Cutting-edge theorist Jean Baudrillard on the complicitous dance of art, politics, economics, and media; includes "War Porn," on Abu Ghraib as a new genre of reality TV.
The images from Abu Ghraib are as murderous for America as those of the World Trade Center in flames. The whole West is contained in the burst of sadistic laughter of the American soldiers, as it is behind the construction of the Israeli wall. This is where the truth of these images lies. Truth, but not veracity. As virtual as the war itself, their specific violence adds to the specific violence of the war. In The Conspiracy of Art, Baudrillard questions the privilege attached to art by its practitioners. Art has lost all desire for illusion: feeding back endlessly into itself, it has turned its own vanishment into an art unto itself. Far from lamenting the "end of art," Baudrillard celebrates art's new function within the process of insider-trading. Spiraling from aesthetic nullity to commercial frenzy, art has become transaesthetic, like society as a whole. Conceived and edited by life-long Baudrillard collaborator Sylvère Lotringer, The Conspiracy of Art presents Baudrillard's writings on art in a complicitous dance with politics, economics, and media. Culminating with "War Porn," a scathing analysis of the spectacular images from Abu Ghraib prison as a new genre of reality TV, the book folds back on itself to question the very nature of radical thought.
Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007) was a philosopher, sociologist, cultural critic, and theorist of postmodernity who challenged all existing theories of contemporary society with humor and precision. An outsider in the French intellectual establishment, he was internationally renowned as a twenty-first century visionary, reporter, and provocateur.
Sylvère Lotringer is Jean Baudrillard Chair at the European Graduate School, Switzerland, and Professor Emeritus of French literature and philosophy at Columbia University.
[Baudrillard] proves himself to be as much of a thoughtful iconoclast as ever.