Simulacrum In Postmodern Society

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We live in a postmodern age where technology play a huge role in our daily lives and influences the way we look at and experience the world. The more computer technology grows the more we question our world and what is ‘real’ and what is not? Is something a ‘reality’ or a simulacrum? Is the background image on your computer or laptop a photograph of a landscape that exists or is it created and constructed with the use of different photographs and photo editing software.

When does an image or an object have cult value and when does it have exhibition value? According to Benjamin (1955:797) cult value and exhibition value are binary opposites. Cult value refers to the magical and spiritual power people attach to an object, which is used in
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Postmodern society finds it difficult to distinguish between these terms due to the existence of simulacrum. According to Kando (1996:5) “reality and fantasy merge” and people try to imitate what they see in the media, like the TV and the Internet, in real life rather than the media imitating real life. Kando (1996:5) makes use of a good example where “police officers model their behaviour after TV shows like Cops”. Thus, the police officers believe that the way the officers act in Cops is how an officer must act or behave in real life, which makes the TV show a simulacrum, it is people acting.

Post-modernity plays a huge role in terms of how we experience reality and life in itself (2004:48). As stated by Hart (2004:48), the postmodern society’s experiences are different from modern society’s experiences. According to Hart (2004:48) postmodern society does not just experience different experiences in comparison to modern society, but the experience itself is different form modern
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Benjamin (1955:795) defines the term ‘aura’ “as the unique appearance of distance, however close it may be”. This distance is the distance in terms of time and space (Benjamin1955: 795). It relates to the effect time has on a work of art, for example if one sees the brush strokes of the Monaliza and the effect of the elements and time on it, it takes one back in time. The ‘aura’ is the way one experience the history attached to the original work of art through its physical attributes. According to Benjamin (1955:793) the ‘aura’ of a work of art cannot be captured when one reproduce it. Thus, one does not experience the ‘aura’ of something displayed on a screen. Hart (2004: 58) also states that screens distant people more from the object and therefore it does not affect them in the way it is meant to affect them, because one is not in actual danger when one watches an action movie for example. These reproductions may let it seem if the original is close, though the original is still in another place and the reproduction just represents the original (Benjamin 1955:795).Thus, one is not experiencing the original and therefore it does not have the same effect on the viewer. Hart (2004:61) uses the example of the Gulf War, many people belief that it did not happen because they only experienced it in terms of a news bulletin on a TV screen, meaning that they do not know if it really happened or if it
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