BAUdrillard and the "Three Orders of the SIMulaCRA"
ORDER 1: COUNTERFEIT & NATURAL LAW Original References dissipate. Why? Class mobility allows traditional reference systems to go haywire - once apparently natural definitions (EX: appropriate attire or status or attitude) are tossed aside and the COUNTERFEIT is born! But the counterfeit requires an original for its meaning. This seems to be the 1st ORDER of SIMULACRA. In this historical stage, Baudrillard observes that signs do not yet float independently of social relations - they are in fact entirely wrapped up in social relations of power.
#2: PRODUCTION & MARKET LAW Then along comes the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - reproduction is available. Not only can things be counterfeit, but they can be counterfeit in large #s. BUT signs no longer require an original/counterfeit relation, "since from the outset they will be PRODUCTS on a gigantic scale" (B, 55). The general-law of equivalency comes into play with the ability to produce an infinite series of potentially IDENTICAL beings. 2nd ORDER!!
The crucial transition from 2nd order to 3rd arises with what Walter Benjamin referred to as the "mechanical reproduction" of images - industrial production applied to images.
#3: SIMULATION & the CODE-GOVERNED PHASE Now referential reason has dissapeared AND reproduction is Seized by VERTIGO - ORDER #3! SIMULACRA. Everything is a simulation, there are only models from which ALL forms are produced. There is no longer a specific producer or product, but a set of codes resulting in a specific bit of the code. This is depicted by the Question/Answer or 0/1 Matrix he discusses. (QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS - AWAY WITH YOU!) because answers to questions have been given. Sometimes specific choices are written out for people. At other times people (oh-so-indiviualistic) get to "choose" their answer. I really liked where he pointed out that "universal sufferage" already implies submission to a code!
But, "We live less as users than readers and selectors," therefore - comparable to DNA - someone asks us a question (gives us a coding sequence) and we plop out an appropriate, logical answer based on the expectations of the question. This is the HALLUCINATORY RESEMBLENCE of the REAL. This is sImulatioN. (I think?)
This hallucination is dangerous, because it disciplines us in inconspiuous ways. The Q/A "field of control" has replaced violence or other forms of direct discipline! "A diffraction of models plays the regulative role." (21) It makes standards/laws/instituions seem rational, logical, moral because they are disciplined by participants.
In the contemporary era of the simulacrum, "The whole aura of the sign and signification itself is determinately resolved: everything is resolved into inscription and decoding." (9)
posted by Janelle Lamoreaux