Above: Trump. Credit: Shealah Craighead.

The Ecstatic

In 1983, Jean Baudrillard first put forward his concept of the ecstatic: in the modern age everything must reappear in its "ecstatic" version--a monstrous-obscene emptied-out incarnation. ("Ecstasy is the quality proper to any body that spins until all sense is lost and then shines forth in its pure and empty form.") It is thirty-five years since Baudrillard posited his theory of the ecstatic .... these days, as a tool for interpreting-theorizing modern life, it's more cogent than ever before.

Here are some current examples of the Ecstatic....

Beauty Catwalk couture
Consumerism The brand
Conversation Twitter and social media
US President Trump
Fitness Bodybuilding ("gym bunnies")
Sexual relationships Tinder
Art Zombie Formalism
Jazz Brad Mehldau or Ashley Henry
Television YouPorn

We, in the developed West at least, live increasingly in an ecstatic culture in which any object, idea or phenomenon is apt to appear--or reappear--as a monstrous-and-empty version of itself.

(11 December 2018)