November 21, 2007

simulation- an example

Here is something on simulation again! All that talk about Disney world and Celebration Florida brought to my mind something I saw in India as well. Jodhpur is a historical city in Rajasthan and it is also known as the Blue City…and it is literally blue. This is due to the distinct tinge of the whitewashed houses throughout the city. The blue houses were originally for Brahmins which differentiated them from the non- Brahmins (one needs to keep in mind that caste system is very stringent social order in India). However, gradually with time, the non-Brahmins soon joined in, as the color was said to deflect the heat and keep mosquitoes away. What is interesting to observe now is how blue tinged houses still sprout all around the historical Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, even though many ways have been invented to keep mosquitoes away.

And this is where probably the idea of simulation comes in. As I said before, Jodhpur is one of the historical cities of India, and the entire city’s revenue is dependent on tourism. Tourist guides in the city talk about these ancient blue houses, but many of the houses in the outskirts are new and still blue; existing houses renovated have still retained the same hue. This reminded of Buadrillard’s concept of the hyperrreal and the imaginary. Just like “Disney land exists in order to hide that it is the “real” country”, this city too creates a simulation of the historical Blue City. For a tourist, who comes to visit this city, standing on top of the Mehrangarh Fort, the array of blue signifies the historical location; he sees these houses as part of the historical artifacts of the area. The people of Jodhpur, I feel have a lot to do with creating this simulated environment. The creation of all the blueness results in a state of hyperreality. For the residents, there is no distinction between the “real” and the “unreal”. It has all blended to create the simulacra.

Coming to think of it this is probably true for eveything that we see and perceive in the 21st century. The real has been substituted by the hyperreal. The distinction between "appearance" and "reality" has gradually faded; what we percieve now is a simulated reality. Perhaps that is why every action we take seems to be a work of "reality by proxy." The action is not of much importance, what it is perceived as, is what makes the difference. Any mass medium uses simulation- there is a wide gap between what is real and what we perceive as real. In simulation, the problem is, we do not even know the existence of that "real."

1 comment:

Meg said...

Agreed..even in the case of reality television, although I admit I watch it, I can't help but think of those poor girls on The Bachelor, who were crying saying they would have made him "the happiest man in the world" where he should have been the one concerned aobut making them happy! But with simulation the real becomes thoughts go back to when I was at Dave and Busters..on the what point will it stop? will hotels in Aspen have simulated ski machines for people to feel like they were skiing??