One of Baudrillard's most important ideas is that simulation and representation have changed over time. For Baudrillard, simulations or "simulacra," have become "hyperreal," more than real. Our hyperreality, like Cronenberg's world of computer simulation, now feels, and, for all intents and purposes is, more real than what we call the "real world." Baudrillard discusses four stages of simulacra in his essay "The Precession of Simulacra:" (continue to original here).........
Cronenberg's eXistenZ is serious filmic social theory of the nature of our postmodern landscape. Cronenberg, like Baudrillard, would like to oppose the reality he describes, but points out that terrorist resistance to it is merely absorbed into the system and cannot defeat it. Ironically, terrorism and resistance are "game-themes" in eXistenZ, suggesting that they broach no threat, but are actually required by the system in order to provide a pretext to continue information emission. Baudrillard, too, would like to be a terrorist- to lash out violently against those who are in control, but such a role is no longer possible in a world where death and violence have no impact and are met by glassy eyed apathy as the result of data-glut. It seems that the only hope is awareness of the effect that media have on communication and human relationships. Cronenberg, like Baudrillard , McLuhan, and Shenk, urge us to be aware of what constant exposure to information and simulacra do to the human psyche and to culture. The content of the media is irrelevant. It is the quantity of data and simulacra to which we are exposed and the methods by which we are subjected to that information that result in data smog, mental disorders, and violence. The most effective strategy to resist the system is to behave like an irreverent child, declining to constitute ourselves as subjects, refusing to process the data and abstaining from responding to it. By passively ignoring the data input thrown at us by the parental system, it will cease to exist as it does now. We can turn off the tv, shut down the computer, and stop playing the game.
What counts are the rhymes- designed to fill your mind...Chuck D., lyrical terrorist Public Enemy
It's a start a work of art...
What we need is awareness, we can't get careless...
Right on, come on
What we got to say
Power to the people without delay
To make everybody see
In order to fight
Fight the powers that be.
"Fight the Power" on Fear of a Black Planet
It is excellent. It is funny. It is thorough and Cronenberg emerges as one of the great post modern thinkers of our time who also happens to express himself in film.
But since 9-11 Baudrillard has changed his theory on opposing the system. True it cannot be opposed within the dialetic as Vija Kinski so carefully tells Eric Packer. Demonstrations, civil disobedience, terrorism and riots are welcomed and absorbed by the system. Notice the arrests going on from the UK riots and all the lame explanations, just more info circulating globally. However, Baudrillard after 9-11 opposes our rush into Virtual Reality by an act of implosion. He saw clearly that the bombers of 9-11 created an excess of reality so hyperreal that people watching thought it was TV until they turned channels and saw it everywhere. Orson Welles did the same with his radio broadcast of the alien invasion that had people running in the streets in the late 30's (my details are fuzzy). The 9-11 excess of reality was coupled with suicide and so Symbolic Exchange and Death was merged as the GIFT to the USA global capitalistic system, a gift to which it must respond with the counter-gift - OR commit suicide. We have not responded with the counter-gift. And we are committing suicide. It is playing out.
Watch and learn.