‘Back to life, back to hyperreality’ (2016)

‘Back to life, back to hyperreality’ (2016)
Jon Rafman. ‘Kool-Aid Man in Second Life.’ (2008-2011)

It has been 7 years since I completed my dissertation on Hyperreality at London School of Economics, and I feel I would like to share it now as a public resource.

I have been sitting on this essay for a long time, which was advised over by my lecturer, the late David Graeber. Since its conception I have been and continue to explore most of the themes and theories inside in my work and personal life. My dissertation is finally starting to make sense in the puzzle of my life, and I feel at this time gives more depth and lore for people to comprehend around the creation of Lunmu. My path has become much more spiritual and esoteric since the writing of this, so my work has shifted and developed since. The topic of the essay many people will be familiar with now; avatar bodies, the history of art in relation to the internet, the creation of a self-identity online, God-fear of unlimited technology, and Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulacrum. I hope my essay can expand your relationship to these topics.

My thesis was to explore the inseparable nature of ‘actual’ (IRL) and ‘virtual’ (URL). I believe we are heading into the time where humans are comprehending the truth that we have always been 'virtual' 'avatars'.

Some Excerpts: 

‘In early 1990s, Silicon Valley speculated on the merging of spirituality with new media technology, believing that salvation could be found from a departing of the body and a joining with the ‘immaterial sphere’ of cyberspace (2015.150). It was labeled cybergnosis, a utopian vision that virtual space had a sacred element in which people could transform into virtual beings, escape their mortality and escape alienation. The Internet was seen as a place for ultimate truth seeking, a place to convert the real world into a paradise and a place for the singularity to occur.’ (8. Rein Lo. back to life, back to hyperreality. 2016.)

‘When we feel such an acute loss of genuine experience that we lose touch with reality itself, Baudrillard calls it the ‘desert of the real’. This phrase comes from a story from his essay ‘The Precession of the Simulacra’ (1981) in which imperial map-makers create a map so large and detailed that it ends up covering the entire empire. It is essentially, the perfect replica of the empire. As the map begins to disintegrate, underneath the real earth has transformed into a desert, the ‘desert of the real’, the destroyed map is what simulacra that is left.’ (10. Rein Lo. back to life, back to hyperreality. 2016.)

‘Baudrillard offers a more extreme form of what McLuhan pushed for which was a consideration of the medium’s capacity to re-arrange our perceptions of reality. He argued that once we reach the final desert of the real we will continue our whole lives pleasantly in the hyperreal, feeling more emotionally affected by television, virtual reality or places like Disneyland, all things that are simulacra of the ‘real’. In the Wachowski film ‘The Matrix’ (1999), this desert is visualized when Neo awakens from his computer-generated reality and experiences the real as a ‘desolate and war-torn yet spectacular geography’ (Wikipedia. 2016). The desert is the destroyed ruins of the past, forgotten by us being so comfortable in the false simulation of reality.’ (10. Rein Lo. back to life, back to hyperreality. 2016.)

This PDF file can be downloaded below.

Feel free to share and remix.

Kindly, Rein.