Baudrillard and Hyperreal Ireland

Jean Baudrillard in Simulacra and Simulation (1985) questions the ‘real’ and versions of the ‘real’ citing the media as exaggerating the real and so coins the term hyperreality to reflect this distortion. Furthermore, Baudrillard states that these simulations become more important and replace the ‘real.’ Reality, Baudrillard notes, is re-presented and is a simulation of something that never really existed.

Applying Baudrillard’s theory, I would question whether Ireland’s ‘Boom’/Celtic Tiger ever existed.

For instance, developers request funds for a new estate and the bank obliges. I suggest what happens is the bank gives the developer a promissory intention of funds. The developer reaches into the bank’s pocket without banks exacting due diligence checks thus developing these simulacra.

The bank gives the ‘funds’ the developer does not have the developer then builds the project expecting a full sale of the development. A few sell, so the developer asks for more money for a new development and the bank again obliges. The bank and the developer create a fantasy. As developments increase, 100% mortgages have been granted to the public and so the public the public have become part of this new reality. These new representations replace the old and the new become more important than the ‘real.’ Reality has been replaced by simulacra. The money/funds are in effect a version of hyperreality. The division between the ‘real’ and simulation has collapsed. A verisimilitude co-exists between Baudrillard’s Disneyworld and the developments in Ireland.

The cycle goes on. Super-saturation occurs. The glass is not full but leaking more ‘money’ than it can take. The bubble bursts resulting in ghost estates, bankrupting developers, banks, homeowners and eventually the country itself. They were playing with money – a simulation – that never existed. The notion of the hyperreal questions if the money existed in the first place.

As a last note, I’ll finish with two quotes I amended slightly from one of my favourite movies The Usual Suspects (1995).

‘The greatest trick the devils ever pulled was pretending that the funds existed.’

‘Like that… it’s gone.’

Hyperreal.

A Walk From Raheny to Howth

12 o’clock in the afternoon and a plan is afoot. Ireland was promised good weather so I was going to make use of it; go for a walk from Raheny to Howth and back and try to do it in a good time.

As I am quite competitive, I gave myself a target of two hours but was also to leave at twelve. (It didn’t matter that I hadn’t attempted this walk before, but the target was there to beat). As usual, good plans do not always come to fruition as I forgot to take into account I needed to prepare for my walk – dress in the requisite gear, put on a bit of sun cream and look silly stretching before I departed.

12:30pm came and I was off, happy that the sun was shining in the sky and a warm complimentary sea breeze was coming up the road and that blackbirds were singing in the trees. I head towards the coast road – the path along the Bull Island with the sun on my back and the sea on my right. Flecks of the sun shine on the sea below, like little camera flashes.

Along the coast road, it was nice though surprising how few people appeared to be out walking. Several bikes dodged around me, I walked past the odd pedestrian, the odd dog, said hello to an old school friend, but most were driving in the good weather. Traffic always haemorrhages on the coast road on sunny days as they head towards Howth. I walk on check the watch and check my pace. At 1pm, I am at Kilbarrack Cemetery, so I quicken.

1:30pm I reached Sutton Cross. Here, the cars disperse and the plan had changed slightly. The fork on the right alongside Marine Hotel goes towards St. Fintan’s Cemetery where my dead grandparents lie. I felt compelled to visit.

In a car, the drive from Sutton Cross to the cemetery is minimal, but as I am walking and going up a hill, I question whether this is the correct road but plough on nonetheless. Paths disappear and I am forced to cross the road twice, and doubts arise and the time is 1:40pm.

Graves appear on my right and into the cemetery I go. The time no longer matters. I say a quick prayer for my relatives and end it wishing them a Happy Easter. In the trees the birds rejoice. I walk back home the same way I came content with my day’s work.

The Rhizome

The rhizome
Starts
Here
Or it could be
There
Like confusing voices
Of Deleuze and Guattari
In ‘A Thousand Plateaus’
The rhizome has no centre
It grows out
Down
Up
Or start here
Or start anywhere
Like here

Like here
Or start anywhere
Or start here
Up
Down
It grows out
The rhizome has no centre
In ‘A Thousand Plateaus’
Of Deleuze and Guattari
Like confusing voices
there
Or it could be
Here
Starts
The rhizome

In our own worlds

On a bright evening walking out of the small estate, I note a middle-aged man with hair as brown as mud plodding slowly up the road.

On a bright evening walking out of the small estate, I note a middle-aged man with hair as brown as mud plodding slowly up the road.

A car passes. He flails both arms like he’s practicing semaphore. Try again, I think, you may take off soon. Another car passes seemingly oblivious to his actions. His arms again flail.

I tell myself to slow down, as he might have been saying goodbye to his brain cells. I did not want to find myself caught up with him and him engaging me in a conversation about trivialities.

He walks on. I walk on; both in our own worlds. He waves again as a car passes. He then crouches, stretches out his arms. A small smiling child jumps from a buggy and runs into his arms.

I smile and walk on.