight different actors, two of them adults, one a boy, one a 6-year-old girl. She is not always called Aviva. If you are able to, I recommend checking this film out. Here is the trailer. The Wachowski sisters are perhaps interested in the “transferrability” of bodies – does the outer casing (body) impact the character or creation of the mind/soul/message/whatever (the parts of us that are not-body)?

Finally, I’m reminded of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air – how Will’s Aunt Viv was played by one actress for the first three seasons, and then – inexplicably – by another actress for the next three. Same thing happened with the Becky character on Roseanne – played by two actresses. Can you think of any other examples of this actor-switchery? How does this impact our experience of, and connection to, a character and a story?

Some additional resources on Beaudrillard and his philisophy of Hyperreality:


Baudrillard, Hyperreality & Simulacra

Jean Baudrillard – A Very Short Introduction

Jean Baudrillard: a new system of meaning




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