French thinker, Jean Baudrillard, is a hard to describe dazzling figure. Some “classify” him as a sociologist, cultural theorist, philosopher, scientist, photographer, prophet or even “God.” Conversely, some consider him to be a “philosopher clown”, or not completely sane, “a political idiot … ignorant and cynical” whose writings are too obscure; so many men, so many minds. Yet, don’t we see this hardwired inescapable repetition in the history of humanity, as the world’s greatest minds have always been controversial for the masses? It’s a rhetorical question.
Jean Baudrillard authored more than 60 books that stirred and shook the world, and still do today, by revealing the nature of modern-day “existence”, which is immersed and overwhelmed by peoples’ delusion, misconceptions, and total delirium. His writings cover practically every significant issue, from reality, consumerism, political intricacies, sexuality and history, to the future’s long term prognosis and human beings as such. Baudrillard was a professor at the Paris X Nanterre University and later at the European Graduate School.
Baudrillard and McLuhan in the Social Media Age
Douglas Kellner and Steve Gennaro
In the social media age, our interminable digital identities are works of art, and we are artists. In equal parts performance, photography, film, composition, and graphic design, we write ourselves into stories to depict a virtual existence. At the same time, the “tethered togetherness” (Schroeder, 2018) of the social media age illustrates how digital selves are not a collection of monologues but communal art.
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“In the trompe l’oeil, whether a mirror or painting, we are bewitched by the spell of the missing dimension. It is the latter that establishes the space of seduction and becomes a source of vertigo.”
Seduction, Jean Baudrillard