Other useful pomo stuff
(revision of baurillard/hyperreality,
advertising and altermodern)
Baudrillard’s writings also extended to his theory of Hyper-reality.
Baudrillard stated that:
• simulation was the means of creating what seemed like reality through media formats and models
• the media re-presents‘ what is out there’ as real, in terms of behaviour codes, morality, lifestyle, etc, as
well as via art, music and other artistic areas
• these models are seen and accepted by the masses(how else do they know otherwise?)
• therefore, the simulation becomes our perception or understanding of reality – the separation between
what is really real and what the media tells us is real, results in the Hyper-real
• it becomes difficult/impossible to tell the difference between the two
Think here, especially, about virtual environments created by digital computer technology – the avatar – where the user
is almost really ‘there’.
(Note: the term ‘avatar’ comes from the Hindi meaning ‘moving to a higher place’ – i.e. God-like, spiritually detached
from mere mortal existence).
• There is an important implication which comes out the concept of our developed media Hyper-reality
• It has resulted in media audiences becoming more accepting of the way that boundaries can be pushed
and how we become seduced by new technologies and the ‘promise’ of something more interesting
• Advertising is one such area where we are seduced and drawn into a reality we know is reserved only
for the elite but we still want it
Baudrillard and News Media
In one book that Baudrillard wrote he made an amazing claim: that the Gulf War did not take place at all. He admits
that it did, of course, take place but that the way that it was reported distorted the reality and re-presentation of facts.
Or, put another way, the reporting of the facts became the facts themselves; the report became the news, not the
actual news being reported. What was happening in battle and on the front line had very little resemblance to what
was being reported. Thus, a Hyper-reality was created.
Baurillard (hyperreality and simulacra)
• Baudrillard said that the role of the media seemed to be to communicate, but in actual fact was more
concerned with representing.
• The media recorded aspects of life, claiming that they were fundamentally connected to the ‘real’.
• There comes a point where the media integrate themselves into our lives to such an extent that we
are unable to detect the ‘real’ from ‘the constructed’.
• Consequently, the simulation becomes confused with where it originated from.
• In the process of re-presenting, what appears through the media is not a likeness of the original.
Instead, it is ‘mixed up’ and altered because of the human and technological decisions made during the
recording and editing process itself.
• It could be argued that the original meaning is lost.
• The definition of simulation is ‘the practice of re-producing something with an intent to deceive as
what is being re-produced is not the real thing, but a copied image of it.’
• Simulation is also the activities where ‘objects, people, behaviours and systems are imitated through
analogy, giving a resemblance or surface reality.’
• Also, that the simulacrum is an image/re-presentation that bears a resemblance to a thing; that it has
the surface shape and proportions but is not the real thing itself.
• As a final clarification, the simulation is a mimicry of a process; a simulacrum wants to have itself
accepted as being as close to the real as is possible
Advertising & pomo
(changes in advertising)
• In the decades between 1950 and 1990, the flow of consumer traffic was one-way—from the advertiser to the audience.
• Post-Modernism has re-defined this flow by creating digital traffic, which means that the consumer seeks out the product or service, often via the
• One might speculate that this is one of the reasons why many traditional forms of advertising are in decline.
• In particular, advertising revenues from Channel 4 and ITV have had a serious impact on the two companies.
The Way Ahead
• It seems that the way forward is to control access to the audience. In this way you will create destinations where your audience will find their way to you.
• In our digital 2.0 age, the people who are most in charge are the audiences.
• As our media develops and grows apace, one potential issue is ‘fragmentisation’, where the mass audience is split into so many different niche areas that
there is a risk that the audience will ‘miss’ products being advertised.
• Consequently, Google and other search engines can command huge advertising revenues due to the fact that so many millions of web-surfers cruise by an
advert on their way to their chosen
wave . . .
• The consumer is sitting in front of a wave of messages and can choose to get wet or put up an umbrella and shield themselves.
• We are living in an age of un-advertising and it is all about controlling access to content.
• The users of the internet are the ones in charge.
• The internet has created ‘communities’ and, although, these communities are virtual, they mean that millions of pairs of eyes ‘drive’ past these
advertising and marketing images—this is another example of ‘controlling the access’ and ushering people in the right direction.
How Should Advertisers React to These Changes?
Advertisers should remember that:
• new Twenty-First century consumers use personal media much more than they used to; this is the captive area to seize on.
• Twenty-First century users also like to create their own media and so advertisers need to appeal to them this way.
• consumers now fall across things as they ‘search for what they want’; they are the ultimate choosers.
• advertisers must still build an ‘attraction’ (like traditional adverts), but these adverts need to use Technical skills as well as performance skills.
(read this only if you feel confident)
1. “The AlterModern assumes the end of Post-Modernism. It argues that it is
no longer relevant in the world.
• There is a pervading FEAR of the shifting dynamic of society and the
chaotic nature of global culture, of the unfamiliar tie-ins with other
countries and continents, which are (currently) being used to negate the
idea of a piece of art having a sole (modernist) origin.”
2. “…Looks at how artists function and inter-relate within the world and how
this is reflected in their work rather than how their work is a direct reflection
of their identity…”
• What do you think of this new concept? Give reasons for your answer.
An Alternative Voice
• What if the media you are studying is not from the UK or America?
• You should try to look at alternative voices and different cultures to bring you back to where you are in the UK/Europe/the Western world.
• Remember that Britain, along with the US and most of Europe, can be viewed suspiciously by the rest of the world. Why might this be?
• In the past, countries like the UK, Spain and Portugal invaded ‘conquered’ parts of Africa and Asia in order to form their own colonial base.
• In this respect, some Arab commentators and essayists have said that Post-Modernism is fundamentally Western and is part of a ‘bigger plan’ for world globalisation. In other words, to
remove the specific culture of a country through the onset of McDonalds, Coca-Cola, MTV, the internet, etc and re-fashion the country into an extension of the West.
• In looking at the voices of Arab intellectuals in relation to Post-Modernism, you might search the internet to read about Towfic Shomar (see Handout The Culture of Financial Capital)
• Another person who has interesting views to consider is Ziauddin Sardar, who argues the following points:
• Post-Modernism is a powerful tool that invades the way we think, talk, move, interact, consume, relate to one another, communicate, etc
• Post-Modernism teaches us about how we live our lives, what things to wear, what music to listen to, etc.
• Post-Modernism is not an easy creature to pin down; its invisibility makes it hard to ‘spot.’
• ‘Po-Mo’ is not empirical in the sense that you cannot touch it or test it, but it is there.
• People who have written about ‘Po-Mo’ could be accused of creating a ‘mystique’ around it!
• Post-Modernism is about eclecticism.
The Seven Defining Principles of Post-Modernism
1 A rejection of the Big Ideas:
• Concepts such as religion, truth, science, history all get re-examined and challenged.
• It ‘implies’ that modernity was wrong and that this way is the right way.
• The grand-narrative is rejected.
• The Big Ideas that give us the direction we go in are seen as being ‘totally meaningless.
• ‘Meaning’ produced in our world is often random and produced out of chance.
• We should reject the idea that even language is a meaningful way of communicating and representing the world that we inhabit.
2 Denial of the Existence of Reality
• There is no reality beyond what is there.
• We see what we want to see.
3 Blurring the Difference between Image and Reality
• Simulacrum replaces‘ reality.
• The distinction between image and reality is lost.
• Computer games are an excellent example here.
4 Everything is Meaningless: the World is an Onion
• Meaning is impossible in a world that has been drowned in images and sounds–there is too much to fight through
Only look at these if you have time
(if you want to focus on other stuff that’s fine:
ignore the following links…..)
• Homepage of Channel 4’s Three Minute Wonder, giving information on how to make documentaries and access to short videos
• Video of Flim by Aphex Twin, as shown on YouTube
• ‘Endless Love’ ‘sung’ by George Bush & Tony Blair, as shown on YouTube
• A collection of video clips showing TV advertisements for students to guess the product
• Advertisement for ‘Climb Every Mountain’ by National Australia Bank, as shown on YouTurbe
• Video of Xtal by Aphex Twin, as shown on YouTube (includes news montage of potentially upsetting scenes of the World Trade Center on fire and
people coping with floods)
• Online article by Ziauddin Sardar on Post-Modernism & globalization
• Access to Indian MTV via YouTube
More Useful links
• A 10-minute video from ‘Guerilla News Network’ (as shown on YouTube) that looks at American involvement in
the war in Afghanistan
• Access to archived videos from ‘Guerilla News Network’, plus background information
• Video on ‘What is Post Modernism’ (Exploration Films), as shown on YouTube
• Gives access to explanations and issues around the key terms of Post-Modernism
• Brief online article on Post-Modernism and cross-over pop from a course on culture at the Department of English,
University of Umea in Sweden
• Online introduction to approaches to Post-Modernism from the University of Georgetown, USA