Friday, July 30, 2004

Matrix, Simulated

I saw this flash animation a few days ago. When I was watching it I noticed the word 'Matrix' mentioned on the bottom of the page and thought it is referring to the movie Matrix. Seeing the Flash movie again today, I noticed the link is not referring to the movie, but to a real data mining program called MATRIX (Multistate Anti-TeRrorism Information eXchange).
As ACLU website explains:
[This] surveillance system combines information about individuals from government databases and private-sector data companies.  It then makes those dossiers available for search by government officials and combs through the millions of files in a search for “anomalies” that may be indicative of terrorist or other criminal activity...
It amazes me how many metaphors created by Hollywood movies (The Star Wras, the spaceship Enterprise, or the Evil Empire) are used by American political language, and how much the reality formed in the minds of people depends on the simulated reality previously manufactured by the media. But it is even more surprising to see that nobody notices something so obvious. It is a system of manipulation of minds based on a modern-age mythology which has replaced the reality.

In the movie Matrix, the book in which the 'drug-programs' are hidden is Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation.


Apparently the movie wants to make a parallel between Baudrillard ideas about reality and what the movie was trying to say, but as one expects from a Hollywood product it completely misses the point. While Baudrillard talks about the actual life and the ways media and the whole system functions as the Borgesian "Empror's Map" to create a reality for us, Matrix tries to remake a Christian drama with a Modern-Age savior, based on a beautifully done commercial interpretation of Berkeley's philosophy (esse is percipi, to be is to be perceived). The eventual result has nothing to do with Baudrillard.

Ironically -as we can see now- the real Baudrillardian Matrix is made somewhere else: in the Department of .. you know what. What they do under the name 'Matrix' is so much in line with the map Borges talks about: the Baudrillardian image of a reality that doesn't exist anymore. In the late '90s Wachowski Brothers asked Baudrillard to get involved in writing the script and making the movie Matrix. He never accepted. I wonder if he has ever wrote anything on the re-make, the real Matrix. That is something I love to read.


1 comment:

  1. The game of manipulating minds that you referred to is very true, and in many ways, it's very dangerous. Now what many people have in mind about "war" is almost identical to what hollywood has portrayed about it. Remember Moore when he interviewed young soldiers in Iraq, some of them never ever expected a "serious" war. It also works the other way around: When you watch too much war and murder on screen, then you lose your sensitivity towards that kinda stuff and REAL murder and war won't bug you anymore. In this way they can manipulate anything in people's minds. I'm not claiming that all TV/cinema programs are created for that, but if you're seeking power and you're clever enough, what else would work better for you?