ARCH 411: Graduate Research Design Studio I, Fall 2010–Melanie Fessel


Baudrillard is claiming that late twentieth-century communication and information technologies have produced such a blurring of what is real and what is a representation that the two can no longer be distinguished. He inverts Borges fable to proclaim that “it is the real and not the map which vestiges subsists here and there.” Here, Baudrillard is careful to explain that this reversal does not mean that the world is scarcely more than a vast simulacrum, but rather that the act of differentiating between real and the representation is no longer meaningful.

The development of electronic media blurs the line between map and territory by allowing for the simulation of ideas as encoded in electronic signals, as Baudrillard argues in Simulacra & Simulation: “Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: A hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory - precession of simulacra - that engenders the territory. “(Baudrillard, 1994, p. 1)

For Borges and Carroll the territory itself wins out over the map, and for Baudrillard the map has come to both precede and construct the territory.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.