Baudrillard Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts by Kim Toffoletti

By Kim Toffoletti

Jean Baudrillard has been a distinct highbrow voice in lots of of the most important debates and concerns dealing with an more and more globalised, media-driven international. Baudrillard Reframed bargains these operating with Baudrillard's principles an obtainable review of his better-known arguments, in addition to extending past them to seriously interact together with his radical notions of phantasm, singularity and the deadly. Kim Toffoletti surveys the guidelines of this influential - usually provocative - French philosopher as they relate to today's image-saturated atmosphere. She demonstrates their relevance to analysing modern visible phenomena corresponding to ads, images, fact television, style, artwork, pornography and digital fact. Baudrillard's key subject matters and arguments are illustrated via a number visible works, from the graffiti artwork of Banksy, Katharine Hanett's protest t-shirts, to Sophie Calle's images.

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Additional info for Baudrillard Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts (Contemporary Thinkers Reframed)

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What makes art different, he insists, is that ‘It plays on the fossilised irony of a culture that no longer believes in that value … the artistic world no longer believes deeply in a destiny of art’ (Baudrillard 2005a: 56). In other words, it is art’s own knowledge that it only attempts to simulate itself which makes it null or banal. It can no longer strive for transcendence or convey a higher purpose. We can see this tendency in the work of an artist like Tracey Emin, whose deliberate use of unremarkable materials and subject matter forms the basis of her art.

The association Zurbrugg makes between Hamilton and Baudrillard is an apt one, given the tendency towards play and irony in both Hamilton’s paintings and Baudrillard’s writing, no doubt influenced by a shared appreciation of Marcel Duchamp. Even though Baudrillard is for the most part disapproving of the art scene, and is not an art theoretician per se, his ideas have nonetheless engaged artists and art commentators. In answering the question he sets out, Zurbrugg concludes that what makes Baudrillard’s ideas so different and appealing comes from ‘suggesting alternative ways of thinking about things in general, and elaborating specific ways of reconsidering both past culture and those ongoing cultural The three images show the same woman with three different men – her son, her husband and her father.

In the third order of simulacra, images are our reality and the code is the ‘new operational configuration’ of the production of the image (Baudrillard 1993a: 57). This is not Baudrillard’s position. Rather, simulation brings about a shift in our idea of what reality is. As the CSI effect demonstrates, our perception of forensics is generated by televisual images alongside other signs, which in turn are influenced by preconceived ideas of the needs and wants of viewers of TV crime. To complete the loop, simulated crimes on the TV screen produce very real and tangible effects – criminals respond by more carefully covering their tracks, and jurors have higher expectations of forensic evidence.

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Baudrillard Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts by Kim Toffoletti
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