“Thou thy worldly task hast done,/Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:”*

*Song: “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun” by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (from Cymbeline (1611) ).

From: Levels of Life (2013), by Julian Barnes:

“…Nadar (Felix Tournachon) recalled that Balzac had a theory of the self, according to which a person’s essence was made up of a near-infinite series of spectral layers, one superimposed on the next. The novelist further believed that during the ‘Daguerrean operation’ one such layer was stripped away and retained by the magic instrument…”

From: Camera Lucida (La Chambre Claire) (1980) by Roland Barthes:

“…I observed that a photograph can be the object of three practices (or of three emotions, or of three intentions): to do, to undergo, to look. The Operator is the Photographer. The Spectator is ourselves, all of us who glance through collections of photographs – in magazines and newspapers, in books, albums, archives…And the person or thing photographed is the target, the referent, a kind of little simulacrum, any eidolon emitted by the object, which I should like to call the Spectrum of the Photograph, because this word retains, through its root, a relation to “spectacle” and adds to it that rather terrible thing which is there in every photograph: the return of the dead.”

From: “Did You Ever Eat Tasty Wheat?”: Baudrillard and The Matrix, by William Merrin, University of Wales, Swansea, UK:

“There is a scene early in The Wachowski Brothers’ 1999 film The Matrix where the lead character, Neo (Keanu Reeves), is visited by his friend Choi who has arranged to buy some software from him:

He closes the door. On the floor near the bed is a book, Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation. The book has been hollowed out and inside are several computer discs. He takes one, sticks the money in the book and drops it on the floor. Opening the door, he hands the disc to Choi. (Wachowski, 1997)

As Neo picks up the book in the film, we read the title. Jean Baudrillard is in The Matrix.

The reason for his inclusion is, on one level, clear: the producers of an ubercool, big budget, action-movie, effects-fest whose theme is the virtual reality computer simulation of our entire world, get to name-check for the cognoscenti the theorist of simulation. The once “high priest of postmodernism” (Baudrillard, 1989) is now elevated to the patron saint of a knowledge; a zeitgeist; a complete contemporary experience of the real, and, for the Wachowski brothers, of our future. Baudrillard’s inclusion is, therefore, an acknowledgement that his theory of simulation and the simulacrum is, in some way, central to the film…”

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