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 Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy

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PostSubject: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Tue 24 Nov 2009, 2:51 pm

I'm first posting a documentary about the Matrix Trilogy called Matrix: Return to the Source, where Tavistock-esq philosophers discuss their interpretations of the movie. Below, is an interview with Baurdrillard, regarding the Matrix movies, where he essentially points out that this hyperreal system that is being constructed will fail. Unfortunately, the "philosophers" in this documentary don't seem to understand the fallacy in their own system design.




Quote :
The Matrix Decoded
Le Nouvel Observateur Interview With Jean Baudrillard

http://hive2.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/matrix-decoded-baudrillard/

Le Nouvel Observateur: Your reflections on reality and the virtual are some of the key references used by the makers of The Matrix. The first episode explicitly referred to you as the viewer clearly saw the cover of Simulacra and Simulation.3
Were you surprised by this?

Jean Baudrillard: Certainly there have been misinterpretations, which is why I have been hesitant until now to speak about The Matrix. The staff of the Wachowski brothers contacted me at various times following the release of the first episode in order to get me involved with the following ones, but this wasn’t really conceivable (laughter). Basically, a similar misunderstanding occurred in the 1980s when New York-based Simulationist4 artists contacted me. They took the hypothesis of the virtual for an irrefutable fact and transformed it into a visible phantasm. But it is precisely that we can no longer employ categories of the real in order to discuss the characteristics of the virtual.


Nouvel Observateur: The connection between the film and the vision you develop, for example, in The Perfect Crime, is, however, quite striking. In evoking a desert of the real, these totally virtualized spectral humans, who are no more than the energetic reserve of thinking objects… .


Baudrillard: Yes, but already there have been other films that treat the growing indistinction between the real and the virtual: The Truman Show, Minority Report, or even Mulholland Drive, the masterpiece of David Lynch. The Matrix’s value is chiefly as a synthesis of all that. But there the set-up is cruder and does not truly evoke the problem. The actors are in the matrix, that is, in the digitized system of things; or, they are radically outside it, such as in Zion, the city of resistors. But what would be interesting is to show what happens when these two worlds collide. The most embarrassing part of the film is that the new problem posed by simulation is confused with its classical, Platonic treatment. This is a serious flaw. The radical illusion of the world is a problem faced by all great cultures, which they have solved through art and symbolization. What we have invented, in order to support this suffering, is a simulated real, which henceforth supplants the real and is its final solution, a virtual universe from which everything dangerous and negative has been expelled. And The Matrix is undeniably part of that. Everything belonging to the order of dream, utopia and phantasm is given expression, “realized.” We are in the uncut transparency. The Matrix is surely the kind of film about the matrix that the matrix would have been able to produce.


Nouvel Observateur: It is also a film that purports to denounce technicist alienation and, at the same time, plays entirely on the fascination exercised by the digital universe and computer-generated images.

Baudrillard: What is notable about Matrix Reloaded is the absence of a glimmer of irony that would allow viewers to turn this gigantic special effect on its head. There is no sequence which would be the punctum about which Roland Barthes wrote, this striking mark that brings you face-to-face with a true image. Moreover, this is what makes the film an instructive symptom, and the actual fetish of this universe of technologies of the screen in which there is no longer a distinction between the real and the imaginary. The Matrix is considered to be an extravagant object, at once candid and perverse, where there is neither a here nor a there. The pseudo-Freud who speaks at the film’s conclusion puts it well: at a certain moment, we reprogrammed the matrix in order to integrate anomalies into the equation. And you, the resistors, comprise a part of it. Thus we are, it seems, within a total virtual circuit without an exterior. Here again I am in theoretical disagreement (laughter). The Matrix paints the picture of a monopolistic superpower, like we see today, and then collaborates in its refraction. Basically, its dissemination on a world scale is complicit with the film itself. On this point it is worth recalling Marshall McLuhan: the medium is the message. The message of The Matrix is its own diffusion by an uncontrollable and proliferating contamination.


Nouvel Observateur: It is rather shocking to see that, henceforth, all American marketing successes, from The Matrix to Madonna’s new album, are presented as critiques of the system which massively promotes them.


Baudrillard: That is exactly what makes our times so oppressive. The system produces a negativity in trompe-l’oeil [a reference to illusion painting (see below)], which is integrated into products of the spectacle just as obsolescence is built into industrial products. It is the most efficient way of incorporating all genuine alternatives. There are no longer external Omega points or any antagonistic means available in order to analyze the world; there is nothing more than a fascinated adhesion. One must understand, however, that the more a system nears perfection, the more it approaches the total accident. It is a form of objective irony stipulating that nothing ever happened. September 11th participated in this. Terrorism is not an alternative power, it is nothing except the metaphor of this almost suicidal return of Western power on itself. That is what I said at the time, and it was not widely accepted. But it is not about being nihilistic or pessimistic in the face of all that. The system, the virtual, the matrix – all of these will perhaps return to the dustbin of history. For reversibility, challenge and seduction are indestructible.

trompe-l’oeil
http://www.trompe-l-oeil-art.com/
French for 'trick the eye' is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions, instead of actually being a two-dimensional painting

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PostSubject: Re: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Tue 24 Nov 2009, 7:02 pm

I'm going to take a crack at this interview, as I wanna see how good I am at understanding this stuff.

Quote :
They took the hypothesis of the virtual for an irrefutable fact and transformed it into a visible phantasm. But it is precisely that we can no longer employ categories of the real in order to discuss the characteristics of the virtual.
My interpretation is the Baudrillard doesn't see the "virtual" as visible physical world.

Quote :
Nouvel Observateur: The connection between the film and the vision you develop, for example, in The Perfect Crime, is, however, quite striking. In evoking a desert of the real, these totally virtualized spectral humans, who are no more than the energetic reserve of thinking objects… .


Baudrillard: Yes, but already there have been other films that treat the growing indistinction between the real and the virtual: The Truman Show, Minority Report, or even Mulholland Drive, the masterpiece of David Lynch.
One could also add Lawnmower Man, Surrogates and the new movie, Avatar to this list, with this last movie really extrapolating this "virtualized sprectral human" concept.

Quote :
Baudrillard: The Matrix’s value is chiefly as a synthesis of all that. But there the set-up is cruder and does not truly evoke the problem. The actors are in the matrix, that is, in the digitized system of things; or, they are radically outside it, such as in Zion, the city of resistors. But what would be interesting is to show what happens when these two worlds collide. The most embarrassing part of the film is that the new problem posed by simulation is confused with its classical, Platonic treatment. This is a serious flaw. The radical illusion of the world is a problem faced by all great cultures, which they have solved through art and symbolization. What we have invented, in order to support this suffering, is a simulated real, which henceforth supplants the real and is its final solution, a virtual universe from which everything dangerous and negative has been expelled. And The Matrix is undeniably part of that. Everything belonging to the order of dream, utopia and phantasm is given expression, “realized.” We are in the uncut transparency. The Matrix is surely the kind of film about the matrix that the matrix would have been able to produce.
So, if I understand this correctly, he's saying that the distinct separation between the two worlds, of The Matrix and of Zion, is a serious flaw, as it does not reflect our hyperreality, which is that these two words are actually one and are not physically separate.

The real problem lies in our own dilluted view of the world, where real suffering and everything "negative" is supplanted by simulated images, which even The Matrix movie is part of. Hence, on those images that are "authorized" are realized in this simulated world.


Quote :
Baudrillard: The Matrix is considered to be an extravagant object, at once candid and perverse, where there is neither a here nor a there. The pseudo-Freud who speaks at the film’s conclusion puts it well: at a certain moment, we reprogrammed the matrix in order to integrate anomalies into the equation. And you, the resistors, comprise a part of it. Thus we are, it seems, within a total virtual circuit without an exterior. Here again I am in theoretical disagreement (laughter). The Matrix paints the picture of a monopolistic superpower, like we see today, and then collaborates in its refraction. Basically, its dissemination on a world scale is complicit with the film itself. On this point it is worth recalling Marshall McLuhan: the medium is the message. The message of The Matrix is its own diffusion by an uncontrollable and proliferating contamination.
In the 1st part of the paragraph, its interesting that Baudrillard summarily dismisses the "total virtual circuit" concept. I think this goes to his "One Great Thought," whereby everything is reversible, even this concept of hyperreality - reversible back to a more real reality. Therefore, while they may want us to believe we live in a total virtual circuit, we do not.

In the 2nd part of this paragraph, I see Baudrillard saying that critiques of the system are developed, distributed and promoted by the same system that is critiqued. I think what he is saying is that all images are "contaminated," as they represent multiple messages. This is how we can have a system that is simultaneously real and hyperreal, as images are polluted, or what one might call 'weaponized' with propaganda. Hence, all images are available for abuse by the system, even the Matrix movie itself.


Quote :
Baudrillard: That is exactly what makes our times so oppressive. The system produces a negativity in trompe-l’oeil [a reference to illusion painting (see below)], which is integrated into products of the spectacle just as obsolescence is built into industrial products. It is the most efficient way of incorporating all genuine alternatives. There are no longer external Omega points or any antagonistic means available in order to analyze the world; there is nothing more than a fascinated adhesion. One must understand, however, that the more a system nears perfection, the more it approaches the total accident. It is a form of objective irony stipulating that nothing ever happened. September 11th participated in this. Terrorism is not an alternative power, it is nothing except the metaphor of this almost suicidal return of Western power on itself. That is what I said at the time, and it was not widely accepted. But it is not about being nihilistic or pessimistic in the face of all that. The system, the virtual, the matrix – all of these will perhaps return to the dustbin of history. For reversibility, challenge and seduction are indestructible.
Here again, Baudrillard refers to the 'trick of the eye,' where all images presented to the public are co-opted in order to support the system, even images that include critiques of the system itself. Therefore, there is no way to combat the system, as all alternatives are absorbed by it. It's a borg-like assimilation of everything and anything that might attack it or grab the publics attention as an alternative.

The good news here, which I'm not sure I quite understand, is that Baudrillard argues that as the system reaches its goals and becomes more perfect, it becomes more vulnerable to total collapse. I guess as the system becomes more "perfect" it becomes more connected, and any unexpected pertubations could ripple throughout the system in unexpected ways and intensities.


In his final analysis, Baudrillard concludes that the seduction between humanity and the real (nature) is too strong and any alternatives that cloud that reality will eventually fail, for humanity cannot be kept from it.
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PostSubject: Re: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Tue 24 Nov 2009, 11:31 pm

Bert.G wrote:
Here again, Baudrillard refers to the 'trick of the eye,' where all images presented to the public are co-opted in order to support the system, even images that include critiques of the system itself. Therefore, there is no way to combat the system, as all alternatives are absorbed by it. It's a borg-like assimilation of everything and anything that might attack it or grab the publics attention as an alternative.
This is an interesting way to look at it, and I think ties in well with a focus on Information Operations (IO), as IO is addressing just that... the manipulation of images in art, culture, media, academia, government, and on and on and on. Every outlet of IO is "co-opted," as Baudrillard calls-out here.

Further, when you speak of it being like "a borg-like assimilation of everything and anything that might attack it or grab the publics attention as an alternative," I see this as being similar to the concept of "vectoring," where the population is segmented into like minded perceivers, and images are delivered to them, usually through TV media, so that they will have the desired impact. While the public sees one image, subconsciously they are receiving quite another message. Every aspect of every piece of information is vectored in some way, and the public rarely notices.

I think we need to develop a term that described these IO weapons that lie in the exoteric that is all around us.
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PostSubject: Re: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 10:10 am

IP,

I think I am beginning to grasp the meaning of an all-encompassing simulacrum..

Give me time...(g)

Is it when *everything* (mostly) one views as important and interacts with, has been selected by the image-makers rather than by our own rational perception of reality.

This is JUST barely on the edge of my understanding if you understand what I mean, so please forgive the misunderstanding if this is wrong...

ciao.
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PostSubject: Re: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 11:27 am

I think a massive part of the simulacrum is simply TV and movies, and how people's thoughts are swayed by them. People I talk to will do this often and it really irks me: we will be having a debate about some real world events, and they will disagree with something (it doesn't matter what), and when I ask them to back it up, the pull out an example of what happened in some movie or TV show.

Thinking the way people react to a disaster is going to be the same as what is shown in disaster movies.

Thinking they way US soldiers fight a war is just like the war movies, as well as thinking the vile evilness of the opposing force (viet cong, Nazi troops, Iraqi fighters, take your really based on movies depicting that time period) matches what happens in reality.

Thinking most politicians are well intentioned people who are forced to make bad decisions from time to time because they work the most stressful job in the world with the highest stakes in the world, as shown in the movies. You can apply this to law enforcement, the court system, or almost any government job. I think Law & Order, Cops, all those CSI shows, any movie romanticizing firefighters, 24 (DHS propaganda show) etc. are all good examples of this. It is downright creepy how many republican supporters of the war on terror I run into who also happen to be huge fans of the 24 show.

You can argue with people and say "no, real life isn't like TV or movies", but ultimately when enough people think this way, when their thoughts are dominated by preset examples from the time they wake up to the time they sleep, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and people do start making cinema a reality - then the illusion is complete and a new form of reality, or perhaps I should say hyper-reality.

I completely believe if there were enough TVs shows and movies showing a government conspiracy performing things like 9/11, it would no longer be considered crazy and public thought would quickly do a complete 180, that is how powerful it is.
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PostSubject: Re: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 12:03 pm

I think the Peace sign thread is an excellent example of what I believe Baudrillard is talking about. They take an image that is conveyed to the public to mean one thing, but it actually means much more. In fact, to the controllers it has vastly different understanding. But the public is not exposed to this additional meaning, it is hidden from them. I think this is being done everywhere.
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PostSubject: Re: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 12:33 pm

Ronne wrote:
I think the Peace sign thread is an excellent example of what I believe Baudrillard is talking about. They take an image that is conveyed to the public to mean one thing, but it actually means much more. In fact, to the controllers it has vastly different understanding. But the public is not exposed to this additional meaning, it is hidden from them. I think this is being done everywhere.

I have a hard time seeing that as being relevant when so few even know what it means.
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PostSubject: Re: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 5:41 pm

Kraig wrote:
Ronne wrote:
I think the Peace sign thread is an excellent example of what I believe Baudrillard is talking about. They take an image that is conveyed to the public to mean one thing, but it actually means much more. In fact, to the controllers it has vastly different understanding. But the public is not exposed to this additional meaning, it is hidden from them. I think this is being done everywhere.

I have a hard time seeing that as being relevant when so few even know what it means.
I'm not sure I understand what it is that you have a hard time seeing as relevant. Can you please expand on this? Thanks.
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PostSubject: Re: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 5:44 pm

Ronne wrote:
Kraig wrote:
Ronne wrote:
I think the Peace sign thread is an excellent example of what I believe Baudrillard is talking about. They take an image that is conveyed to the public to mean one thing, but it actually means much more. In fact, to the controllers it has vastly different understanding. But the public is not exposed to this additional meaning, it is hidden from them. I think this is being done everywhere.

I have a hard time seeing that as being relevant when so few even know what it means.
I'm not sure I understand what it is that you have a hard time seeing as relevant. Can you please expand on this? Thanks.

What I am trying to say is, if the average joe has no idea what the peace symbol means, how is that symbolism going to have any effect on him?

To be it could be some kind of inside joke for the elites, but I don't see how it would add anything to their methods of control.
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PostSubject: Re: Baurdrillard - about The Matrix Trilogy   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 7:19 pm

Kraig wrote:
What I am trying to say is, if the average joe has no idea what the peace symbol means, how is that symbolism going to have any effect on him?

To be it could be some kind of inside joke for the elites, but I don't see how it would add anything to their methods of control.

Well, what we end up with is symbolism that the average joe supports and thinks is cool, but is actually symbolism of control that they don't see. So, we end up with only a small club who gets the inside joke. Perhaps you're right, maybe it serves as a test for the public, so the elites can gage how "aware" they are of their own environment.

But the larger point I was attempting to make, and perhaps the Peace sign wasn't the best example, is that images within the system have multiple means and therefore multiple psychological impact on us. Let me see if I can come up with a better example, where the multiple effects are realized by joe average.
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