The Hunger Games film and book series are seductive, especially to a first-world audience, for a different reason: they are pure simulation of what we have lost in our telematic screenal existence, mediated as we are by an increasing number of technological devices. A simulacrum of nature and the real, of material scarcity, and of pre-Leviathan Hobbesian survivalism which the competition in the book mimics. They also play out and revel in the spectacle of the repressive dynamic of Capitol to the Districts as the ‘real world‘ enacts this dynamic between the first- and third-world. The spectacle of the The Hunger Games becomes our ‘Hunger Games’. We are avid spectators to the movie because it ‘cannibalizes the carnivalesque’ image of ourself that is played out, taking the continued victims of colonialism with us. The spectacle of ultra-violent Reality Television with forced colonial participants occluding the real-world relationship between first- and third-world? Can Virilio’s claim regarding the linkages between the development of the cinema and war machines be made any clearer?
Our fascination with the movie is based on our movement from the mirror phase to the video phase. We have collectively become interested in survivalism, hunting, fishing, and personal combat only because it is a “circular hook-up” and “without this wired, instantaneous network that a brain, an object, an event, or a discourse create by being hooked up to themselves, without this perpetual video, nothing has any meaning today.
Of course the survivalism of The Hunger Games is not a realistic portrayal of what life is like outside of the privileged centers of the BRIC countries and the West. And that is exactly the point. “With the very latest Virtual Reality we are entering a final phase of this enterprise of simulation, which ends this time in an artificial technical production of the world from which all trace of illusion has disappeared”. Because no vision “makes sense without this reversal of our [European, detached, critical] values: it is Disneyland that is authentic here! The cinema and TV are America’s reality!”. With the real “liquidated,” we move to life ruled by the code: reality broken down to its smallest constituent parts: third-order simulacrum