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In a culture marked by an implosive de-differentiation of the image and its referent, where "Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn" (12), the nonfigurability of death seems like a guarantee of a domain of human experience that can transcend hyperreality.
The concept of hyperreality expresses the totalizing claim of the French sociologist Jean Baudrillard that no reality underlies the world of appearances in the age of postmodernity.
While other postmodernists become preoccupied with hyperreality, simulation, and the relationship between signifier and signified, Postman focuses on the concreteness of the image in comparison with the word's capacity for abstraction, on the inability of pictures to represent propositional statements, on the association between visual communication and pathos as opposed to verbal communication and logos, on the relative accessibility of iconic forms in contrast to the long process of schooling associated with literacy, and, of course, on the image's tendency to amuse, entertain, and ultimately, to trivialize.
Insofar as Yu manages to interweave these three narrative threads, she manages to represent a man whose life story is bound up with fictions and is aware of its own hyperreality. Yu also manages to explore the absence of identity available to a figure existing on society's margins, and further, the ways in which marginal figures use absence as fodder for identity itself.
In the global culture of hyperreality with its increasingly dynamic forms of hybrid identities, the critical work of tracing these constructions of self vis-a-vis group becomes progressively more difficult.
In one of those peculiar reversals of the very terms of hyperreality in which Nabokov specialized, as if caught "in the lining of time," all our children are nymphets, our adults are Humberts and Quiltys and Kinbotes, the culture we dream in our sailor suits is an insect Zembla, and the face on the milk carton at the supermarket is our own mug.
Hyperreality, through the substantiality and coherence of its organization, is no longer a referential counterpart for the tangible reality, on the contrary, it grows up to a functional environment that is superior to everyday reality, from the viewpoint of the extensive appeal to all senses and the hyperbolization of "enactment" possibilities--any idea can be "materialized".
(23) The inherent message is that the self has expired and the technological other is the only means of salvaging the residue of "humanity," which has become supplemental to technology in the age of information, mediablitz, hyperreality, futureshock, etc.
Like other contemporary artists working in this vein, Mir attempts to capture an evasive sublime, locating awe and terror not only in nature but also in the hyperreality of the Internet.
The constant search for identity in Native American life coincides with a need to find a voice among these marginalised groups, where the image of the Indian, and even the name "Indian" itself, belong to hyperreality. This "hyperreal" image of the Indian (who, after all, is not from India) is based on the concept of "alterity" or otherness, although there are also stereotypes.
In general, Fontanella's poetry is contagious, luminous, and idea-filled, as in "Interno/Esterno," which weaves together complete opposites in a "paper-made prison" wherein the lessons of surrealism ate transformed into verbal hyperreality, into a lyric instant, purely for pleasure, for the remembrance of having been alive, for the emotion that silences the voice, for the tenderness that prompts a teardrop, for the scream that both wounds and liberates.
I want to begin with a dramatic moment in Umberto Eco's long account of travel in the United States, "Travels in Hyperreality." Eco has in fact been on a "pilgrimage" to various sites that represent what he takes to be the quintessentially American relation to the real.
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