Simulacra and Simulation and Some Ice Cream
A Man Going His Own Way III
In a single day, I ate gelato twice and, after a single museum visit, became the world’s foremost expert on Protestant Reformation-era religious engravings and their relation to the theories of Jean Baudrillard(‘s wikipedia page).
Early in the day I hit up the The Museum Of Barcelona History, the MUHBA. Or, really, just one part of it since museum is broken up among several buildings across the city. Unfortunately, the part of the museum I picked was extremely boring.
What is now the museum USED TO BE a church and what USED TO BE a church USED TO BE just some random Roman street that was destroyed and paved over after the fall of the Roman Empire (Take THAT, civilization at the height of its powers that believes it will never fall!).
So the first part of the museum is an underground tour of this lame, not-at-all exciting ruin. “See this awesome hole in the ground? We think it might have been used to dye strips of cloth! Now feast your eyes on this cool-ass dirt pile. What if it was once used to make wine?” Hole-ruins are kinda neat, they make you think about the impermanence of all things, and they help keep your minor, day-to-day problems in perspective. But they’re also boring.
Also, the museum was pretty empty. In one room, I farted really loud and then I heard loud footsteps and I thought, “Oh no, I farted so loud they’re kicking me out of the museum.”
But then the museum’s non-permanent exhibit was fucking awesome. It was a history of the Protestant Reformation told through engravings.
I learned a ton. It was very interesting to see how divergences in dogma (Catholics loved images of Jesus/Protestants less so) led to differences in art (Catholics made engravings of their handsome God, Jr./Protestants made engravings of Bible stories) which led to massive changes in religious belief (Catholic bibles were only printed in Latin/Protestant bibles were printed in local languages and with engraved images of bible stories, making them easier for people to understand, so millions of people became Protestant).
There was also an eye-opening section on religious satire. Again–most of the population couldn’t read so both Catholics and Protestants produced art making fun of the other sect. Here’s a Protestant piece depicting the Pope, and when you turn him upside-down, as the devil:
At some point, the Protestant Iconoclasts started riots to destroy Catholic religious images (statues, crosses, stained glass). The Iconoclasts’ reasoning was that worshippers would get attached to the images themselves, not to the divine concepts they represented.
But then I went home and read Jean Baudrillard’s wikipedia page. His theory is that the Iconoclasts saw the images’ true power–that if people began to worship the images, they would realize that God himself was unnecessary, and thus the images would no longer represent anything real at all. The religious images would be “simulacra,” simulations of a thing that never had any real existence in the first place.
Anyway, I have no idea what I’m talking about since I didn’t even read the entire Wikipedia page.
After the museum, I got gelato. Later, I got more.