facing the problem of God's existence. Behind each one, infact, God had disappeared.

He wasn't dead, he had disappeared; that is, theproblem no longer presented itself. The problem of the existence or inexistenceof God had been resolved through simulation. Just as we have done with theproblem of truth or with the fundamental illusion of the world: we have resolvedit through technical simulation, and through the profusion of images in whichthere is nothing to see. But one might think that it's the strategy of God himself to disappear, andprecisely behind images. God takes advantage of the images in order todisappear, himself obeying the impulse to not leave traces. And so the prophecyis realized: we live in a world where the highest function of the sign is tomake reality disappear, and to mask at the same time this disappearance. Artdoes none other than this. The media today do none other than this. This is whythey are consigned to the same destiny. Because nothing, not even painting, wants anymore exactly to be looked at,but only to be visually absorbed and circulated without leaving traces --tracing in a way, under cover of the colors of simulation, the simplifiedaesthetic form of impossible exchange --, it is difficult today to recaptureappearances. Such that the language that would best account for this would be alanguage in which there is nothing to say, which would be the equivalent of apainting in which there is nothing to see. The equivalent of pure object, of anobject that is not an object. But an object that is not an object is precisely not nothing. It's an objectthat doesn't let up obsessing you with its immanence, its empty and immaterialpresence. The whole problem is, at the confines of nothingness, to materializethis nothingness -- at the confines of emptiness, to trace the after-image ofemptiness -- at the confines of indifference, to play according to themysterious rules of indifference. The world is like a book. The secret of a book is always inscribed on asingle page. The rest is nothing but gloss and repetition. The ultimate finesseis to make this page disappear once the book is complete. Hence no one willguess what it is about (always the perfect crime). Yet this page remainsdispersed within the book, between the lines; the body remains dispersedthroughout its scattered limbs, and one ought to be able to reconstitute itwithout the secret being lifted. This anagrammatic dispersion of things isessential to their symbolic absence, to the force of their illusion. Identification of the world is futile. One must seize upon things in theirsleep, or in a totally other contingency where they are absent from themselves.Like in Kawabata's The Sleeping Beauties, where the old men spend thenight beside the sleeping bodies of these women, mad with desire, but withouttouching them, and depart before they awake. They too are stretched out next toan object that is not one, and whose total indifference, in sleep, sharpens theerotic sense. But most enigmatic in Kawabata's story, and which creates thismarvelous irony, is that nothing finally, right through to the end of the tale,allows one to know whether the women are really sleeping or whether they aren'tslyly getting off, from the depths of their simulated sleep, from theirseduction and from their own deferred desire. Those not sensitized to the illusion of amorous feeling, to the degree ofirreality and play,