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America - Baudrillard and Wenders

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    • 1. Cultural Identities America – Baudrillard and Wenders
    • 2. Richard Powers ‘The Echo Makers’
      • What was it about the species that would save the symbol and discard the thing it stood for?
    • 3. Jean Baudrillard’s postmodernism
    • 4. Baudrillard, consumption and identity.
    • 5. A shifting world
    • 6. The Hyper-real.
      • Experience mediated through images of the mass media.
      • We think that the images on TV and the rest of the mass media - is reality.
      • We are lost in the “hyper-real”.
      • A world of “simulacra” - simulations of simulations with no original.
      • Films and soap operas simulate real life while real life people create themselves by identifying with celebrity.
      • Individuals consume lifestyle commodities that are commensurate with that identification.
    • 7. Life as hyper-real ‘soap opera’.
      • Life becomes a soap opera. The trial’s of OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson are examples - neither real nor a simulation
      • The Gulf war as hyper-real - it never happened
      • Reality mixes with ‘art’, a supposed reflection of postmodernism’s ‘slipperiness’ when it comes to truth.
      • Politics as entertainment - the projection and consumption of hyper-real images.
      • Collapse of boundaries between classes, high and low culture, politics and news and entertainment but ultimately between reality and simulation.
      • This has led to a collapse of meaning. The ‘real’ society that existed before the takeoff of this latest stage of mass consumer capitalism has disappeared into a black hole - replaced by the terminal of the hyperreal - the TV screen.
    • 8. Forgetting Foucault
    • 9.
      • Postmodernity is about manipulating our
      • desires and emotions and manipulating
      • our bodies.
      Human beings are more vulnerable to that sort of manipulation than they are to manipulation through ideas alone. We live in a world of glittering surfaces. A meaningless world of endlessly circulating, fascinating, controlling images. A nihilistic, melancholic and empty world. Our grip on reality is lost.
    • 10. America Nostalgia born of the immensity of the Texan hills and the sierras of New Mexico: gliding down the freeway, smash hits on the Chrysler stereo, heat wave. Snapshots aren't enough. We'd need the whole film of the trip in real time, including the unbearable heat and the music. We'd have to replay it all from end to end at home in a darkened room, rediscover the magic of the freeways and the distance and the ice-cold alcohol in the desert and the speed and live it all again on the video at home in real time, not simply for the pleasure of remembering but becasue the fascination of senseless repetition is already present in the abstraction of the journey. The unfolding of the desert is indinitely close to the timelessness of film...
    • 11. America I went in search of astral America, not social and cultural America, but the America of the empty, absolute freedom of the freeways, not the deep America of mores and mentalities, but the America of desert speed, of motels and mineral surfaces. I looked for it in the speed of the screenplay, in the indifferent reflex of television, in the film of days and nights projected across an empty space, in the marvellously affect less succession of signs, images, faces, and ritual acts on the road; [I] looked for … a universe which is virtually our own, right down to its European cottages. I sought the finished form of the future catastrophe of the social in geology, in that upturning of depth that can be seen in the striated spaces, the reliefs of salt and stone, the canyons where the fossil river flows down, the immemorial abyss of slowness that shows itself in erosion and geology. I even looked for it in the verticality of the great cities. I knew all about this nuclear form, this future catastrophe when I was still in Paris, of course. But to understand it, you have to take to the road, to that travelling which achieves what Virilio calls the aesthetics of disappearance.
    • 12. Baudrillard/Wenders
      • The cinema and the TV are America’s reality