Jeff Pack '99, Brown University (English 112, 1996)


Simulation, on the contraty, stems from the utopia of the principle of general equivalence, from the radical negation of the sign as value, from the sign as the reversion and death sentence of every reference. Whereas representation attempts to absorb simulation by interpreting it as a false representation, simulation envelops the whole edifice of representation itself as a simulacrum.

--Jean Baudrillard, "The Precession of Simulacra"

Consider a virtual reality construct of the Washington Monument, which would allow one to ascend the marble tower and see the same view one would see from the "real" monument? Is that the Washington Monument, or something different? Is it true or false?

If the illusion is complete, if we can't tell the difference, the differentiation between simulation and simulated dissolves.

It is even possible to construct simulacra with no preexisting subject. Digital photography editing can already do this, albeit in a limited form; 3D virtual reality programs can model objects from a list of parameters for the object, without having ever "seen" it.

web your