Jean Baudrillard: Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? (2007/2009)

16 February 2012, dusan

“Behind every image, something has disappeared. And that is the source of its fascination,” writes French theorist Jean Baudrillard in Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? In this, one of the last texts written before his death in 2007, Baudrillard meditates poignantly on the question of disappearance. Throughout, he weaves an intricate set of variations on his theme, ranging from the potential disappearance of humanity as a result of the fulfillment of its goal of world mastery to the vanishing of reality due to the continual transmutation of the real into the virtual. Along the way, he takes in the more conventional question of the philosophical “subject,” whose disappearance has, in his view, been caused by a “pulverization of consciousness into all the interstices of reality.”

Interspersed throughout the text are photographs by Alain Willaume that help illustrate Baudrillard’s argument. Baudrillard insists that with disappearance, strange things happen—some things that were eliminated or repressed may return in destructive viral forms— yet at the same time, he reminds us that disappearance has a positive aspect, as a “vital dimension” of the existence of things.

Originally published under the title Pourquoi tout n’a-t-il pas déjà disparu ?, Editions de L’Herne, 2007
Translated by Chris Turner
With images by Alain Willaume
Publisher Seagull, 2009
The French List series
ISBN 1906497400, 9781906497408
72 pages

google books

PDF (updated on 2012-7-29)

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