[rumori] simulacra nation

Polenberg, Todd [rumori] simulacra nation
Fri, 9 Oct 1998 14:24:28 -0400 (00907957468, 43DCB452A407D211B07F00805FA7C77B03952CatNYCEXMB07.pfizer.com)

[massive snippage]

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.

so, there's the dinstinction. it's not "real" vs. "simulation". It's "personal experience" vs. "mediated experience".
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?

probably only worse off if they let themselves escape their mediated/safe
surroundings and travel to a place where their lack of firsthand experience
will put them in physical danger. but since that kind of mediation
conditions people to burrow even deeper into their technomediated
lifestyles, the chance that that sort of thing would happen seems small.
it's easy to take a moral high ground and say 'of course they're worse
off--they're going to think even less for themselves than prior generations
who saw all their ideas about nonconformity commodified by the
military-infotainment complex (sic)' but they probably won't feel the
difference. or maybe they will and we'll actually _have_ a revolution
someday... but probably not.

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?

desirable- for me, anyway. but i'd like to think that any media-aware
artist working with collage/recontextualization is doing so to make things
more 'real' and/or 'firsthand' in this context. if not to make things
'real' again (as everyone here, myself included, seems pretty convinced that
we can't go back to a nonfragmented/absolute "truth") to make the layers of mediation between "truth" and what we percieve more clear, and to allow us to take a kind of control over those layers of mediation. which is what
detournement was all about, right? i guess the extent to which we confront
simulacra on a daily basis changes the rules of engagement... (?) but i
guess that begs the question of what the rules are and what engagement is
now, and i haven't quite disseminated enough art to have an answer for that.
any takers?

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