After reading a range of pages and extracts of Baudrillard’s book Simulacra and Simulation, I can say that although I took away from it some alternative views and fascinating knowledge, it did not inspire me in any way to create art. I firstly chose this book out of the suggested reading for the Summer because I felt it would give me a good cultural background and history, especially in terms of postmodernism, in which I was quite eager to discover more after working on my Modernism essay last year. Saying that it did not inspire me to create art but I have taken away a stronger cultural knowledge and some interesting history facts that I can surely use and link to alternative projects.
I have thought a lot about the book and the parts that interested me and therefore felt I needed to just look a little further in depth so that I could use this book to reference my work in the future.
One of the parts I found intriguing was Baudrillard’s view on Hypermarket and Hyper-Commodity. Previously studying this subject in History at school it is something that has engaged me as a topic for a while. Whilst reading this section I found myself thinking about Warhol and his piece Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) whose aim was to highlight the idea of mass production and consumerism in America, Post World War Two and through the Cold War. It was interesting to see that the phenomenon has continued through to 1981 and even onto Today. I can take examples of Duane Hanson’s Supermarket Lady , a fibreglass painted sculpture of 1970 and Barbara Kruger’s 1993 print, I Shop Therefore I Am. Hanson’s piece shows quite literally the consumerism of the USA and Kruger’s pieces is a take on Descartes saying “I think therefore I am.” In the book Baudrillard shows us his views on Hypermarket and Hyper-Commodity and how he feels it “centralizes and redistributes a whole region and population.”.He states that it creates a completely different lifestyle, and he calls the Hypermarket the “nucleus” bring to light the formation of a cell, the nucleus being the most important part and the undeniable centre.
One other chapter that caught my attention was Absolute Advertising, Ground Zero Advertising. The 20th century was no doubt a hub of advertising that flourished in many ways. In this section Baudrillard states and also questions the role of advertising, “Advertising is no longer (was it ever?) a means of communication or of information.” In an art context I feel advertising serves a highly important if not crucial role in our society today just as it has done in the previous centuries. In all cases I think advertising has always encompassed an art portrayal but I feel it also has a role in communication and information. Pieces such as Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen’s Le Chat Noir, first shown as an art piece but turned into a advertisement for a cabaret in Paris during the nineteenth century.Surely at this time Steinlen did not have in mind something that would come informative and communicative, but as soon as it turned into an advertisement it took on this role. So did other posters such as J.M Flagg’s Uncle Sam poster, adapted from Lord Kitchener’s “Lord Kitchener wants you” from the first world war. These posters were of course Propaganda but also informative and communicative. So I feel Baudrillard is wrong when he says Advertising is no longer (was it ever?) a means of communication or of information.” and I feel my examples prove this.
Lastly I was intrigued by the part that discusses Disneyland, although I can not look at it in the way I have the other chapters, I was taken in by what the author says about the Hyper-real and Imaginary. It really got my mind thinking especially the phrase “Disney land is presented in the imaginary to make us think the rest is real.” I would really in fact like to work with looking at the real and imaginary and although at the beginning of this piece I said I was not inspired to make art, in some ways I feel this could be an exciting starting point. Especially in terms of research.
I found Baudrillard’s book hard to read but there is no doubt it got the clogs turning in my brain. I thought his ideas were interesting and I really enjoy exploring this kind of genre of writing. I love learning historically and culturally and I feel this was a good base to look more in detail at these aspects.
Source : http://www.soundguideweb.com/fhdforeifjifvjqvjfiogapjgigjqvqiojqiogfiqopoii/warhol/warholdif.htm