Jean Baudrillard and Marc Guillaume
Translated by Ames Hodges
Alterity is in danger. It is a masterpiece in peril, an object lost or missing from our system, from the system of artificial intelligence and the system of communication in general.
—from Radical Alterity
Where is the Other today? Can Otherness challenge our arrogant, insular cultural narcissism? From artificial intelligence to the streets of Venice, from early explorers to contemporary photographers, Jean Baudrillard and Marc Guillaume discuss the traces of radical alterity in our world. These provocative seminars, held in 1990 and 1991, follow the multiple, intertwined trajectories first projected in Baudrillard’s work and his reading of the “radical exoticism” posited by Victor Segalen—ideas Baudrillard extends into the realms of mass media, pseudonyms, technology, and that illusorily close yet radically foreign “primitive society of the future,” America.
In a world where no corner is unexplored, the Other remains a challenge to thought, a crack in the shell of universal understanding, impossible to communicate but potentially the linchpin of communication itself. Together, Baudrillard and Guillaume explore the threatened and fatal figures of radical alterity.
This collection is no longer available in French, and this English edition includes an additional essay by Baudrillard, “Because Illusion and Reality Are Not Opposed.”
About the Authors
Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) was a philosopher, sociologist, cultural critic, and theorist of postmodernity who challenged all existing theories of contemporary society with humor and precision. An outsider in the French intellectual establishment, he was internationally renowned as a twenty-first century visionary, reporter, and provocateur. His Simulations (1983) instantly became a cult classic and made him a controversial voice in the world of politics and art.
Economist and professor at the Université de Paris-Dauphine, Marc Guillaume has published several works in French rethinking contemporary socioeconomics and has collaborated with such thinkers as Jacques Derrida and Jacques Attali.