Postmodern Social Simulation and Alienation through ‘Cloning’ in A Number

Hadis Shokouhi • Leila Baradaran Jamili

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(English, 12 pages)


This article focuses on Jean Baudrillard’s tenets in analyzing postmodern social simulation in Caryl Churchill’s A Number. In this play ‘cloning’ becomes a final solution provided by technology for subjects living in hyperreal circumstances that cause the subject’s alienated identity in postmodern society. The play echoes the author’s attitude towards scientific evolution that is the result of cloning, and its impact on social and moral values and relationships. It also explores the influence of technology in the posthuman age in A Number. The introduction of technologies in society is something that should be questioned and tested not only to prove the theories, but to move forward into new potential realities; hyperreality through technology and its impact on postmodern society will be well-traced in A Number. B1 and B2 are the main characters of A Number that suffer from missing their identity. They leave in a hyperreal situation in which cloning, which is the result of technological development, makes a kind of detachment from their real identity. In this play characters have hyperreal experience of simulated images. Hyperreality is born with the third order of simulacra in which the real absorbs the image. It is an important continuation of the idea of alienation. Today it is the matrix of acquired traits that clones one culturally under the sign of mono thought. It is all the innate differences that are annulled by ideas, by the ways of life, and the cultural context that make different subjects. When singular beings become identical copies of one another the subjectivity of them gets perilous. This kind of social cloning and the industrial reproduction of things and people make the biological conception of the genome and also genetic cloning possible.




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