Baudrillard Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts (Contemporary Thinkers Reframed)
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Jean Baudrillard has been a unique intellectual voice in many of the key debates and issues facing an increasingly globalized, media-driven world. Baudrillard Reframed offers the arts student, and others working with Baudrillard's ideas, an accessible overview of his better known arguments, as well as extending beyond them to critically engage with his radical notions of illusion, singularity, and the fatal.
Kim Toffoletti surveys the ideas of this influential -- often provocative -- French thinker as they relate to today's image-saturated environment. She demonstrates their relevance to analyzing contemporary visual phenomena such as advertising, photography, reality TV, fashion, art, pornography, and virtual reality. Baudrillard’s key themes and arguments are illustrated through a range of visual works, from the graffiti art of Banksy and Katherine Hamnettís protest t-shirts, to Sophie Calleís photography.
continue to uphold the notion of art as exclusive and distinct from other visual forms. This is manifest in the way we speak about, respond to and perceive art, as made apparent in the interview cited above. There is a duality at play here. By insisting on the meaninglessness of his art in an era of ‘empty signification’, as Carpenter does in the face of the interviewer’s attempts to make sense of his motifs, we see an example of art striving to be null. At the same time this very banality is
another image. The signs of advertising thus follow upon one another like the transient images of hypnagogic states. (Baudrillard 1996b: 177) in seemingly random patterns means we consume advertisements in their relation to other advertisements. For Baudrillard, it is the medium that shapes how we receive messages, and subsequently how we interpret them. He says, 84 Baudrillard Reframed It is not, then, its contents, its modes of distribution or its manifest (economic and psychological)
spectacle there is a distinction between images and reality (images alienate us from reality), in the era of hyperreality, we consume not only what is represented, but the medium through which it is represented, 93 Consumption thus blurring the distinction between the two. As a result, images like fashion advertising, magazines and catwalk shows no longer mediate between the real and the representational, but become our reality. Looking at them another way, advertisements like those for Marc
coverage of the Gulf and Iraq Wars is a good example of the non-event, as it is conceptualised by Baudrillard. Like TV news reporters who arrive on the scene of a disaster before emergency services, the Iraq War traded in such moments. Take the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein from its pedestal in central Baghdad. Aided by US soldiers, this seemingly spontaneous gesture of Iraqi freedom played out with the cameras rolling. The ease with which TV news cameras managed to document what was
or, put another way, utilised to create a sense of reality. Right from the outset, it is made apparent that personal communication technologies are a central component of the film’s narrative, plot and form. For a movie that claims to be inspired by actual events, these devices give the semblance that the viewer has access to an alternative account of the war in Iraq – a reality that is usually obscured by all the gloss and spin of mainstream media. The film begins with some undecipherable visual