Writer Liam Pieper (The Toymaker) passionately argues that pop icon Taylor Swift is ‘Baudrillard’s hyperreality, made real’. French philosopher Jean Baudrillard claimed that current society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and that human experience is a simulation of reality. According to Liam, Swift herself is Baudrillard’s final-stage simulacra, a copy of a thing that never existed. Liam discusses the work of Baudrillard and the unstoppable marketing juggernaut that is Swift.

Supported by the University of Sydney.

Liam Pieper (Australian)

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Liam Pieper is an author, award-winning fiction writer, journalist and Fairfax columnist. His 2014 memoir, The Feel-Good Hit of the Year was shortlisted for the National Biography Award and the Ned Kelly Best True Crime award. This was followed by Mistakes Were Made, a collection of essays that make up a craven apology for writing a memoir. He was co-recipient of the 2014 M Literary Award, and was the inaugural creative resident of the UNESCO City of Literature of Prague, where he completed his first novel The Toymaker.

James Reilly (Australian)

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James Reilly is an associate professor in northeast Asian politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. His research and teaching are in the areas of Chinese foreign policy, East Asian politics, and international relations. In the department, he teaches undergraduate and post-graduate units on East Asian politics and Chinese politics.