Pier Luigi Capucci [This paper was originally presented at the International Conference “Consciousness Reframed 10 – experiencing [design] – behaving [media]”, Munich, MHMK, University of Applied Sciences, November 19 – 21, 2009] The idea of “simulation” is a very intriguing, multifaceted and complex issue. Words like “verisimilitude”, “emulation”, “imitation”, “copy”, “reproduction”, “clone”, “replica”... are commonly used. In our everyday life we imagine situations, events, projects and decline them to the future: we simulate possible worlds and test them in a sort of permanent “what if” which is continuously reworked and modified. This process has been methodologically formalized in the sciences, where we build models, simulations, which try to describe facts, events and phenomena. Models and simulations have a very important cognitive role in knowing and understanding the world we live in. Simulation is also at the basis of human communication and it has been often theoretically discussed in the media field [1]. In 1991 Gianfranco Bettetini, a semiologist mainly working in the mass media field, wrote that “... every language, whatever the materiality of the signs is which structure it, gives birth to operations which can’t find a more appropriate term to be defined than ‘simulation’. Whatever may be their style or genre, the writer, the painter, the photographer, the cinema and television author, the computer graphic artist... simulate.” [2] But, in a wider, general view, every device humans design, build and use has at least to simulate how it can be grasped by our perceptual system, by the senses, by the mind, or work with the body: which means that it has to simulate some of the body’s operations, structures, functions, behaviours... So oral language, written works, television, press, Internet, simulate because they tell us stories which try to represent or describe something factual or invented related with the world we are in. In this “diegetic simulation” the signified communicates something more or less familiar and shareable, although not necessarily true or existent. Simulation and representation But simulation also concerns the nature of the signifier. Computer technologies refer to simulation, although they add specific possibilities (i.e. the copy&paste action). The visual interfaces of the computer’s most popular operative systems simulate some visual properties of the desktop in order to be more intuitive.


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