Paul Virilio

Five new books by Paul Virilio, an essayist with a special interest in urbanism and the strategic implications of new technologies.

Negative Horizon (CB 428 .V5713 2005)  sets out the author’s theory of dromoscopy: a means of apprehending speed and its pivotal role in contemporary global society. Moving through human history from the cave paintings at Lascaux, to the ‘stealth technologies’ deployed in contemporary warfare, this book shows how resistance to speed and movement has consistently been eroded. 

Art and Fear (BH 202 .V56 2006) traces the twin development of art and science over the twentieth century. In the author’s provocative and challenging vision, art and science vie with each other for the destruction of the human form as we know it. It is aimed at those wondering where art has gone and where science is taking us.

Lost Dimension (BD 632 .V5713 1991) considers the displacement of the concept of dimensional space by Einsteinian space/time as it is related to the transparent boundaries of the postmodern city and contemporary economy. Virilio imagines a coming world of interactive, informational networks offering a prison-house of illusionary transcendence. He pictures global terrorism (perpetrated by and against technological states) filling up the surreal void of an abandoned real. In a multidisciplinary excavation of contemporary physics, architecture, esthetic theory, and sociology, Virilio traces the dystopic unity of the contemporary Western predicament.

Crespuscular Dawn (HM 846 .V5752002) expands Virilio’s vision of the implosion of physical time and space, onto the micro-level of bioengineering and biotechnology.

The Accident of Art (N 72 .T4 L65 2005x) In this dialogue with Sylvere Lotringer, the prophet of speed argues that “the art of the motor” (electronics, computer, Internet and so on) has surpassed the static nature of the visual arts. Digital technology has replaced the analogical and art has become extra-retinal. Something has been lost in the arts of the 20th century and their very success is their failure. Rather than a condemnation, this critique is always positive. It reveals something that otherwise would not have been perceived, and acknowledging it is a sign of hope. The accident of art announces a reversal of the tendencies and values traditionally associated with art.

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