Institute of Para-Enactment Research
Softcore Historicism and Embodied Heritage



The concept of "simulacrum" was used by french sociologist Jean Baudrillard on his essay "The Precession of Simulacra" to define “the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.... It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody”. Referring especially to technologically advanced postmodern societies, Baudrillard refers to simulacrum to a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real", where the  inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality appears.  Baudrillard describes the conncept by refering to the short story ""Del rigor en la ciencia" written by Jorge Luis Borges in 1946, where a terrotory is mapped in such a detailed way that the representationn of reality overlaps its original represented reality. Baudrillard's idea of hyperreality was heavily influenced by phenomenology (the study of consciousness and the subjective experience, like judgements, perceptions, and emotions) , semiotics (the study of signs as elements that communicate meanings) , and media theory (the study of media and meass media derived from the theories of Marshall McLuhan).

The following excerpt has been taken from Baudrillard´s Simulacra and Simulation text:

“Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory - precession of simulacra - that engenders the territory, and if one must return to the fable, today it is the territory whose shreds slowly rot across the extent of the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges persist here and there in the deserts that are no longer those of the Empire, but ours. The desert of the real itself. Whence the characteristic hysteria of our time: the hysteria of production and reproduction of the real. The other production, that of goods and commodities, that of la belle epoque of political economy, no longer makes any sense of its own, and has not for some time. What society seeks through production, and overproduction, is the restoration of the real which escapes it. That is why contemporary "material" production is itself hyperreal. It retains all the features, the whole discourse of traditional production, but it is nothing more than its scaled-down refraction (thus the hyperrealists fasten in a striking resemblance a real from which has fled all meaning and charm, all the profundity and energy of representation). Thus the hyperrealism of simulation is expressed everywhere by the real's striking resemblance to itself.”

︎︎︎Jean Baudrillard, “Simulacra and Simulations,” in Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, ed. Mark Poster, (Stanford University Press, 1998), 187.

︎︎︎ Berlin, 2022

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