00 Paul Virilio in Obama’s America

1000 Days of Theory: td067
Date Published: 10/30/2008
Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, Editors

1000 DAYS OF THEORY: Event-Scene

City of Transformation

Paul Virilio in Obama’s America

Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

It is surely the fate of every engaged political theory to be overcome by the history that it thought it was only describing. So too, Paul Virilio. His writings have captured brilliantly these twilight times in which we live: The Aesthetics of Disappearance, The Information Bomb, War and Cinema, Speed and Politics — less writing in the traditional sense than an uncanny shamanistic summoning forth of the demonology of speed which inscribes society. A prophet of the wired future, Paul Virilio’s thought always invokes the doubled meaning of apocalypse — cataclysm and remembrance.

Cataclysm because all his writings trace the history of the technological death- instinct moving at the speed of light. And remembrance because Virilio is that rarity in contemporary culture, a thinker whose ethical dissent marks the first glimmerings of a fateful implosion of that festival of seduction, facination,terror, and boredom we have come to know as digital culture. A self-described “atheist of technology,” his motto is “obey and resist.”

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