Thursday, July 9, 2009

On War and Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard presents several interesting points when defining what war is. In his essays, "The Gulf War Will not take Place", "The Gulf War is not Taking Place" and "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place", Baudrillard contends that the Gulf War was not a war that can be defined by traditional meanings of the word "war", but rather it was a situation of violence created by "a masquerade of information: branded faces delivered over to the prostitution of the image, the image of an unintelligible distress" (Baudrillard). He points out that the images of war were recycled repeatedly to portray war and no real hand-to-hand combat occurred. At first, it seems ridiculous to fake a war but if you really think about it, faking a war would be relatively easy.

Since most of us do not travel to places of conflict regularly, we do have rely on other sources of information, such as TV, internet and the newspaper. All of these sources inform us of current world issues and include photographs that legitimize their reporting. However, how do we know that the information is truly valid and if the photographs are not staged? Unless you travel to Iraq on a regular basis and see it for yourself, the sources of media could be easily manipulated. Thus, the so-called war could be just an illusion meant for other purposes. If photography could be manipulated to be used as forms of propaganda then can art serve purposes other than inspiring creative thinking and expressionism?...I think so. Art is a very powerful form of sending information, controlling this form means having control of the audience if that audience chooses to believe it.

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