SIMVEILLANCE IN LAS VEGAS
Nathan Radke, Sheridan College (Ontario)
Professor Radke is not affiliated with the Center for Media and Destiny.
The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Volume 2, Number 2 (July 2005).
This publication did not have an abstract, but the following passages from the paper express the relevance for media and destiny.
From the Conclusion:
"Is this the fate of the modern subject? To willingly sacrifice his life to the fourth wall of simulation, to take his own life while leaving a virtual remnant in its place? To become a docile and stationary observer, rather than an active mobile participant? The massive popularity of entertainment locations such as Las Vegas and Disneyland seems to indicate that this is a possibility. People are fleeing the uncertain world for its simulated non-equivalent.
From the Introduction:
While the hyperreal nature of the Strip makes typical distinctions such as interior/exterior problematic, the hot desert sun is still able to assert its physical reality even in such a virtual environment. For this reason, my experiences in and observations of Las Vegas are broken down into two sections – “Under the Sun” and “Away from the Sun”. These two sections describe the nature of the subject/setting interaction that occurs on the Strip, and in the casinos.
Finally, in the section titled “Simveillance in Las Vegas”, I illustrate how the hyperreal world of the Las Vegas strip renders the potentially volatile and dangerous subject immobile, sterile, predictable, and inert. In the seemingly chaotic environment of a modern casino, where possibilities appear endless and unpredictable, the subject actually faces fewer possibilities and options than he would were he ten miles further south, in the barren desert.
WHY WE LINKED TO THIS ESSAY
This thought-provoking paper explores issues at the heart of mediated destiny, where the media maps are overtaking (or obliterating) or becoming the territories of "reality," as illustrated by sites like Las Vegas, Disney World, Facebook, and the 24/7 surveillance societies being created via the internet and inexpensive computers and cameras. As theorized by Baudrillard and Radke, sites like Vegas and Disney are the architectural embodiments of these cultural, technological, and ideological trajectories.