Wednesday, February 21, 2007

reality and the hyperreal

One of the things i've figured out how to do is 'make'
objects that greet avatars and then follow up with some other kind of message or statement. Ever since i've been in SL, i've been thinking about Jean Baudrillard the French post-modern theorist/philosopher most famous for his book Simulacra and Simulations that explores the nature of reality in a world full of copies or simulacra.

So, i decided to make what i first called a "blather ball" but which i've come to re-name a "curiosity generator." It's basically a sphere of tie-dye colors that is supposed to ask "Is this reality?" when it appears and then "Where is Jean Baudrillard?" when it is 'touched' by an avatar.

My idea was to drop them throughout SL in the hopes that Baudrillard might actually show up - or at least an avatar that claims to be him...ultimately we cannot know for certain who is on the keyboard, but the avatar and name give us a confidence that we do.

So, why Baudrillard? If you've taken a peak at that excerpt from Simulacra it seems that Second Life instantiates many of his observations about the nature of reality in the context of a typhoon of copies....do we lose touch with 'reality' when we make so many copies of it? How or why does the copy become more authoritative than the original?

What is reality anyway? If you check the Oxford English Dictionary, you'll note that the first definition of "real" has to do with money, the second with power connecting 'royal' with 'real'....and it isn't until the third definition that "real" refers to the everyday world of physical objects.

In some way "reality" is defined by those with money and power...the worldview of 'royalty' (money & power) shapes and literally defines us and our world.

But then again, Blake might remind us that these are only "mind forg'd manacles" which we are free to escape - if we have the will.

4 comments:

belinda said...

Damn. I love Baudrillard. i am thinking about how do we know reality? What is the nature of this thing we call reality? All because of Baudrillard.... these are the things that occupy my mind. Keep on Second Lifeing. one day when my computer acts good, I'll be able to play.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia said...

Don't forget this, Beebs:

"Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained."

William Blake.

See you in-world, fuzzy-wuzz :)

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