ISSN: 1705-6411
Volume 3, Number 2 (July 2006)
Author: Julian Haladyn

Then, on one of my trips to Japan, I was given a camera, and I began to try it out a bit, taking photographs from the plane on the return journey…1

I like photography as something completely empty, ‘irreal’, as something that preserves the idea of a silent apparition.2

In “Sainte Beuve” (1987) Baudrillard presents a tightly cropped image of a red chair framed by an off-white wall in the background and the corner of a table in the foreground. The form of the chair is captured with a red blanket draped over most of its surface, unevenly spread providing the impression that it had recently held a human body. The anthropomorphic qualities of this image encourage a personal reading of the object in the photograph, yet the viewer’s attempts to personally engage with the image are hindered or blocked by the intentional absence of context or contextualizing elements.3 The fact that the chair belongs to Baudrillard is only known through additional research, reading the texts and interviews in which he writes or speaks about his photographs. In fact I only discovered it was Baudrillard’s chair because he mentions it, in relation to the photograph, in an interview with Nicholas Zurbrugg, saying that “it’s broken now, and it is in another room”.4 There is little to no personal information provided by either the image itself or by the title Baudrillard gives the work. The visual encouragement or allure of the image – which is primarily the result of the aesthetic qualities of the rich blood red of the blanket that dominates the surface of the image – is simultaneously staged to attract and deny a personal encounter with the photograph on the part of the viewer. There is a sense in which the chair appears, captured through the technical capacity of the photographic apparatus (the camera), and simultaneously disappears as a result of the disembodied and decontextualized state in which the object is visually represented: the chair appears to be the hollow trace of Baudrillard’s absent form.

The act of disappearance on the part of Baudrillard-as-subject – Baudrillard’s absence as the subject matter of this image – constituted by and in the anatomic trace evidence of the chair, is directly related to his utopian desire of becoming an object. The technological possibilities of such an act of transubstantiation are available through photography. Baudrillard uses the photograph – which is capable of being reproduced infinitely because it is based upon the model and not an original – to not only fabricate his disappearance into the image, but also to present this disappearance as a hyperreal document. As he states in an interview with Catherine Francblin: “At a given moment, I capture a light, a colour disconnected from the rest of the world.  I myself am only an absence in them”.5 It is this magical disconnect from reality that photography enables which is of interest to Baudrillard. Considering “Sainte Beuve” (1987) as a hyperreal self-portrait of Baudrillard’s subjective disappearance, I believe that the medium of photography represents a hyperutopian vision of the Baudrillardian subject that disappears into the object of its own image. For Baudrillard, who no longer believes “in the subversive value of words”, the photographic image represents the means of achieving his theoretical ambitions of disappearing as a subject and reappearing as an object.6 This utopian ambition is both theoretically and technically present in the hyperreal surface offered by the photographic model.  Baudrillard’s relationship to the hyperreal may be more complex than we (he?) have previously surmised!

This represented presence of the absence or disappearance of a human subject in “Sainte Beuve” (1987) – specifically Baudrillard – is a common theme that runs through a number of his photographic works. Ironically, this absence is even present within the images that contain people. For example, in “Sainte Beuve” (1990), the viewer is presented with an image of two people, a man and a woman, sitting on a sidewalk; the picture was taken from above and exhibits no distinguishing facial features or characteristics, which generalizes their pictorial state of subjecthood into a realm of objectivity. The two individuals are treated as visual objects that are photo-realistically copied or reproduced through the lens of Baudrillard’s camera. This is one of a very few images in which Baudrillard attempts to focus (always unsuccessfully) upon a human subject, a failure he uses to point out that such an “inability to photograph human beings is clear proof of the manipulation of the photographic subject by its object”.7 Baudrillard believes that the subject falls victim to the object in collusion with the camera:

Consider the way the camera is used now. Its possibilities are no longer those of the subject who ‘reflects’ the world according to his personal vision; rather, they are the possibilities of the lens, as exploited by the object. The camera is thus a machine that vitiates all will, erases all intentionality and leaves nothing but the pure reflex needed to take pictures. Looking itself disappears without a trace, replaced by a lens now in collusion with the object – and hence with an inversion of vision.8

The erasure of an intentional subjective rendering of the world, as made possible through the use of the camera, leaves nothing of Baudrillard’s subjective presence in the geographical location of Sainte Beuve in 1990 other than his reflex to take a picture.  As proof of his hypothesis concerning the sovereignty of the object in collusion with the photographic lens, Baudrillard sites two personal events: the first involving the disappearance of images he had taken of a woman; the second a mysterious vanishing of a roll of film within his apartment.9 In both cases the (literal) disappearance coincided with the presence of a human subject in the frame of his camera.

This conception of the subordination of the subject by the object, especially through an anthropomorphized view of the object, is evident in many of Baudrillard’s previous theoretical writings. In addressing this overlap,  Baudrillard’s claims that his theoretical writing and his photographic practice are not related10 must be read as suspect, particularly in light of the methodological similarities he uses in the treatment of the subject/object paradigm. I would even go so far as to state that I believe Baudrillard’s use of photography is a visual continuation of the terminal point in his theoretical writing: he goes beyond the critical theory to a hyperreal visual example. Within both his writing and his photographs there is evidence of an anthropomorphism, in which he often presents objects as possessing subjective qualities. In Fatal Strategies Baudrillard attributes intentionality to the object by claiming that it “is never innocent, it exists and takes revenge”.11 The sovereignty of the object – that is the ability of the object to self-govern or be autonomous from a subject – appears to be the quality the object uses to consciously undermine acts of subjectivity.  Baudrillard even goes so far as to speculate:

Perhaps unhappy with being alienated by observation, the object is fooling us? Perhaps it’s inverting its own answers, and not only those that are solicited? Possibly it has no desire at all to be analyzed and observed, and taking this process for a challenge (which it is) it’s answering with a challenge. We sense this victorious ruse of the analyzed object very definitely in the so-called human sciences (when we prefer not to forget it).12

In this passage Baudrillard traces the possibility of the object’s act of decontextualizing itself as a means of resistance, taking revenge on the subjects who alienated it through acts of observation. The absence of a context for the object also acts as a means of acquiring its own sense of subjectivity. Such fantastical or “hyperreal” narratives – I am referring here to both this account of the object fooling us and the mysterious disappearance of Baudrillard’s  photographs of people – in which the object is viewed as strategically representing itself subjectively or anthropomorphically to the subjects studying them, serves as a common theme that can be traced through much of Baudrillard’s work. It is also this ruse that is carried over into his photographic practice through the continued investigation of the object.

In fact, Baudrillard’s conception of photography as a medium exaggerates the objective ruse of his theoretical investigations by attributing all of the force of both the taking of an image – through the vehicle of the camera – and the subsequent visual representation – of the image as a physical photograph – to the object, which he views as manipulating the subject (himself) into capturing its image on film. What the viewer witnesses in Baudrillard’s photographs is the subjectivity of the object through it objectification of the subject (Baudrillard as photographer).  In his essay “Objects, Images, and the Possibilities of Aesthetic Illusion” Baudrillard states that people do not take pictures for their own pleasure, but instead that “it’s the object that wants to be photographed, and you’re only a medium in its reproduction, secretly attracted and motivated by this self-promoting surrounding world”.13 The idea of the photographer being a medium for the object – a qualifying attribute that I believe he adopted from the artist Marcel Duchamp,14 who Baudrillard has written about on many occasions – makes possible the transubstantiation of the subject of the photograph to be materialized in the image form of a the photographic object. In his interview with Zurbrugg, Baudrillard also claims that the photographic act is a form of objective meditation, as he terms it, in which

… an object imposes itself – suddenly, one sees it, because of certain effects of light, of contrasts and things like that, it isolates itself and it creates a sense of emptiness.  Everything around it seems to disappear, and nothing exists but this particular thing, which you then capture technologically, objectively.15

Baudrillard goes so far then as to equate technology (the camera) with objectivity, the preferred state of being for the subject (Baudrillard) because of its facilitation of a strategically framed disappearance. In this comparison between subject and object he posits that it is through technological means, such as the lens of the camera, that an object view of reality is captured: “It is, paradoxically, the objective lens of the camera that reveals the unobjectivity of the world”.16 Through this active intentionality or ruse Baudrillard believes that objects are answering the challenge that the subjects observing them (such as himself) are posing: this strategy of the object, as it mirrors a form of subjectivity, is precisely what Baudrillard is attempting to capture in his photographs. In an interesting form of Baudrillardian reversal it is the object that dominates the now empty subject: “when you take a photo: you stand still and empty yourself of your substance for a brief moment to take the object by surprise”.17 The trans- substance of the photographically embodied image is in this way granted subjective being through the technological lens that reveals, through its own hyperreal presence, the absence of an objective world.

It is through the process of intentionally restricting the framing of the images he captures that Baudrillard is able to alienate the objects he photographs, specifically through the absence of contextualizing details surrounding the object/images themselves. This methodology is common to his theoretical writing and his photographic practice; in both cases he feels “it’s the same process of isolating something in a kind of empty space, and analyzing it within this space, rather than interpreting it”.18 Although Baudrillard has denied this connection on numerous occasions, statements such as the one above begin to establish a fundamental underlying methodological similitude between his objectifying theoretical models and his objectified photographic images. Specifically, it is his focus on the subject/object paradigm that acts as the holy grail of Baudrillardian disappearance into the hyperreality of the image – which he sees as God’s strategy for disappearing from the world. The key to achieving this form of disappearance – for God and Baudrillard – is the implementation of a mode of infinite image reproducibility, which Baudrillard discovers in the technological apparatus of the camera. He uses the objectifying qualities of the photographic camera to reveal and tightly frame the unobjectivity of the world that his theoretical writing postulated, but ultimately could not picture. The calculated elimination or disappearance of elements that could be used to visually locate or identify the object or scene within a specific time and place, allows Baudrillard to empty the existence – that is a subjective existence – of the world out of his images. In his photographs the world of subjectivity disappears leaving only the objectivity of the infinitely reproduced photographic object.

An example of this act of disappearance can be seen in Baudrillard’s photograph “St. Clément” (1987), in which the body of a mostly submerged car is barely visible beneath the surface of the water; in this tightly cropped image the water mirrors the flat surface of the photograph, beneath which the subject is submerged and disappears. This process of disembodiment, in which the image is stripped of subjectivity, allows for the possibility of what Baudrillard believes is “a utopian ambition – to disappear as a subject, and to reappear as an object”.19 It is therefore important to view Baudrillard’s photographs not simply as images of objects that have been made aesthetic through his act of framing, but as photographs that serve as hyperreal forms of a disembodied subjectivity embodied within objective images.  Relating Baudrillard’s photographs to the concepts he discusses in Symbolic Exchange and Death, I would claim that his images are representative of a world in which “reality itself is hyperrealist” and that it “has passed completely into the game of reality”: that is the game of simulated representation.20 Baudrillard’s photographs imagine a world disappearing out of context, a world that reappears as more real than real.

Baudrillard’s photographs can therefore be read less in terms of the objective reality of the object represented – be it a chair, a car, or a person – and more as a means of focusing attention on the absence of a subjectivity within the hyperreal details captured by the photographic object itself.  Baudrillard compounds this act of subjective disappearance through the obscurity of his titles, which simply state the place and year in which the image was taken – facts that are often non-verifiable and are only relevant as a framing device. The knowledge of such information does not aid in contextualizing the image beyond the formation of a spatial frame, a frame of time and location that systematically separates the image from the viewer by denying access to or a presence within the representation of reality. The consistent use of this form of titling refocuses the viewer’s attention upon the absence of a subject, which they are encouraged, through the formal and pictorial characteristic of the image, to reproduce using themselves as a model.  Through this reproductive or cloning process, viewers are conceptually forced to fill in the blanks if they are to give meaning to the photographs – a process that Baudrillard consciously makes as difficult as possible, challenging the viewer to make sense of his images.  Baudrillard uses such overt acts of obfuscation to render the viewer’s presence absent from the visual and conceptual frame of the photographic image.

Reciprocally, Baudrillard’s visual and parenthetical obfuscation in the framing of his photographs should not be interpreted, as Sylvére Lotringer has done, to only mean that the photographic objects “are beside the point. It is what precedes them that counts in his eyes – the mental event of taking a picture – and this could never be documented, let alone exhibited”.2 Such a reading of his practice is made problematic by Baudrillard’s act of documenting and exhibiting these mental events, which he not only undertakes willingly, but also has written about extensively. The decontextualizing power of the photographic frame, as well as the gesture of titling, represents the photographic object not as a vehicle for the transmission of a subjective mental event but instead the hyperreal visualization founded upon the surface of the medium itself. The transubstantiation of the subject into the object – of the photograph – is accomplished through technological limitations imposed by the photographic process.

Such an overt lack of contextualizing factors, both in terms of the limited visual information contained within the images themselves and the use of base factual and non-conceptual titles, limits the level of engagement possible with the photographs. The image becomes a self-contained and impenetrable vision of a world submerged in the hyperreal. The reality or unreality of these photographically contained worlds are in this way made inaccessible; the only way to “exit from the crisis of representation, the real must be sealed off in a pure repetition”.22 And this is precisely what I believe Baudrillard does: he seals off the subject within the pure repetition or reproducibility of the objective representational capacities of the photograph. The photographic image that he captured in “Toronto” (1994) presents an objective model onto which viewers can graft their own conceptual vision of this scene – a man walking in front of an old gas station. From a personal perspective, having grown up near Toronto, I cannot help but fill in the blanks of this cloned reality with my own disembodied visual meaning founded upon arbitrary geographical similitude. But even this personal connection remains disembodied from the self-contained world of the photograph because of Baudrillard’s exacting title, which is too general to be useful as a personal marker. This again points to my belief that these photographs are not beside the point: they are the only point Baudrillard is communicating.

This scene in Toronto again depicts the (failed) image of a human presence. The man is no different than his shadow cast upon the garage door. This scene is an infinitely reproducible hyperreal surface in which the number of clones in existence is limited only to Baudrillard’s photographic will. But this only aids in the decontextualization that makes these images impenetrable.

Baudrillard is playing with a Platonic concept that is literally captured in the form of the shadow.  Are the images in his photographs simply the hyperreal shadows cast upon Baudrillard’s cave wall? In “Punto Final” (1997) the object captured through the lens consists of the shadow of the person (Baudrillard) cast upon the highly textured surface of a wall as he takes the photograph of this image. Considered as another of his self-portraits, this image literalized the impenetrability of the image surface, which embodies the symbolic wall onto which the photographic act is perpetuated. The cloning potential demonstrated by the actualization of light that forms a shadow is the technological model for the photographic process. Baudrillard’s Platonic self-portrait “Punto Final” (1997) captures his absence through this model, which presents a procession of reproducible shadow “Baudrillard’s” with no possibility of an original.

The photograph as an object becomes an embodiment of a reproducible or serial subjectivity, in much the same way that Walter Benjamin speculates in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” – specifically regarding the loss of a unique history or context, what he terms the work’s aura, which results in an inherent lack of originality.  Baudrillard adopts and employs Benjamin’s ideas on this subject in his essay “Clone Story”, in which he states:

There is a procession of reproduction over production, a procession of the genetic model over all possible bodies. It is the irruption of technology that controls this reversal, of a technology that Benjamin was already describing, in its total consequences, as a total medium, but one still of the industrial age – a gigantic prosthesis that controlled the generation of objects and identical images, in which nothing could be differentiated any longer from anything else – but still without imagining the current sophistication of this technology, which renders the generation of identical beings possible, though there is no possibility of a return to an original being.23

Viewing this passage in terms of Baudrillard’s conceptions of photography, it is important to note that he celebrates the photograph’s inability to be original, and attempts to graft this prosthetic quality onto the subjective anatomy of the world through the vehicle of the object captured by the camera. Baudrillard uses photographic technology to render identical subjective beings into objective forms in a hyperutopian manner that he was not able to accomplish within the critical form of language. Through photographic technology Baudrillard is able to create an objective model for the reproduction of his conceptual body (of work) or being.

Here is the site of separation between his previous theoretical writing, in which he is critical of the impact of technology on the world, and his new found practice using the technology of the photographic apparatus. Baudrillard tells Zurbrugg that he is developing a new hypothesis on the contemporary development of technology, one in which he is asking himself “if technology isn’t the site of an inversion of the relationship between the subject and the object”; he believes that it is through this inversion or reversal – caused by the irruption of technology based upon serial reproducibility founded upon concepts of design and the model (respectively Baudrillard’s second and third level simulacrum) – that a new relationship between the subject and the object could formulate “the ultimate way of playing with reality”.24 I believe that Baudrillard’s desire to play with reality – that is to represent, present, and create the hyperreal – has been more successful in his photographs than it is in his writings because of the inherent ability of photographic technology to decontextualize relationships, such as those of subject and object.

Baudrillard has consciously made an effort to distance his writing from academic or scholarly models of referencing, a process that has followed him into photography. In his photographs he is able to actively limit the referential aspects of the image more substantially then he can using language – which requires the context of words and grammatical structure to function. The photographic image can be virtually decontextualized, allowing for unlimited possibilities based upon the removed act of pushing a button. This approach of limiting access to the objective world of his photographic images allows Baudrillard to open up those potentialities of using the technology of the photograph to play with reality, rendering the subjective world as a reproducible object that has the illusionistic or magical capacity to appear and disappear simultaneously. It is this formulation of a hyperreality free of context that he was not able to fully accomplish previously in the medium of language; he believes it is through the objectivity of technology that he can form such hyperreal representations.

For example, returning to his photograph “Sainte Beuve” (1987), Baudrillard’s chair can be viewed as recording a presentation of an appearance of absence and disappearance, specifically that of himself as subject.  The absence of Baudrillard as the invisible subject of the photo is captured through the traces of his presence recorded onto the object of the chair. This image captures and presents a photographic or hyperreal portrait of his utopian ambition of disappearing as a subject and reappearing as an object. This can be seen again in “Punto Final” (1997) where Baudrillard’s own shadow, the shadow of the object creator (photographer), is materialized into the object itself. Through this process Baudrillard appears to be formulating a relationship between the subject (in absence) and the object (in presence) that can be viewed as a form of transformation or transubstantiation between subject and object. For example, in his essay “Baudrillard, Barthes, Burroughs, and ‘Absolute’ Photography” Zurbrugg suggests that in the photograph “Sainte Beuve” (1987):

…the image of the chair in Baudrillard’s apartment in which an object appears (the chair), a subject disappears (Baudrillard), and in which a subject (Baudrillard) reappears as an object (the traces of absent presence suggested by the wrinkles in the chair’s cover).25

Within this process it is not that the object comes to replace the subject, but that the subject is transubstantiated into the hyperreal object presented.  In this case the relationship between the chair (object) and Baudrillard (subject) has been reversed, so that the chair is being used to represent the Baudrillard-as-subject – a representation that he feels cannot be accomplished through a photographic representation of himself as evidence of a real subjective being.  Baudrillard is thus attempting to manipulate and reconstitute reality, presenting his own absence as a subjective disappearance only perceptible through the photographic traces of the object (in this case his chair).  Baudrillard uses this hyperreal anatomic subject that is, unlike a real embodied subject, capable of infinite multiplication through the progressive printings of object images in the form of photographs.
In this way “Sainte Beuve” (1987) – which is ostensibly a simple picture of a chair – can be viewed as the objective embodiment of the subject of Baudrillard; which is a subject that exists within the object and is the product of a hyperreal existence. For Baudrillard, who speculates that God strategically used his own image to disappear, it appears that “we live in a world where the highest function of a sign is to make itself disappear, and at the same time to mask this disappearance”.26 This is also how I believe Baudrillard pictures himself.  As Zurbrugg proposes in an interview with Baudrillard, as “a self-portrait in the manner of Magritte”; to which Baudrillard replied:

Exactly, yes, it traces a particular form.  That’s to say, that at certain moments, objects suggest this sort of hollowed form.  But it’s not so much a projection of the subject on to them.  Rather it’s the absence of the subject – absence modeled within a certain form.  Yes, one certainly has the impression that there is someone there.27

Rene Magritte. “This is Not A Pipe” (1926)28

The vision of an absence captured in the image of a bodiless chair can be viewed as a parallel gesture to Magritte’s presentation of an image of a pipe accompanied by the visual footnote that “This is Not a Pipe” (1926). For Magritte this semiotic intervention into or inversion of the illusionistic world of the canvas serves to point out what is being overlooked, that the image is not a pipe, it is an image. In this way he is self-consciously viewing the object of the canvas as a space in which the subject and object disappear in order to appear in the reconstituted form of an image. Magritte is therefore making a clear distinction between a conceptual similitude – in which because the image looks like or represents a pipe the representation is equated to the real referent – and the real object of the physical pipe. It is this mistaking of an image for reality that Baudrillard cites as the method God uses to disappear from the world, a method that Baudrillard himself employs in his own transubstantiation.

Baudrillard’s photographs play with this relationship between the real and representation, except where Magritte is pointing to a painting of a pipe and claiming it is an image and not real pipe, Baudrillard is pointing his camera at a chair as a means of capturing an absence of the subjective world in the hyperreal presence of an image of a chair in “Sainte Beuve” (1987): an object that has enigmatically captured the traces of the subject (himself). Here again we can see Baudrillard’s ruse as he attempts to disappear behind the image of his chair, an act whose traces are infinitely reproducible. It is his attempt at a God-like disappearance within the image of the photographic, which he discusses in his essay “The Art of Disappearance”, stating:

Every photographed object is simply the trace left behind by the disappearance of everything else.  It’s almost the perfect crime, an almost total final solution, as it were, for a world which projects only the illusion of this or that object, which the photograph then transforms – absent from the rest of the world, withdrawn from the rest of the world – into an unseizable enigma.  From the height of this enigmatic object – which, as a radical exception, bears no resemblances, and has no meaning – one has an unobstructed vision of the world.29

It is this vision of the world as an unseizable enigma that Baudrillard captures, through the objective lens of technology, in his images.30 It is the enigma of the mystery itself that attracts Baudrillard to this final solution or strategy because the photograph represents a world that is more mysterious then the one viewed without the aid of its lens. The hyperreality of these photographically contained worlds is presented to viewers as an unobstructed vision of the disembodied Baudrillardian subject as it is embodied in the object of the photographic image itself.

In this way Baudrillard’s “self-portrait” “Sainte Beuve” (1987), visually and conceptually functions as his attempt to capture the absence of himself as a subject that has disappeared from the world – as he claims all reality has in the face of the hyperreal, including God. But unlike his vision of God, Baudrillard did not obey “the impulse to leave no traces”.31 Baudrillard is therefore only able to present a subject (his) that has been reconstituted within the illusionistic anatomy of the object photographed, specifically through the traces of his body left upon the visual fabric of his red chair (object). This process of photographic transubstantiation, aided by the technological apparatus of the camera, allows Baudrillard to create his own hyperreality within his (own) images, a world in which he is able to embody himself. It is the traces captured by the medium of the photograph that enables Baudrillard, as well as the viewer, to capture his own simultaneous appearance and disappearance: “dying is nothing, you have to know how to disappear”.32 Photography has allowed him to transform himself from a subject into an object: not the object of the chair but that of the photograph itself, which is the chair (Baudrillard) disappearing beneath the hyperutopian vision of its own image. It is through his anthropomorphization of the photographic object that Baudrillard ironically allows himself to embody the objects he photographs, to disappear within them and reconstitute himself through his new capacity to visually play with his own reality. It is only within this self-contained world of the photograph that Baudrillard is able to objectively capture himself as a hyperreal entity that is not a subject. This is an aspect of the hyperreal that Baudrillard might do well to address in future writings unless of course it is only ever present in his photographs. Certainly this curious presence of the hyperreal makes the world more enigmatic and unintelligible but we are left with a question: Is the hyperreal the true of object of Baudrillard’s photography? In our hyperreal times perhaps it is simply that the hyperreal, in which Baudrillard and each of us are immersed, has forced its way into his images in spite of him.

About the Author
Julian (Jason) Haladyn is an artist and writer living in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.  He has published collaborative critical articles and reviews with Miriam Jordan in Parachute:, C Magazine:, and On Site Review. Their essay: “Simulation, Simulacra, and Solaris” is forthcoming in Ready Made: Film Remakes in Postmodern Times (Costa and Nolan, 2005).  His poems and short stories have also appeared in elimae:, ‘a·pos·tro·phe:, Underground Voices:, and in a collection titled Grubstreet 2001-2002: Standing Room Only (London: Huron Literary Society, 2002). As a practicing artist he his exhibited his artwork internationally, including two upcoming solo exhibitions: Eye Level Gallery’s Audio-B Room in Halifax, Nova Scotia (June 22 to July 29, 2006) and Modern Fuel’s State of Flux Gallery, Kingston, Ontario (October 18 to November 25, 2006).

1 – Jean Baudrillard. “The Ecstasy of Photography: Interview With Nicholas Zurbrugg”. In Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor) Art and Artifact. London: Sage, 1997:32.

2 – Jean Baudrillard. “I Don’t Belong To The Club, To The Seraglio: Interview with Mike Gane and Monique Arnaud” in Mike Gane (Editor) Baudrillard Live: Selected Interviews. London: Routledge, 1993:23.

3 – See also: Rex Butler: “Baudrillard’s Light Writing Or Photographic Thought” in International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. Volume 2, Number 1, (January 2005).

4 – Jean Baudrillard. “The Ecstasy of Photography: Interviewed by Nicholas Zurbrugg”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage, 1997:35.

5 – Jean Baudrillard. “La commedia dell’Arte”. Interviewed by Catherine Francblin in The Conspiracy of Art. Sylvére Lotringer (Editor). New York: Semiotext(e), 2005:72.

6 – Ibid.:73.

7 -Jean Baudrillard. “The Art of Disappearance”. In Ibid.:29. Editor’s note: Elsewhere he writes: “…only the inhuman is photogenic…”. Jean Baudrillard. Paroxysm. New York: Verso, 1998:100.

8 – Jean Baudrillard. The Transparency of Evil. New York: Verso, 1993:56.

9 – Jean Baudrillard. “The Ecstasy of Photography: Interviewed by Nicholas Zurbrugg”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage, 1997:35.

10 – Baudrillard tells Zurbrugg that, although he is serious about his photographic process, he still views it as “an alternative to writing – it was a completely different activity which came from elsewhere and had no connection with writing”. Ibid.:32.

11 – Jean Baudrillard. Fatal Strategies. Translated by Philip Beitchman and W.G.J. Niesluchowski. New York: Semiotext(e), 1990:93.


13 – Jean Baudrillard. “Objects, Images, and the Possibilities of Aesthetic Illusion”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage Publications, 1997:14.

14 – As Duchamp states in an interview: “I believe very strongly in the ‘medium’ aspect of the artist.  The artist makes something, then one day, he is recognized by the intervention of the public, of the spectator; so later he goes on to posterity”. Pierre Cabanne. Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp. (Translated by Ron Padgett). Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 1987: 70.

15 – Jean Baudrillard. “The Ecstasy of Photography: Interviewed by Nicholas Zurbrugg”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage Publications, 1997:34.

16 – Jean Baudrillard. Paroxysm. New York: Verso, 1998:91.

17 – Jean Baudrillard. Cool Memories (1980-1985). New York: Verso, 1990:224.

18 – Jean Baudrillard. “The Ecstasy of Photography: Interviewed by Nicholas Zurbrugg”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage Publications, 1997:34.


20 – Jean Baudrillard. Symbolic Exchange and Death. London: Sage, 1993:74.

21 – Sylvère Lotringer. “The Piracy of Art” in International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. Volume 2, Number 2, (July 2005).

22 – Jean Baudrillard. Symbolic Exchange and Death. London: Sage, 1993:72.

23 – Jean Baudrillard. Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1994:100.

24 – Jean Baudrillard. “The Ecstasy of Photography: Interviewed by Nicholas Zurbrugg”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage Publications, 1997:38.

25 – Jean Baudrillard. “Baudrillard, Barthes, Burroughs, and ‘Absolute’ Photography”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage Publications, 1997:163.

26 – Jean Baudrillard. “Objects, Images, and the Possibilities of Aesthetic Illusion”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage Publications, 1997:12.

27 – Jean Baudrillard. “The Ecstasy of Photography: Interviewed by Nicholas Zurbrugg”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage Publications, 1997:35.

28 – See: (link no longer active 2019)

29 – Jean Baudrillard. “The Art of Disappearance”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Ed.), London: Sage Publications, 1997:28.

30Editor’s note: Given Baudrillard’s desire to use theory to make the world more enigmatic and unintelligible, this may be another important point of overlap between his writing and his photographs. See Jean Baudrillard. Impossible Exchange. London: SAGE, 2001:151.

31 – Jean Baudrillard. “Objects, Images, and the Possibilities of Aesthetic Illusion”. In Art and Artifact. Nicholas Zurbrugg (Editor). London: Sage Publications, 1997:12.

32 – Jean Baudrillard. Cool Memories (1980-1985): New York: Verso, 1990:14.