Notes on Simulacra & Simulation

Jean Baudrillard
Simulacra & Simulation

The procession of the simulation: from a representation or substitute for the real to the simulacrum, a thing without origin, no longer based on the real, but a thing in and of itself missing its place in the world.

In the post reality, the loss of the real is due to the procession of the real to the virtual, such that the virtual as a substitute for the real erases the connection with reality, the source of it origin, hence, the post real, no longer any differentiation or demarcation with the real and the imaginary: the imaginary is its own reality without roots in the real.

Page 1:

“The simulacrum is never what ides the truth – it is truth that hides the fact that there is none.

The simulacrum is true.” – Ecclesiastes

Simulation “is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.”

“It is the real, and the not the map, whose vistiges persist here and there in the deserts that are no longer of the Emprie, but ours. The desert of the real itself.”

Empire runs its course, perhaps that is the origin of post reality thinking.

Page 2:

“The real is produced from miniaturized cells, matrices, and memory banks, models of control – and it can be reproduced an indefinite number of times from these… It is a hyperreal, produced from a radating synthesis of conbinatory models in a hyperspace without atmosphere.”


Leading to the inability to separate or differentiate the real from the non-real or virtual: hence the post reality.

Page 3:


When the differences between the two are no longer distinguishable, we enter into the post reality.

Page 5:

“But what if God himself can be simulated, that is to say can be reduced to the signs that constitute faith?”

The suspension of disbelief is a catalyst for simulation and the departure from reason.

Page 6:

(Faith) “is no longer itself anything but a gigantic simulacrm – not unreal, but a simularum, that is to say never exchanged for the real, but exchanged for itself, in an uninterrupted circuit without reference or circumference.”

Faith becomes a substitute or the negation of the real, no longer polarity between the real and the imaginary, but the latter is substituted into a vacuum where separation is not considered.

The succession of the image as representation in becoming the simulacrum:

“it is the reflection of a profound reality;

it masks and denature a profound reality;

it masks the absence of a profound reality;

it has no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its own pure simulacrum.”

The post reality functions like this, erasing the awareness of a differentiation between the real and the imaginary.

Page 8

“The museum, instead of being circumscribed as a geometric site, is everywhere now, like a dimension of life.”

Is this true of all art petrified in object form as opposed to the ‘living process’ in the making of the work, which is why the making must be foregrounded.” (the museum of everyday life of making)

Lascaux II = simulacrum = post reality, in which there is no longer any differentiation between the real Lascaux and the fake one, you inhabit a new Lascaux that becomes the new post real.

Page 12

“Disneyland exists in order to hide that is the “real” country, all of “real” America that is Disneyland (a bit like prisons are there to hide that it is the social in its entirety, in its banal omnipresence, that is carceral). Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, whereas all of Los Angeles and the America that surrounds it are no longer real, but belong to the hyperreal order and to the order of simulation. It is no longer a question of a false rpresentation of reality (ideology) but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real, and thus of saving the reality principle.”

If Disneyland is the new real, then it is the post real, because in a place where perfection is glorified, where life is at it “should” be then, then in fact, we are no longer distinguishing between what is real and what is not, but rather existing in a suspension of disbelief, or beyond the suspension of disbelief, because the new disbelief is the new reality and hence the post reality.

Page 13:

 Disneyland: a space of the regeneration of the imaginary as waste-treatment plants are elsewhere, and even here. Everywhere today one must recycle waste, and the dreams, the phantasms, the historical, fairylike, legendary imaginary of children and adults is a waste product, the first great eoxic excrement of a hyperreal civilization.

Hyperreal civilization: a sprawl of lights + fantasy as for as the eye can see on an endless horizon or plane of existence.

Page 19:

“It is always a question of proving the real through the imaginary, proving truth through scandal, proving the law through transgression, proving work through striking, proving the system through crisis…”

“the proof of teather through antitheater;

the proof of art through antiart;

the proof of pedagogy through antipedagogy:…”

“Everything is metamorphosed into its opposite to perpetuate itself in its expurgated (erroneous) form.”

The proof of something true must engage the false, the opposite, the contradictory so we can differentiate between the two. To live you must die, to love you must hate, to desire you must turn away.

“The impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real is of the same order as the impossibility of staging illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible. It is the whole political problem of parody, of hypersimulation or offensive simulation, that is posed here.”

Page 20:

The danger of simulation:

“Simulation is infinitely more dangerous because it always leaves open to supposition that, above and beyond its object, law and order themselves must be nothing but simulation.”

Page 21:

“… the law is a simulacrum of the second order, whereas simulation is of the third order, beyond true and false.”

When it is beyond true and false, the real and the imaginary, it is of the post real.

“… it is now impossible to isolate the process of the real, or to prove the real.”

Is that the predicament of our time?

Page 23:

“Thus everywhere the hyperrealism of simulation is translated by the hallucinatory resemblance of the real to itself.”

Reality is a hallucination.

The seduction of power:

“And in the end the game of power becomes nothing but the critical osbsession with power – obsession with its death, obsession with its survival, which increases as it disappears.”

Because ultimately power is the power of the suspension of disbelief, the power to believe and to be believed in. It requires a great deal of the manipulation and distortion of reality to engage people in the suspension of disbelief. It is the essence of propaganda.

Page 24:

“Power floats like money, like language, like theory.”

Page 25:

“For a long time now a head of state – no matter which one – is nothing the simulacrum of himself, and only that gives him the power and the quality to govern.”

Page 26:

“It is no longer a question of the ideology of power, but of the scenario of power.”

It’s staging of symbols to convey power where none would have otherwise existed.

“That is why the end power is so much in tune with ideological discourses and discourses on ideology, that is they are discourses of truth – always good for countering the mortal blows of simulation, even and especially if they are revolutionary.”

On the Loud Family

page 27:

“in short, a “raw” historical document and the “greatest television performance, comparable, on the scale of our day-to-day life, to the footage our landing on the moon.”

The documentation of the everyday, lives playing out in front of the camera, raw document, is it real? Is it television? What’s the difference?

Page 28:

“In the “verite” experience it is not a question of secrecy or perversion, but of a sort of frisson of the real, or an aesthics of the hyperreal, a frisson of vertiginous and phony exactitude, a frisson of simultaneous distancing and magnification, of distortion of scale, of an excessive transparency. The pleasure of an excess of meaning.”

Is there ever too much transparency? Frisson (shiver) of the real, “exploding” the real, messaging the real.

“Pleasure in the microscopic simulation that allows the real to pass into the huyperreal. (This is also somewhat the case in porno, which is fascinating more on a metaphysical than on a sexual level.)

An Aesthetics of the Hyperreal, Microscopic stimulation. It is our fate to now be under the microscope of the webcam to expose our daily existence to anyone and everyone!

“it is, as in ancient sacrifices, chosen in order to be glorified and to die beneath the flames of the medium, a modern fatum (fate)… it is the camera lens that, like a laser comes to pierce lived reality in order to put it death… a sacrificial spectacle offered to twenty million Americans. The liturgical drama of a mass society.”

Does TV = Truth? (iness)

Page 29:

“You no longer watch TV, it is TV that watches you (live)… because you are always on the other side.”

You are on the other side of the screen, you are the other, you are watching yourself be watched.

Page 30:

I would say we are ingested by the spectacle. We are absorbed into the medium.

“There is no longer a medium in the literal sense: it is now intangible, diffused, and diffracted in the real, and one can no longer even say that the medium is altered by it.

Such a blending, such a viral, endemic, chronic, alarming presence of the medium, without the possibility of isolating the effects.”

We are in essence absorbed into the medium, inseparable, blended.

Page 31:

“‘perspectival’ information with the horizon of the real and of meaning as the vanishing point.”

Vanishing into the post real.

“an implosion of meaning. That is where simulation begins.”

implosion of the real and the imaginary.

Page 32:

“a single nebula whose simple elements are indecipherable, whose truth is indecipherable.”

Whose truth is no more.

Page 39:

“All dramaturgy, and even all real writing of cruely has disappeared. Simulation is the master, and we only have a right to the retro, to the phantom, parodic rehabilitation of all lost referentials.”

Ghosted resonances of the post real produce phantoms untethered from reality, from the world, belonging purely to the imagination.

Pg. 43

This mythology chased by violence is related to Dante / Artist’s flight into the underworld.

“Myth, chased from the real by the violence of history, finds refuge in cinema.”

Page 44:

If history becomes lost in the ever-present-present, it can then be re-introduced in a field of flux, ripped loose from its chronology.

“Histry thus made its triumphals entry into cinema, posthumously (the term historical has undergoe the same fate: a “historical” moment, monument, congress, figure are in this way designated as fossils). Its reinjection has no value as conscious awareness but only as nostalgia for a lost referential.”

Page 46:

“The cinema in its current efforts is getting closer and closer and with greater and great perfection to the absolute real, in its banality, its veracity, in its naked obviousness, in its boredom, and at the same time in its presumption, in its pretension to being the real, the immediate, the unsignified, which is the craziest of undertakings.”

And in its sheer ability to invoke the suspension of disbelief, to erode the real, to become real.

Page 47:

“Cinema plagiarizes itself, recopies itself, remakes its classics, retroactivates its original myths, remakes the silent film more perfectly than the original, etc.; all of this is logical, the cinema is fascinated by itself as a lost object as much as it (and we) are fascinated by the real as a lost referent.”

It invokes the post real when the real is lost a reference, when the representation or the simulation is untethered from reality.

Page 48:

“Today cinema can place all its talent, all its technology in the service of reanimating what it itself contributed to liquidating. It only resurrects ghosts, and it itself is lost therein.”

Film as ghosted resonance…

Page 51:

“… because the cinema is an image. That is to say not only a screen a visual form, but a myth, something that still retains something of the double, of the phantasm, of th mirror, of the dream, etc. Nothing of any of this in the “TV image, which suggests nothing, which mesmerizes, which itself is nothing but a screen, not even that: a miniaturized terminal that, in fact, is immediately located in your head – you are the screen, and the TV watches you – it transistorizes all the neurons and passes through like a magnetic tape – a tape, not an image.”

Unlike cinema, media is embedded in the brain in the medium of the TV the screen becomes you, embedded, undifferentiated, no separation.

Page 53:

“… telefission of the real and of the real world; because TV and information in general are a form of catastrophe in the formal and topological sense… TV itself is also a nuclear process of chain reaction, but implosive: it cools and neutralizes the meaning and the energy of events.”

A TV station is like a nuclear station! The Contamination of the Broadcast!!

Page 57:

“Therein lies the true contamination: never biological and radioactive, but, rather, a mental destructuration through a mental strategy of catastrophe.”

The illusion and anticipation is more frightening than the real event. We don’t allow the real in order to suspend disbelief!

“… if every strategy today is that of mental terror and of deterrence tied to the suspension and the eternal simulation of catastrophe, then the only means of mitigating this scenario would be to make the catastrophe arrive, to prodce or to reproduce a real catastrophe.”

“… this is what terrorism is occupied with as well: making real, palpable violence surface in opposition to the invisible violence of security.

 Page 64:

The transitory nature of all things in the ever-present-present of NOW (the FLOW)

“… deterring any traditional mentality or monumentality, overtly proclaims that our time will never again be that of duration, that our only temporality is that of the accelerated cycle and of recycling, that of the circiut and of the transit of fluids.”

Page 65:

“From today, the only real cultural practice, that of the masses, our (there is no longer a difference(, is a manipulative, aleatory practice, a labyrinthine practice of signs, and one that no longer has any meaning.”

The meaninglessness of cultural practice that caters to the everybody? Entertainment? This critique on the Centre Pompidou goes so far as to declare the death of culture:

“Beaubourg is a monument of culture deterrence… it is a veritable fashioning of the death of culture that takes pace, and it is a veritable culturing mourning for which the masses are joyously gathered.”

Page 67:

The cultural space becomes a mechanized process of serving the public, a generative mechanical mind that taken on its own autonomy:

“… or integrated circuit that implsion traverses through and through – incessant circulation of choices, readings, references, marks, decoding.”

Page 68:

This seems to comment on the circulation of social media as a space of simulation:

“The masses are the increasingly dense sphere in which th ewhole social comes to be imploded, and to be devoured in an uninterrupted process of simulation.”

Which is when the individual seems to be submerged and lost in the FLOW and accelerating speed of cultural progress.

Page 70:

“… the only possible response to the absurd challenge of the transparency and democracy of culture – each person taking away a fetishized bolt of this culture itself fetishized.

The people come touch, they look as if they were touching, their gaze is only an aspect of tactile manipulation. It is certainly a question of a tactile universe, no longer a visual or discursive one, and the people are directly implicated in a process: to manipulate/to be manipulated, to ventilate/to be ventilated, to circulate/to make circulate, which is no longer of the order of representation, nor of distance, nor of reflection. It is something that is part of panic, and of a world in panic.”

Yes!! Everyone belongs to everyone else caught in the circulation of the machine, and yet somehow everyone is very separate, alone, disconnected.

“Power implodes, this is the current mode of disappearance.”

This is the problem with interactivity, it is somehow dehumanizing, non-reflective, the human caught in action with the machine, not much else. The machine in its acceleration eventually implodes: annihilated in its entropy.

Page 75:

“Thus all the messages in the media function in a similar fashion: neither information nor communication, but referendum, perpetual test, circular response, verification of the code.”

 Page. 78:

“,,, a hyperreality, a simultaneity of all the functions, without a past, without a future, an operationality on eery level.”

In the ever-present-present flow, without a past or nture, in the NOW.

Page 79:

“We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.”

As information accelerates, as we are all increasingly interconnected, the meaning of each moment, individual, exchange loses its importance.

‘The loss of meaning is directly linked to the dissolving, dissuasive action of information, the media, and the mass media.”

Page 80:

“Whoever is underexposed to the media is desocialized or virtually asocial.”

You’re either on or off the bus and this is the dilemma of being part of the flow, the stream, the torrent: if not, you are disconnected from the global discourse.

“Information devours its own content. It devours communication and the social:

Rather than creating communication, it exhausts itself in the act of staging communication. Rather than producing meaning, it exhausts itself in the staging of meaning… More and more information is invaded by this kind of phantom content, this homeopathic grafting, this awakening dream of communication.”

Information becomes a kind of energy or force and loses its meaning in the constant torrent, the jolts, and slippages that keep driving into our consciousness.

Page 81:

“Thus information dissolves meaning and dissolves the social, in a sort of nebulous state dedicated to to a surplus of innovation, but, on the contrary to total entropy.”

Entropy through ingestion and saturation.

Page 82:

“Only the medium can make an event – whatever the contents, whether they are conformist or subversive.”

This defines the “medium is the message.”

“… there is not only an implosion of the message in the medium, there is, in the same movement, the implosion of the medium itself in the real, the implosion of the medium and of the real in a sort of hyperreal nebula, in which even the definition and distinct action of the medium can no longer be undetermined.”

Even the medium itself implodes as the real dissolves we lose the demarctation between reality and the medium of the mediation of reality.

“McLuhan’s formula, the medium is the message, which is the key formula of the era of stimulation (the medium is the message – the sender is the receiver – the circularity of all poles – the end of panoptic and perspectival space – such is the alpha and omega of our modernity. ”

“There are no more media in the lieteral sense of the work (I’m speaking particularly of electronic mass media) – that is, of a mediating power between one reality and another, between one state of the real and another.”

The real and the mediated are blurred to the point of confusion in our perception of time, space, and the other.

Page 83:

“The absorption of one pole into another, the short-circuiting between poles of every differential system of meaning, the erasure of distinct terms and oppositions, including that of the medium and of the real – thus the impossibility of any mediation, of any dialectical intervention between the two or from one to the other.”

The post reality where the distinction is dissolved between the poles or modalities of reality and mediation.


This epiphany describes this loss of separation leading to the post real, we are lulled into this loss of separation, and the predicament prevents us from even being aware of the separation: it is embedded into our consciousness as “real.” Hence, post real.

 Page 84:

“It is the media that induce fascination in the masses, or is the masses who direct the media into the spectacle?”

“The media carry meaning and countermeaning, thery manipulate in all directions at once, nothing can control this process, they are the vehicle for the simulation internal to the system and the simulation that destroys the system, according to an absolutely Mobian and circular logic.

This seduction is implosive as an act of self-annihilation: it is the system in control and the users of the system lose themselves in the constant flow.

Page 86:


“Information or knowledge that can be contained about a system or an event is already a form of the neutralization and entropy of this system.”

Pg. 87:


“Today what we are experiencing is the absorption of all virtual modes of expression into that of advertising. All original cultural forms, all determined languages are absorbed in advertising because it has no depth, it is instantaneous and instantaneously forgotten.”

Advertising exists in the ever-present-present of Now, without a past or a future.

“… of which professional advertising is, onece again, only an episodic form…”

page 88:

“Propaganda becomes the marketing and merchandising of idea-forces, of political men and parties with their trademark image.”

Page 89:

“The ‘thrill’ of advertising has been displaced onto computers and onto the miniaturization of everyday life by computer science.”

Multimedia system have become the vessels and transmitters of propaganda and advertising by the ubiquity of computers and mobile devices.

Page 92:

“… it is this liquidation, this reabsorption of everything into the surface (whatever signs circulate there) that plunges us into this stupefied, hyperreal euphoria that we would not exchange for anything else, and that is the empty and inescapable forum of seduction.”

Advertising in its essence is a form of pure seduction. It requires a consensual hallucination in which:

“Everyone must believe in it. Such is the message of what unites us.”

 Page. 95:

“Everyone can dream, and must have dreamed his whole life, of a perfect duplication or multiplication of his being, but such copies only have the power of dreams, and are destroyed when one attempts to force the dream into the real.”

This is the power of art. It doesn’t need to be real, in fact, it is more potent when it exists in the imagination and spread to the social realm by as a carrier of dream and fiction. The minute it becomes real its like waking up and losing the power of the magic of the dream. Reality can never compete with the imagination.

Page 105:

“It is the fantasy of seizing reality live that continues – ever since Narcissus bent over his spring… we dream of passing through ourselves and of finding ourselves in the beyond.”

The dream of the “other,” the phantom self, crossing thru to the other side (of reality) and back again, such as Orf in the Underworld.

“The TV studio transforms you into holographic characters: one has the impression of being materialized in space by the light of projectors, like translucid characters who through the masses (that of millions of TV viewers) exactly as your real hand passes through the unreal hologram without encountering any resistance – but not without consequences: having passed through the hologram has rendered your hand unreal as well.”

We enter the medial space of the studio where all is possible and certainly not real.

Page 106:

“One must never pass over to the side of the real, the side of the exact resemblance of the world to itself, of the subject to itself. Because then the image disappears. One must never pass over to the side of the double ecause then the dual relation disappears, and with it all seduction.”

The seduction of observing what is on the other side of what is.

“… with the hologram we are already virtually in another universe; which is nothing but the mirrored equivalent of this one. Bt which universe is this one?… the vertigo of passing to the other side of our own body, to the side of the double, luminous clone, or dead twin that is never born in our places, and watches over us by anticipation.”

The description of Orf as the hologram who is essentially a mirrored image that stares back a us through that which divides us from the OTHER SIDE OF WHAT IS.

Page 107:

“The social, the social phantasmagoria, is now nothing but a special effect, obtained by the design of participating networks converging in emptiness under the spectral image of collective happiness.”

Like Orf, the telemetic embrace is another phantom in our consciousness and sense of connectedness.

“The closer one gets to the perfection of the simulacrum… the more evident it becomes… how everything escapes representation, escapes its own double and its resemblance. In short, there is no real: the third dimension is only the imaginary of a two-dimensional world, the fourth that of a three-dimensional universe…”

Page 109:

“The holographic attempt literally jumps over its shadow, and plunges into transparency, to lose itself there.”

The double disappears, fades into transparency, as in Orf at the end.

Page 111:

“From a classical (even cybernetic) perspective, technology is an extension of the body. It is the functional sophistication of a human organism that permits it to be equal to nature and to invest triumphally in nature. From Marx to McLuhan, the same functionalist vision of machines and language: they are relays, extensions, media mediators of nature ideally destined to become the organic body of man. In this “rational” perspective the body itslef is nothing but a medium.

Influenced from JG Ballard’s CRASH, the body as a medium tethered to technology.

Page 121:

“Three orders of simulacra:

– Simulacra are natural, naturalist, founded on the image, on imitation and counterfeit.

– Simulacra that are productive, productivist, founded on energy, force, its materialization by the machine and in the whole system of production… (desire belongs to the utopias related to this order of simulacra)

– Simulacra of simulation, founded on information, the model, the cybernetic game – total operationality, hyperreality, aim of total control.

To the third corresponds – is there an imaginary that might correspond to this order?”

The third order defines the post real condition.

There is no real, there is no imaginary except at a certain distance. What happens when this distance, including that between the real and the imaginary, tends to abolish itself, to be reabsorbed on behalf of the model?”

When the space between the real and the imaginary (or the real and the virtual ) is abolished, that defines the post reality, and thereby inserting going beyond the suspension of disbelief into what formerly existed as reality.

Page 122:

“… nothing distinguishes this operation from the operation itself and the gestation of the real: there is more fiction.

Reality could go beyond fiction: that was the surest sign of the possibility of an ever-increasing imaginary. But the real cannot surpass the model – it is nothing but its alibi.

No more fiction means that we inhabit the world of the imaginary such that it is no longer distanced, we are THERE in the imaginary that become (post) reality. We inhabit this world controlled by the principle of simulation.

When reality goes beyond fiction, we go beyond the suspension of disbelief.

Page 123:

“And, paradoxically, it is the real that has become our true utopia – but a utopia that is no longer in the realm of the possible, that can only be dreamt of as one would dream of a lost object.”

That is the role of the artist, to dream impossible things as part of a coherent imaginary.

Page 124:

“There is a hemorrhaging of reality as an internal coherence of a limited universe, once the limits of this universe recede into infinity.”

“It is no longer possible to fabricate the unreal form the real, the imaginary from the givens of the real.”

It is the third space place of OTHER, the AND coefficient, the dissolution of boundaries and the emergence of something new and pregnantly post real.

Page 125:

“… one is from the start in a total simulation, without origin, immanent, without a past, without a future, a diffusion of all coordinates (mental, temporal, spatial, signaletic) – it is not about a parallel universe, a double universe, or even a possible universe – neither possible, impossible, neither real nor unreal: hyperreal – it is a universe of simulation, which is something else altogether.”


“… the double has disappeared, there is no longer a double, one is always already in the other world, which is no longer an other, without a mirror, a projection, or a utopia that can reflect it – simulation is insuperable, unsurpassable, dull and flat, without exteriority – we will no longer even pass through to “the other side of the mirror,” that was still the golden age of transcendence.”

One is already in the other world, no longer another it is AND OTHER.

No longer passing through the other side of the mirror because the separation has been removed.

Page 126:

“It is this hyperreal indifference that constitutes the real “science-fictional” quality of the episode.”

Hyperreal indifference to the real or the imaginary is what constitutes the post reality and that is the SHOW I am performing.

Page 146:

“All of the real is residual.

and everything that is residual is destined to repeat itself indefinitely in phantasms.”

This is part of the inexplicable: the remains of what is no longer real is embedded into ghosts and specters of the imagination.

 Page 160:

“There is no longer an apocalypse… The apocalypse is finished, today it is the precession of the neural, of forms of the neural and of indifference… all that remains, is the fascination for desertlike and indifferent forms, for the very operation of the system that annihilates us. Now fascination… is a nihilistic passion par excellence… We are fascinated by all forms of disappearance, of our disappearance.”


Page 161:

“… postmodernity, which is the immense process of the destruction of meaning, equal to the earlier destruction of appearances.”

Is the post real the destruction or annihilation of the real?


Page 162:

“If it is nihilistic to be obsessed by the mode of disappearance, and no longer by the mode of production, then I am nihilist.

Conversely, am I an anti-nihilist by obsessing with the mode of production, hanging on to process… though I find myself more and more distanced from production because it is like a noose around the neck.

Our media is the art of disappearance, only existing in the ever-present-present of Now.

Page 163:

“The system is itself also nihilistic, in the sense that it has the power to pour everything, including what denies it, into indifference.

Is the system of the FLOW leaving only an emptiness of indifference, the sum of the MANY or the FLOW leaves a vacuum where the individual once stood.

Page 164:

“All of that comes to be annihilated on the television screen.”

“This is where seduction begins.”

In the nihilism of meaning? When there is no longer any meaning, seduction prevails.

Need to think about this!