[rumori] simulacra nation

Steev [rumori] simulacra nation
Fri, 9 Oct 1998 10:49:52 -0700 (PDT) (00907955392, Pine.LNX.4.05.9810091004250.3517-100000atflotsam.detritus.net)

On Fri, 9 Oct 1998, Boster, Bob wrote:

>>but anyway, we're going off on a tangent. we were talking about children
>>or people in general being prepared for "reality", like gunshot wounds. I
>>think i agree with the original point, which i think was, americans are
>>more exposed to simulacra and hence less able to deal with the real, than
>>other peoples.
>I guess I'm feeling cantankerous today, but I just have to ask if
>there's any definition of "reality" that actually makes sense with the

[..snip a lot..]

yeah yeah yeah, bob. reality is subjective. yawn. that's why
i put the word reality in quotes. (and of course, as the Thrill Kill Kult
song of old says it's the only word that should always be in quotes.)


i don't think we need to split that hair. you know what i meant.

[i was going to stop right here but i couldn't.]

no matter what baudrillard says there's a vital distinction to be
made. maybe the word "real" is the wrong one to use. maybe "first hand" is a better description, because the issue is this: By seeing gunfights
and other violence on TV/film/videogames, is that a fundamentally
different experience than having violence done to your own physical
person? and the answer is of course, yes.

no matter how many times i watch "Philadelphia" I'll probably never know what it's like to have AIDS until i have AIDS. No matter how many times i
see Clint Eastwood shoot someone in the foot I'm never going to know what
it feels like, personally, painfully, to have someone aim a loaded 357 at
my toes and pull the trigger. Maybe in the future they'll invent the
ultimate multisensory, immersive, pain-and-all VR machine and maybe
that'll be a good thing or maybe not. But right now we have what we have
and it doesnt cut it. Even the acid trips I've had where i see the flesh
melting off my hands probably doesnt compare to someone actually having
burning napalm stuck to their body.

so, there's the dinstinction. it's not "real" vs. "simulation". It's "personal experience" vs. "mediated experience".
(And your example of the kansas city kid vs. the brazilian kid is like
comparing apples and oranges. The KC kid isn't even in a simulation of
the brazilian kid's world. )

(oh and the thing about emotional responses. I don't buy that either. All
the most severe, intense, emotional responses i've ever had have been in
response to "actual", physical, personal, first hand DANGER. Car crashes, tornadoes, severe illness, etc. Even on the most kick ass surround-sound
system, playing "Twisted Metal" will never compare, emotionally or any other way, to the time I actually totalled my car and almost killed myself
and 2 other people. There is no comparison.)

However, this brings us full circle back to the original question, i would
say. Are kids (or anyone) who've never had these sorts of "firsthand" experiences (who have instead been exposed only or mostly to mediated
experiences), better or worse off than those who have?

And, if you'll allow me to circle over to even more relevant areas,
here's a related question: Given this distinction between firsthand and
mediation, as artists who utilize simulation and repetition and
reproduction, how can we exploit the "mediation conditioning" in order to say something about the "firsthand", something powerful and beneficial? Is that even possible? Or desireable?


Steev Hise, Wannabe Has-Been
steevathise.org http://www.cyborganic.com/people/steev recycled art site: http://www.detritus.net -----------------------------------------------------------------
"Each and every sample is fragmented and bereft of prior meaning, kind of like a future without a past.
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