Monday, May 30, 2011

a provocative link for those thinking about the final exam

The wikipedia entry for simulacrum might be useful. Link, contents and some passages pasted below:

wikipedia: simulacrum

1 Simulacra in philosophy
2 Simulacra in literature, film, and television
2.1 Artificial beings
2.2 The work of Philip K. Dick
2.3 Simulated environments
2.4 Other uses
3 Simulacra and recreation
4 Caricature as simulacra
5 Simulacra in iconography
6 Word usage
7 See also
8 References
9 External links

Simulacra and recreation

Recreational simulacra include reenactments of historical events or replicas of landmarks, such as Colonial Williamsburg and the Eiffel Tower, and constructions of fictional or cultural ideas, such as Fantasyland at The Walt Disney Company's Magic Kingdom. The various Disney parks have by some philosophers been regarded as the ultimate recreational simulacra, with Baudrillard noting that Walt Disney World Resort is a copy of a copy, “a simulacrum to the second power.”[10] In 1975, Italian author Umberto Eco expressed his belief that at Disney’s parks, “we not only enjoy a perfect imitation, we also enjoy the conviction that imitation has reached its apex and afterwards reality will always be inferior to it."[11] This is for some an ongoing concern. Examining the impact of Disney’s simulacrum of national parks, Disney's Wilderness Lodge, environmentalist Jennifer Cypher and anthropologist Eric Higgs expressed worry that “the boundary between artificiality and reality will become so thin that the artificial will become the centre of moral value.”[12] Eco also refers to commentary on watching sports as sports to the power of three, or sports cubed. First, there are the players who participate in the sport, the real; then the onlookers merely witnessing it; then, the commentary itself on the act of witnessing the sport. Visual artist Paul McCarthy has created entire installations based upon Pirates of the Caribbean, and theme park simulacra, with videos playing inside the installation itself.

Caricature as simulacra

An interesting example of simulacra is caricature. Where an artist draws a line drawing that closely approximates the facial features of a real person, the sketch cannot be easily identified by a random observer; the sketch could just as easily be a resemblance of any person, rather than the particular subject. However, a caricaturist will exaggerate prominent facial features far beyond their actuality, and a viewer will pick up on these features and be able to identify the subject, even though the caricature bears far less actual resemblance to the subject.

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