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Baurillard & hyperreality
L/O: to understand (the theory of)
hyperreality and be able to apply this
theory to case studies
Part One: Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007)
Baudrillard was a controversial Philosopher
whose main ideas and concepts have been
used to understand the effect of living in a
Postmodern environment on our
perceptions of reality.
His most important book "Simulacra and
Simulations" became the basis of the Matrix
Simulations and Simulacra
Hyperreality – good definition
• In semiotics and postmodernism, hyperreality is an inability of
consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality,
especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies.
– In other words: you can’t tell the difference between what’s real and
what’s a simulation of real
• The effect of Postmodernism on the Audience can be extensive
and can alter our perceptions of the media and reality as the
media and reality merge.
• Baudrillard defined ``hyperreality'' as ``the generation by models of
a real without origin or reality ``, it is a representation, a sign,
without an original referent.
• There is no truth
• Hyperreality: it’s more real than real, to the
• Baurillard argues there is nothing underneath
illusion, just other illusions.
– Copy, copy, copy
Some main ideas
Simulation and signs
• Recent Example (easy way to understand):
• 1. Picture of Kim Kardashian
• 2. Manipulated photos and put on FB
• 3. Photos get shared with comments
• 4. Meme’s (copies and been taken out
• 1. image of God
• 2. Name or image that re-represents (symbolises
• 3. Talk of God
• 4. God is a simulation
What happens when you have
• 1. Fakes
• 2. Reduplicating signs
(losing the real)
• 3. Hyperreality and
simulation (real is
• Sign = can have meaning
of the real
• If God can be simulated
(made up of signs which
create faith) isn’t this just
all simulacrum (non
• *what could be the
controversies with this?
• DL is imaginary so we
believe the rest is real
• LA is no longer real
Simulations and Simulacra
• Media represent reality and
in doing so change it to make
it more visual and fun.
• However what happens when
we start to believe that this
"Simulation" is actual reality?
We live in a world of simulacra and
The more artificial and simulated, the further
away from reality we get – where things are
hyperreal because reality is lost
-more ‘real than real’
-think of ‘designer dogs’ and ‘designer babies’
• The effect of living in Simulacra is……..
a distorted sense of reality or Hyperreality.
Activity: Chinese Drawings
• You will each get told to draw an object, then
you pass it on and that person draws that
object, you pass it on again…..
• How far from the original are the 2, 3, 4
Key Term: Hyperreality
Was first described by the
Philosopher Jean Baudrillard were
he suggested that the media can
now create such idealistic
representations of reality that out
perform actual reality.
The audience is left feeling
depressed as they're own life
doesn't live up to artificial reality.
Baudrillard and Aspirational TV
• How can we see the hyperreal world of TV
advertising as a simulation of Reality?
• What effects will this have on the public?
– How has aspirational tv/media changed?
– What was difference in 80’s vs now? Examples?
– What’s the effect of this type of media?
Baudrillard and the Media (war)
• Baudrillard wrote an article
called "The Gulf War did not
take place" which was very
• In it he suggests that the
Media set the agenda on the
narrative of war - the war we
saw on TV did not match real
(they don’t show all truths (restricted truths) therefore
this limits knowledge/power)
War and hyperreality
• Fact/reality: US lost the
• Films represent it as though
– Representation of
– Representation of
• The more we see these re-
representations the further the
truth is (hyperreality!!!!)
How does this relate to idea
about recreation of stories in
film and new target audiences?
Other war events?
• How can we use Baudrillard's ideas to
understand recent events such as ISIS?
Bowling for Columbine
Think of what is NOT on TV
• On going conflicts NOT on TV news agenda
Social Media & Charity
• ALS ice bucket challenge and no make up selfie’s
• What is the agenda of these charities?
• How do they represent/portray the ‘victims’?
• What do they encourage you to do and why?
• What are the positives/negatives of the campaigns?
• Do they make a difference?
• What was the backlash of the campaigns? (debate)
• How can we link these to pomo?
• Are these campaigns positive or negative? Why?
Baudrillard and Hyper-sexuality
• Watch the following news links on the recent report into
Media representations of gender.
38207.stm (the whole of society is hyper-sexualized’)
• http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8538179.stm (children of
both genders are over-exposed to sexual imagery’)
• http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8537757.stm(media blamed
for sexualization of young girls’)
• NATURE vs NUTURE DEBATE!!!
• Sexuality in media?
• Music videos?
• How has it changed?
• Institution or personal responsibility?
• What would you do to protect your children?
• What are positive and negative sides of the argument?
• How has it changed over time? How does it compare
to sexuality previously?
• What campaigns go against the ideologies ? (to try to
end these values/ideals)
• Documentary is called ‘Porn on the brain’ by channel 4
which explores the issue of exposure of porn to young
people in UK
• Institutional responsibility?
• Personal responsibility?
The debate = should this happen?
• Using the concept of Hyperreality apply it to the
ongoing debates of sexual imagery and children:
– Should the media represent hyper-sexual/hyper-
beauty (idealistic) representations?
• Yes? = why? – free speech, democracy, money/profit
• No? = why? – sets up false expectations/aspirations that
people cannot reach = they feel inadequate
– How can you apply Baudrillards ideas to virtual
worlds like The Sims?
This is a real,
person! (barbie girl)
Celebs are idealised &
hyperreal because their
‘reality’ is based on ideals
which aren’t real because
people don’t have flawless
skin/huge bottoms, luscious
hair etc. = plastic surgery!!!
Or you could look at perfume adverts
Great hyperreal advert!
Dove evolution advert
• Hyperreal beauty (evolution) was one of the first ones
Simulacra for Dummies
• ….it seems appropriate to post (above website) this
movie as an ultimate “Simulacra for Dummies”. This
movie is quite known and probably already posted on
this blog. But just in case, here it is once more: the
“Evolution” movie made by Dove.
The construction of reality.
Dove ‘sketch’ adverts
Article: (if link doesn’t work search – dove and financial times “Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches”
• Try this if not: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/146e19ee-a92e-11e2-a096-
How does the sketch campaign differ
from traditional media/traditional
adverts/theory of representation?
• Non product advertising
• Non product display
• More about ‘trust’ or belief in ‘dove’ as a company
– Changing audiences – we are almost ‘guilted’ into buying into companies that are ‘ethical’
– We buy into LIFESTYLE rather than products (similar to john lewis/m&s christmas adverts – not
• Linear narrative (not enigmatic
• Counter stereotypes (not typical representation/stereotypes/archetypes)
• What else???????
• But still binary opposition/solution based (like traditional media/adverts)
Controversy with dove
• People fighting back??? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXoZLPSw8U8 (try - music video)
-what do you think about this music video/artist in response to ‘hyperbeauty’????
• Is it progressive?
2013 – sketch artist idea for advert (to show
pretty/ugly……seems positive to reflect that everyone
Emphasis on beauty – outer beauty/image (let’s face
it – they wouldn’t have a model with a deformity
Extension – dove parody
Debate with dove
How is it positive? Is it progressive? How is it negative? What are the
This girl can
• http://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/ (lottery + sport england charity)
Like a girl
Aired during superbowl
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1xGVYA5Aqo boy interview
• More about the campaign: http://www.always.com/en-us/likeagirl.aspx (always
• Huffington post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/29/like-a-girl-
• Article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2936819/Backlash-empowering-
New 2016 one…..(emoji’s)
Other viral videos/people who are
going against social norms
• Fat shaming?
• Ugly shaming?
• Does it still happen? Why?
• How does audiences perpetuate this?
• How do audiences challenge it?
• HOW and WHY?
• Are we truly progressive about body image?
But there’s more controversy!!!
• ‘the truth about
and wider political
• Shouldn’t it be
Comparison of institutions
/ gucci) guilty)
LIKE A GIRL THIS GIRL CAN Indie made
-impact/consequence of things being ‘hyperreal’/’hyper beaut-ified’/’hypersexualised’
-are audiences more ‘aware’?
-have things changed for the ‘better’?
-are they still ‘hyperreal’?
-aftermath of ‘hyperreality’ in previous advertising/products?
-debates about each one (think about some of the debates/concerns you had!)
Prompts: Purpose/agenda? Pros/cons (or debates)
connection to hyperreality effect on audience
• Ideal to be ‘amazing natural singer’
• But in pop maintream it’s hard/impossible – (counter
• Artist or institution?
– Milli vinili, Britney, Celine, Madonna….Even Xfactor!
• What do you think?
• What are both sides of the debate? (pos/neg)
• Virtual reality
• Easy to lose touch with reality (blurring reality and simulation of reality)
– Forget/lose touch with reality?
– Physical effects/damage?
– Laziness – not having to exercise or socialise – FLATTENING OF EFFECT!! (meet
up with friends online)
– Arguments for: new/advanced/interesting/engaging, creativity amongst
developers (however, creativity is taken away among the consumer/players)
– Connection with 360 videos on youtube?
Comparison to traditional media
• It’s nothing new? (still hyperreal in printed media – such as
• Traditional advertising: less digital? Still aspire to represent
in idealised way
• Role of technology?
– Gives us the means or channels to ‘construct’ reality / reshape
– Advanced so far that it’s SO real (more real than real –
– Simulate senses – (so it’s so realistic)
– i.e. 4D printing – simulating organic materials
BLACK MIRROR: (be right back) – simulating a human (like ash on the
episode – you can never fully construct reality)
– Devalue ‘authenticity’ or ‘realness’ (ie face-to-face relationships)
(FLATTENING OF EFFECT!)
The media presents a simulation of the world
that is artificial and hyperreal
Some audiences read the hyperreal
representation as reality - hyper-sexuality
The representation of reality is mediated
through the media - war reporting
Hyperreal Case study checklist
• Simulation video games (oculus rift…)
• Simulation technology (virtual reality…..google glass)
• ALS ice bucket challenge
• No make up selfie
• War in the news (tv/print)
• Kim Kardashian meme
• Genetically modified food/organisms (GMO)
• Barbie girl/Nicki Minaj
• Dove (sketches campaign)
– Dove parody
• This Girl Can campaign
• Like a girl campaign (like a girl and emoji one)
• Ellnett hairspray OR Gucci guilty perfume advert
• Black mirror
• RAG each one….
• REVISE CASE STUDIES
• Make notes on:
– How they’re postmodern
– Debates within them, are they useful?
• Arguments for/against
– How they are similar/different to other case studies
– How they compare to traditional media
– Impact on audiences
– Are they controversial? How/why?
– Representation: how are people/places/things represented? Do
they challenge traditional theories of representation?
• Mark scheme
• Then…..Looking at past papers