Thursday, March 08, 2007

rip jean baudrillard

jean baudrillard passed away yesterday in france, after a battle with a long illness. however far you want to go with his notion of the simulacra (the idea that we live in a world of continually perpetuating and profuse representations, and that "the real" no longer exists or is relevant), you have to respect the dude for being a righteous badass. i was lucky enough to hear him speak at a conference a few years back. he was sly and clever and well-spoken, if a little abstract. all the hardcores are passing away: derrida, baudrillard. i don't really know who the new theoretical bigwigs are to take their place. slavoj zizek? paul virilio?

i finished my surveillance paper last night. i'm comme ci, comme ca about it. there simply isn't enough space for me to articulate what i want to say. we basically have to condense the most salient parts of a 300 page book AND relate it to this proposal for this technology that's being called "smart campus in your pocket" (teh ghey name, i know). it's basically a pda type of thing, that will be a social networking tool, allow you to access information in one place (tutorial locations, map the campus, etc), a navigational device, allow you to tag locations and personalize your features (so you can be directed to a place that has chinese food, if that's what you're feeling on a particular day), a means of communicating with your peers, and a whole host of other features. i'm on the fence about it. i do think that u of t needs to condense their information in some kind of cohesive and cogent fashion, i just don't know how much use i would get out of something that tells me to go to starbucks when i want something to drink (since i always pack my own food, this isn't the most pertinent example, but you get the drift). it's being co-developed by bell in association with the university, so the economic imperative isn't being veiled very well. i also get ornery about having to carry something fat and bulky around. whatever happened to the days of the syllabus? i'm not the type to get all dystopian anxiety about technology... the fear of being watched and having my motions and data taken and used for marketing purposes. i just don't give a s**t. not in a glib way, more in the sense that i believe in the failure of representation. so the chimera that whatever data-mining company has on me as a subject, will inevitably fall short and fail to account for the complexity of my desires.

today is long day city. i'm packing leftover beef-barley stew and some root veg mash.


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