As an avid TV watcher, I came across a series of commercials advertising an HDTV provider. This campaign featured easily recognizable scenes from notable movies in which, part way through whatever dialogue or action was taking place, the lead actor, newly spliced into the original footage, would say something to the effect that “if so-and-so were experiencing this scene in HD, they would…” etc. My particular favorite in this series is the one involving Charlie Sheen in his role from the Major League movies. In the commercial Sheen’s character specifically argues that an umpire that just called “ball” on a pitch would have seen it was a strike if he had only been watching this in HD.
For those of us who over think, what this campaign was specifically selling was hyper-reality. As the actors by nature of their characters are ostensibly in a simulated reality, but they acknowledge that that reality is somehow lacking or would pale in comparison to the hyper-real, symbolized in this particular instance by HDTV.
From HDTV to dying one’s hair, hyper-reality is becoming more and more prevalent in our contemporary lives. And it is something on which Jean Baudrillard was way ahead of the curve. In his wonderful treatise Simulacra and Simulation, Baudrillard explores the nature of symbolic representation and its role in contemporary life. This conjecture became the impetus for a recent work of mine for string trio, befittingly called Simulacra, that will premiere a week from today. The piece attempts to present Baudrillard’s formulations of increasing simulation (reflection, perversion, pretense, and simulacra) in an abstract musical essay. I hope you can join us!
“The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth- it is the truth that there is none.” Jean Baudrillard in Simulacra and Simulation
Simulacra will be premiered on The Fifth Floor Collective’s first concert of the 2010-2011 season. For more info visit: http://www.fifthfloorcollective.com