Baudrillard in Bellville
France is good at wine, riots and philosophers. One of the most interesting was media theorist Jean Baudrillard, whose ideas found wide circulation in The Matrix film franchise along with minimal, wrap-around black sunglasses worn indoors. The kind that Ninja from rof-rappers Die Antwoord wears.
Ninja (left) and Jean Baudrillard (right)
Baudrillard is a bit of all three: born in Reims, the capital of Champagne, professor at the University of Nanterre in north Paris during the student riots of 1968 where he taught structural Marxism and media theory before becoming a celebrity flying philosopher.
Baudrillard had a knack of getting up the collective noses of the status quo, claiming (for example) that the Gulf War never happened – the reality was upstaged by wall-to-wall media coverage that changed the bloody reality into a Fox News simulation.
Another target was the holy cow of fine art – not art as such, just the privileged position artists, patrons and dealers claim for themselves in an activity that is no longer an aesthetic curiosity but rather “a commercial frenzy.” Reading his arguments in The Conspiracy of Art (MIT Press, 2005), change “art” to “wine” and most of the arguments still hold. It was no accident that last weekend’s Joburg Art Fair 2010 chose the same venue as WineX – the Sandton Convention Centre. Or that Meerlust was a co-sponsor.
Take his concept of “image feedback” for example. Applied to wine, it states that wine is masked by the idea of wine itself. How many of those anoraque flâneurs cruising the isles of WineX or scrumming down at a Juliet Cullinan tasting table are there for the wine rather than the idea of wine as something elitist, intellectual and fashionable?
Afrikaans zef-rappers Die Antwoord are neo-Baudrillardians in the Boland. Zef Baudrillard, if you like. With a philosophy based on “PC computer” games on the interweb with the aim to get to “the next level”, these Bellville Baudrillards embrace simulation as the new reality.
Next Level has a lot of traction in the SA wine spittoon. Tired of Franschhoek? Riebeek-Kasteel is next level. Chateau Libertas is next level Meerlust Rubicon , Elim (where the oes is woes) is next level Constantia and Alvi’s Drift is next level Vergelegen.