Simulated Bodies, Simulated Worlds Becoming One . . . With the Net • Both Kusanagi & Neo become something more than what they were. A kind of evolution? Limitless possibilities suggested. • Kusanagi: merges with Puppet Master, “dies,” and is “reborn” in child's body. (Quotes from the Bible: Corinthians) • Neo = the One. Christian symbolism, prophecies, signs; cast as savior, sacrifices himself (for another), dies, and is reborn. • Rebirth = transcending human? The Human Self & Technology • Kusanagi's merger with Puppet-Master said to overcome the limitations of "me," of the self. • No longer human? Or evolution of human? Merger with technological. A hybrid or dispersed identity, no longer singular? • In contrast, Neo's rebirth/transcendence seems to result in an even more powerful Human Self (the One). Superhuman? • Here, the power of (human) One/Self to control technological, simulated world (and simulated, technological life-forms) is re-established. Transcending "Reality" • But transcendence of the human/self in Ghost and Matrix also suggests a transcendence of "reality." • The question that The Matrix poses: "What is the Matrix?" is also a question about "what is real?" and about how we know what's real as opposed to what appears to be real. • The Matrix draws on long history of questioning “reality” and perception. Seeing Beyond "Reality" • I Corinthians, 11-12: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. • Cf. Plato's Allegory of the Cave (obvious source for The Matrix), where prisoners see only shadows which they take for reality. • Plato calls these shadow-images "simulacra" or simulations. • In each case, the appearance (simulation?) of reality is deceptive or partial. A greater knowledge or truth is presumed to exist beyond what we perceive. The Matrix and "Reality" What is the Matrix? • A dream-world (as in Alice in Wonderland)? A kind of virtual reality? A simulated reality? • A false "reality" or delusion, which hides the "real" reality behind it: • the destroyed Earth that Morpheus calls "the desert of the real." • "the desert of the real" is a phrase from Baudrillard, but he uses it differently: the emptying out of the real, wh/ is replaced by simulation. • The Matrix, however, maintains that there a real reality behind the illusion of the Matrix. What is the Matrix? • But how are we to interpret what this film suggests about our own sense of reality? • Buddhist idea: “There is no spoon.” What is the Matrix? • Buddhist idea that the world is illusory. As in Ghost, suggests our belief in “reality” limits us. • Neo is the One who is able to see differently. Sees through the simulated “virtual reality” (to the “real” codes beneath). Like a hacker or programmer? • No longer bound by the appearance of reality that others accept, he does not die when “killed” in the matrix. • Also indicated by taking “the red pill” as opposed to “the blue pill” of accepting "reality” (world of the Matrix). What is Simulation? • Baudrillard's ideas, however, suggest a different reading of The Matrix. • And Baudrillard's book Simulacra and Simulation appears in it. • Of course, in the film, the book is hollowed out: just as Baudrillard says reality has been. • The book is itself a simulation of a book. What is Simulation? • For Plato, things in the “real” world were mere simulacra--copies/shadows of true, Ideal Forms. Images were therefore copies of copies. • For Baudrillard, however, simulation is (or becomes) more than just a copy or substitute. • What is simulation for Baudrillard? • For B, simulation linked to reproductions/copies made possible by technology: photos, film, media, computers & digital images. • Simulations come to precede--and replace-- the original. What is Simulation? • In technologized, postmodern world: • No longer an original or reality to copy. • There is only copying; there is only simulation: copies of copies that no longer refer to an original, or reality. • What Baudrillard calls “hyperreal”: which doesn’t mean “more real,” but a replacement of the real by simulacra. What is Our Matrix? • Baudrillard argues The Matrix misunderstands his ideas, particularly their socio-political aspects. • It leads us to believe that our own “reality” is real, rather than a simulated world. • But, as in the Matrix, the reality we perceive as real is based on our acceptance of it. • Formed through the various attitudes, beliefs (the ideology?) that we have been told are true. • Thus, we are just like the people who believe that the matrix is real. What is Disneyland? • Consider Baudrillard’s Disneyland example here: • Baudrillard: “Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real . . .” • Disneyland = a simulated, fantasy world that allows us to believe that the “real world” is real (not simulated or ideological). • I.e., the belief that our world is real is itself an (ideological?) illusion; an effect of simulation. What is The Matrix? • Consider: similarities between Disneyland & the movie The Matrix. • As Clover notes, when we see The Matrix as a fantasy, a simulation, a movie, it allows us to believe that “our world” is real. • We think we know what “Reality” is-- because we can point to something that isn't real. • But Baudrillard suggests that our “real” world is just as simulated or hyperreal as any theme park or movie. • We are already in the matrix (of ideology), but for Baudrillard there is no real world outside or beyond it. No Zion. I Am Legend (2007) I Am Legend (2007) • I Am Legend based on a famous sci-fi/horror book of same title, which very much focuses on issues of what is human and what is not. • But movie differs from the book & from previous movies based on the book: The Last Man on Earth (1964) and The Omega Man (1971). • And the differences are revealing. • The readings for next week will explain some differences. • We’ll also look at ending of The Last Man on Earth & alternate ending of I Am Legend.