When we read the tiny volume Why Hasn’t Everything Disappeared Already?, written by Baudrillard in January 2007, a few months before his death and at the height of his cosmic pessimism, we feel ourselves in a still, purposeless vortex, in a black hole that leads nowhere and begins in a pataphysical elsewhere, in the exciting realisation that we are facing an enigma.
The already extreme takes on the society-simulacrum of the 1980s, exacerbated by the advent of the World Wide Web and the Internet in everyday life in the 1990s, take a metaphysical, absolute, phantasmagorical turn here.
Thus, to say: the digital image, which frees man from any constraint of reality, thanks to the fact that it does not possess a negative, hence an unmodifiable real essence, puts an end to the very imagination of the image, to its fundamental ‘illusion’, since in the operation of synthesis the reference no longer exists and reality itself no longer has any reason to take place, therefore, if analogue photography bears witness to absence – a moment that no longer exists – digital photography bears witness to something that has not taken place, a disappearance of reality that becomes the disappearance of the image.
But this has to do with the absoluteness of the disappearance of reality, which begins as soon as representation and concept take possession of it, and then technology makes everything disappear through ‘excess of reality’ and art becomes the paradigm of everything that survives its own disappearance. Paradigm, therefore, of the human race, which by advancing technologically disappears and fails, still remaining anchored to reality and History.
A book of 40 pages slightly larger than A6 format, which can be read in 1 hour but needs many more to make sense of it. Quintessence of post-modern philosophy, which basks in enigma and incomprehension, a Pindaric flight that among the wounds of the absurd sketches a thought that is unclear at times, limpid at others, at times delirious, at others lucid, Baudrillardian that exceeds itself. An abstract work of art.
Jean Baudrillard, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?, Seagull Books, London, 2009 (orig. ed. Pourquoi tout n’a-t-il déja disparu?, L’Herne, 2007 )