Postmodern Theories: Hyperreality

1/31/2016 April 0 Comments

Definition: 'a condition in which "reality" has been replaced by simulacra'

What is Hyperreality? 
In semiotics and postmodernism, hyperreality is an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies. It is seen as  a condition in which what is real and what is fiction is blended together so that people can no longer tell which is "reality" and which is not. 
The term was coined by Jean Baudrillard, he defined it as "the generation by models of a real without origin or reality". He suggested that the world in which we live has been replaces by a copy world, where we seek simulated stimuli and nothing more. 

Application in the real world
Hyperreality can be seen throughout media in our world. The above image is a realistic image that has been digitally created by merging of two images. One of the images used is of a real place, the other image has been created digitally and merged with the real image. The image illustrates how the advancements in technology have allowed the boundary between what is real and what is not to become blurred. Some people would look at the image and think that it was real, its not unless you recognise the iconography in the image from Star Wars or unless you look closer that you realise that it is not a real image. 
Hyperreality can also be seen in TV news and the different place from which people get their information. Some newspapers report that global warming is a real process which is happening and is going to damage out world, other newspapers report that global warming is fake and that we shouldn't worry about it. Depending on which article you read you get two different views and pieces of information, so how do you know which is right and which is wrong? The answer is you don't, this is hyperreality, you are being given two different sets of information one which is fiction and one which is reality but they become blurred so you can no longer tell which is real and which is not. On TV news it can be seen when they televise news and wars as though they are reality TV. Wars are now reported in a similar fashion to reality TV. After the reports of terrible news have been shown they move on to a lighter segment such as entertainment news or an advert which shows a product being advertised happily. This can be seen as creating a hyperreality as the boundaries are being blurred. One moment you are being told that the world is a terrible place and the next you have a happy ad or news segment which is telling you the world is fine and everything is ok. How then can we tell the state of our world. People like TV to be this way because they like to know that they are ok and that their world/'reality' is safe, even when in another country others are suffering.