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ISSN: 1705-6411

Volume 4, Number 3 (October, 2007).

Special Issue: Remembering Baudrillard

The End of Baudrillard and the End of Reality1


David Lomax
(Hawkins\Brown Website)

            In March, philosopher and cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard passed away. Much overlooked by many architects, he had a lot to say which was more directly relevant to the field than the more fashionable (inaccessible?) French school of Derrida and the deconstructivists. His line of thinking comes more from the fin de siecle observation of modernity and the phenomenology of Barthes, whose book Mythologies shares many themes with Baudrillard’s writing.
            Baudrillards concept of hyperreality can hold many lessons for designers, in that it describes the way that value is ascribed to the things we produce in many other ways outside of their functional performance. His argument is that this value system might make reality redundant.
            Think of architects such as Rem Koolhaus or FOA, the vast majority of whose work exists only on paper. Are the spaces we create relevant in themselves in a world where most of us consume architecture through the pages of a magazine rather than in person? Baudrillard describes “collections” (a magazine for example), as one way the modern world determines the value of one product against another. A shirt by Prada is worth more than one of the same performance in the Primark collection. There is a lot more to be learned from his work. Often paraphrased by popular culture, Baudrillard's writings were the foundation for sci-fi classic The Matrix, much to his chagrin.

© David Lomax and Hawkins/Brown website


1 This article appeared on the Hawkins\Brown website on April 20, 2007: http://www.hawkinsbrown.co.uk/blog/blog.php?id=April%202007



© International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (2007)

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