This illustrated article is a brief psychological and geographical narrative of a visit the author and his partner made to the grave of the well-known French cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard in Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris. However, it is simultaneously an attempt to contemplate, in light of Baudrillard’s death in March 2007, the posthumous meaning of his cultural and theoretical endeavors and his efforts to enhance our understanding and appreciation of visual culture. Attention is paid to the central theme of the sign, both literally and theoretically, and to the importance not only of Baudrillard’s work, but also crucially and in particular to the sign “Jean Baudrillard 1929–2007.” It is not accidental, then, that all the photographs contained in this article are of signs in both senses noted above, and, in deference to Baudrillard’s own photography, include only suggestions of human presence. As the article’s title suggests, the concept of pursuit is dominant. However, it must be emphasized that the article is not a Baudrillardian interpretation of his particular contributions to contemporary cultural theory and visual culture but a phenomenological explanation, which principally employs the writings of the American philosopher Alphonso Lingis. Finally, the concluding paragraphs are reserved for a range of criticisms of Baudrillard’s work and the author’s appraisal of its likely future influence.
Research Article|July 01 2008