Enclosure Fathom Part 2: Limited Edition: Welcome to the Desert of the Paradigmatic Real: Maps (5517) S.

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Welcome to the Desert of the Paradigmatic Real: Maps (5517) S. Map of Mars – original drawing; hidden inside – part of the digital version called ”Change: Yggdrasil (5518)” shown in Enclosure Fathom – Part-1 and a email record in time. Not shown. Please note that this is just an artistic expression, it is NOT a REAL MAP TO MARS!


Welcome to the Desert of the Real is a 2002 book by Slavoj Žižek. A Marxist and Lacanian analysis of the ideological and political responses to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Zizek’s study incorporates various psychoanalytic, postmodernist, biopolitical, and (Christian) universalist influences into a Marxist dialectical framework.


The book’s title comes from a quote delivered by the character Morpheus in the 1999 film The Matrix:

“Welcome to the desert of the real”.

Both Žižek’s title and the line from The Matrix refer to a phrase in Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation. Part of this phrase appears in the following context of the book:

If once we were able to view the Borges fable in which the cartographers of the Empire draw up a map so detailed that it ends up covering the territory exactly […] this fable has now come full circle for us, and possesses nothing but the discrete charm of second-order simulacrum […] It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges persist here and there in the deserts that are no longer those of the Empire, but ours. The desert of the real itself.

Early in The Matrix, Neo used a hollowed-out book with the title Simulacra and Simulation to hide an illegal data disc which appeared in an early scene of the film. Later in the film, Morpheus utters these words after the main character Neo wakes up from his computer-generated virtual reality, experiencing the Real as a desolate, war-torn, yet spectacular geography.

For Žižek, this represents a prime example of the 20th-century’s “passion for the Real,” for which the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were the ultimate artistic expression. His argument is that because this passion was sublimated into the postmodern “passion for the semblance,” Americans experienced the “return of the Real” in exactly the same way as Neo did in the film, i.e., as a nightmarish virtual landscape or “reality as the ultimate ‘effect.”’

During the months to follow people were shown the footage repeatedly. I personally as a processing artist sees that the aftermath of the attack was calculated to also be as spectacularly painful and visual and real as the original deed, by the perpetrators.

Most people have experienced the period since 2001 as a long slope downwards of dissociation with so many things that they were used to as cultural, social, psychological and spiritual familiarities. COVID – 19 , during 2020, added an even greater physical reality traumatic experience to the planet and societies. It is also the year that the plans were finalized to go and land Perseverance, as a ”live’ event on Mars (WAR). 2001   and  2021 have one thing in common, how we all feel the territory and the map, is no longer the same thing. This is what this part of the work is about. 

There is not time or luxury to wait for somebody to arrive from Mars or elsewhere with a disc of some kind or the other to unplug humanity from the desolation, warn torn, yet spectacular geography we are living in. It has to start with computer generated experiences, games and pseudo relationships.

I live in the heart of a desert here in Nizwa in Oman. Here people follow age old weather patterns, and neighbors are like family. It is the nearness with peers, the extra water in the car boot, the mat for picnicking next to the road, the roadmap and communication tools like a phone and how to keep it real at all times that create the fabric of safety and security.

To me this is what the desert brings. Beauty, wonderful relationships, critical self assessment and the richness of nature. 


Welcome to the Desert of the Real – Wikipedia

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