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Travels in Hyperreality Umberto Eco

1. Travels in Hyperreality
Louis Marin describes Disneyland as a degenerate utopia p.43
Proposition:
A degenerate utopia is ideology changed into the form of a myth.
References:
1. Ideology is the representation of the imaginary relationship individuals
maintain with their real conditions of existence.
2. Utopia is an ideological place; utopia is a sort of ideological discourse.
3. Utopia is an ideological place where ideology is put into play; it is a stage
for ideological representation.
4. Myth is a narrative that resolves formally a fundamental social
contradiction.
Utopic Degeneration: Disneyland - Louis Marin
Kanes Xanadu, Hearsts Castle (p.22-4) these reconstructions are governed by a great remorse
for wealth that was acquired by methods less noble than the architecture that crowns them, a
great will to expiatory sacrifice, a desire for posteritys absolution (p.28) develops its thirst for
preservation of art from an imperialistic efficiency it is the bad conscience of [this], just as
cultural anthopology is the bad conscience of the white man who thus pays his debt to the
destroyed primitive cultures. p.39 (this is not an attempt to absolve the shrines of the Fake, but
to call the European sanctuaries of the Genuine to assume their share of guilt p.39
Dennis Gabor inventor of holography.
Fortresses of Solitude / Wunderkammern, Lyndon B. Johnson
it suggests that there is a constant in American taste a philosophy of immortality as
duplication p.6, dominates relations
where the imagination demands the real thing and, to attain it, must fabricate the absolute fake
falsehood is enjoyed in a situation of fullness, of horror vacui p.8
consumption of the present constant past-izing process in alternate process of futuristic
planning and nostalgic remorse p.9-10
What counts is not the authenticity of a piece, but the information it conveys. p.15
truth mixed with legend p.16, authenticity is not historical, but visual
We are giving you the reproduction so you will no longer feel any need for the original. But for
the reproduction to be desired, the original has to be idolised p.19 this is the precession of
the simulacra
the frantic desire for the Almost Real arises only as a neurotic reaction to the vaccum of
memories, the Absolute Fake is offspring of the unhappy awareness of a present without depth.
p.30-31
p.31, 34 conflict of preservation, objective reproduction etc., particularly w/r/t art. How do you
regain contact with the past?
The condition for the amalgamation of fake and authentic is that there must have been a historic
catastrophe p.36
The United States is filled with cities that imitate a city more interesting are those born from
nothing, out of pure imitative determination. They are the real thing. p.40
p.42 hallucination serves to level the various historical periods and erase the distinction between
historical reality and fantasy; in the case of the works of art what is culturally, if not

psychologically, hallucinatory is the confusion between copy and original, and the fetishization of
art as a sequence of famous subjects. In the ghost town since the theatricality is explicit, the
hallucination operates in making the visitors take part in the scene and thus become
participants p.42-43
Disneyland is more hyperrealistic [it] makes it clear that it is fantasy that is absolutely
reproduced p.43
What is falsified is our will to buy, which we take as real, and in this sense Disneyland is really the
quintessence of consumer ideology. p.43
once the total fake is admitted, in order to be enjoyed it must seem totally real. p.43
Disneyland not only produces illusion, but in confessing it stimulates the desire for it: faked
nature corresponds much more to our daydream demands [it] tells us that technology can give
us more reality than nature can. p.44
we not only enjoy a perfect imitation, we also enjoy the conviction that afterwards reality will
always be inferior to it. p.46
An allegory of consumer society, a place of absolute iconism, Disneyland is also a place of total
passivity. p.48 Marin on abandoning [ones] own will
the hyperrealists of the art galleries are only the timid voyeurs of an immense and continuous
found object. p.48
Marinelands contra wax museums in the Marinelands all is reality but aspired to appear sign.
p.52 Nature has almost been regained, and yet it is erased by artifice precisely so that it can be
presented as uncontaminated nature.
re: the supernatural, the industry of the Absolute Fake gives a semblance of truth to the myth of
immortality through the play of imitations and copies, and it achieves the presence of the divine in
the presence of the natural p.56
The ideology of this America wants establish reassurance through Imitation. But profit defeats
ide0ology, because the consumers want to be thrilled not only by the guarantee of the Good but
also by the shudder of the Bad. p.57 Thus, on entering his cathedrals of iconic reassurance,
the visitor will remain uncertain whether his final destiny is hell or heaven, and so will consume
new promises. p.58

2. The Return of the Middle Ages


p.62 perhaps only after a text has been rigorously reconstructued can it be irresponsibly
deconstructed
the problems of modern society originated in the Middle Ages, p.64 (modern languages, merchant
cities, capitalistic economy)
Jean Poinsots work in the theory of signs (p.66)
p.67 in the case of the remains of classical antiquity we reconstruct them but, once we have
rebuilt them, we dont dwell in them, we only contemplate them as an ideal model and
masterpiece of faithful restoration. On the contrary, the Middle Ages have never been
reconstructed from scratch: We have always mended or patched them up, as something in which
we still live.
p.68 Ten Little Middle Ages
1. pretext mythological stage on which to place contemporary characters
2. ironical revisitation, in order to speculate about our infancy also about the illusion of our
senility
3. barbaric, elementary and outlaw
4. romanticism
5. philosophia perennis or of neo-Thomism medieval theory of definition as per Isagoge

6. national identities
7. Decadentism
8. philological reconstruction
9. Tradition, or occult philosophy
10. expectation of the Millenium
p.71 reversal of post hoc ergo propter hoc/ modus ponens
p.74 deciding on a new Middle Ages i.e. satire of the present age, continues p.76-7
p.81 conclusions (parallels)
p.82- pastiche
An art not systematic but additive and compositive with interchanges and borrowings, reciprocal
and continuous the mad taste for collecting, lists, assemblage is due to the need to dismantle
and reconsider the flotsam of a previous world, harmonious perhaps, but by now obsolete.
p.84 Our own Middle Ages will be an age of permanent transition for which new methods of
adjustment will have to be employed. The problem will not so much be that of preserving the past
scientifically as of developing hypotheses for the exploitation of disorder, entering into the logic of
conflictuality.

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