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ISSN: 1705-6411

Volume 4, Number 1 (January 2007)

The Indifference of Space1

Jean Baudrillard
(Paris, France)

Translated by Sheena Cleland

Introduction by Francesco Proto
(Graduate School of Critical Theory, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom).

Foreword by Mike Gane
(Loughborough University, Leicestershire, United Kingdom).

 


I.
Philosophy As A Commodity: Mode d’Emploi  
(Introduction by Francesco Proto)

One should build only those things which by their excellence

are worthy of being destroyed.2

Maybe just a supernova at the highest point of energy emission – before the final implosion into an unlimited gravitational mass – architecture represents the most dazzling, and for this reason almost invisible body of evidence left by the technological society in its attempt to get rid of reality. This exquisite corpse – sort of Dadaist, accidental recombination – succeeded the dismemberment, lyofilization and centrifugation of culture, this singular object that we conventionally define as architecture: is the sweet scent of decomposition3  starting to affect it yet? Or, following the destiny of all of the discourses and meta discourses of our era – art, advertising, politics, philosophy, in other words, the redundant, germless and sanitized counterfeit of social meaning and culture played and showed in controlled social areas – has it already been turned into the embalmed ghost of its own reflection?

For even the advent of post-structuralism in architecture, and the consequent attempt at dismantling the illusory coherence of its surface seems to be incapable of exceeding a melancholic faith in technology as an ‘automatic’ means for passive interactivity. So that the eruption of fragmentation, the aspiration to a self-destructive architectural organism, the theorization of totally incoherent systems – which led Bernard Tschumi to the sympathetic collaboration with the French philosopher Jacques Derrida for the Parc de la Villette in Paris – seems to be finally developing into the very question postmodern thought has tried to avoid: the confusion of “surface” with “superficial”.

Starting with a wide-ranging conversation with the French architect Jean Nouvel, in which a variety of topics is initially proposed and discussed (chapter 1), this book has been conceived as a circular pathway in which the complex entwining of issues and theoretical perspectives – following an assemblage for large thematic areas respectful of its original source – is finally revealed through the mutual relation between the unpredictable implications from different sections.

Thus, if the mimicking of road movies, which forms the basis of Baudrillard’s writing strategy in America, has been associated with the travel narrative of Cool Memories (chapter 2)4, the illusory game of urban utopias (Pompidou Centre, Le Parc de la Villette or the Bonaventure Hotel) – indifferent object-cause of towns’ desertification (chapter 3) – anticipates the fatal turning of this same game into the negative universe of Simulations (chapter 4), where illusion is split (positive and negative illusion) and juxtaposed while ranging from large (Disneyland, Pompeii) to small (Duke of Urbino’s studiolo, baroque stucco) architectural objects. In this same chapter, where the hyperreality of contemporary culture is discussed as mirrored in the hallucinogenic doubling of the World Trade Center, Baudrillard’s analysis provides the presuppositions for which the “effigy of capitalist system …, by the grace of terrorism, …has [now] become the world’s most beautiful building – the eighth wonder of the world!”5:

The violence of globalization also involves architecture, and hence the violent protest against it also involves the destruction of that architecture …These architectural monsters, like the Beaubourg Centre in Paris, have always exerted an ambiguous fascination, as have the extreme forms of modern technology – a contradictory feeling of attraction and repulsion, and hence, somewhere, a secret desire to see them disappear. In the case of the Twin Towers, something particular is added: precisely their symmetry and their twinness. There is, admittedly in this cloning and perfect symmetry, an aesthetic quality, a kind of perfect crime against form, a tautology of form which can give rise, in a violent reaction, to the temptation to break the symmetry, to restore an asymmetry, and hence a singularity. …

 

Were the Twin Towers destroyed, or did they collapse? Let us be clear about this: …the architectural object was destroyed, but it was the symbolic object which was targeted and which it was intended to demolish…

 

But there is more: somewhere, it was party to its own destruction. The countless disaster movies bear witness to this fantasy, which they attempt to exorcize with images and special effects. But the fascination they exert is a sign that acting-out is never far away – the rejection of any system, including internal rejection, growing all the stronger as it approaches perfection or omnipotence…

 

This brings us back to what should be the basic question for architecture, which architects never formulate. Is it normal to build and construct? In fact it is not, and we should preserve the absolutely problematic character of the undertaking. Undoubtedly, the task of architecture – of good architecture – is to efface itself, to disappear as such. The towers, for their part, have disappeared. But they have left us the symbol of their disappearance as symbol. They, which were the symbol of omnipotence, have become, by their absence, the symbol of the possible disappearance of that omnipotence – which is perhaps an even more potent symbol. Moreover, although the two towers have disappeared, they have not been annihilated. Even in their pulverized space, they have left behind an intense awareness of their presence. No one who knew them can cease imagining them and the imprint they made on the skyline from all points of the city. Their end in material space has borne them off into a definitive imaginary space.

Probably the least evident side of Disneyfication, the terrorist attack – in proving the “degeneration of the cinematographic illusion” into the catastrophic effects of Simulation – poses itself, behind Disneyland, as “a parody of the world of the imagination”. If further news on the terrorists’ failed attempts have in fact revealed “an unusual Hollywoodean scenario” (after the World Trade Center became the protagonist of King Kong’s latest remake, an order was given from Afghanistan ‘to strike the [Brooklyn] bridge of Godzilla’s movie’)6 the consumption of places, in the form of mythological images, looks as if it has finally turned architecture into a physical support of contemporary myths, a physical place for symbolic exchange made possible by the turning of the building itself into a mega logo advertising its own presence and activity.

The reversal of the analysis from the consumption of places to the places of consumption is thus set out in chapter 5, where hypermarkets, hyper commodities, advertising and the desire of the masses for culture as a fatal instrument of self-attributed identity comes to the fore. In this respect, if chapter 6 provides a survey of late/post-modernist conceptual overturning and misinterpretation of modernist principles of progress and technique, in chapter 7 de-materialization is identified as the possible achievement, by architecture, to recover those characteristics of challenging complicity that everywhere, and anyway, seduction has lost in the maze of diffused and disarticulated jouissance.

The final interview, and the following essay by Broadfoot and Butler, which close the book, represent and suggest, a possible, personal interpretation of a body of work whose devastating time-bomb effect in architecture is yet to come.
 

II. Consuming Signs (Foreword by Mike Gane)

The most important French thinker of the past twenty years here casts his critical eye on architecture. The result is an astonishingly brilliant reading of the modern physical environment from Sydney to Paris, from Istanbul to New York, from Rio to Bangkok. Baudrillard was quick to notice the significance of the Pompidou Centre, the Bonaventure Hotel, and the World Trade Center as crucial sites of the cultural logic of modernity and postmodernity. Baudrillard’s precision of observation is accompanied by an evolving philosophical position which unfailingly picks up radical indications of a new global culture. Thus this collection is not eclectic, or the simple jottings of a traveling academic. It is an essential component of one of the key intellectual trajectories of our time.

Francesco Proto has served us admirably with this selection. Certainly Baudrillard has always been interested in “objects”. Unlike “commodities” which carry “exchange” value, for Baudrillard objects in the modern cultural system carry “sign” value as well, and that is why images, logos, styles predominate today, and when they do we can be sure that we are living in a consumer society. It is Baudrillard’s primary thesis that the logics of consumer societies are remarkably radical, and he has become famous as the principal theorist of this radicality, and one of the most imaginative of its opponents. He was one of the first to notice how a hypermarket can disarticulate an urban centre. Thus as can be seen in this collection his own reception of new architectural objects has hardly been uniformly celebratory. His writing on modern and postmodern culture is subtle and  varied. Each encounter is reported with a freshness of experience often captured in a mode of writing, which, while critical, is also expressly poetic. But Baudrillard does not aim to produce a new aesthetic. What he writes is an analysis of the fracturing of an aesthetic, the shift towards the transaesthetic.

Theory, poetry, analysis, critique, transaesthetic. Central to the reading of this collection is the quality of Baudrillard’s language and conceptual invention. Certainly Baudrillard is the author of a major contribution to the theoretical understanding of the modern world. Throughout these writings the focus is surely maintained: the experience of the world has changed, and a new terminology is thus urgently required. Baudrillard draws on new developments in art and technology with key ideas such as “hyperreality”, “virtualization”, and so on, since one of his essential propositions is that in the modern world the whole relation with “the real” is fundamentally altered. This change is paradoxical, for at the same time the world is reconfigured virtually, reality itself, in what Baudrillard calls a move into “simulation”, seems to have swallowed its images, its logos, so that we can no longer think of it independently from them. The world, including the practices of architecture and urban planning are not exempt. Baudrillard counter poses against this logic a complex anthropological and philosophical idea of how successful cultures work by ritual, seclusion, ceremony, seduction.

Had Baudrillard produced only a theory, however radical, it is doubtful whether he would be so widely read. The most remarkable aspect of Baudrillard’s work is the way in which the writing never appears as the application of a fixed and complete theoretical dogma, but always as the playful invention of a quite new adventure. It is this quality of the poetically encountered world which is so striking. It is the direct result of his view that writing should not aim to capture the real world, but should exist as its poetic challenge. His view of a viable architecture today would, it seems, be the same. Ultimately he is one of the very few writers able to walk between conservatism and modernism with a degree of integrity.
 

III. The Indifference of Space (Jean Baudrillard)

Le Parc de la Villette

After the vertical, modern and maximalist hyperrealism of the great cultural ensembles, here we have the horizontal, minimal, conceptual and postmodern hyperrealism of La Villette. Nobody really manages to create a clean sheet, nor to deliver a deconstructed conceptual space, divested of the dead connotations of architecture and of everyday life. Why not leave room for total illusion, why not build a gigantic camera obscura, where we can pass from the other side of the lens (through which we are seen, through which the object sees us), or indeed a gigantic hologram, through which we can pass into the light, having become our own allegory of light, and ourselves become bright corpuscles? On Alice’s chessboard, through the looking-glass, anything can happen from one square to another.

The more everyday life is eroded and popularized, and becomes banal and interactive, the more it has to be countered by objects, or by complex and initiatory rules of the game. The more reality (of architecture, of the subject, of everyday life, of art) is reconciled with its concept in a generality with no object, the more we need to make the initial break and seek the power of illusion. If we cannot make the world the object of our desires, we can at least make it the object of a higher convention, which indeed evades our desire (phew!). Every illusion, every initiation is governed by strict rules. Every new object must fulfill all the simultaneous dimensions of the game which made up the raft of Caillois’ categories. To find all the dimensions of the game – the aleatory, the vertiginous, the agonic and the allegorical – in a single one. To recompose the spectrum. A work of art, an object, a park, a piece of architecture or anti-architecture, a crime, an event, a journey – they should be an allegory of something, a challenge to someone. They should bring in an element of chance, and give you vertigo.

The initiation resolutely opposes the juxtaposition of things. It is an irreversible course. No one knows where it’s leading, but one knows that, no more than in any game, it is not a contract to be negotiated and reconciled – it’s a pact. One does not meander around a chessboard the same way one might browse on a computer terminal or stroll around a sports pitch. There is not a postmodern version of chess, or of seduction, or of any other game. Or rather there is exactly that: there is a rash of postmodern games, but they are no longer games of initiation, they are interactive games, tactical or playful games – and that’s something else. And perhaps architecture too has become “something else”; perhaps it has given up the architectural pact? Is there an architectural pact? A pact of initiation, which changes the coordinates of reality and illusion, a line beyond which visitors (for example, to Tschumi’s park) find themselves initiated into another space, seduced by an object other than their own everyday behaviour (albeit synthesized and multiplied, but what does it matter if the suburbs find a second home here? This summary is condescending: the suburb is an original universe which does not need to be repatriated, it needs no zoological gardens). I would say the same, in a rash and cavalier extrapolation, of the object, of the mass, of the world as such: these are original things which don’t need to be justified, repatriated, over-interpreted or staged (especially not by architecture, which above all should take care to be an immanent and irrevocable object).

Fortunately, parks are still made for shadows. What is a park without the shadows circulating within it? Delicious abstractions that tell of the passionate life of the world around them (it’s already a long way away), which tell of the passions and pleasures of architecture along the diagonal paths and the cinematic promenades – but they are jealous shadows best avoided.

It’s always the same problem: architecture, like teaching or power, tries to fade into the background in order to let unknown truths, social realities and creativity be seen, so that they may come to the fore and express themselves. One puts in place a floating signifier, floating rules of the game, so that sense and acts can flourish freely. Put in place a deconstructed network, a screen of deconstruction which leaves a hypothetical subject the autonomy to invent particular rules of the game. But such rules are never neat, nor are they anyone’s property. This is a utopia. One must count on the inevitable reversal of every model, whatever it may be, especially as there are more and more things which are quite simply unimaginable, and they are already there in everyday life, often more solidly and gratifyingly real than in any artistic or imaginary project.

Whatever it may be, no piece of architecture, no project can take into account this distortion, perversion and subtle form of seduction that is the very power of the object. This antagonism can only come from elsewhere, from a blind spot; here from a public too gross to even know what it wants. Plainly, its deconstruction is certainly not the same as that of the programme. And this is not an objection to the programme, as it cannot respond to the opening gambit that plays out at the level of the object and of the enigmatic partnership. The object itself is always a bit like the monster in Alien that roams the passages of the spacecraft. It becomes strong, deep down inside, to absorb the bad vibrations.

The ensemble of La Villette cannot be detached from the ensemble of urban monsters that have sprung up in the past or are yet to come. Beaubourg remains their prototype and corresponds to the modern destiny of architecture. That is of course not the intention, but the way things turn out closer to Roissy than to the Louvre even when they are labeled art, culture or museums. They are still at the epicenter of a heavy utopia, a heavy culturalism, which cannot get out of its own shadow.

The park of La Villette seems to portray a lighter utopia, one that is an osmosis of all activities, fulfilling the function of a sort of social chlorophyll. It absorbs toxins, regenerates cells and the ambient air by oxygenation. But it is also an object that does not look out over the city, but has become the city once more, in the sense that it would once again become possible to move there. That’s just not possible elsewhere, where we do nothing but go round and round in circles. A place where walking, looking, playing and resting become in themselves ‘follies’ and fantasy. A recreational space, and not a flow converter. A diverter, not a converter.

One can imagine La Villette and its grounds like a modern, 21st-century cloister. Cloisters and monasteries too encompass whole cities and their activities; yet remain quite distinct from the town and the world. They impose a contemplative stroll, they preserve ordered, “regular” movement, and they do not open onto secular confusion. They assume the constraints of work and the world, but they are close to the sudden freedom to walk, think and rest that was found in the cloister. La Villette can be seen as a cloister, where its paths are the ambulatory, its follies are the chapels, and its gardens are the diverticulum. A dream… of course, on the horizon can be seen the somber mass of the Museum of Arts and Crafts, the bunker cathedral which already belongs to another reign, that of the clergy, and the end of the cloister; and La Géode, which so resembles a transparent bubble enveloping the vicious demons of Hieronymus Bosch; and La Halle, which has probably seen more blood flow than all the battles of the Middle Ages.

In Beaubourg, the architecture still contains a cultural polysemy, a social apprenticeship to culture. There is still a modern utopia of culture. Even if it is on sale at a massive discount there, it does not yet blend into a pure and simple lifestyle scenario. It is still a mausoleum. But everything leads us to believe that we shall continue to advance inexorably towards a blend of culture and life, towards a denial by culture itself of its distinctive traits, and the many attempts to adapt works of art, architecture in particular, to the social banality of behaviour will always tend in this direction. In this sense, the ensemble of La Villette can appear, in its entirety, like a zoo of everyday life. We no longer seek to create an exceptional object that is unusual, transcendent, that electrifies the imagination. Instead, we create a synoptic anthology of urban walkways and urban living, the epitome of experimental cohabitation.

Here lies the problem. In this inevitable crushing erosion of cultural relief, in this progressive slide towards pure and simple verification of the social, and the indifference of society towards its own culture, what is the destiny of architecture, if it fancies itself as the indecipherable hieroglyphic script of a lust for power that exceeds all social uses? Inventing a public space is indeed a grand design. But what’s the point of wanting to recreate it in an enclosed space that is designated and protected (whatever it may be) while the whole problem is that public space is disappearing in the rest of the city? Failing that, why not preserve the idea of public space and open a museum of public space? All the actors and characters are there at La Villette. It’s got the ghosts of architecture, of the city, of culture, technology and art, laid out in a more complete and intelligent manner. But where’s the drama? We get the impression we’re watching repeats of overly tame sequences and special effects in closed circuit stereo. There is too much capillarity, too much osmosis, too many transitions and communicating vessels, too much lubrication and too much interaction. The smallest common denominator of madness and delirium. In reality, in the same way as Los Angeles goes far beyond Disneyland in kitsch novelty, the real devastated spaces are all around in the city and they are far more deconstructed than the Museum of Ideal Deconstruction that they surround. The park and the museum seek to disguise and exorcise the devastation and desertification of the town. But the real picture is that of the devastated city, and the real drama is between that and the Ideal City.
 

Urbanism and Architecture

Is there such a thing as an architectural pact? A pact of initiation, that which changes the coordinates of reality and illusion, a form by which we will be initiated into another space, seduced by an object other than the urban and functional décor of our everyday behaviour?

In the past, things were threatened by their doubles. Now, in a way, things are threatened by their second homes. Museums are second homes for works of art. Shopping malls and forums are second homes for goods and exchange values. Zoos are second homes for animals. Free spaces are second homes for spontaneity. Erotic chat-rooms are second homes for sexuality. All screens in general are second homes for images and imagination. Has architecture itself not become a second home for space?

That is to say in trying to save an endangered symbolic space, to paper over the cracks in operational urban space, we make it basically a spatial asylum. We guard against the psychosis threatening us all with the mild neurosis of space. The danger is that architecture may be lost as a form and may become a mere spatial therapy.

In its most recent forms, architecture is already becoming transparent, mobile, flexible and interactive. It almost tries to disappear in order to let a hypothetical mass creativity show through. It replaces the immaterial with floating rules of the game, a screen of deconstruction which leaves the subjects quite free to invent their own game rules. Besides, architecture is not the only thing to give way to this interactive utopia of exchange and playful recreation: all art, politics and virtual technology is going in this direction. But the rules of the game do not belong to anyone. Every model, every project must inevitably expect to be thwarted. If the architect is indeed the conceiving subject, he is never master of the city or the masses, nor of the architectural object itself and its use. If you create high cultural definition television, the public will use it in a vulgar and simplistic way. If you give it vulgar television, the public will use it in a complex or casual way. Thus it would be the free subject, the autonomous actor it was supposed to be. The public would seek its autonomy as much in inferiority as in superiority to the model. One is no better than the other, so there is never any constitutive or deconstructive cultural state. And there is no reason why any individual or the public should not oppose an intelligent choice just as resolutely as a stupid one. If you install rigid structures, they will invent flexibility. But if you propose flexibility, they will invent something else – just as children do with their toys. That reaction, this malign inflection, this perverse effect cannot be built into any forecast, even those that can accommodate very subtly the technological and philosophical imagination of their time. This turnaround is nothing to do with architectural engineering, it is the effect of the ill will that is engineered behind all objects.

But then on what terrain of new individual and collective desires can an architectural project now open? All spaces have been colonized; not just all geographical spaces but all mental ones too. All phantasms have been sought out, brought back to life and then frozen. The two hemispheres of our brains have been beatified and fossilized in turn. Walt Disney inaugurated an era of infantile paralysis of the imagination, and this virus threatens all enterprises, in that they can no longer be reclaimed from an individual or collective imagination projected onto its own desires. That distortion comes from this floating blind spot, from this very powerlessness of the public to sense what they want; it comes from this subtle way of seducing all projects, this antagonistic power of the object that can only come from elsewhere. The programme, the architectural calculation is always a contract, and it can only fulfill the terms of its contract. But it cannot respond to the symbolic architectural pact – this unfortunate phase where it runs into material things like accidents, resistance, blind denial, ill will, indifference and strong feelings against it. The programme (all programmes: not only architectural ones, but political, cultural and economic programmes) seeks to circumvent this bad part, to distil it in homeopathic doses, even to use it as an inverse energy. It’s a necessary illusion. But can the bad part have its own architecture? Architecture cannot just seek to be an ideal allegory of the city, it cannot conceptualize the bad part. This is what takes over architecture despite itself, and makes its products monstrosities – literally unidentifiable objects, experimental coups de théâtre in a city itself devoted to the theme of town planning.

Architecture in its ambitious form no longer builds anything but monsters, in that they no longer testify to the integrity of a town, but to its disintegration; not to its organic nature, but to its disorganization. They do not give rhythm to the town and its exchanges, they are dumped on it like space debris “fallen from some unknown disaster”. Neither central nor peripheral, they describe a false centrality and around them a false sphere of influence. In reality, they bear witness to the satellisation of urban existence. Their attraction is the way in which tourists are amazed and their function, like interchanges in general (airports, motorways, hypermarkets) is as a place of expulsion, extradition and urban ecstasy. Furthermore, Beaubourg remains the prototype of this modern architectural destiny, which marginal groups and subculture come looking for above all: an empty ecstasy, a cosmopolitan strike, something to leech off. 111

            Beaubourg, but also La Défense, the Forum and La Villette: these are no longer influential or contemplative objects, but places of absorption and excretion, flow converters, input-output devices (gigantic celibate machines, no longer lustful!). They seem less emanations and evocations of the city than refugees from a universal exhibition, witnesses to the cosmopolitan and unmeasured movement of our societies.

On this note I would like to recall a good example from about ten years ago – the cleaning strike at Beaubourg. This strike, the revenge of the little people, quickly transformed the cultural space of Beaubourg into a gigantic rubbish space. Now at that very time there was an exhibition taking place on waste. You might say that the Centre the strikers transformed into an accidental dumping ground went far beyond the banal exhibition on show inside as a demonstration object. Of course nobody dared say that it was the strike that was the real cultural performance and the strikers the Centre’s real artists – but they were, because they alone illustrated the prevailing cultural state of the city.

Such is the current pathology of architecture. But, paradoxically, such is also the original effect of these kinds of extraterrestrial objects that telescope the city in an unforeseen manner. Because ultimately, it is perhaps a good thing that all the intentions underlying the Beaubourg project were contradicted by the object. There is a sort of revenge to it. Based on a positive outlook (culture, participation, communication), in the end the project was completely crossed by the reality, indeed hyperreality of the object. Instead of being contextual, it created empty space around itself and became a sort of black body. With its flexible, unqualitative, dispersed spaces and its transparency, it was supposed to be in step with modern culture. In fact, it ran into an accumulation which, by its massive response, came to obscure all these intentions. The object no longer fulfils its objective; contradiction came savagely into play. Thus the object (both the building and the mass) has an inhumanity that contradicts all the project’s humanist intentions. This reversal will have been a sort of destiny for Beaubourg. And no architecture can hope to evade it. Perhaps we should rather exploit this surprise; rediscover this paradox, this enigma, this radical surprise that can only come from the object?

Koolhaus’s book (Delirious New York) contained a very good idea in this regard: it was a vision of the Coney Island theme park as an architectural project for Manhattan – a kind of super-production that had become the apex of architecture (or anti-architecture). It is the precession of the object over the project: something happened there that passed the architects by. Thus, an ultimately admirable architecture was built on foundations that were a priori atrocious and inhuman. The object needs to escape from its creator to become brilliant in itself and reach out to users. This is the price of architecture escaping from functional indifference.

We are all gamblers. What we desire most intensely is that the inexorable procession of rational connection cease for a while. That there be installed, even for a short time, an unheard-of unravelling of another kind, a marvellous escalation of events, an extraordinary succession, as if predestined, of the smallest details, to the point where we think that things – until now maintained artificially at a distance through a contract of succession and causality – suddenly find themselves, not delivered over to chance, but converging spontaneously, concurring through their very connection in this self-same intensity.7

 

Everything is round in the end. The earth is round and, in the world of imagination, there should also be an inevitable curvature which resists all flattening, all linearity, all programming.

Another effect of the monstrosity of these super-objects, of these object-models, is that the city and the whole urban context become remnants and waste products. That is the result of the global enterprise of ideal programming, of artificial modelling of the world, the specialization and centralization of functions that the modern metropolis obviously symbolizes, and of the world-wide extension of these artificial ensembles. In producing these model cities, these model functions, we make all the rest waste, residue, a useless vestige. If you build a motorway, supermarket or super city, you automatically make everything around it into desert. If you create ultra-fast automatic networks, or fixed circulation, you immediately make all traditional exchange space a deserted area. The same is true of motorways, which create a desert of land around them. It will be the same with the information superhighway, which will result in a future desert, a communications sub-underworld of all the informatically excluded and exiled, to say nothing of the mental desert made of all the brains put out of technical work by artificial intelligence networks. On a far grander scale, these will be the descendants of the exiles from the world of work who are today’s millions of unemployed.


Endnotes

1 This paper is Chapter Three from Francesco Proto’s Mass, Identity, Architecture: The Architectural Writings of Jean Baudrillard. London: John Wiley and Sons, (2nd Edition), 2006. See: http://ca.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470090197.html It is preceded here by Proto’s Introduction to the second edition and Mike Gane’s foreword to the book. Reprinted with permission.

2 Jean Baudrillard. The Spirit of Terrorism. London: Verso, 2003:6.

3 This expression has been borrowed from Zygmunt Bauman’s essay in Chris Rojek and Bryan S. Turner (Editors), Forget Baudrillard? London: Routledge, 1993:22.

4 All references to chapters are to those in: Mass, Identity, Architecture: The Architectural Writings of Jean Baudrillard. London: John Wiley and Sons, 2006.

5 The following text, an a posteriori discussion of the World Trade Center in the light of the events that occurred on 11 September 2001, confirms Baudrillard’s hypothesis of the building as a symbolic epicentre of Western society’s implosion into the depthless metaphors of both economic and information systems. This quotation, from Baudrillard’s “Requiem for the Twin Towers” (in The Spirit of Terrorism, London: Verso, 2003:45-49, 50-52) is here offered as a final comment on this singular object which closes the series of analysis that, further exposed, appears in different excerpts.

6Bin Laden was inspired by Cinema”. Il Messaggero, 16 June 2003:15.

7 Jean Baudrillard. Fatal Strategies London: Pluto, 1990:153.

 


©International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (2006)

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