Maddie Stratton’s “Take a Deep Breath”

Blue background, white sand,
hospital, canned sound . . .

It is difficult to write without advertising, said Catherine Daly.

Sub ‘write’ for any medium, sense, action, or decision. I just need a break from the city, sub ‘net.’ Let’s get away, let’s just go; or, in the morning, the sun shines through streaklessly Windexed windows and bounces off of disinfected counters and gleaming stainless steel appliances. A bowl of plump fruit is set out but never touched, timed air fresheners spritz each room with light mists of lilac and vanilla, daytime television unobtrusively hums in the background; a comforting presence.

What was once representation has become simulation. Jean Baudrillard’s Simulation and Simulacra traces this progression:

To dissimulate is to pretend not to have what one has. To simulate is to feign to have what one doesn’t have. One implies a presence, the other an absence. But it is more complicated than that because simulating is not pretending: “Whoever fakes an illness can simply stay in bed and make everyone believe he is ill. Whoever simulates an illness produces in himself some of the symptoms” (Littré). Therefore, pretending, or dissimulating, leaves the principle of reality intact: the difference is always clear, it is simply masked, whereas simulation threatens the difference between the “true” and the “false,” the “real” and the “imaginary.”

Baudrillard continues: “When the real is no longer what it was, nostalgia assumes its full meaning.” And it is from this realm of nostalgia that Take a Deep Breath materializes. Nostalgia’s many permutations are all simulations of peace and happiness. Typically, nostalgia is concerned with the past, but Take a Deep Breath explores how the business of nostalgia is equally concerned with the present as it rebrands the concept to apply to micro-moments, instantaneous desire, and a simulated image of one’s life that has never been but is, because as advertising knows you can be that person, understand, you are that person. Now spend your way to zen.

There is a plethora of myths of origin and of signs of reality – a plethora of truth, of secondary objectivity, and authenticity. Escalation of the true, of lived experience, resurrection of the figurative where the object and substance have disappeared. Panic-stricken production of the real and of the referential, parallel to and greater than the panic of material production: this is how simulation appears in the phase that concerns us – a strategy of the real, of the neo-real and the hyperreal that everywhere is the double of a strategy of deterrence.

This marks the end of our tour. If you would like more information, please click on one of the following links to continue your journey through the constellation of consumerism, don’t forget to visit the gift shop, and have a great day.


tell me how to tell someone how i feel / give me a picture that i can use to show people that i am interesting, fun, and contemplative / give me a T-shirt so that people know/ that I have grandkids and love them


Answers dot com i am sad please tell me if I am depressed; if i know something is wrong with me i will feel better.


I know a way to really make her heart melt: the cards at Walgreens won’t touch her soul enough. You can go to ‘’ and make a one-of-a-kind card on the internet for free.


Google– Help me find a way to use my daughter’s graduation picture in more interesting ways; I want to wear it, use it as a vase, put it on my keys, send it to people in a frame so they know she still exists./


google search: “perfect birthday” because i want them all to know that this party will be fun.


Madeline Stratton lives and works in New Orleans, LA . She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 2013. Her work draws from aspects of popular and consumer culture and explores its influence on the perception of reality in day-to-day life.  See more at

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