Travels in Hyperreality

Symbolic Redundancy (Does Jesus pray the Rosary?)

There is a section in Rose Hill Cemetery that is predominately Latino. The graves in this area are heavily adorned with plants, artificial flowers, candles dedicated to a variety of saints and a multitude of cast plaster statues. Here, a man hard up for a drink can scavenge for very aged bottles of the dearly departed’s favorite beer or tequila that lay sun-bleached amidst the headstones. As you can tell from the photos I’ve posted the last few days, I enjoy the photographic opportunities such grave adornments can provide.

Occasionally, I will come across something that inspires relevant or irrelevant introspection and pondering. Such was the case when I encountered a concrete Jesus holding a rosary. Not being a Catholic, I found myself stuck on the apparent symbolic and theological redundancy of this ornamentation. Some 25 years ago or so, I read and was completely fascinated by Umberto Eco’s sometimes unnerving observations in “Travels in Hyperreality”. I surmised the author would have had much to say regarding this present example of our ability to artificially augment artificial augmentations replicating or defining reality.

"Symbolic Redundancy" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.3 at 1/30 sec., 93mm

“Symbolic Redundancy” [Click the image for an enlarged view.] Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.3 at 1/30 sec., 93mm
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