What is hyperreality and what does it mean? Why is Las Vegas postulated to be ‘hyperreal’? Furthermore why is it that so many people in the world want to visit Las Vegas, and people return back to Las Vegas year after year, even though we all believe the city, and everything within it, is superficial and fake? Perhaps it is to do with nostalgia, or the fact that Las Vegas is very good at being a themed illusion which puts everyone into a trance and make them believe they are in fantasyland? Why is Las Vegas the way that it is and has been, and will it be as successful in years to come? Why does Las Vegas stand out within the theory of Hyperreality? It is because it epitomises the core functions of what hyperreality is as a theory. ¬
Hyperreality is difficult to separate from postmodernism, but hyperreality is about how the signification is more important that the authenticity, which means the meaning and experience is more important than the function. Why be satisfied with reality, when you can experience hyperreality which is “better” than the real thing. Nowadays we all live in a hyperreal world, many things are replicated and are a reconstruction of a copy of a copy, what was real is getting confused with the fake, so the true meaning or understanding of anything is getting tainted and often lost. For the purpose of this essay hyperreality is defined as “the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from fantasy”1. Therefore many of the real things are getting mingled with replicas and fakes causing hyperreality to grow and become a bigger part of our lives. Modern cultures and societies such as America and the UK, are alarmingly obsessed with duplicates so much so that the people within these societies aspire to live within or attain these “false” levels of satisfaction. How can one be truly happy or content, if one’s understanding or interpretation of the world and everything within it is twisted and manipulated and goals set upon a false set of values, striving for an unattainable ideal. Hyperreallity offers a person “satisfaction” but based upon false expectations and values as Italian Philosopher Umberto Eco suggested, the “authentic fake”. Primarily Las Vegas emphasises its hyperreal state by standing alone in the desert. It is as though it was “creatio ex nihilo” (created out of nothing). Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert, as if it is the only thing that exists. The fun and satisfaction falsely related to being in Las Vegas predominately stems from the feeling that if they leave Las Vegas they have nothing and experience nothing because Las Vegas is surrounded by emptiness and a feeling of nothingness. However, it is of utmost importance to understand that Las Vegas is a hyperreal environment, a reflection and multiplication and in itself a shadow, if you like a glamorisation of reality, therefore multiplying and extending emotions and feelings that one has, falsely making people think the environment is better and more fulfilling than it really is. The marketing concept of Las Vegas is that it provides fun, glamour, wealth, sex, all through what the city contains, its architecture, signs and many hotels, reflecting this hyperreality. The architecture and marketing concept of Las Vegas fulfil the physiological needs of a human being that makes one happy according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. By fulfilling the most basic needs of every human being Las Vegas sets up a fake sense of achievement and happiness. Why is it that people travel and stay in Las Vegas, and become disillusioned and believe what is surrounding them. Is it primarily to do with the architecture and the sounds, smells and flashing lights that is luring the customers in and causing them to come back repeatedly. Firstly Las Vegas is known for the cascade of flashing lights, it is “The giant billboard, the decorated shed, the use of moving light and colour, continuous, competitive frontages of accelerating fantasy and novelty, all...
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