Cool Memories 07

Cool Memories 07

By Jean Baudrillard 布希亞

Translated by Springhero 雄伯

     It is announced that the United States of Africa have built a reservation for ethnologists in the heart of Africa, where they are protected and maintained in ideal ecological survival conditions and fed at set times of day as is the custom in their countries of origin. The reservation is off-limits to Africans, whether their intentions be philanthropic, scientific or cannibalistic, for fear of damaging the natural equilibrium of the tribe or endangering its chances of breeding, though matters in their regard are already very precarious.


The African states assure us that all possible measures will be taken to save this disappearing race: the crucial thing is that it should be completely isolated from the outside world. The first experiment along these lines had already been attempted years ago by the people of Chad, whom the French government had paid a great deal to carry one holding a certain Mme Claustre, an anthropologist, and whom they had thereby saved from the clutches of the Whites who wished to turn her over to scientific prostitution.


This almost accidental event soon resulted in all the West’s anthropologists rushing off to African reservations, where they could at last devote themselves to the observation of the only ethnic group worthy of the name—their own. By contrast, upon their approach, all the beasts of the savannahs ran off to take refuge in urban zoos, and the Africans themselves withdrew into their missions, for fear of being devoured by ethnologists who had very rapidly reverted to cannibalism.


The moving movement is the one when a woman takes off her shoes and suddenly becomes smaller before your eyes .She becomes marvelously tiny, and at the same time, her face changes. She creates intimacy in its most seductive form.


Different levels of atrocity.

A DC—10 crashes in the forest of Ermenonville. Three hundred and fifty people are shredded into some twelve thousand pieces. Other societies have accomplished the same thing by other means. Less accidental, bloodier means. Our atrocity, the one that distinguishes us from everyone else, is the fact of having gathered up all the pieces and run the data through a computer to establish the identity of the dead. To settle the wills and the insurance claims no doubt. But there is something else in play here—the obsessive desire for restoration.



This act—the use of the technology of synthesis to repair the damage wrought by the technologies of death—is what characterizes us. Reassembling the flayed bodies of Ermenonville is of the same order as reconstituting the mummy of Rameses II in a laboratory.


Our atrocity is exactly the reverse of that of earlier centuries. It consists in eradicating the blood and cruelty by use of objectivity. A colorless, programmatic, bloodless atrocity, like the white-noise torture of sensory deprivation cells.


The finest physical and mental exercise: wandering around an unknown town in a certain quality of light. Secret circulation, the virginity of the ( nonetheless corrupt) signs of the metropolis, the surprise of the architecture, tiredness, all the senses on the alert, one’s body buoyed up by walking, a trance-like state in which all the mechanisms of intuition function at great speed. Catching the town as it emerges, before it has come on stage, leaving the people in abeyance, and their language, which seems oddly familiar to the foreigner…Then the landmarks awaken from their slumber, meaning is roused, here and there, in fragmentary fashion. But the phase of emergence itself is delicious. Yet, the end has already come. Weariness wins out over the trance.


Paranoiac with fire

Obsessional with the earth

Schizophrenic with water

Hysterical with the winds

All mental ceremonies have an indivisible form.







Cool Memories by Jean Baudrillard 布希亞

Translated by Springhero 雄伯


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