Getting over Baudrillard white noise - 2007 video sample WMV file 1.8 meg. Installation video, television, chair, set table, glass and jug of water.

So Baudrillard is dead, even if he might dispute it and conceivably like Borge's magically divine cat in El Sur 1: he is living in an ever present and eternal future. Now here, in the context of this 2007 Future Brisbane exhibition, it possibly makes no sense to go back to 1995 to contemplate the future, but are we not a composite of the memories of experience and I wonder if it is this that guides us to at least expect and be comforted that there will be at least one or hopefully a series of futures to come. Perhaps contemplating another Baudrillard is it simply this, that like Banville's narrator's Dr. Browne "The long habit of living indisposeth (him) for dying" 2:

Of course as I understand it, the name Baudrillard embodies a tradition of serious phenomenological doubters from Barthes, Debord and Nietzsche back to Socrates via Plato on the nature of all representation, has a very strong view that we are doomed to a representational existential impasse in regard to the future. For Baudrillard the past never really happened except as an ideological driven image therefore the future cannot have a teleological component. i.e. we are captives of our own representations and against Hegel cannot learn from history.

So back to 1995 I arrived bright eyed and bushytailed at the MCA Sydney for a Baudrillard lecture on his 2nd visit to OZ. I was supposed to attend with my wife and brother in law, but they at the last minute decided that a dinner at Wolfies on the Rocks would be a much more productive way to spend a summer evening. While I standing on principle and against the betrayal grabbed a plastic boxed cheese burger at the Quay and headed for the MCA.

Screenshot Getting over Baudrillard
Screenshot Getting over Baudrillard

To save time I decided to tackle the cheese burger in the MCA lift. One bite was enough to convince me of a couple of things. One was, if I had not already learned from history or at least experience that in advertising there is a vast difference between the representation and the reality and probably the big one, that in a moment you can make a seemingly reliable principled decision in the hunger for knowledge that may or may not change your life forever, but could be a bit of a bummer in the moment. I think Wolfies was serving the last of Sydney’s Rock oysters that night

I had a further problem, that was how to be rid of the part eaten cheese burger, no bins around but there was a handy niche in the lift wall. So taking a creative approach and a very now, well then now kind of interventionist approach I installed the bun in the niche and took a photograph. I rode the lift a couple of times to make sure the roll was perfectly placed, my first work and only work in the MCA had to be right.

I made it into the MCA convention hall in the nick of time and settled into a mid row place in my wheelchair and waited expectantly. The expectantly went on a little too long and out of boredom I began to take an aesthetic interest in the space and the set up. My first impression was that of the framing of the elegant Ramada Renaissance Hotel lit neon signage in the tall neo-classical window of the hall. Second on the speakers dais I observed a beautifully set table, the table was covered with a to the floor white tablecloth and on the tablecloth a designer jug and glass were filled with water that shimmered and quivered with the vibration of traffic.

Further to that I noticed Baudrillard himself sitting in the front row just waiting it appeared like us for himself, it all seemed a frozen tableau. I could not help myself and pulled out the Leica, set it on a longue dure exposure and began shooting as surreptitiously as I could. I was quickly brought to heel by a left bank style MCA minder in a victim of style black polo neck top. A tap on the shoulder, a wiggle of the finger, a “no photographs allowed”. Christ I said, “This is the 20 th Century!” He didn't get it.

I have to admit Baudrillard for all his experiences in the excesses of representational apparatus is a bit of a dry as dust speaker for a media star. He was reading from a prepared text and didn't look up much. I was getting hungry. My concentration was broken, merde I thought no probably scheißen being more a German phenomenological fan. Another tap on the shoulder, oops I had kept shooting off my lap and to be frank was prepared to cop it sweet and be ejected. I turned to find however not the polo neck but a young artist friend who beckoned me outside. "I am having a bit of an existential moment"

"You look the goods what's wrong?" I said to my young friend who had just come out, he/she had arranged to meet a certain curator there but had suddenly got cold feet. I was commandeered to be the support team for the meet, so we headed to the gallery space where Baudrillard's photographs were being displayed.

The two were getting on swimmingly and I felt a little superfluous, so I said good night and decided to head outside and wait for the family, on the way take another bite out of cheese burger and a have a good look at Jeff Koons Puppy by night. Do you know a question was asked of Koons, just what was his art all about? He answered blithely, "I just want to make people smile. "Now if that's his gig to be optimistic about the future who can complain. I sat and waited chewing the last of the retrieved cheese burger, contemplated Puppy, Lacan style, contemplating me, contemplating strollers-by contemplating Puppy and a warm warm feeling came over me not quite of jouissance perhaps, but such a feeling that I just couldn't help but smile.

1. Borges Jorge Luis El Sur (The South)

2. Banville John The Sea Picador 2005

Ross Barber 2007.
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