ISSN: 1705-6411

Volume 5, Number 2 (July, 2008).

Virtually Real and Really Virtual: Baudrillardís Procession of Simulacrum and The Matrix

Dr. Melanie Chan
(School of Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK).

I. Introduction
            The Matrix (directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1999) presents a scenario whereby the world is under the control of an artificial intelligence, personified by agents in the film, that has produced a computer generated, simulation system known as the matrix. Whilst in the matrix, humans are unaware of their enslavement by these systems and take the simulated world to be reality. However a small group of human renegades, led by the character Morpheus, have become unplugged from the matrix and attempt to undermine its control of humanity. The Matrix was released in the same year as another major science fiction film, Star Wars: Episode 1 –The Phantom Menace (directed by George Lucas). Yet the Star Wars film already had an established following, whereas at the time of its release The Matrix was the first large-scale production of two relatively unknown writers and directors. Nonetheless The Matrix continued to gather attention and the subsequent video and DVD releases of the film ensured further publicity and increasing revenues.1  After the commercial success of the first film, the sequels Matrix Re-Loaded and Matrix Revolutions were both released in 2003.
            The Matrix films are eclectic, drawing upon and playing with many different ideas and visual styles including Marvel and DC comics and contemporary Japanese Anime such as Ghost in the Shell (directed by Mamoru Oshii, 1995). The urban setting, clothing and agility of the characters portrayed in films can also be regarded alongside comic book characters such as Batman, Superman (both DC Comic characters) and Spiderman and X-Men (Marvel comics). There are also affinities between the trilogy and the cyberpunk novel Neuromancer (1986) by William Gibson as both include references to Japanese culture, computer hacking and artificial intelligence systems. Moreover William Gibson uses the term the matrix to describe virtual environments which provide extremely vivid immersive experiences. Stylistically the darkly lit urban environments represented in The Matrix trilogy resemble other film noir, such as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and Alex Proyas’s Dark City (1998). Additionally, The Matrix can be regarded alongside other films with virtual reality related themes which were released during the 1980s and 1990s including: Tron (directed  by Steven Lisberger, 1982), Total Recall (directed by Paul Verhoeven, 1990), The Lawnmower Man (directed by Brett Leonard, 1992), Strange Days (directed by Kathryn Bieglow, 1995), The Truman Show (directed by Peter Weir, 1998), The Thirteenth Floor (directed by Josef Rusnak, 1999) and David Cronenberg’s eXistenz (1999).
            This paper examines whether The Matrix trilogy represents a scenario whereby simulation wins out over the real or vice versa. The work of French theorist, Jean Baudrillard engages with the concept of simulation and is therefore a useful starting point for the analysis of these films. Furthermore, The Matrix trilogy actually includes several references to Baudrillard’s work. Baudrillard suggests that simulation is particularly prolific in contemporary capitalist culture thereby unsettling concepts of the virtual and the real. In his essay Aesthetic Illusion and Virtual Reality, which was published in the same year as The Matrix was released, Baudrillard contends that:

We don’t need digital gloves or a digital suit. As we are moving around in the world as in a synthetic image. We have swallowed our microphones and headsets, producing intense interference effects, due to the short-circuit of life and its technical diffusion.2

The following discussion begins with an overview of Baudrillard’s work on simulacra and simulation and then moves on to consider the ways in which these concepts can provide an interpretative mechanism for The Matrix trilogy. 

II. Baudrillard on Simulacra and Simulation
            Baudrillard, along with Debord, Lacan, Levi-Strauss, and Foucault, can  be considered to be part of an emergent but heterogeneous intellectual group in France during the 1960s. Their work could also be regarded as challenging and building the works of Marx and Freud.3  A key difference between the Marxist thought underpinning Debord and Baudrillard’s work is the notion of agency. Marxism as a theoretical strategy aims to highlight inequalities within the forces and relations of production in order to bring about social change. In The Consumer Society (1970) however Baudrillard focuses on the relationships between symbolic systems of signification and agency.  According to Baudrillard consumer society is driven by symbolic systems in which commodities are used as a means of differentiation and stratification. Whilst individuals strive to differentiate themselves through the acquisition of commodities Baudrillard claims that the actual forces and relations of production are unable to meet this demand. One reason Baudrillard gives for this situation is that differentiation through commodities is based on desire which is can never completely fulfilled whereas the requirement for food, for example, can be satisfied. Baudrillard states that:

You never consume the object in itself (in its use-value); you are always manipulating objects (in the broadest sense) as signs which distinguish you either by affiliating you to your own group taken as an ideal reference or marking you off from your group by reference to a group of higher status.4

            Today viewers of The Matrix trilogy are not merely offered the opportunity to watch these films they are also encouraged to continue to consume the line of products associated with them. The stylistic look of the characters in the films can also be considered as part of an overall marketing strategy. The designer sunglasses worn by characters in the first film, for example, were produced by an exclusive company called Blinde. Soon after the release of the film replica copies of these sunglasses became commercially available. Major tie-in products for the first film also included limited edition Nokia mobile phones.  In a press release issued by Nokia, Heikki Norta, General Manager of Marketing Services said:

Nokia's mobile phones create the vital link between the dream world and the reality in The Matrix. The heroes of the movie could not do their job and save the world without the seamless connectivity provided by Nokia's mobile phones. Even though our everyday tasks and duties may be less important than those of the heroes of The Matrix, today we can all appreciate the new dimension of life enabled by mobile telephony.5

In 2005, Warner Brothers entered into a co-publishing deal with Sega in respect to the next development in The Matrix marketing phenomena, The Matrix On-line a multiplayer on line game. Also in 2005, The Path of Neo an Atari game was released with alternative endings and previously un-seen footage from The Matrix trilogy, a marketing strategy designed to keep fans interested and actively consuming film related merchandise.  
            Despite the astute analysis of consumption and signification in Consumer Society, one of its drawbacks is Baudrillard’s emphasis on the power of the symbolic system or code because this has a tendency to deny agency. According to Baudrillard “the consumer experiences his distinctive behaviours as freedom, as aspiration, as choice. His experience is not one of being forced to be different, of obeying a code”.6 However as this discussion proceeds it will be argued that it may be possible to detect a means of fracturing this emphasis on the power of the code. Baudrillard’s later work, for example, suggests that symbolic systems are subject to anomalies and malfunctions which open up a space for meanings to be challenged and debated.
            Baudrillard’s notion of simulation and simulacra is outlined in Symbolic Exchange and Death which was initially published in 1976, and some of this material is reiterated in Simulations (1983).7 In Simulations, Baudrillard refers to a fable by Jorge Luis Borges about a map which is so detailed that it covers the territory it represents.8 Baudrillard’s point is that in the past there was a theoretical gap between the map and the territory it represents but in contemporary culture the simulacrum threatens this relationship. In this way the map in the fable could be regarded as analogous to the ways in which symbolic systems of signification overlay our experiences and understanding of reality. According to Baudrillard:

We live as if inside Borges’ fable of the map and the territory; in this story nothing is left but pieces of the map scattered throughout the empty space of the territory. Except that we must turn the tale upside down: today there is nothing left but a map (the virtual abstraction of the territory), and on this map some fragments of the real are still floating and drifting.9

Jonathan Stuart Boulter points out that Baudrillard’s reference to Borges comes from Del Rigor en la Cienca (Of Exactitude in Science) which is “about how the Real is displaced by its representation”.10 Furthermore Boulter says that Borges’ text is a transcription of a portion of a text by J.A. Suárez Miranda called Viajes de Varones Prudentes (1658). So for Boulter “part of the effect of Borges’ writing is to call into question the very notion of origins”.11  Similarly Baudrillard’s work brings such notions as the original and the copy into question by presenting what he terms the successive phases of the image:
1) it is the reflection of a basic reality; 2) it masks and perverts a basic reality; 3) it masks the absence of a basic reality; and 4) it bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum.12
            According Baudrillard contemporary capitalist culture has instigated a new relationship of signs and meaning. As such Baudrillard claims that simulation challenges the referential distinction between truth and fiction, or the real versus the unreal. Instead, he suggests that notions such as truth or reality are signs, within a self-referential symbolic system:

Representation stems from the principle of the equivalence of the sign and of the real (even if this equivalence is utopian, it is a fundamental axiom). Simulation, on the contrary, stems from the utopia of the principles of equivalence, from the radical negation of the sign as value, from the sign as the revision and death sentence of every reference.13

Going further, Baudrillard suggests that simulation involves the construction of its own referential process, which he terms “the hyperreal”.14 In Baudrillard’s schema, signifying systems are misleading because they generate the notion of reality as something that is outside of the system through the very operational processes of the system itself. As Gary Genosko remarks:

In Baudrillard’s terms, every time there is signification, there is lying, for the reason that what is real is an effect of the sign, and thus, every referent is an alibi: signification simulates reference to a real state because no real state corresponds to the sign.15 

In the hyperreal stage of signification there is no longer any basis with which to distinguish between the real (the referent) and its representation because there is no difference between them. If the image becomes so close to reality there is no relationship of resemblance, the process is short-circuited, as the image becomes reality. The hyperreal is too visible, it is over-signified, for as William Merrin states:

At such a level of obviousness no relationship is possible: there is no passion, no investment or belief – everything is hyperrealised before us and our only response is stupefied acceptance.16

            It is important to note at this point that Baudrillard’s work, especially concepts such as the process of simulacra and hyperreality, have received critical attention. Christopher Norris for example, argues that Baudrillard’s work exemplifies postmodernism and the notion that there is a “sceptical mistrust with regard to all truth-claims, normative standards, or efforts to distinguish veridical knowledge from what is currently and contingently good in the way of belief”.17 Norris also argues that:

We have now lived on (so the argument goes) into an epoch of all-embracing “simulation” or “hyperreality”, a world where – quite simply – there is no possibility of distinguishing truth from falsehood, fact from fiction, or the order of genuine (veridical) knowledge from its various “ideological” fantasy-substitutes.18

Douglas Kellner also contends that Baudrillard’s work is premised upon a fetishism of signs that “ascribes more reality to signs than things”.19
            A close reading of the ways in which Baudrillard’s theoretical strategies change over the years can however allay some of the criticisms that have been levelled against his ideas. In Fatal Strategies (1990), for example, another stage is added to Baudrillard’s analysis of the procession of images which he calls the fractal. In the fractal stage the notion of the referent changes to that of the combinatorial. Meaning is produced by the combination of different signs within a signifying system. Baudrillard’s notion of the fractal is associated with the proliferation of signs and he creates an analogy between this state and cancer whereby the division of cells proliferates to such a degree that they become dysfunctional.  In Baudrillard’s fractal stage, signs of reality proliferate to such a degree that they begin to act like a virus unsettling notions of truth and reality. In this way signs do not make the world intelligible rather they make it more unintelligible.
            The notion of the proliferation of simulacra also has implications for Baudrillard’s work itself. As Merrin (2001) points out, if Baudrillard’s work provides an accurate means of understanding contemporary culture because the simulacrum has swallowed reality, then this would mean an end to his theoretical framework. There would no longer be any distance between theoretical representation and that which it represents. The theory would have taken on the qualities of that which it represents, in this case, the simulacrum. In other words there would be no distance between theory and reality. The theory would become reality. Upon close inspection however Baudrillard’s work suggests that if complete simulation was achievable it would not only occlude reality but render reality superfluous because “there is no place for both the world and its double”.20 In Baudrillard’s later work, such as The Vital Illusion (2000), he says that we have not quite reached the point of the complete simulation of reality but that we are well down that road. Baudrillard states that the:

[P]erfect extermination [of reality] could only be achieved if the process of virtualisation were fully realized. This is not the case, fortunately: as in the best detective novels, the crime is never perfect. Some traces [of reality] can still be found.21

Baudrillard also suggests that the forces and relations of ontological reality go beyond symbolic signification. Indeed he says that there is something that is not entirely caught up by signification that there remains something which is “indecipherable”.22 For Baudrillard what exceeds language is a void, it has no meaning, it cannot be represented or understood symbolically. According to Baudrillard this void is something that is kept at bay through signification because the loss of meaning is a terrifying possibility:

And to keep it at bay, we have to realize the world, give it force of reality, make it exist and signify at all costs, take from it its secret, arbitrary, accidental character, rid it of appearances and extract its meaning, divert it from all predestination and restore to its end and its maximum efficiency, wrest it from its form and deliver it up to its formula.23

So how does Baudrillard’s argument regarding the proliferation of simulacra relate to The Matrix films in which human beings take the virtual world to be reality?

III. Simulation, “The Real World”, and The Matrix
            One of the scenes from the first film, which takes place in the simulated world of the matrix, and which particularly raises questions about reality, is when Neo (Keanu Reeves) first meets Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) at the decrepit Hotel Lafayette. The name Morpheus, which is the Greek God of dreams, is an apt one as this character seems to be placed in the role of Master who will free Neo from the illusory world of the matrix. Morpheus says to Neo “you have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up”. Here Morpheus is making a connection between the vividness of a dream and distinguishing this from reality. Morpheus says “the matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now in this very room”. Morpheus goes on to describe how the matrix relates to sensory experiences. He says “you can see it when you look out of your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church”. It is interesting to note that Morpheus equates the reality of the physical world and representations of that world through television. In this way it could be contended that The Matrix points to the ways in which symbolic signification permeates our lives through such media as television, film, Web sites, and how this shapes our understanding of what constitutes reality. For as Dino Felluga says:

Morpheus invites the viewer to see The Matrix as itself an allegory for our own current postmodern condition, for according to Baudrillard we in the audience are already living in a “reality” generated by codes and models; we have already lost all touch with even a memory of the real.24

Morpheus tells Neo that he has been born into a prison that you cannot see, smell or touch, a prison for your mind highlighting the ways in which sensory perception can be deceptive. Whilst Neo has memories of sensory experiences and associated physiological responses, the foundation for those experiences was not embodied interaction rather they were mediated by and through mental stimulation in the matrix. 
            Once Neo is “unplugged” by Morpheus and his group of renegades he is provided with a demonstration of the matrix, through a simulation programme, called “the construct”. Morpheus explains to Neo that the construct operates like the matrix in that it can simulate the full range of sensory experiences. Morpheus points to a 1950s retro television, which depicts Chicago, the city that Neo thinks he has known and experienced. He then flicks to another representation of a post apocalyptic city in ruins and describes it echoing the pronouncements of Baudrillard, as “the desert of the real”. It is the second image, which is purportedly the real Chicago, yet paradoxically Morpheus shows this to Neo through several mediating mechanisms, the computer simulation and images on a television screen.
            The construct scene could be thought of as a means of questioning the status of images in contemporary culture as photography, film and television are no longer necessarily associated with veracity. Digital images, such as the special effect sequences in The Matrix, can now be altered through compression techniques so that they become in-formation; in other words they can be formed and reformed in many different ways.  As Ron Burnett says “the conversion of images into information makes them far more adaptable, flexible, and changeable”.25 Michael Heim also argues that computer graphics, which construct virtual environments, do not “present again” something which is absent, or “already present somewhere else”.26  Instead simulated entities are taken to be real in a fundamentally different way to the realism in painting because “the symbol becomes reality”.27 Heim seems to suggest that the sign becomes the simulacrum in the case of virtual environments because it takes on the properties of that which it represents.
            The Matrix trilogy certainly sets up a distinction between the real world and the simulated world through the use of colour, costume and mise-en-scène. Yet it is the matrix which is represented as fashionable, exciting and alluring. When the main characters are represented in the matrix they wear designer sunglasses and stylish black clothing, but in the real world they wear ragged neutral coloured clothing and they appear to be much less stylised. The images used on the publicity material to promote the films also show the main characters as they appear in the matrix rather than the real world. Within the context of the film the matrix seems to have substance, the characters can move, touch and feel objects and perform amazing feats such as leaping acrobatically from buildings. Furthermore it is in the matrix that the main fight sequences take place which are accompanied by an adrenaline pumping soundtrack featuring the work of Marilyn Manson and Rage Against The Machine.  In contrast to the fashionable matrix the real world is a post-apocalyptic remnant of the demise of human civilisation.
            In the first film, the character Cypher, who is a member of the renegades, epitomises the tensions between the real world and the allure of matrix. Cypher was unplugged from the matrix and joined Morpheus in his quest against artificial intelligence systems but he later decides to revolt against the real world. Cypher makes a deal with Agent Smith to return to a blissful life in the matrix as a rich and famous actor which seems to suggest that even though simulation is not “real” it is more alluring than the real world.
            In The Matrix films both the real world and the virtual world are symbolic domains though they are constructed using different signifiers. “The real world” could be described as the ‘reel’ world, in the cinematic sense, because it is produced via the specific media of film. Though viewers are not simply passive dupes who simply soak up illusory fantasies, for as Sarah Worth contends “when engaging with fiction we do not suspend a critical faculty, but rather exercise a creative faculty. We do not actively suspend disbelief – we actively create belief”.28 The first film has certainly received considerable critical theoretical attention.29 Furthermore this critical attention is often focused upon the relationships between simulation and reality.
            One interpretation of the signified differences in the first film, for example, is that it creates a set of oppositional relationships such as the real/virtual, or freedom/enslavement.  However Aylish Wood contends that in The Matrix “reality and illusion are equally open to question”.30 The real world represented in the film could just be another simulated, virtual world. As Dino Felluga says that “there is no way for the human rebels to be sure that their entire rebellion is not itself being generated by a yet more sophisticated matrix”.31 There could even be a third version of the matrix “that includes a fantasized escape into ‘the real’”.32 Furthermore Felluga points out that the human rebels are “just as reliant on computers and computer simulations for their fantasies as their counterparts in the AI-controlled reality”.33 Andrew Gordon disagrees with the argument that the distinction between the real world and the matrix becomes blurred saying “this would further confuse the viewer, to no real purpose, in a film which many already found confusing”.34 Instead Gordon interprets the film as promoting the notion that reality wins out over simulation, contending that “The Matrix offers a solution to the problem of simulation whereas Baudrillard believes there is none”.35
            Gordon is correct in that Baudrillard’s work does suggest that it is not a question of recovering some theoretical ground with which to bolster reality. For Baudrillard says that “The reality principle corresponded to a certain stage of the law of value. Today the whole system is swamped by indeterminacy, and every reality is absorbed by the hyperreality of the code and simulation”.36 Even so, contrary to Gordon, Baudrillard does offer theoretical strategies for intervening in this process of the proliferation of simulacra as he claims that “only symbolic disorder can bring about an interruption in the code”.37 One of his strategies is, for example, to push symbolic systems of signification to their limits so that they implode. Furthermore his notion of symbolic intervention and disruption seems to be  particularly pertinent to the interpretation of The Matrix sequels.
            Yet it is during the subway fight sequence in the first film between Agent Smith and Neo that the realism of the matrix is brought into question. As this sparring match reaches its climax Neo plunges into Agent Smith and the code which simulates their actions becomes intertwined. At this moment the code which generates the matrix is made visible and its realism is undermined. Yet the full implication of the changes that have taken place to Neo and Agent Smith do not seem to become apparent until the second and third films.
            In The Matrix Re-loaded, Neo meets the Architect who is the designer of the matrix system. The Architect tells Neo that his design was based on mathematical precision but unfortunately this was undermined by systemic anomalies. The Architect reveals that the Oracle character is a program that was created to study the human psyche. The Oracle found that 99 per cent of all test subjects would accept the matrix as reality if they were allowed to make choices within it. By creating choices however there was a small chance that some subjects would not accept the program and thereby destabilise it. The Architect adds that Neo’s life is itself an anomaly, an imbalance that has caused fluctuations in this otherwise, mathematically perfect, system.  When Neo plunged into Agent Smith towards the end of the first film the imbalance in his matrix code led to a viral mutation. Subsequently Agent Smith became Neo’s opposite as a result of a systemic equation trying to rebalance itself.           
            As a result of Agent Smith’s viral infection, his code proliferates to such a degree that it threatens the system that “he” and the other agents were originally designed to control. It could be argued that the revolution of the third film in the trilogy occurs at the level of signification. For it is in the final sparring match between Neo and Agent Smith, in Machine City, that the matrix is altered. Machine City is a third space between the matrix and the real world. The matrix takes on a the appearance of a deity, a Deus ex Machina, when it converses with Neo in Machine City. Neo explains to the simulated deity that Agent Smith poses a threat to the system because he is proliferating to such a degree that his systemic anomaly is acting like a cancer cell that consumes everything in its path. As a result of this conversation, the simulated deity enables Neo to immerse himself in the matrix once again for a final sparring match with Agent Smith. At first Agent Smith appears to be motivated by a desire to control Neo and gain his powers in the matrix. Agent Smith lunges at Neo but when he does so their codes cancel each other out, their oppositions are resolved. Consequently both Agent Smith and Neo are destroyed. Yet Neo’s death does not lead to the end of the matrix and the restoration of reality for all humanity. The system is still in place at the end of the trilogy but the Architect concedes that those who do not accept the program will be released from it. Nevertheless the possibility remains that another person who rejects the matrix may generate a systemic anomaly. Thus the mathematical perfection of the matrix is potentially vulnerable to disruption. This rather open ending to The Matrix trilogy chimes well with Baudrillard’s concept of the possibility of symbolic systems of signification imploding.              

IV. Conclusion
            Baudrillard’s theoretical strategies for challenging simulation and simulacra change over the years and in later works he emphasises the notion of pushing a signifying system to its extremes so that it implodes. This paper has shown that Baudrillard argues that, in the fractal stage of simulation, operational systems become dysfunctional at some point. Too much information, for example, can result in information overload. According to Baudrillard:

There is a strong possibility, verging on a certainty, that systems will be undone by their own systematicity. This is true not only for technical structures but for human ones as well. The more these political, social, economic systems advance toward their own perfection, the more the deconstruct themselves.38

Baudrillard also claims that no system is ever perfected because the operational aspects of a system can alter either through the process of change or by systemic anomalies. Indeed this discussion has shown that The Matrix trilogy does include reference to system anomalies. So there is the suggestion that the simulated world of the matrix has not been perfected, the simulacrum is not quite equivalent to reality.
            Reality can be explained through different symbolic “formulas”, through scientific analysis, experimental testing and debate however the totality of this realm remains elusive. In other words, whilst description and analysis allows the construction of knowledge about reality there are still limits to this process. A close reading of Baudrillard’s work shows that hyperreality has not been perfected, the simulacrum is not quite equivalent to reality. Furthermore computer viruses, breakdowns and system anomalies prevent the symbolic system that generates hyperreality from becoming totalised. In other words there is still a space for reality to be perceived. There is still a gap between the image and what it represents. If there were no difference between simulacra and reality, if the hyperreal was perfected then there would not be a critical space for such debates about simulation and reality. It seems that Baudrillard’s notion of system anomalies can be read in a positive light because it does provide the space for meaningful debates about reality to take place. So whilst The Matrix trilogy represents the allure of simulation and Cypher’s choice to remain in the illusory world of the matrix, Baudrillard’s later work shows that there are important differences between the symbolic domain of signification and ontological reality. As Baudrillard remarks:
If life is precious, it is because it has no exchange value – because exchanging it for some ultimate value is impossible. The world is that which cannot be traded as currency for any other world above all for a virtual world.39

Melanie Chan graduated in The History and Theory of Art and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University. She also has a Masters Degree in The Social History of Art from The University of Leeds and has recently completed her PhD at Leeds Metropolitan University. She is currently the Research Officer for the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Metropolitan and her research interests cyberspace, cyberpunk and simulation theories.


Endnotes

1 According to Variety, the total box office takings for the film were $430,041,997. www.variety.com [consulted 12-Feb-2007].

2 Jean Baudrillard. “Aesthetic Illusion and Virtual Reality”, in Nicholas Zurbrugg, (Editor) Jean Baudrillard – Art and Artefact, London:  Sage, 1999:19.

3 Mike Gane. Jean Baudrillard: In Radical Uncertainty, London: Pluto Press, 2000 and R. J. Lane.  Jean Baudrillard. London and New York: Routledge, 2000 both provide an overview of Baudrillard’s relationship to the intellectual scene in France during the 1960s.

4 Jean Baudrillard. The Consumer Society (c 1970). London: Sage Publications, 1998:9.

5 Nokia Press Release of 7 May, 1999: http://press.nokia.com/PR/199905/777023_5.html [accessed 22-11-2005]

6 Jean Baudrillard. The Consumer Society (c 1970). London: Sage Publications, 1998:61.

7 Mike Gane points out that chronological interpretations of Baudrillard’s published work are often skewed as the English translations of his work were often published several years after they were published in French.  See Mike Gane. “Introduction” in Jean Baudrillard. Symbolic Exchange and Death, Translated by Iain Hamilton Grant, Sage: London, 1993:8-14. 

8 Jean Baudrillard. Simulations. New York: Semiotext(e), 1983:1.

9 Jean Baudrillard. The Vital Illusion. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000:63.

10 J. S. Boulter. “Partial Glimpses of the Infinite: Borges and the Simulacrum”. Hispanic Review, Volume 69, Number 3 (Summer, 2001):355-377. The short story “Of Exactitude in Science” may be found in J. L. Borges, J.L. A Universal History of Infamy. Allen Lane, London, 1973.

11 J. S. Boulter. Op. Cit.: 356.

12 Jean Baudrillard. Simulations. New York: Semiotext(e), 1983:11.

13 Ibid.:6.

14 Ibid.:1.

15 Gary Genosko. Baudrillard and Signs – Signification Ablaze. London and New York: Routledge, 1994:41.

16 William Merrin. “To Play with Phantoms: Jean Baudrillard and the Evil Demon of The Simulacrum”. Economy and Society, 30 (1), 2001:100.

17 Christopher Norris. Reclaiming Truth – Contribution to a Critique of Cultural Relativism. London: Lawrence and Wishart Ltd, 1996:182.

18 Ibid.:183.

19 Douglas Kellner. Jean Baudrillard: from Marxism to Postmodernism and Beyond. Oxford: Blackwell. 1989:180.

20 Jean Baudrillard. “Aesthetic Illusion and Virtual Reality” in Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor) Baudrillard – Art and Artefact. London: Sage, 1999:27.

21 Jean Baudrillard. The Vital Illusion. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000:63.

22 Jean Baudrillard. The Ecstasy of Communication. Translated by Bernard & Caroline Schutze, New York: Semiotext(e), 1988:63.

23 Jean Baudrillard. The Perfect Crime. New York: Verso, 1996:16.

24 Dino Felluga. “The Matrix: Paradigm of Postmodernism or Intellectual Poseur?” In
G. Yeffeth (Editor), Taking the Red Pill – Science, Philosophy and Religion in The Matrix. Chichester: Summersdale Publishers, 2003:87.

25 Ron Burnett. How Images Think. Cambridge Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 2004:47.

26 Michael Heim. “The Design of Virtual Reality”, in Featherstone, M. and R. Burrows (Editors), Cyberspace, Cyberbodies Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment. London: Sage, 1995:70.

27 Ibid.:70.

28 Sarah E. Worth. “The paradox of real response to neo-fiction”. In: W. Irwin (Editor), The Matrix and Philosophy. Peru Illinois: Open Court Publishing, 2002:184.

29 See W. Irwin (Editor), The Matrix and Philosophy. Peru Illinois, Open Court Publishing, 2002; K. Haber, K. (Editor), Exploring the Matrix – Visions of The Cyber Present. New York: St Martin’s Press, 2003; G. Yeffeth (Editor), Taking the Red Pill – Science, Philosophy and Religion in The Matrix. Chichester: Summersdale Publishers Ltd., 2003;  and A. Wood. “The Collapse of Reality and Illusion in The Matrix”, in Y. Tasker (Editor), Action and Adventure Cinema, London and New York: Routledge, 2004:119-129.

30 A. Wood. “The Collapse of Reality and Illusion in The Matrix”, in Y. Tasker (Editor), Action and Adventure Cinema, London and New York: Routledge, 2004:119).

31 Dino Felluga. “The Matrix: Paradigm of Postmodernism or Intellectual Poseur?” In
G. Yeffeth (Editor), Taking the Red Pill – Science, Philosophy and Religion in The Matrix. Chichester: Summersdale Publishers, 2003:97.

32 Ibid.

33 Ibid.:98.

34 A. Gordon. (2003:121).

35 Ibid.:106.

36 Jean Baudrillard. Symbolic Exchange and Death (c 1976) Translated by Iain Hamilton Grant, Sage: London, 1993:2.

37 Ibid.:4.

38 Jean Baudrillard. The Vital Illusion. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000: 78.

39 Ibid.:28.


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