Reality and spatiality


This dissertation will tackle the 'Question of reality and spatiality in the cinematic film 'The Matrix'. From reading Kneale & Kitchin's (2002) 'Lost in Space' I developed an interest in geography and film. Science fiction films have always been of interest to geographers so I decided to look at geography in film. I decided to choose The Matrix because I am a big fan of the film. There have been a number of academics who have studied The Matrix, but there has not been a specific study focusing on the idea of reality and how it is constructed from spatiality. My aims are to examine the idea of simulation and reality in The Matrix. Another aim is to look at how people see the concept of simulation in The Matrix and there views on the idea. This dissertation will aim to tackle this issue by linking a number of studies from different academics as well as my own ideas. To tackle the issues I will look at how certain people see the idea of reality and spatiality in The Matrix. I will use this data and the literature to achieve the aims of my dissertation. There are a number of questions and issues raised in this topic. This dissertation should be able to tackle the questions and will fill a gap in the literature. A problem in the dissertation is that I will be just focusing only on the first film and not the trilogy. The reason for this is that I could not produce a relevant piece of work with a 10000 word limit on The Matrix trilogy. I decided that I would focus on the first Matrix film. This provides me a basis for further research and further analyse in future projects. In chapter 4 of dissertation the geographies of science fiction and The Matrix are discussed. This chapter will provide a background and the relevant literature. Chapter 5 will look at the methods being used and chapter 6 will discuss the data collected and linking it the literature. Chapter 7 will conclude the dissertation.

Literature Review

This chapter will provide an account of the relevant literature on the geographies of science fiction and the theories I will be applying to The Matrix. I used The Matrix as I found it a very relevant film to analyse using the theories in geography. The film is an allergy for a contemporary experience in a heavily commercialized, media-driven society (Baudrillard, 2005: 67) which made the film interesting to tackle. The chapter is separated into different sections with different theories being discussed. The chapter will analyze the theories from different literature as well as critiquing the literature. The chapter will identify any gaps in the literature. One gap I identified was the project had a lack of direct literature, but there was a range of relevant literature that could be applied to the topic. The problem of this meant I had to extremely careful not to analyze the literature like a psychology or film student but as a geographer. The project has a large scope compared to other topics. When critiquing certain literature I will not critique it harshly as the author has his/her own opinions but I will critique the literature compared to my own and other author's views.

What is Science fiction?

The film I have chosen to analysis is the Wachowski Brothers The Matrix. Before looking at the geographies of science fiction in The Matrix, firstly I have to look at what science fiction is. My personal opinion is that science fiction is a genre of film or novel which usually creates a fictional environment and opens up a space which is something special and out of the ordinary. It is difficult to see what science fiction is due to there being no universally agreed definition of science fiction. Over the years science fiction is well known for the creation of new environments and the evocation of a sense of wonder (Smith, 2002: Foreword). Smith (2002) argues that science fiction is traditionally associated with space - outer space, the space of distant planets and imagined landscapes (Smith, 2002: Foreword). In the majority of science fiction films outer space is usually the setting of the film. Star Wars is a perfect example of this as the whole saga is based in outer space on distant planets (Lucus, 2005). Smith (2002) argues that science fiction is changing as modern science fiction is turning its attention to a closer space: the geographical space, the space of cities and landscapes (Smith, 2002: Foreword). Modern science fiction films have began to move from the traditional outer space setting to city landscapes set in the future. Famous science fiction films like Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) and Terminator/ Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Cameron, 1984 & 1991) has showed that science fiction is beginning to change. Science fiction films set in geographical space usually shows the city in a dystopian view. This is shown in The Matrix which is set in a city landscape in the year 2199. My opinion on science fiction only concentrated on the idea of outer space and imagined worlds, but as Smith (2002) argues science fiction is changing especially in modern science fiction. Science fiction is no longer just focusing on outer space but looking at the future. The change has further clouded the definition of science fiction. The term science fiction can also be seen as an oxymoron. You can look at it as two opposed tendencies: science and fiction (Suvin, 1979: 63). I found Suvin's (1979) claim strange at first but I agree with his argument. Science is usually seen to be based on the truth and facts whereas fiction is often seen as not real. Suvin (1979:62) defines science fiction as a way for writers or authors to describe the impossible (intelligence, alien life etc.) in rational, usually scientific ways (Suvin, 1979: 63). This is backed up by Shippey (1991) as fantasy is estranging but noncognitive whereas science fiction is cognitive but naturalistic (Shippey, 1991). I personally disagree with Shippey's (1991) claims that fantasy is noncognitive. In other cultures many people worship or relate to mythical creatures. They may be mythical, but it is not true that people can't relate to them. The Greeks believed strongly in so-called mythical creatures and many people around the world relate to these creatures and stories still today. This is evident with the relation to the zodiac and the relation of people to their star signs. Many people believe in religion in the same way and live in certain ways due to their beliefs. I feel that on a first look I was a little rational on my conclusion and on a second look at Shippey's (1991) argument I agree partly to his argument. Even though there are people that believe in mythical creatures etc. it does not necessary mean that they relate to these beliefs in a cognitive way. Defining science fiction is not easy and it depends on that person's viewpoint and their interpretation of what science fiction is. I have decided to view science fiction from the viewpoint of Smith (2002) because I agree the most with Smith's (2002) views on science fiction. With my dissertation looking at 'Question of reality and spatiality in the cinematic film 'The Matrix' I felt that Smith's (2002) view on science fiction is more relevant to my dissertation.

Geographies of Science Fiction

The key question to ask about the topic is 'are there geographies of science fiction?' This has been debated by many authors from different academic fields over the last 20 years. Space is created differently in all films and literature from Philip K. Dick's (1968) gnostic unrealities to Lang and von Harbou's visual adaptation of a communist world (Smith 2002: Foreword). One of the most famous science fiction authors William Gibson (1984) suggests that there are no geographies of science fiction. In his Triple Crown winning first book Neuromancer he places cyber space in the 'nonspace of the mind' (Gibson, 1984:67). In Gibson's latest book All Tomorrow's Parties he goes further to dismiss the idea of geographies of science fiction; 'He had been taught, of course, that history, along with geography, was dead' (Gibson, 1999: 65). My interpretation of Gibson's quote is that the conventional theories in geography and history are so-called 'dead'. It is difficult to determine what theories are involved in geography and that there aren't geographies of science fiction. Kitchin & Kneale (2002) analysis of Gibson's quote is very similar to my own analysis. Kitchin & Kneale (2002) describes Gibson's quote by comparing geography to a jigsaw puzzle made up out discrete, bounded spaces, and history as truth rather than narrative (Kitchin & Kneale, 2002: 1). I personally disagree with Gibson's (1999) theories on space and I believe that geographies of science fiction exist. Gibson (1999) has a very strict image on what space is and he believes that space is subject to interpretation and that science fiction doesn't create spaces that can be related by geographers. He also believes that theories of geography are bounded, but my view is that geography has theories that are not bounded and that it is one of many academic fields which can be related to theories of other academic fields. Many writers from different academic fields also disagree with Gibson's (1999) view on geographies of space and geographies of science fiction e.g. Merrin (2005).

Over the last twenty years the humanities and the social sciences has changed. The so-called 'cultural turn' in these subjects has caused geography to re-evaluate the importance of culture to its traditional concerns. During the re-theorizing of the discipline the studies of the experience of place, representations of space, issues of identity and cultural politics (Kitchin & Kneale, 2002: 2) have become critical study areas in geography. These new studies drew upon a wide range of ideas - including poststructuralist and post-colonial theory, ideas of post modernity, psychoanalysis and post-Marxist approaches (Kitchin & Kneale, 2002: 2). The arguments of Kitchin & Kneale (2002) are contrasted to the ideas of Gibson's (1999) as Kitchin & Kneale (2002) believe that the theories of geography are not as bounded as Gibson (1999) believes. Kitchin & Kneale (2002) go further by explaining the changes in geography to back up there views. I agree with Kitchin & Kneale's (2002) views because the studies of space, identity and the ideas of post-colonialism, poststructuralists etc. have been key theories in my studies of geography at Leicester University. I have found during my studies at Leicester University that many of the theories used in geography can be used to related to other academic fields. Gibson (1999) feels that geography is bounded but I feel that it is a very wide subject and can overlap into many academic fields' e.g. politics, business, sociology etc. Recent work has emphasized that space is not a neutral backdrop for human action but is charged with meaning through discourse and practice (Kitchin & Kneale, 2002: 2). This has caused the interest from geographers to look at spatial representation in cultural productions like writing and film. Geographers found interest in the way literature captures a subject's experience of place in print and visually (Tuan, 1978). The representations of space fictional and real became interesting subjects for studies by geographers (Brosseau, 1994). The 'key strands of research on the spatiality of film have examined the relationship between cinematic space and urban space' (Clarke, 1997). Clarke's (1997) quote helps to show why there such an interest by geographers in film especially science fiction. Famous films like Ridley Scott's (1984) Blade Runner are commonly used by geographers to look at how use of space in film relates to how the urban space looks like today in Los Angeles. The city landscape in The Matrix is based on the Chicago skyline set similarly to Los Angeles in Blade Runner. Both of the films look at the city in a dystopian image. Fritz Lang's (1927) Metropolis is constantly used by geographers to look at world cities and is commonly used to compare with world cities today. There have been many authors who have looked at this including Lees (1900) in the journal of interdisciplinary history and Taylor et al (2002) in the Journal Cities. The two articles compare world cities with Lang's (1927) Metropolis city. There are a number of interesting comparisons especially the idea of cities like London and New York having similar characteristics to Lang's (1927) Metropolis city. I agree with Clarke's (1997) statement because of my own interest in the topic, but also the large number of geographers who have taken an interest in the topic. The reason for this is that in most science fiction films the environment/space created is usually fiction but it is interesting to geographers to look at how this environment/space is created by the director/author. The only problem I see with Clarke's (1997) statement is that the environment/ space in the majority of science fictions are of outer space, so it makes it difficult for geographers to study this space. This point is touched upon by Gibson (1999) who points out that there are no geographies of science fiction because the environment/ space in science fiction films are of outer space, so it is not viable for geographers to study. I agree with Gibson's (1999) point partially. The studies of outer space are ideas studied in scientific departments, but as I stated before the range of geography has expanded in the last 20 years. Going back to the main question on whether 'geographies of science fiction exist?' Kitchin & Kneale (2002) firmly believe that there is and believes it is due the suspicion of mimesis which makes science fiction such an interesting set of fictions for geographers (Kitchin & Kneale 2002: 3). I agree with Kitchin & Kneale (2002) as I feel that representation of human actions and other aspects of world in science fiction films make it interesting to many geographers. The interest from many geographers in science fiction films (like Bingham, 2002, Clarke, 1997, Doel 1999 etc.) shows there are geographies of science fiction.

Creation and Representation of Space in The Matrix

From all the science fiction films that I could have chosen I decided to focus on The Matrix. The use of space in The Matrix is created very different compared to other science fiction films and is the key reason why I chose to study the film. This section will be expanded on in the data analysis chapter. In The Matrix there are two spaces: the real world and the illusion world. The illusion world is a representation of a 21st Century urban space which was based on the Chicago skyline (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). The illusion world is known as The Matrix. The Matrix is created to look like simulation. The Matrix is digitally created to look like the real and with the use of CGI. The Matrix uses an electronic virtual reality simulation of sensory experience to create the landscape (Merrin, 2005: 118). The Matrix employs complex technologies to cover, simulate and coordinate each sensory channel to produce an experience of being in a virtual world (Merrin, 2005: 118). Merrin's (2005) ideas link to the ideas Abbott (2004), who argues that technology, has helped to create the landscape. The Matrix world is constantly changing and the landscape is never the same. The real world is a dystopian vision of the future. It presents a future dominated by cyborgs called machines and the technological production of space (Abbott, 2004). The real world is created to not look like the 21st Century city landscape, which could be part of the issue of simulation. The film looks to make people see that what they see may not be the real but simulation. Abbott's (2004) argument is reinforced by the landscape in the film. The Matrix looks digitally created through technology and throughout the film it is present that better technology has allowed the creation of space in The Matrix. The Matrix world is a built an artificial reality (Abbott, 2004). Abbotts's (2004) backs the ideas of Baudrillard (1983). Baudrillard (1983) argues that a pure reality does not exist but everything is just signs forming a simulation. The use of space in the film presents the idea of 'technological globalization' (Abbott, 2004). The metaphors and themes of the movie is an analogy of the current international capitalist system especially the hegemonic construction of spaces we live in. This is expressed socially, economically, politically and systematically as techno-globalization (Abbott, 2004). This goes back to ideas of Clarke (1997) as The Matrix's use of space has attracted geographers, who see similarities to the urban space we live in. This statement is backed up by the French spatial theorist Lefebure (1991) who argues that technology and technicity .....reinforce domination (Lefebure, 1991). My interpretation of Lefebure's (1991) statement is that with better technology it means that the people in charge can reinforce there power over the normal citizens e.g. the big brother state. With more advanced technology in Britain there is a danger of a 'surveillance state' (Ford, 2004). In The Matrix this is very similar. The Matrix world is computer program created by the machines to harvest human energy in an ongoing war between the machines and humans (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). I see the government being the machines watching everyone's actions to keep control. The Matrix world can also be seen as an analogy for the big brother state. The two worlds in the film shows that space is socially constructed and that space is not static but always in a state of flux (Abbott, 2004). This is shown in the film by the ever changing landscape of The Matrix world and the way each character conceives the different spaces. I agree with Abbott (2004) and his main arguments that the film tries to represent space as a socially constructed entity that is always changing. I believe that space is always changing.

Reality: What is real or not?

The idea of reality is a key theme I intend to tackle. This is probably the key theme throughout the film. The key questions asked and addressed in the film is what the real is. At the beginning of the film Neo sees a question on his computer asking him 'What is the Matrix?' (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). Neo is asked by Morpheus if he wants to see the truth and offers Neo a red pill of truth and an antidote to the illusion (blue pill). The blue pill is a simulated world created by the machines to harvest energy from the humans (The Matrix) whereas the red pill is the real world where the machines and the humans are fighting a war (Cloud, 2006). Neo accepts the red pill and is released from The Matrix. He is saved by Morpheus promoting Morpheus to tell Neo that the 'truth will set you free' ( Wachowski Brothers, 1999). The film offers two ideas of what reality is. One invokes a Lacanian Real theory. The theory of the Lacanian Real is based on the external dimension of experience as opposed to a reality based on the sense of perception and material order (Lacan, 1936). Lacan's (1936) ideas on the imaginary, symbolic and the real can be related to the reality theme in The Matrix. In the imaginary the formation of the ego in the 'mirror stage' is important. The ego is the division of the mind that directly controls thought and behaviour, making it the most in touch with external reality (Lacan, 1936). The identification of an image is important and works with the ego to identify the real (Lacan, 1936). The symbolic looks at fixed relations between the signifier and signified (Lacan, 1936). The symbolic is a complex analysis of looking at images in terms of the presence and absence (Lacan, 1936). The real is a theory without the absence as the real exists but is difficult to define (Lacan, 1936). Zixek (2003) argues that these ideas of Lacanian Real are present in The Matrix. Zizek (2003) identifies that The Matrix world is an example of Lacan's (1936) 'the big other'. The big other is the virtual symbolic order that acts as the network that structures reality (Zizek, 2003). The mega computer that controls The Matrix is the big other which pulls the strings in The Matrix (Zizek, 2003). I personally see the mega computer acting as the signifier and the humans in The Matrix as the signified. I do not agree totally with the ideas of the Lacanian Real as the concept of reality is much more complex, the ideas of the Lacanian Real are also very ambiguous, so it makes interpretation of the arguments difficult (Zizek, 2003). Neo's lack of comfort with his life in The Matrix causes him to 'hack' into the computer driven system, but he is unable to fight the system until he is unplugged from ideology (Zizek, 2003). Morpheus unplugs him when he takes the red pill. The other reality presented is a reality from a lived experience. This has caused problems with Marxists who are concerned with epistemology (questions of what is true and what is false). The lived experience is the dialectical springboard for the production of the truth (Lukas, in Cloud, 2006). I agree with Lukas' argument as the real can only be identified through someone's lived experience. It is difficult to challenge the idea that the world we are living in today is not reality. The idea of The Matrix is to attack this way of thinking. The Matrix promotes the idea that there is no ultimate reality, but just a series of virtual realities that are mirroring themselves in each other (Zizek, 1999). This idea links directly to the ideas of Baudrillard (1983). Baudrillard (1983) argues that the world consists of signs that form a simulation. Baudrillard (1983) does not believe that an ultimate reality exists like Zizek (1999). Linking back to Abbotts (2004) ideas of spatiality, he argues that space is socially constructed so that means that the world we live in is socially constructed by certain people. That asks the question if the world we live in today is reality or is it a constructed world of certain people like the artificially reality created by the machines in the film. Abbott's (2004) ideas don't back up Lukas' (2006) argument as reality is what we live in no matter if the place is socially constructed or not. I agree more to Lukas' (2006). I am open to discussing reality but it seems very unlikely that the world we live in is not real. That is the real we know because we have not lived through another world. Agent Smith's idea on reality is that 'humans define their reality through misery and suffering' (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). As shown the by the quote the film tries to present a number of theories from different characters on what is the real. It allows the audience to think about the idea themselves. The concept of realism is also important when trying to understanding reality. Realism is the everyday sense of understanding what is real (Armstrong, 2005:1). In film the concept of realism is changed. In a film cut scenes or moving from place to place in a matter of seconds are accepted to be normal. In films scenes are continuingly cutting from place to place and from different times e.g. one scene would be in the day but the next would be in evening. This makes it extremely difficult to establish what is real because the idea of realism is different when applied to real life or film. Armstrong (2005) continues to argue that in film, realism also has a complex issue of age. A person of in there 60's will see the film differently compared to a guy in his 20's. They would pick up on different ideas and have a different idea of what constitutes as real e.g. a the younger generation see the internet as normal whereas the older generation may not see the internet as normal. I personally feel that to understand the real, realism must be taken into account. When people are watching a film they do not think about the idea of realism and automatically accept cut scenes as the real. To further at this issue I will tackle this issue in my research methods. There are many ways to view the real and I will be looking at the real through the ideas of Baudrillard (1983). There are a number of different interpretations of Baudrillard's (1983) theories and this will be elaborated in the data analysis chapter.

In this section I have outlined and discussed the relevant literature relating to the geographies of science fiction and the relevant theories to the film The Matrix. I will resolve the gaps and further analyse the theories in the film in my method and data analysis chapter. This chapter helped to outline the theories I will be examining in upcoming chapters. It provided me with an insight of other author's views on certain topics and their views on theories in The Matrix. It was good to see the contrasting views of authors and the amount of literature available for me help back up my own analysis of the film and its theories. There are still many gaps to be resolved e.g. what is real and if the world we live in is real. In the next chapter I will use certain methods to answer these questions and resolve the remaining gaps I have in my project.


To be able to answer my dissertation title I had to set up a research question. My research question is 'To see how reality is constructed/performed through the spatial landscape in 'The Matrix'?' My aims are to critically analyse The Matrix by using Baudrillard's (1983) theories on simulation and looking at the connection between space and reality in The Matrix. I will also examine the ideas simulation from the perspective of the audience. My objective is to look at how the audience in focus groups react to the use of spatiality to construct the real in The Matrix. These different research methods should allow me to collect a range of results that would allow me to answer my research question and my dissertation title.

There will be a number of methods used to achieve my aims/objectives. The main research method I will be using is critically analysing The Matrix using Baudrillard's (1983) theories on simulacra and simulation. This will involve watching the film and using Baudrillard's (1983) theories to link the ideas presented in the film. The reason I am using Baudrillard (1983) is that many academics attribute The Matrix to the ideas of Baudrillard's (1983) ideas of simulation and hyperreality. This will involve the use of discourse analysis. Discourse analysis involves looking at how the directors/producers use a certain image to make the audience feel a certain way when looking at the image (Gee, 2005). The use of discourse analysis will be a personal interpretation of a certain image or scene. In the focus groups I will be showing a few scenes which I thought where of interest and using the scenes in the discussions. This would allow me to compare my interpretation of an image/scene with the participant's interpretation. I will link scenes to the theories of Baudrillard (1983) throughout the analysis. I will analyze the whole film but will concentrate on a couple of key scenes in the film as it would be impossible to look at every scene/image in the film. I will concentrate on how the idea of reality is represented in the image and how the directors/producers used the landscape to create this image of simulation or the real.

Another method I will be using is focus groups. I plan to hold 7 separate focus groups with 5 people in each group. I decided to hold smaller focus groups so all the participants can get involved in the discussions. I will be using a Dictaphone to record the information from each focus group. The focus groups would provide certain insights and data that would be less accessible without interaction found in a group setting e.g. listening to others' verbalized experiences stimulates memories, ideas, and experiences in participants (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002: 182). The focus groups would provide other people's views on the issue and not just my interpretation of the film. The focus groups helps to create a 'group effect' where group members engage in a kind of chaining or cascading effect and this in turn causes discussions between the members on certain topics (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002: 182). Even with the positives there are a number of problems with the use of focus groups. The main problem is the issue of going of topic. When the participants are in the process of discussions the discussions can easily go off topic e.g. the discussions become a talk on the idea of reality in general and not specific to the film. This would provide data that would not help me to answer my research question. To combat this issue I will try to make sure that discussions do not go off topic by interrupting when I feel the discussions are going off topic. I will do this in a polite manner by changing topic or steering the discussions back on topic. The problem with this is that if the participants are in discussions interrupting the discussions may affect the overall flow of the focus groups. To choose the participants I will be using 'maximum variation sampling'. The reason for choosing to use maximum variation sampling allowed me to get a range of different people (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002: 123). To get more interesting discussions the maximum variation sampling method allowed me to get a range of participants from different genders and interests. To get the participants I visited film groups, handing out flyers and setting up Facebook groups to get participants. There are problems to maximum variation sampling and these include discussions being dominated by people who have a bigger interest in the issue. Participants with less interest may not contribute much to the discussions. This would lead to only a few members dominating the discussions. To combat this I will try to encourage the less active participants to contribute more to the discussions by asking their views on certain topics first to start the discussions. After getting the participants to participate I used random sampling to put the participants into groups this meant that instead of grouping people together by gender, interests etc. the groups had a mixture of people with different interests and genders etc. This will provide more interesting discussions especially with participants that are different genders, have different interest etc. (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002: 123). All the participants will be kept anomalous throughout the process. Even though there are a number of problems with the use of focus groups I feel that the possibility of interesting results outweighs the problems.

When I have collected all the data I would have to code the data. Firstly I went through the data looking for things pertinent to answering the research question (Foss & Waters, 2003). The research questions acts as a guide. It shows me what data to code and what data should be left out. I would separate the data into different headings and developed on these points after I had coded all the data. I would sort the data under topic headings and begin to link the major themes of my dissertation with the data. This would then allow me to develop the major themes and link the data that I have collected to relevant literature. I will be using top-down coding instead of bottom-up coding because it would stop me from cherry-picking quotes from the data. One of the issues of coding is that coding is very time consuming. I have to make sure I leave enough time to code properly.

The methods I have chosen should provide enough relevant data to help me answer my research question and achieve my aims. There are issues in the research methods I am using but I will be trying to limit the flaws and get enough relevant data.

Data analysis

This chapter will be separated into four different sections to summarise and discuss the different data that was collected. The chapter will feature an in-depth discussion on the data collected and the theories raised in previous chapters. The first section will be looking at the links between Baudrillard's (1983) theory of simulation and The Matrix. The second section will look at the concept of simulation and the real in The Matrix. This section will be linked to the ideas of section one. The third section will analyze the how the conception is demonstrated. The fourth section will look at how the participants related to the conception.

The plot of The Matrix looks follows the life of Thomas Anderson who is a computer programmer. At night he is a hacker going by the name Neo (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). Neo is obsessed with discovering the identity of a man named Morpheus and the meaning of The Matrix. A woman called Trinity along with Morpheus contact Neo as they have been looking for Neo (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). Neo learns the truth from Trinity and Morpheus. He learns that the entire world his living in is just a virtual reality created to enslave humans and harvest there energy by the machines. The humans are kept unconscious due to there brain being connected to a virtual reality called The Matrix (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). The rest of the film follows Morpheus's group fight against the machines using guerrilla tactics and the search for 'the one': a prophesised saviour who has the power to manipulate The Matrix and will set the humans free from the machines (Wachowski Brothers, 1999).

Connection between Baudrillard and film

As stated in my methodology chapter I used Baudrillard's (1983) theories of simulation to analyse The Matrix. Baudrillard's (1983) theories of simulation are seen to be evident in The Matrix. The issue with using Baudrillard's (1983) is that there are number of interpretations of his theories. There have been a number of academics from different academic fields who have interpreted Baudrillard's (1983) arguments. Smith (2010a) looks at Baudrillard (1983) from a post-Marxist perspective. Smith (2010a) argues that Baudrillard's (1983) early work is written from a Marxist perspective but his newer writings are from a post-Marxist perspective. Smith (2010a) does not just buy into Baudrillard's (1983) theories but breaks down his arguments and reads Baudrillard's (1983) work through symptomatic reading instead of surface reading. Surface reading is just reading what is on the surface whereas symptomatic reading looks into the arguments to see the invisible structure (Smith, (2010a).Smith's (2010a) interpretation of Baudrillard (1983) is similar to Doel (1999) and Clarke (1997), who both believe in looking at Baudrillard (1989) through an epistemology break and read deeper into the arguments presented. Doel (1999) and Clarke (1997) like Smith (2010a) do not just buy into Baudrillard's (1983) arguments but feels that there are hidden meanings. The only difference is that Smith (2010b) looks at Baudrillard (1983) through a double spiral rather than through an epistemology break. Smith's (2010b) double spiral allows all of Baudrillard's (1983) possible meanings to be grouped together to find the actual meaning to the argument. Kellner (1994) is one of Baudrillard's (1983) biggest critics and believes the majority of Baudrillard's (1983) theories are conspiracies. Kellner (1994) argues that to understand Baudrillard (1983) the complex arguments must be broken down and mapped out. This allows the argument to be broken down and be critiqued. Kellner (1994) does not seem to change his mind on Baudrillard (1983) and even questions if Baudrillard (1983) is just a faddish import from France. Unlike Smith (2010b), Doel (1999) and Clarke (1997) Kellner (1994) refuses to be convinced by Baudrillard's (1983) theories, but they all agree that Baudrillard's (1983) theories are extremely complex that require breaking down. Merrin (2005) studies Baudrillard (1983) from a media perspective. A number of Baudrillard's (1983) theories have taken the interest of media academics as well. The issue this raises is that Baudrillard (1989) argues that there is no place for his theories in media theory, but Baudrillard's (1989) theories have continued to be used in media theory (Merrin, 2005). I will be looking at Baudrillard's (1983) theories from the perspective of Smith (2010b). The reason for this is that I feel that Smith's (2010b) interpretation of Baudrillard (1983) will fit my dissertation the best.

Jean Baudrillard's (1983) theories on simulation are linked to The Matrix. At the beginning of The Matrix Neo (the main protagonist) is approached by his friend Choi to buy some software. Neo picks up Baudrillard's (1983) 'Simulacra and Simulation' book where he has hide the software (Merrin, 2005). Five minutes later Neo is seen to pick up a book in the film and the audience can clearly read the title. The title reads that 'Jean Baudrillard is in The Matrix' (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). There must have been a reason for the producers to place Baudrillard's (1983) name in the film. A simple reason would have been due to a superficial reason as the producers wanted to back the theme of the film by placing the theorist of simulation in the film (Merrin, 2005). This has led to The Matrix being a kind of case study on Baudrillard's (1983) theory of simulation. Baudrillard (1983) has criticised the producers of The Matrix for using his theories and not representing the theories the way he intended. In 2001 Baudrillard (Wachowski Brothers, 2001a) refused to work with the Wachowski Brothers (2001a) on the sequels to The Matrix when asked as he felt that the film did not represent his theories but is based on misunderstandings (Wachowski Brothers, 2001b). Baudrillard (1983) is the only person who knows what his theories mean (Hanley, 2003). Baudrillard's (1983) theories on simulation argue that the real exists only through simulation and signs. The use of 'signs' are used to project a reality. The 'signs' form together to create a simulation, which we believe as the real. Reality is produced from miniaturized units, from matrices, memory banks and command models, but instead of creating a real it creates a 'hyperreal' (Baudrillard, 1983). The 'hyperreal' is the product of an irradiating synthesis of combinatory models in a hyperspace without atmosphere (Baudrillard, 1983). The question is not about whether the real exists but becomes a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself (Baudrillard, 1983). The 'hyperreal' is the inability of the human mind to distinguish between fantasy and the real (Baudrillard, 1983). With the importance of the media in the 21st Century, many stories/images can be duplicated and reproduced in a way the media wants an image/story to be seen (Baudrillard, 1983). An example of this is through the newspapers. The same story may be written in a different way according to the writer's political view etc. and it will affect the way the reader looks at the story (Robinson, 2002). Another example is when a person is watching an adult film, it presents an idea of sex but in reality the image of sex showed in the film is not how sex is in the reality (Baudrillard, 1983). The 'hyperreal' is sheltered from the imaginary, therefore not making a distinction between the real and imagination (Baudrillard, 1983). The Matrix tries to incorporate this idea. The produces do this by the creation of a virtual reality, instead of the hyperreal that Baudrillard (1983) talks about. The Matrix uses a virtual reality to present the idea of signs being used to form a simulation. The producer's asks questions about what is real and not. Both Neo and Morpheus are still unsure what reality is, but believe that they have been released from reality. To use the concept of the signs and simulation, the idea of representation needs to be established. Representation has the principle that the sign and the real are equivalent (Baudrillard, 1983). Baudrillard (1983) argues that there are 4 successive phases to look at an image:

  • It is the reflection of a basic reality.
  • It masks and perverts a basic reality.
  • It masks the absence of a basic reality.
  • It bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum

Baudrillard's (1983) first phase looks at the 'reflection of a basic reality' (Baudrillard, 1983). A scene that can be used to depict phrase one is when Neo goes to meet the Oracle. Morpheus decides to take Neo to see the Oracle to allow the Oracle to talk to Neo. The Oracle was the person who prophesied that a person called the One would come and end the war against the machines with his powers to control The Matrix would limitless (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). Morpheus believes that Neo is the One so brings him to see the Oracle. When Neo is waiting for the Oracle he talks to child bending a spoon. The child says to Neo "do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth . . . There is no spoon . . . Then you will see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself" (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). My analysis of the scene is that the spoon is a sign being used to represent reality. The reality the spoon represents is The Matrix world. It is used to help Neo understand that in The Matrix world he can do whatever he wants if he just believes. In the context of the plot it is used to make Neo begin to see that he has special powers and is the One. The spoon plays on the idea reality and is subjective. It all comes down to someone's perception of that sign.

Baudrillard's (1983) phase two explains the idea of 'masking and perverting a basic reality'. Phase 3 is similar to phase two and explains the idea of 'masking the absence of a basic reality' (Baudrillard, 1983). Phase two can be shown by The Matrix world. The Matrix world is used to distort the audience's idea of reality. Neo had always been curious about the world he was living in and hacked computer programs to try and figure out what The Matrix was. When Neo is saved by Morpheus from three Agents Morpheus offers Neo a red pill which would release Neo from the illusionary world and a blue pill which would return Neo back to illusionary world he has been living in. When Neo chooses the red pill Neo is released from the illusionary world. The Matrix is seen to mask reality. The Matrix is a simulation created to hide the truth and reality. It distorts the idea of reality and tackles the question of which world is reality. Morpheus explains to Neo that The Matrix world is just an illusion world created by the machines to harvest humans for energy. Phase three is more difficult to find in the film. The reason for this is that even though The Matrix tries to challenge the ideas of simulation the film implies throughout that there is a reality. The film makes it clear that there is a real world and an illusion world, so phase three doesn't exist in the film.

Phase four talks about there being no reality what so ever (Baudrillard, 1983). When Morpheus is training Neo in The Matrix world to prepare Neo for the future fights Morpheus tells Neo that what happens to him in The Matrix world happens to him in the real world, this can be used link to the theory of simulation and the use of signs. The film does not emphasis the idea of reality not existing but instead argues that there is a reality. The producers implement Baudrillard's (1983) fourth phase by questioning the idea of a reality existing. In the beginning of the film Neo constantly wakes up from dreams questioning reality (Merrin, 2005). Morpheus backs the idea of there being no reality by asking Neo 'Have you ever had a dream that felt real? (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). Later in the film this idea is resolved when Neo is unplugged from The Matrix after taking the red pill and he is greeted by the sign 'Welcome to the real world' (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). What the film does is make the audience ask questions about reality and question if reality exists. Baudrillard (1983) constantly argues that there is no pure reality and he argues that it is nearly impossible to define the truth from reality (Baudrillard, 1983). There are signs that Baudrillard (1983) doesn't really believe that reality exist but does make the point that there must be real. The problem is that no one knows what the real is. There is no way to achieve a perfect simulation because the web of artificial signs will be inextricably mixed up with real elements (Baudrillard, 1983). Just like in The Matrix the characters are still unsure what is reality because they are present in both worlds. The characters are linked together in both words. This backs Baudrillard's (1983) ideas of a reality not existing as in The Matrix it can seen to present to sets of simulated worlds. There are links between Baudrillard (1983) and The Matrix. The producers purposely put the ideas of Baudrillard (1983) in the themes of the film. Even though Baudrillard (1983) argues that there are no links between his theories and the film, studies including this one shows that there are some links. As mentioned by Smith (2010b) it is difficult to fully understand Baudrillard's (1983) theories because of the ambiguity of his theories. After reading into Baudrillard's theories as shown you can see that there are ways to link to Baudrillard (1983) to The Matrix. This is of course mainly my own interpretation of Baudrillard's theories and The Matrix. The theories of Merrin (2005) back my ideas that Baudrillard (1983) is present in The Matrix. 'The Matrix is Baudrillard's (1983) 'Simulacra and Simulation' book in film form"(Merrin, 2005: 116).

Concept of simulation and the real in the film

The stance I took when analysing the film was from the perspective of a geographer. The concept of simulation and the real in The Matrix is shown by several scenes in the film. Already mentioned in the previous section is through the use of Baudrillard (1983). One of the key scenes that showed simulation is during Morpheus and Neo's training in The Matrix for the first time. After Morpheus unplugs Neo from The Matrix Morpheus recruits Neo to fight with him believing Neo is 'the one'. Within The Matrix the group are able use their understanding of nature to bend the laws of physics and appear to have supernatural powers. A socket in the back of the group's skulls allows them to connect to The Matrix (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). Morpheus trains Neo in The Matrix to show Neo how to use his powers to fight in The Matrix. During the training The Matrix constantly changes in landscape. First Morpheus and Neo are fighting in a Karate Dojo, but in a matter of seconds the scene cuts to Morpheus jumping from skyscraper to skyscraper teaching Neo how to jump huge distances. The scene just backs the idea that The Matrix is just simulation and in The Matrix anything can be done. The spatial landscape can change in a blink of an eye and when a landscape is destroyed e.g. Neo and Morpheus destroying buildings when training in The Matrix the buildings regenerate in seconds. The producers do this to highlight the idea that The Matrix is just a simulation. It plays on the ideas of people's perception of reality. People perceive the real as mostly there 'livid experience (Lukas, 2006). Going back to theories of Abbott (2004) technology has made it difficult to determine the real. Technology has changed reality e.g. the use of CGI in urban planning has changed the idea of the real. The virtual reality created in The Matrix may not seem odd to the younger audience due to the level of technology, so the producers may not have achieved there goal in making the audience see that The Matrix is a simulation. Technology has gotten better since the film was made in 1999. An example is the availability of creating a simulated nation. There is a website which allows a person to create a simulated nation and run the nation the way they want (NationSatates, 2010). This links to a blooming online program called 'Second Life' which is virtual world developed to allow people to control a virtual avatar of them in a virtual world. They can have jobs, live in certain housing and have a completely different life to the person controlling them. It allows people to live in a virtual world as well as real life. It is similar to the game 'Sims' but much more realistic (SecondLife, 2010). There are also websites that look at virtual law and help people settle cases in virtual worlds e.g. Terra Nova (2010) and Virtually Blind (2010). This distorts a person's idea of real as it is difficult to determine what is real. Is the avatar in 'Second Life' real or the person controlling the avatar real? A person may perceive the virtual reality in The Matrix as normal. Computer games have done this for years. A person has been able to control players in games for the last 40 years and is still growing today. The virtual world movement has begun to attract nations. China has created its own virtual reality to look at the idea of virtual globalisation. It has been said to be a more environmental way to globalize (Lu, 2007). This virtual movement has caused the determining what is real difficult. The Matrix world could be seen as normal by many people who have tried online virtual games.

The concept of the real is attacked throughout the film. The producers try to show in the film that you can not believe everything you are told. Neo believes that the world he is living in is the real but is wrong. He tries to hack computer programs at the beginning of the film due to his doubts about the world he is living in. Throughout the film the producers keep the audience guessing what reality is. Even the characters in the film are unsure of what is real and what simulation is. In one of the scenes Morpheus explains what he thinks is reality to Neo. "What is real? How do you define 'real'? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain" (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). Morpheus constantly tries to help Neo understand what the real is and what is simulation, but constantly contradicts his own views on reality. Morpheus asks Neo how you would know if you had been released from The Matrix if you can not distinguish from what is real or not (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). This links back to Baudrillard's (1983) argument that it is impossible to define between what is real and what is not. Morpheus' idea of the real are based on assumptions that he has been released from The Matrix and is currently part of the real world. Morpheus, Neo, Trinity and the others conclude they have escaped The Matrix. For all they know they each might still be trapped in The Matrix and being fed illusory experiences to make them think they have escaped their tanks (Mawson, 2003).

You can look at the concept of simulation and reality by looking at how the characters perform in each space. Neo, Morpheus, Trinity and the rest of group interact differently in the two spaces. When the group is in the real world they occupy the space as normal people would. Neo would eat, go to the toilet and sleep like a normal person would but when in The Matrix Neo occupies the space differently. In The Matrix Neo is seen only to fight the machines and is not shown to be doing actions that would be called normal. This idea links to the ideas of how a person occupies space and the global sense of space (Massey, 1991). It links to ideas of how a person knows what to do in certain spaces. A student knows where to go when going into a lecture and knows where he should be. A student knows when a lecture is talking they should not talk (Weiser, 1995). The reason for this is that our mind has pre-determined concepts of what to do in certain situations. This can be used to look at reality in The Matrix. Neo's action in the real world gives the idea to the audience that it is real world because Neo is doing actions which are seen to normal actions. In The Matrix Neo's actions are seen to out of the norm to enhance the idea that The Matrix is simulation. Neo is seen to be jumping from building to building and dodging bullets in slow motion (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). Of course there is the question of what actions constitute normal or abnormal (Weiser, 1995). The issue of technology has caused actions that where seen as abnormal in the past is now normal e.g. the evolution of records to tapes to CD's to mp3's. The idea of sitting at home listening to a CD would have been seen to be weird in the past who would have listened to records (Green, 2002). As time changes the idea of what actions are normal changes as shown by the example. The producers of the film made sure that the characters occupied space differently in the two worlds to enhance the ideas of simulation and reality.

How people relate to conception

To answer my research question I gathered data from different participants that took part in my interviews and focus groups to help me look at different people's perceptions on the Matrix. One of the main points raised was that in the film reality was being shown as 'a person's lived experience' (Angel, 2009). This idea links directly to the ideas of Lukas who argued that the livid experience is the production of truth (Lukas, in Cloud, 2006). The film The Truman Show (1998) tries to express this point and the film's plot is centred on the main character, Truman Burbank. Truman has lived in an artificial world and is a star of a reality TV show, but is unaware of this until the end of the film. In context to The Matrix, Neo like Truman in The Truman Show began to questioning the world they where living in and in the end both find out the world they believed to be real was in fact an illusion. The Truman Show shows the real in a differently, as The Truman Show shows the real that looks like people's lived experience whereas The Matrix creates a reality based on an dystopian view on a city. The Truman Show backs the point of the Lukas and Angel and the majority of participants agreed that they found it extremely difficult to accept that what they thought was the real actually isn't. The majority of the participants agreed to Lukas' argument. A few of the participants argued that the 'mind is a powerful tool and can accept anything the person wants to believe' (Wolverine, 2009). This is evident through people's belief in different religions and the paranormal. People are given a choice to believe in a god or gods and the person chooses. A similar study shows that the mind is a powerful tool and if nurtured it can be easy brainwashed or manipulated (US Department of Homeland Security, 2009). It is shown through religious extremists. Religious extremists are able to brainwash young children in believing what they are doing is a good act that will be rewarded e.g. most suicide bombers believe that there act will be rewarded by there god. One of the themes in The Matrix is the idea of revealing the truth and break release the illusion of reality placed upon the humans or unplugged from ideology (Zizek, 1989). This can also be linked to people who are living in poverty. There perceptions of reality are very different to the perceptions of reality of people living in this country. We have the ability to travel and experience different cultures and countries whereas the poor do not have this luxury, so there perception of reality will be extremely different. People have not travelled from the place where they live may have a very small vision of reality e.g. people in North Korea's perception of reality could just of the island and no where else. To link to The Matrix the people who are still living in The Matrix do not know that they are living in a simulation. The ideas of lived experience link to theory of Lukas (2006), who argues that the production of truth is produced through livid experience (Lukas, In Cloud, 2006). The spatial landscape in The Matrix would backs up Lukas'(2006) theory as the majority of the participants (audience) felt that The Matrix looked like the simulated world due to similarity of the illusion world and the world we live in today. The ideas of Abbott also back this argument as Abbott argues that space is socially constructed by different people (Abbott, 2004). This is shown in the film by the different characters ideas of reality in the film e.g. Morpheus, Neo and the rest of group have been unplugged from illusionary world, but there are still other people who are still living in the illusionary world. This backs the idea of space being socially constructed. There is also an argument that The Matrix film tries to challenge the audience's imagination. It asks the question of whether an imaginary world in someone's head is reality. Not all of the participants agreed with the majority of the participants that argued that the whole point of the dynamic spatial landscape is to make The Matrix world look like a simulation. The point of The Matrix film was to "challenge the idea that it is difficult to accept that what we live in isn't real" (Cyclops, 2009).

The bending of the spoon scene was one of the main points of discussion. The bending of the spoon scene shows phase one of Baudrillard's (1983) stages of simulation. The majority of participants referred to the spoon scene as 'one of the most important scenes in The Matrix' (Storm, 2009). One participant argued the scene was vital for the film to allow the audience to think about the idea of reality. The "scene helps to show that reality is like the spoon, it doesn't exist and reality is whatever a person wants it to be" (Jean Grey, 2009). The majority agreed with the statement mentioning it as the key scene in the film to question the idea of reality and get the audience to begin thinking about their own perceptions of reality. The scene allowed the producers to make the audience question what reality is. The spoon also reinforced Baudrillard's (1989) theory of signs. Others did not agree as many of them found the spoon scene very interesting and important, but feels that the scene when Morpheus offers Neo the two pills is more important. One of the participants argued that the scene where Morpheus offers Neo the chose of the red and blue pill is the key scene in the film. The "red and blue pill scene is the most important scene because it is the first major scene to question the idea of reality" (Iceman, 2009). In the scene Neo is offered two pills by Morpheus. Neo is offered a blue pill which represented the illusion world and the red pill which represented the real world. Neo takes the red pill and wakes up naked in a pod with wires attached to him. The wires break and this symbolises him being released from the illusion world and ideology (Zizek, 1989). Iceman argues that without the pill scene then the spoon scene would be useless as Neo would still be locked in the illusion world. All the participants did agree that both scenes where very important to The Matrix and are linked together. "Without the pill scene the spoon scene would not have taken place, but both scenes are extremely important to the film" (Magneto, 2009). The two scenes are linked as the "pill scene is used to unplug Neo from the illusion world and the spoon scene is used to reinforce the idea of does reality exist" (Phoenix, 2009).

An idea mentioned was the theory that the film presents three worlds and not just two (Kitty, 2010). The group are often seen in The Matrix or on the spaceship known as the Nebuchadnezzar (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). The Matrix is the virtual reality, the real world is the dystopian view of a city and the Nebuchadnezzar acts like world in-between the two worlds (Kitty, 2009). The group lives in the ship and does the majority of their activities in The Matrix or the ship. The ships landscape makes it look similar to a futuristic house (Rouge, 2009). The spaceship is very important as when the group are not in The Matrix they are in spaceship. It acts as the living space and creates an idea of being a space in its own right (Hubbard, 2006). The spaceship makes it difficult to accept that it is in the real world as going back to the arguments of Abbott (2004) and Lukas (2006) on livid experience being the real. In the world we are living in there are no spaceships around, so seeing a spaceship makes us feel that it is not the real. The focus groups provided a number of surprising responses on this issue. The majority felt that the spaceship did not hinder there views on reality. The majority felt that it was not weird because in the future there will be spaceships (Magneto, 2009). In the past people thought that by now we would have spaceships and this idea has not changed as the majority of people today feel that spaceships would be present in the future. This shows that it is not just about how space is used to create reality but about people's pre-determined ideas on space. People already have an idea on what constitutes to be natural or simulation. A bird in a tree is natural meaning it is real whereas a unicorn is myth and simulation. Due to the number of science fiction films the presence of a spaceship is taken to be natural and not simulation. The majority of people would have seen a number of science fiction films like Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) and The Fifth Element (1997) where flying cars and spaceships are present. This has led to spaceships to be associated with science fiction films. This showed why the majority of the participants found the idea of a spaceship natural. When watching films the films genre changes people thought of thinking as things are associated to genres (Ellis, 1992). The film can follow a similar storyline like in romantic comedies or follow a similar formula like in action films (Ellis, 1992). Ellis' (1992) theory critiques the ideas of Abbott (2004) and Lukas (2006) as it argues that it is not just about livid experience. When studying film it is difficult to just look at reality from livid experience because films have created new ideas of reality and the audience usually sees a film differently from real life. You can go back to the ideas of realism (Armstrong, 2005). As explained before this idea is similar to the ideas of realism as realism in a film is extremely different to realism in real life. To link back to argument the spaceship is not seen to odd by the majority of the participants but a few of the participants did argue that it did make the real world look like simulation. Even though it is common for spaceships to be in science fiction films it still does not mean that the world is the real (Pyro, 2009). We here about the real world but are not shown much of the real world until the next two films. The film projects two spaces mainly: The Matrix and the spaceship. The audience is told about real world but are not shown what it looks like. The producers do show the outside of the spaceship, but this is an underground tunnel and not the whole landscape of the real world. There must have been a reason that the producers did not show the landscape of the real and making the spaceship so pivotal to the film. The reason could be enhance the idea that the real world is nothing but desert land due to war.

The research methods I used provided vital information that allowed me to answer my research question. The producers have used the spatial landscape in different ways to construct reality. One key issue was to look at the connection between Baudrillard (1983) The Matrix. There where a number of connections that I found. I found that the producers definitely tried to incorporate Baudrillard's (1983) theories of simulation in the film and the cast members where also given Baudrillard's (1983) 'Simulacra and Simulation' to read before filming (Wachowski Brothers, 2001a). The results showed that the concept of simulation and reality where present in the film. The producers used different methods to show these ideas. Some of the ideas used by the producers included creating landscapes that did not look real and constantly attacking the idea of reality in the film. As mentioned in this chapter there where a number of ways reality was constructed by the spatial landscape. It was created through the physical landscape, the way a character performs in a space and the representation of Baudrillard's (1983) theories. The participant's responses provided valuable insight into an audience's reaction to the techniques used by the producers to create reality through space. The where a number of good responses to the questions asked in the focus groups. This allowed me to achieve my objectives.


This dissertation looked at the 'Question of reality and spatiality in the cinematic film 'The Matrix' and there where a number of questions that needed to be answered. The question of reality and spatiality are present in The Matrix and are connected. As shown in the data analysis chapter the producers have used spatiality in different ways to create a simulation and real world. The idea of reality is one of the key themes in The Matrix and the film constantly tackles the issue of reality. The data collected used by the methods mentioned in the methodology chapter provided valuable data for me to answer my research question. It has been established that spatiality and reality are present in The Matrix. The data analysis chapter allowed me to see how the spatiality was used by the producers to construct reality. The data showed that space was used not just in physical landscape but also how the characters perform in a space. I feel that this dissertation has helped to fill a gap in the literature. There were a number of literatures written about The Matrix but this dissertation fills the gap. There have been studies on spatiality and The Matrix and reality with The Matrix but never looking at the idea of spatiality and reality together. My final results have helped to answer my original aims and objectives. My aims where answered as I was able to find the connections between Baudrillard (1983) and The Matrix. I was also able to find several techniques used by the producers to use spatiality in the film to create reality. I found that the concept of simulation was a key theme in the film and the producers used different methods to create this idea. This is mentioned in the data analysis chapter. My objectives where achieved when the focus groups provided relevant data. The focus groups helped me to show how the audience looked reacted to the techniques used by the producers to create the real. There where issues in when doing the dissertation as I did not manage to get as much data I wanted from my focus groups as a couple of focus groups went a little bit of subject and became a general discussion instead of about The Matrix. This problem was identified in the methodology but I found it difficult to curb the issue. I did manage to get enough data to achieve my aims, objectives, research question and dissertation question. There where no anomalies identified in my data. If I could do the research again I would definitely do more focus groups to make sure I get enough data. To better manage my future studies I would definitely make sure I manage my time more efficiently. I found that I took too long on coding my data. In the future I would have practise on coding so the coding would not take as long in future studies. This would provide an issue though as it would take more time to code the extra data. This dissertation has provided a basis for extra research and extra study in the subject. I could look into doing further study into the next Matrix films. This would provide an interesting comparison between how spatiality is used in each of The Matrix films.


  • Abbott, J. (2005). "Living in the Matrix: Capitalism, Techno-Globalization and the Hegemonic Construction of Space". Paper Presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Associations, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Accessed on 21/08/09.
  • Armstrong, R. (2005). Understanding Realism. British Film Institute: London.
  • Baudrillard, J. (1983). Simulacra and Simulation. The University of Michigan Press, Michigan.
  • Baudrillard, J. (2005). The System of Objects: Radical Thinkers. Verso Books: London.
  • Besson, L. (1997). The Fifth Element. Columbia Pictures: California.
  • Bingham, N. (2002). Chapter 12 In Kitchin, R. & Kneale, J. (2002). Lost in Space: Geographies of Science Fiction. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd: New York.
  • Brosseau, M. (1994). "Geography's Literature". Progress in Human Geography. 18 (3) pp. 333 - 353.
  • Cameron, J. (1984). Terminator. Orion Pictures: California.
  • Cameron, J. (1991). Terminator 2: Judgement Day. TriStar Pictures: California.
  • Clarke, D. B. (1997). The Cinematic City. Routledge: London.
  • Cloud, D. L. (2006). "The Matrix and Critical Theory's Desertion of the Real". Communication and Critical/Cutural Studies. 3 (4) pp. 329 - 354.
  • Dick, P. K. (1968). Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Gallancz: London.
  • Duranske, B (2010). Virtually Blind. Accessed on 21/11/09.
  • Doel, M. (1999). Poststructuralist Geographies: The Diabolical Art of Spatial Science. Edinburgh University Press: Endinburgh.
  • Ellis, J. (1992). Visible Fictions: Cinema, Television, and Video. Routledge: New York.
  • Ford, R. (2004). Beware Rise of Big Brother State, Warns Data Watchdog. The Times Online. Accessed on 08/11/09.
  • Foss, S. K. & Waters, W. (2003). Coding Qualitative Data. Accessed on 06/08/09.
  • Gee, J. P. (2005). An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method. Routledge: London.
  • Gibson, W. (1984). Neuromancer. Bantam: New York.
  • Gibson, W. (1999). All Tomorrow's Parties. Penguin: London.
  • Hanley, R. (2003). Simulacra and Simulation: Baudrillard and The Matrix. Accessed on 11/09/09.
  • Green, N. (2002). "On the Move: Technology, Mobility, and the Mediation of Social Time and Space". The Information Society. 18 (2) pp281 - 292.
  • Hayward, S. (2004). Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. Routledge: New York.
  • Hubbard, P. (2006). The City. Routledge: London.
  • Kellner, D. (1994). Baudrillard: A Critical Reader. Blackwell Publishers: Cambridge.
  • Kitchin, R. & Kneale, J. (2002). Lost in Space: Geographies of Science Fiction. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd: New York.
  • Lacan, J (1936) in Zizek, S. (2006). How to Read Lacan. Granta Books: London.
  • Lang, F. (1927). Metropolis. Paramount Pictures: California.
  • Lees, L. H. (2001). London 1900: The Imperial Metropolis. Journal of Interdisciplinary History. 31 (3) pp 451 - 456.
  • Lefebure, H. (1991) in Abbott, J. (2005). "Living in the Matrix: Capitalism, Techno-Globalization and the Hegemonic Construction of Space". Paper Presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Associations, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, accessed on 21/08/09. Accessed on 21/08/09.
  • Lindlof, T. R. & Taylor, B. C. (2002). Qualitative Communication Research Methods. Sage Publications Inc: California.
  • Lu, Gang. (2007). "HiPiHi: A Virtual World Born in China. Accessed on 23/04/09.
  • Lucas, G. (2005). Star Wars: Episode 3: Return of the Sith. LucasFilm & 20th Century Fox: California.
  • Lukas, G. (2006) in Cloud, D. L. (2006). "The Matrix and Critical Theory's Desertion of the Real". Communication and Critical/Cutural Studies. 3 (4) pp. 329 - 354.
  • Massey, D. (1991). A Global Sense of Place. Accessed on 21/08/09.
  • Mawson, T. J. (2003). Morpheus and Berkeley on Reality. Accessed on 13/05/09.
  • Merrin, W. (2005). Baudrillard and the Media. Polity Press: Cambridge.
  • NationStates. (2010). Jennifers Government Simulation. Accessed 14/11/09.
  • Robinson, P. (2002). The CNN Effect: The Myth of News, Foreign Policy and Intervention. Routledge: London.
  • Scott, R. (1982). Blade Runner. Warner Brothers Studios: California.
  • Second Life. (2010). Second Life Virtual Reality World.
  • Accessed 15/11/09.
  • Shippey, T. (1991). Fictional Space. Basil Blackwell Ltd: Oxford.
  • Smith, M. M. (2002) Foreword In Kitchin, R. & Kneale, J. (2002). Lost in Space: Geographies of Science Fiction. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd: New York.
  • Smith, R. G. (2010a). "Introduction: the words of Jean Baudrillard": The Baudrillard Dictionary. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh.
  • Smith, R. G. (2010b). "Double Spiral": The Baudrillard Dictionary. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh.
  • Suvin, D. (1979). Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre. Yale University Press: New Haven, CT.
  • Taylor, P. J., Walker, D. R. F., Catalano, G. & Hoyler, M. (2002). "Diversity and Power in the World City Network". Cities. 19 (4) pp. 231 - 241.
  • Terra Nova. (2010). Virtual Reality Blog. Accessed on 18/11/09.
  • Tuan, Y. (1978). Environmental Knowing. Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross: Stroudsberg.
  • US Department of Homeland Security (2009). Intelligence Analysis, Accessed on 23/08/09.
  • Wachowski Brothers. (1999). The Matrix. Warner Brothers Studios: California.
  • Wachowski Brothers. (2001a). The Matrix: The Shooting Script. Newmarket Press: New York.
  • Wachowski Brothers. (2001b). The Matrix Revisited. Warner Brothers Studios: California.
  • Weir, P. (1998). The Truman Show. Paramount Pictures: California.
  • Weiser, M. (1995). The Computer for the 21st Century. Accessed on 13/09/09.
  • Zizek, S. (1989). The Sublime Object of Ideology. Verso: London.
  • Zizek, S. (1999). "The Matrix, or, the Two Sides of Perversion". Paper at Inside the Matrix at the International Symposium at the Center for Art and Media, Karlsrube. Accessed on 04/01/2010.
  • Zizek, S. (2003). "Ideology Reloaded". In These Times. Accessed on 12/12/2009.

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!