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Passions in Poetry

Postmodernism- Facts and Myths

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since 06-26-2000
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Blue Heaven

0 posted 01-30-2002 11:50 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

Fact or Myth-- There are no originals in Postmodern Society.

According to Jean Baudrillard, in postmodern society there are no originals, only copies--or what he calls "simulacra." You might think, for example, about painting or sculpture, where there is an original work (by Van Gogh, for instance), and there might also be thousands of copies, but the original is the one with the highest value (particularly monetary value). Contrast that with cds or music recordings, where there is no "original," as in painting--no recording that is hung on a wall, or kept in a vault; rather, there are only copies, by the millions, that are all the same, and all sold for (approximately) the same amount of money. Another version of Baudrillard's "simulacrum" would be the concept of virtual reality, a reality created by simulation, for which there is no original. This is particularly evident in computer games/simulations--think of Sim City, Sim Ant, etc.

Sudhir Iyer
Member Rara Avis
since 04-26-2000
Posts 7206
Mumbai, India : now in Belgium

1 posted 01-31-2002 10:15 AM       View Profile for Sudhir Iyer   Email Sudhir Iyer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sudhir Iyer

Well, I don't know about the stretch of this topics, but this is what I feel.

In as far as objects or materials go: be it CDs, gift items, simulator games, amusement, or even to a broader aspect of news reporting, much is copied because that becomes 'a notion of style' or 'fashion'. One is not expected to wear a sweater on a warm summer noon, even it may only be a norm.

But, take the social behavioural patterns out, and the objects or materials that can be bought or replicated with ease, I would really be surprised to see two humans with the same humanity in them. General behavioural patterns might be the same, but something deep inside, the conscience, the thinking etc... is individualistic, and distinct. There are of course no barometers (that I know of) to judge human-ness or humaneness or bravery, etc... but they are the inherent set of properties of a being, and there is no duplicate to that.

One might want to argue that we take in good behaviour from early on in our lives from our parents, neighbours, friends etc... but when it comes to matter of judgement, I am sure everybody else is only around for seeking advice, one still does what he/she knows/feels the best.

I don't know if I have gone overboard with this... but I haven't the luxury of time at present... and will come back to this at a later moment... thanks a lot Jamie for coming up with this topic...

P.S. I feel that even when cloning becomes a daily reality like news of deaths in poorer countries on newspaper, or street robbery in rich cities, I feel the nature of a particular individual will still be essentially atomic, singular... else we will all be characters of the star trek species, BORG....... :-)
more later...
since 01-26-2002
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2 posted 01-31-2002 05:35 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus

Iím tempted to choose myth on the grounds that the given examples donít make sense.

CDís arenít the object in question, theyíre just the delivery method for the real consumer item which is the technical reproduction of the original artists performance. The CDís are as much a ďcopyĒ as the Van Gogh reproductions, and like the painting example the original existed, or exists, and can be found in the person of the original performer.

Iím willing to be convinced of course.
since 02-07-2000
Posts 325
New Orleans, Louisiana

3 posted 02-01-2002 05:01 PM       View Profile for rich-pa   Email rich-pa   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rich-pa

i think the staement there are no originals might be bit of an overstatement, soemthing philosophers tend to do to stress their points.  the line of thought reminds me of the benjaminian loss of aura due to mechanical reproduction, but i think i can see his point, a recorded cd has no original, per se, even a live performance doesn't count as an original because they tend to vary from studio recordings in many ways, not to mention the visuals involved...i think we might need a bit more info an why this guy was making this particular point, to what end he was making it, but when it comes to digital or mechanical reproduction, there are no originals (not in the sense of whether one thought of something first but rather in the sense of there is no one original representation that the others are taken from, unlike a van gogh where there is the one original van gogh), we can never find a recording, taping, or photograph that is original, they are all just reproductions.  even when it comes to live shows this is the case, a song may have very well been recorded in the studio before it was done the live version the original?  clearly not, but what is?  the first cd?  that means nothing, they just pop off of some recording line and are all the same...the master tapes?  even they can be duplicated exactly...the live show might be an original in and of itself, but no recordings of it are originals...but it is a stretch to say no originals, a painting will always have an original, but something done in grphic design will not, i think it's just  matter of the technology and economic situations involved in the particular medium of art that determine the existence of "originals"...i dunno if i make any sense but i tried

"freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose..."  -janis joplin

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4 posted 02-02-2002 01:13 AM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

I'm afraid I really don't follow you.  You claim that something like a copy of a work of art[which has an original source somewhere] has no original at all?  How would you go about defending this?  The claim that an object that exists in multiple copies in a universe operating by the principles of linear time has no original copy has no logic to it.  Everything must start somewhere[and no I am not interested in contemporary theories about the universe coming into being as a result of something appearing out of nowhere   That's for a different discussion].

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea

5 posted 02-02-2002 07:06 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Mary Klages has a number of lectures posted on the internet on Postmodernism (this is where the text is from. I know nobody is trying to be sneaky around here but it's important to give credit if only that it allows us to look up the "original" ), but she puts a very strange spin on the actual Baudrillardian texts -- perhaps that no one has tried to read what Jean actually said is a kind of postmodern experience.

It's been a while since I've read Baudrillard in the original translation , but he's an exciting writer, he uses hyperbole unreservedly and sometimes gets in trouble for doing exactly that. He once predicted the Gulf War wouldn't happen because it had already been simulated out of existence. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of this, he's a writer that shouldn't be ignored. He takes chances. Klages doesn't -- at least in the lectures I've read.  Klages tries to make postmodernism a good thing, I find it difficult to read Baudrillard in this way; in an interview, he once said that he had to stop working on simulation because it was driving him insane.

Quickly, Baudrillard posit three orders of simulacra: traditional value, rational value, and sign value. These aren't historical periods per se. They always exist, more or less, in a relationship to each other. He does say, however, that the present age is dominated by the third order of simulation.

What does this mean?

Benjamin's point about mechanical reproduction and the loss of aura is useful here. Baudrillard believes that the use of modern technologies and media (television, computers, telephones etc,) inundate us with images at such a level that people can no longer create any kind of rational sense of our lives, that we now take the images as more real than real, that the original is no longer important to the way we see the original.

The Monolisa on a Hallmark postcard is the determining factor in viewing the Monolisa in the Louvre. You, perhaps, want to put a moustache on the original to make it seem more 'right', more natural, less pretentious. You judge the original in terms of the reproduction, not the reproduction in terms of the original.

Baudrillard takes this further and attempts to show how these factors: signs, images, advertising infect and influence our lives, the way we think, the way we react to the world around us.

A good anecdotal example, would be my trip to the DMZ in Korea, the most fortified border in the world. The way it was presented to us however, the rocks, the caves, the gift shop, the village, the British woman's voice that narrated a video were all vaguely surreal. My friend said it before I did, "I feel like I'm in Disneyland."

Thus, Disneyland is more real than the DMZ.

If this is clear, I think everybody can start coming up with examples of specifically Baudrillardian experiences, but these experiences aren't based on rational thought or even traditional ways of looking at things, they are based on the explosion of images and signs as such and no longer have an anchor to what they were intended to do. They are separated from the product, from the historical (anarchy becomes a musical style) and/or religious context (a crucifix as fashion statement) and float about, not really controlled by anyone.

I'll stop here but, later, I'll try to explain why this is, or at least can be, an extremely disturbing way of looking at things.

since 02-07-2000
Posts 325
New Orleans, Louisiana

6 posted 02-05-2002 12:26 PM       View Profile for rich-pa   Email rich-pa   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rich-pa

hey fractal, i think you did misunderstand me, what you point otu has no logic at all, you are right, there are originals, obviously, there is an original mona lisa and then there are copies, i think some of what brad said kinda saisd it better, but when it comes to photographs, where are the originals?  i guess you could call the orgianl the moment that that it captures, but this moment doesn't exist any more it's just captured on a piece of film, so i ask you, where are the originals to photos, films, cd's?  they are all just reproductions of something else, plain and simple, we could call the original of a cd the band playing, but that's nto accurate beign live shows are different than cds.  i don't feel liek arguing right now, maybe later, i'm nto up to it at this moment, gotta go to class.

"freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose..."  -janis joplin

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since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines

7 posted 02-05-2002 02:11 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

[i]"Another version of Baudrillard's "simulacrum" would be the concept of virtual reality, a reality created by simulation, for which there is no original. This is particularly evident in computer games/simulations--think of Sim City, Sim Ant, etc."/i]

Sim Ant and Sim City are not VR games.

VR involves a total 3D experience. Such as the flight simulators used in the military and the airline industry.  VR is now being used as an IT tool to simulate production lines in various business organizations, thereby reducing operating and production costs.  VR is also used as entertainment in various "Domes" ~ where one can create an avatar in a virtual 3D environment.

These are some of the examples in which the author you quoted was speaking about.  
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