Art in the Age of Essay

Total Length: 2001 words ( 7 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 5

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Similarly, the phases of the image evolves from art reflecting basic reality, through three progressive stages that culminate in art that has no relation to reality at all. The same happens with utopian and science fiction writing. The first stage requires no such writing, as the world is viewed as utopian in its current state. The second stage recognizes the world as imperfect, and compensates for this by means of romantic dreams (Mann). The third stage revolves around technological dreams such as robots and machines, while the final stage once again culminates in an end to science fiction: the hyperreal absorbs science fiction into a new genre related to the Internet and other types of mass media.

There are many examples of the hyperreal in the modern media. Perhaps the most striking of these is entertainment centers such as Disney World. These worlds are presented as reality to visitors, who willingly suspend their disbelief. All the senses are immersed in these experiences. The "rides" are for example designed in such a way to involve both the sense of sight and the other senses, simulating the reality of the experience to such a degree that it becomes difficult not to believe.

Films such as The Matrix is another example of hyperreality. The audience suspend their disbelief on the basis of the initial presentation of the firm: a world dominated by computer and Internet technology. The audience is then presented with a further, deeper, "more real" reality towards a world dominated by robots.
The presentation of the film makes the experience both emotionally engaging and real. At the end of the film, audience members are almost tempted to try to "fly" themselves. Baudrillard's concepts are then both a critique and a celebration of modern media. On the one hand, the creative and integrative power of such media have the capacity to provide social commentary and criticism. On the other hand, it also has the capacity to isolate human beings without their awareness.

By culminating in the hyperreal, the media have realized the dreams of both Benjamin and Baudrillard. In terms of the former, the media have become a true channel for the connection of artists and the public. Indeed, today there is little distinction between the public and the media. This has culminated in the media as a true vehicle for the extension of humanity, as envisioned by McLuhan. Indeed, the media has evolved far beyond the expectations of both philosophers.


Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." 1936.***/JC15folder/WalterBenjamin.html

Kazis, Richard. "Benjamin's age of mechanical reproduction." Jump Cut, no. 15, 1977.

Mann, Doug. "Jean Baudrillard: A Very Short Introduction." 2009.

Oberly, Nicolas. "Reality, Hyperreality." Winter, 2003.

The Philosophical Society. "An Overview of McLuhan's Thinking." 2009.'s%20Philosophy.htm.....

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