[December 12th 2020]
was one of twentieth century Capitalism’s greatest and most troubling victories. It’s difficult to imagine a life not patterned by hours, minutes, seconds. Art like Muybridge’s and Peake’s uses and exposes these patterns and helps us visualise time as the free continuum it actually is.
There’s also a more contemporary phenomenon associated with units of time which operates in a similarly oppressive way. In current Western, internet-inflected discourse, every year since at least 2016 has been branded by some or many people as “the worst year in history”. A proliferation of memes and tweets in response to everything from Trump
Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and simulation, 1981
Jean Baudrillard was a French sociologist, philosopher and cultural theorist. He is best known for his analyses of media, contemporary culture, and technological communication, as well as his formulation of concepts such as simulation and hyperreality. He wrote about diverse subjects, including consumerism, gender relations, economics, social history, art, Western foreign policy, and popular culture.
The publication of Simulacra and Simulation in 1981 marked Baudrillard's first important step toward theorising the postmodern. Moving away from the Marxist/Freudian approaches that had concerned him earlier, Baudrillard developed in this book a theory of contemporary culture that relies on displacing economic notions of cultural production with notions of cultural expenditure.
Baudrillard uses the concepts of the simulacra—the copy without an original—and simulation. These terms are crucial to an understanding of the postmodern, to the extent that they address the concept of mass reproduction and reproduceability that characterises our electronic media culture.
Baudrillard's book represents a unique and original effort to rethink cultural theory from the perspective of a new concept of cultural materialism, one that radically redefines postmodern formulations of the body.
Click here for a pdf of the text