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Volume 18, 2017

Kurt R. Cline
Pages 87-93

“A Quotation from Baudrillard”
J. G. Ballard and the Psycho-Phenomenology of Media in Everyday Life

J. G. Ballard (1930-2009) and Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) were very much contemporaries. They closely shadow one another’s views, the one from an artistic, the other from a philosophical perspective, on the effects of technology, particularly media, upon human psychology. With the twenty-first century Baudrillard saw a media implosion as assuming critical mass. The media plays a role in the shaping of our apparent reality, but is itself only simulacrum, bearing no true resemblance to anything but subsuming everything in its voracious hunger for novelty. Ballard demonstrates the psycho-sexual dimensions of psychopathy resultant from becoming caught in a feedback loop, lost in the media labyrinth that has become inseparable from our determinations of reality. The actuality and the story constructed about it, now indistinguishable from one another, have become dangerous doppelgangers. The masters have become the slaves. Fear is exacerbated in the polis by manipulation through mass media, which condemns violence and at the same time lives upon it like a vampire. The psychopathy of the modern mediated subject is linked to an overstimulation by mass media, diffracted through the prostheses which have come to define the limits of our imagination.

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