Distributed for Semiotext(e)
A focused exploration of Baudrillard's understanding and use of alterity and “otherness,” a crucial theme that appears and reappears throughout his work as a whole.
Alterity is in danger. It is a masterpiece in peril, an object lost or missing from our system, from the system of artificial intelligence and the system of communication in general.—from Radical Alterity
Where is the Other today? Can Otherness challenge our arrogant, insular cultural narcissism? From artificial intelligence to the streets of Venice, from early explorers to contemporary photographers, Jean Baudrillard and Marc Guillaume discuss the traces of radical alterity in our world. These provocative seminars, held in 1990 and 1991, follow the multiple, intertwined trajectories first projected in Baudrillard's work and his reading of the “radical exoticism” posited by Victor Segalen—ideas Baudrillard extends into the realms of mass media, pseudonyms, technology, and that illusorily close yet radically foreign “primitive society of the future,” America. In a world where no corner is unexplored, the Other remains a challenge to thought, a crack in the shell of universal understanding, impossible to communicate but potentially the linchpin of communication itself. Together, Baudrillard and Guillaume explore the threatened and fatal figures of radical alterity. This collection is no longer available in French, and this English edition includes an additional essay by Baudrillard, “Because Illusion and Reality Are Not Opposed.”