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In he co-organized the Bunker Archeologie exhibition at the Decorative Arts Museum in Paris, a collection of texts and images relating to the Atlantic Wall. The research on the archeology of bunkers, led him to his theory of dromology - the science of speed, or of the human impulse to wander, travel and flee. Essay by Paul Virilio, published in "TechnoMorphica," Dutch translation of an essay by Paul Virilio, for "Technomorphica" In "Book for the Unstable Media" artists and scientists involved in media art ask themselves the question of how to deal with the hegemony of technology in art and society.

Collection of essays on the merging of the biological with the technological. Search only in current section. Advanced Search…. Info Paul Virilio. Paul Virilio Paul Virilio FR is an essayist, philosopher and media critic - with a special interest in urbanism and the strategic implications of new technologies. Speed and war, the information media and social changes are among his prominent themes.

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Document Actions Send this. Book for the Unstable Media. WARUM 2. The Museum of the Sun. Het museum van de zon. Surfing the Accident.


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Information technology and research in artificial intelligence — the backbone of cybernetics — began in the midst of the War. With the greater hold of information technology on society comes the greater dominance of speed, its inseparable accompaniment. As Virilio puts it in The Information Bomb , the speed of information technology gives rise to chronopolitics a politics of time , which is taking the place of a politics based on a territory. As virtual reality takes over from material reality following the information technology revolution, the information bomb succeeds the nuclear bomb: space disappears along with bodies and every genre of object.


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  6. Disappearance and the Virtual and the Dark Side of the Enlightenment. Because technology today is increasingly becoming a force in its own right, the world of appearances gives way to the world of disappearances. Identity becomes virtual and multiple, implying movement between infinite substitutions. This is the woe of the total immateriality of the city emblematised by American cinema, with Hollywood as its model.

    Two new Virilio titles | Polity

    People now engage in virtual interactions and perception changes, the body disappears is not perceived as such as does physical location. A landscape comes to be seen, if at all, only while travelling: through the car windscreen or window of a fast train. Soon, this vestige of appearance and materiality will also disappear to b replaced by virtual images on the internet.

    Virilio, like Baudrillard , seems to focus on the dark side of the Enlightenment to the extent that light — the speed of light — the significance of which was starting to be seen at the start of the Industrial Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century, is the element giving rise to the dominance of time over space, of virtuality over materiality.

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    Yet Virilio is at pains to say that he is a realist, not a pessimist. It is not that technology itself is evil; rather, taking a fundamentalist attitude towards it is.

    Two new Virilio titles

    The latter consists in thinking that whatever technology prescribes must be followed to the letter. Those who believe in Virilio see him as the prophet of the technospeed- based millennium. Loss of time means greater acceleration: more speed. Relative speed is taken over by absolute speed, the speed of light. Einstein thus becomes so prescient. Time, for Virilio, is the instant as much as duration. Cinema is a point in the development of electro-magnetic speed: cinema time is about putting movement into images. Everything accelerates.

    Power, for its part, becomes secret and invisible exemplified by the lives of Howard Hughes and William Randolph Hearst , by the activities of the CIA, and by criminal activity. For Foucault as well, there is an historical change from visible forms of power, as exemplified by absolute monarchy, and power as it is articulated in modern democracies, where, following the panopticon model, power becomes invisible and integrated into a multitude of disciplinary practices.

    In a sense, the growing invisibility of power is also equivalent to its virtualisation, or, as Virilio would say, to its dematerialisation. And of course, Foucault also spoke in the same context about new technologies of power. Thus, for Virilio, the form of power changes and becomes invisible in light of the growing dominance of new technologies. He is never short of examples to press home his point here, even if these often seem selective. Surveillance at airports and toll booths at all points of entry, change the city. Architecture gives way to functional, surveillance concerns.

    A new technological space—time emerges in the era of hypo-modernity, which stretches into the beginning of the twenty-first century. Cities are becoming de-populated as post-industrialism takes hold. Speed dominates everything through new telecommunications. Substantial, homogeneous space in the Greek sense gives way to an accidental, heterogeneous space. The tyranny of distance gives way to the tyranny of real time. Space e. They become increasingly sedentary see Virilio In sum, the geographical environment is disappearing space is disappearing.

    People no longer identify with a particular place, whether this be village, town or country. The result is often an indifference to neighbours while people profess a love for the other at a distance. Time and space are always relative to human time and space, so it matters a great deal if these coordinates change. Virtual interaction at a distance, whether in the context of sexuality, politics or urban life, has a cybernetic dimension that, for Virilio, deprives people of free will in the sense that they become elements in a feed back and control system, the very opposite of freedom and democracy.

    With regard to sexuality in particular, the risk for our theorist is that the contact at a distance of cybersex may lead to a preference for this kind of activity rather than activity in proximity with a partner. The very existence of the human race — or at least the most highly developed parts of it in the West — is then brought into question because it will no longer be able to reproduce itself.

    For reproduction is the result of proximity, not distance Virilio —7. Economically, the collapse of the small firm shows the current irrelevance of a particular space; the workforce becomes mobile, decentralised, no longer located in cities or on urban outskirts Virilio The internet begins to take the place of shopping in the neighbourhood.

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    However, buying on the internet is likely to result in mass unemployment. To believe totally in this technological revolution is equivalent to a technological fundamentalism, the result being that particular cultures come under threat with the emphasis on real time instead of space and community.

    What we have is industrialism communications, transport taken to the extreme. The virtualisation of politics leads to a loss of geographical sovereignty. Cybersex entails the loss of the use of the body. It is a sexual diversion, where an erotics of distance and repulsion takes the place of intimacy and attraction. In short, there a total disappearance of materiality due to digitalisation and the hegemony of the present moment the now over history and the time of community: the time of a past, present and future.

    In addition, in keeping with a growing immateriality, even units of measure have dematerialised. Objects are replaced by trajectories and this is a confirmation of the aesthetics of disappearance Virilio 58— Dromology takes over. Art becomes virtual. But this is a loss of art. For there is no art without analogy against digitalisation cf. Virilio and Baj There is no doubt that Virilio succeeds in mounting a trenchant critique of technology.

    He is also astute in pointing out, against those who advocate a positive body—technology symbiosis cyborg , that there are in fact negative consequences that, if ignored, may place the future existence of humanity at risk. Although Virilio is often an astute observer of social and political life and has a plethora of examples to call upon to support the claims he makes regarding the negative effects of technology, his work is susceptible to the following criticisms.

    Technology, in effect, brings a kind of fall from grace of the original, unified subject as part of a community and in touch with true materiality, including the body. However, it is also true that post-structuralism inhibits a critique of technology.