I had some trouble understanding Jean Baudrillard’s article and what he means by Simulacra. It’s one of those articles that I start off thinking “I got it!” and then the more I read I realize that I don’t get it. But I noticed he explains in his description of the representations of reality, “no more mirror of being and appearances, of the real and its concept; no more imaginary coexistensivity: rather, genetic miniaturization is the dimension of simulation.” For some reason that reminded me of the 500+ photos that I have saved on my memory card. The memory card can be seen as a “miniature” of different realities, photos of my family, my friends and myself in different occasions that can be “reproduced,” duplicated, and even shared with others. These digital pictures are now even substituting the tangible ones that we used to keep framed around the house and that are compared with the “map” Baudrillard mentions that was once used to represent reality. His explanation also made me think of Plato’s theory on art being an imitation of life that is thrice removed from reality. Baudrillard suggests a new dimension to the whole notion of art and imitation, and mostly focuses on an absence of reality that proliferates a new and different, I am hesitant to call, reality.
As to House of Leaves, I was curious to know if there was a certain method for reading this book or whether it’s best to go along with the shifts in narratives and the interruptions. I personally can’t stand elaborate footnotes because of the distractions they create when I’m reading and I tend to ignore them and maybe go back to some of them at the end of a chapter. With this book, I felt an obligation towards these footnotes, even though I know they are mostly made up information, and I also decided to read both narratives along side because I thought it would give me the necessary “feel” of the layering and the fragmentation in the book. As if the book wasn’t fragmented enough, I tried reading parts of Baudrillard’s article along with the book. Maybe not a smart move but I was initially put off by the article’s difficulty and decided to take that approach. Going back to the point I mentioned, I noticed the same idea somewhat “echoed” by Zampano in chapter 5. His “odd murmuring” about the significance of echoes in a way resonates, I think, with what Baudrillard was saying about what he calls simulacra. Zampano explains the mythological history of Echo and concludes that Echo’s repetitions were colored “with faint traces of sorrow or accusation never present in the original” (41). In a way it could be taken as an example of one of Baudrillard’s “successive phases of the image” which is that it “masks and perverts a basic reality” that will eventually lead to it baring no relation to any reality and would have “its own pure simulacrum.” Zampano explains that Echo’s voice then “possesses a quality not present in the original, revealing how a nymph can return a different and more meaningful story, in spite of telling the same story” (42).