Lombardinilo, Andrea: The objectless image: Baudrillard, Warhol and the machinic anti-rhetoric

This proposal focuses on the “machinic snobbery” probed by Jean Baudrillard in The Perfect Crime (1995), referring to Andy Warhol’s aesthetic revolution. According to Baudrillard, television has murdered reality and wiped out objects. The replacement of objects with their “simulacra” engendered the proliferation of appearances that the new sophisticated devices – fostering serial repeatability – have the power to reproduce and share on a mass scale. The fetish-object is the emblem of such an informative standardization, whose function is to mould new forms of social and aesthetic discourses. Television ascendancy has rapidly transformed the way social meanings and collective images settle in daily experiences: this tendency entails a permanent process of depletion and renewal of objects deprived of the their archetypical images. Pop-art and, in particular, Andy Warhol, demonstrated how close the relationship between the nothing and the whole may be, especially if it is referred to the semiotic role played by appearances: “Nothing is perfect, because it is opposed to Nothing”. Thanks to Warhol’s legacy, Baudrillard can demonstrate the social power of fetish-objects in the era of media consumption, featured by the triumph of machines and technology in daily life. The cult of media and industrial simulacra marks the distance between Warhol, Duchamp and the surrealist and dada artists, belonging to the avant-garde mindset. Warhol realizes that the aesthetic form is machinic, founded on the idea of “unconditioned simulacra”. Thus, art turns into a social medium inspired by the anti-rhetoric of machines capable of producing “the total illusion of the modern world”, dealing with the media crime of reality.