The Matrix

Jean Baudrillard’s Concepts of Simulacrum and Hyper-Reality Across Media: Strange Days, The Matrix, and White Noise College

A number of texts that define themselves within the post- modern category have attempted to capture the essence of Jean Baudrillard’s concepts of simulacrum and hyper- reality. Simulacrum can be described as ‘something having merely the form or appearance of a certain thing without possessing its substance or proper qualities’[1], and hyper- reality is similar in that it is ‘the state of consciousness that renders you unable to distinguish reality from a simulation, especially in postmodern societies’. Baudrillard goes into detail on each concept in his text Simulacra and Simulations (1981) while also giving practical examples of their place within the world today, mainly through the use of Disneyland. However, perhaps the most famous example of these concepts being displayed within an artistic text is the film The Matrix (1999), although many critics, including Baudrillard himself, have expressed concerns over the film’s ability to accurately apply these terms, specifically with regards to hyper- realism. Another cinematic example is Kathryn Bigelow’s film Strange Days (1995) that, much like The Matrix, explores hyperrealism through the use of technology. Literary texts have also attempted to convey the concepts of Baudrillard...

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