Full Title:

"Mediation, Simulation, and the Large Hardon Collider"


Mel Salm, Goldsmith University (London)

Professor Salm is not affiliated with the Center for Media and Destiny.

Published in:

The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Volume 9, Number 1 (January 2012).


This essay analyzes the pursuit of reality enacted at/in/by the site of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) through theories of mediation and simulation. The LHC can be seen to offer a unique moment in which to acknowledge the ‘intra-actions’ and inseparability of events and their mediation in the co-constitution and production of reality, presenting a challenge to representationalist schematics that maintain a distinction between facts of nature ‘as they exist’ and as they come to be known. Additionally, the simulation of the Big Bang on a miniature scale, the (repetitive) re-creation of the primal scene of creation, interpolates a Baudrillardian analysis of the simulated nature of reality itself, especially as it regards this return-to-origins bred by a gridlocked inertia among the theoretical and empirical sciences and general uncertainty of and in ‘the real’. Both theories demonstrate that it is useful to remember, in our consideration of the LHC, that any re-creation of the Universal, of originary cause, of an origin of the universe is always and already a re-presentation; that the LHC is performative in demonstrating that any origin is always already produced technically, and that it is repetition or reproducibility itself that can be found at any origin, or non-origin.


Inside part of the Large Hadron Collider.The Center linked to this essay because it poses a profound philosophical challenge for science (empirical and theoretical) and its relation to the media technologies used to observe "reality." As Marshall McLuhan explained in the famed phrase, "the medium is the message," each media technology has a much greater effect on human consciousness and society than the messages it carries. Media technologies massage consciousness to embrace the perceptions of the reality provided by each technology, perhaps even generating what is understood as "true' or "real." If so, then what are the "messages" of cosmic media technologies that peer into the microcosmos and the macrocosmos, such as the Large Hadron Collider or the Hubble Space Telescope. We have discussed some of these questions in a very preliminary essay: "The Role of Cosmic Media Technologies." We hope to explore these philosophical questions more in the future.