24 March

The Case

Logorama (2009)
Short-animated feature, winner of the Oscar 2010 for best short film animation, by François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy and Ludovic Houplain aka H5


Short introduction

With Logorama as our case, we discussed the principles of Baudrillards hyperreality and C. Pierces signperception.

Logorama contains a good description of hyperreality since the animation is built up intirely by characters and scenarios that are well known brands and signs. It is an extreme picture of Baudrillards point, when he argues that there no longer is anything real (or any reality) since everything real has been substituted for signs instead. He says, that by giving signs a real value, we have replaced reality with signs of meaning. Reality, that is nothing, is thereby only proven true by the imaginary - in the text Baudrillard refers to the Disneyland phenomenon. The absense of reality is therefore masked by simulation and the simulacra has become the truth.

C. Pierces text on perceptions of signs gives us a three dimensional understanding here off. First there is icons or likenesses, secondly there are indices or indications and thirdly there are symbols or general signs. He compares these different types with different phenomenons in real, such as photography (likeness), a man with a rolling gait=sailor (index) and a symbol where the mind is brought from one place to another (symbol).

Simulacra and Simulation

Baudrillard writes how everything in our world today is simulation, but yet he speaks of some sort of profound reality which doesn't really make sense because how could reality exist when everything is simulation? We have decided to interpret the profound reality as what we determine to be the profound reality.

The three orders of reality:

  • 1st order: The reflection of a profound reality

In relation to the casting of Logorama, the Michelin man and Ronald McDonald as corporate front figures are entities of a profound reality. They reflect the corporation and its values.

  • 2nd order: The simulacra masking the absence of a profound reality

As simulacra the images of the Michelin man and Ronald McDonald could go beyond the corporations and become pop-culture figures in their own rights, thereby making a distinction between them as characters and their origin, the corporation.
They are here, in the simulacra, presented and perceived as, in the case of the Michelin man, chubby, friendly and in general a comforting figure. Ronald McDonald on the other hand is a clown, targets children and has exagerated features.

  • 3rd order: The simulation No relation to reality whatsoever, it pure simulacrum

This is when we move into the world of Logorama. The filmmakers has casted these figures into certain characters based solely on the simulacra. Because Michelin man is perceived the way he is, he has been casted as the archetype characters of the chubby, donut-eating, zoo-discussing cop. This casting has nothing to do with the 1st order, where the company of Michelin exists but rather it is based purely on the simulacra, the Michelin-man as a figure.

Ronald McDonald has been casted as the bad guy due to the fact that he is clown, and the evil clown character itself is an archetype often seen in movies. As a clown he therefore also has exagerated features which is something often used in animation to portray evil characters. Think of Disney villains such as, Ursula (overtly fat), Jafar (too skinny and too tall) and so on.
The casting of Ronald McDonald is obviously based on the simulacra, but unlike the Michelin man, he can actually be traced into the 1st order due to the fact that the McDonald's corporation is often viewed upon as "evil" and the root to all obesity problems in the world. Casting Ronald McDonald as a bad guy could be a comment to that notion, however had the McDonald's frontfigure been a cute bunny, it is doubtful whether or not the bunny would have been casted as the villain.


Hyperreality - Zoos and Disneyland

  • Baudrillard says that Disneyland is the perfect model of simulacra and hyperreality, i.e. everything is signs, nothing real is behind them
  • Disneyland markets itself to be all imagination and fantasy, in supposedly stark comparison to the “real” world of L.A.
  • Baudrillard claims that Disneyland, by propagating it’s imagination image, is trying to conceal that the “real” world isn’t real at all, it’s all imagination
  • In the movie, not coincidentally set in California, the cops talk about the zoo. The zoo creates an unreal environment- animals from all the continents are represented in one place- yet, it claims to provide an authentic experience of nature (“When will you ever get that close to a cheetah”)
  • Animals are not “real,” they do not have the characteristics of “real” animals (i.e. cheetah can not run), they are symbols of those animals
  • In the world of the movie though, the zoo is made up of logos, just as the rest of Malibu is (MGM lion, GOP elephant, Jaguar jaguar)
  • In Baudriallard’s Disneyland example, as well as the movie’s representation of the zoo, demonstrate the unreality or hyperreality of all of our lived in experience, weather day to day “imaginative” escapes

describe link

Hyper-needs: the things you just can’t live without?!

- Mass production and consumption

Okay, so finally these are notes from my part of the oral presentation. Like then I’ll now like to elaborate on the actual powers of hyperreality. As we’ve just seen the fictional universe created in the short movie ‘Longorama’ solely consists of logos and logo characters. The brandings of the companies behind the logos are built on different kinds of skills depending on the company’s subject area. In addition they incorporate certain values into the logo through commercials and visual symbols, values to go along with the product. They thereby brand or stage themselves and their product in such a way that the consumer can identify hence not only buy the product but adapt the image of the company and use this in the staging-process of themselves as individuals as well. The note of hyperreality is according to Baudrillard : ‘the simulation of something which never really existed.’
In the simulation process, which is the process of hyperreality, ‘the authentic fake’ is produced as Umberto Eco explains it. In the realm of hyperreality everything is made up. Baudrillard says that today, in a world of hyperreality: ‘Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible. (P.19) In the sphere of hyperreality the concept of simulation rules, it’s about creating the hyperreal. It’s not an illusion of something real and it’s not reality either. In hyperreality these to concepts don’t exist. Furthermore Baudrillard points out, that simulation is: ‘[…] nothing but a social demand. (P.26) Hyperreality is responding to and reinforcing a postmodern, social state of mind where the staging of individuals no longer rest on at firm ideology, for example a religious foundation, but is constituted by fragments of possible images presented to the individual partly through the logos and the values attached.
Consumerism nourishes hyperreality and vice versa, it represents the perfect opportunity to construct a made up reality which following can be used by the consumer to establish a self-image. We communicate with each other not only with word but through our staged image. Hyperreality and the simulation has become a social demand, a social code through which we interact. Our product the movie ‘Longorama’ comments ironically on today’s power of logos. It’s a two way development, meaning that the company’s seek to figure out their target group and what to play on to convince the consumers that they can’t live without their product, they create hyper-needs. The consumers buy in to the created need and incorporate this in their lifestyle, a changed lifestyle that again affects the way the firms approach their target group. To sum up with the words of Baudrillard simulation: ‘[…] is dependent on mass production and consumption. (P.26)


In our discussion we discussed hyperneeds as a creation of society and hyperreality and the consequences of the simulacra and the replacement of reality. If signs substitute reality than does that not cancel out reality and become reality it self? We agreed that that is what Baudrillards is saying.

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