A VERY BIG PIECE OF PAPER

“The Okhrana, the secret police of the GPU, is reported to have invented a filing system in which every suspect was noted on a large card in the center of which his name was surrounded by a red circle; his political friends were designated by smaller red circles and his nonpolitical acquaintances by green ones; […]

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IS THIS SPIRITUAL WARFARE?

Fifth generation warfare (5GW) is conducted primarily through non-kinetic military action, such as social engineering, disinformation, cyberattacks, and the use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and fully autonomous systems. It is ideological, psychological, biological warfare; at some point it may feature ‘hot’ or even nuclear war. It is all these things; but is it meaningful to characterise it as ‘spiritual’ warfare?

PYROTECHNICS

Ten years after Simulacra and Simulation, as the USA assembled a coalition to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait and geared up for Operation DESERT STORM, Baudrillard published the first of a series of three essays: ‘The Gulf War Will Not Take Place’ (January 1991); followed by ‘The Gulf War is Not Taking Place’ (February 1991); […]

THE DEATH OF GOD

‘Never resist a sentence you like,’ wrote Baudrillard in Cool Memories (1990), and his incandescent style overflows with irresistible sentences. If you interrogate them, however — which is perhaps to ‘misread’ Baudrillard — you find that his beautiful paradoxes mask assumptions and transitions which must be explicit in a valid argument.  Take, for example, the […]

McLUHAN IN MANHATTAN

“The tactic of the terrorist model is to provoke a surplus of reality and to make the whole system collapse under it.” — Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism (2002). ∆ Baudrillard’s work is coolly psychedelic, giving us the same sense of dizzying replication that we love in doppelgänger stories and much science fiction. He was […]

SACRAMENT, MALEFICE, SORCERY

Jean Baudrillard was a French social theorist who became known as a prophet of artificial reality. His most famous work, Simulacra and Simulation (1981), concerns the point at which representation loses connection with reality, and ultimately displaces it, trapping humanity in a synthetic world of copies of copies, images without originals, references without referents: a closed circuit of artificiality, where that word loses all meaning since it’s all there is. He defines the stages through which simulation must pass to arrive at our present moment, and projects a world which is neither real nor unreal, but hyperreal.

ENTER THE PSEUDO-GANG

Dissimulation has been at the heart of the terrorist tactic from the beginning. If you terrorise people, you will only solidify the political resistance against your aims — making it impossible for officials to entertain your demands. Terrorism, therefore, is not an effective tool, and terrorists rarely realise their aims. It is only effective when […]

BAUDRILLARD at the BATACLAN

DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD “The tactic of the terrorist model is to provoke a surplus of reality and to make the whole system collapse under it.” Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism (2002). ∆ Jesse Hughes: I knew right then and there it was gonna be bad, and I knew that these kids had no idea what was […]

BAUDRILLARD IN BRABANT

THE MURDEROUS CAPACITY OF IMAGES In Simulacra and Simulation — 1981 — Baudrillard was announcing, not predicting, the ‘death of the real’. He ironically reveres Disneyland, which he says ‘is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding […]

BAUDRILLARD in BANGKOK

Magritte, La Trahison des Images (The Treachery of Images), 1929 ∆ A simulacrum is a likeness, image or effigy; bearing a superficial similarity to its original, it is a placeholder or sign for the real thing, a representation rather than a replication. The instrumental suffix -crum signifies something which might be used in a simulation, […]