A Landscape of Events (Writing Architecture) by Paul Virilio

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By Paul Virilio

Advent through Bernard Tschumi In A panorama of occasions, the prestigious French architect, city planner, and thinker Paul Virilio specializes in the cultural chaos of the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties. It was once a time, he writes, that mirrored the "cruelty of an epoch, the hills and dales of way of life, the standard clumps of behavior and commonplaces."Urban disorientation, the machines of struggle, and the acceleration of occasions in modern existence are Virilio's ongoing issues. He explores them in occasions starting from media insurance of the Gulf battle to city rioting and lawlessness. a few will see Virilio as a pessimist discouraged by means of "the acceleration of the truth of time," whereas others will locate his recording of "atypical occasions" to be clairvoyant.

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We combine our search to maximize perception at all costs with the quest for minimal perception by means of a slit, a slit that limits without ever ruling out our perceiving the whole of the object or image masked . . Numerous experiments have sought to analyze scientifically the reasons why such occultation is ineffective, but they have never managed to come to grips with the nature of such perceptionless perception. This degree zero of the visible becomes an enigma, not only in terms of the space of the image but especially of the time involved in its immediate perception, the real time of contemplation, 38 39 during which the “actual” image glimpsed through the slit is closely integrated with the “virtual” image of the delayed interpretation that completes and supplies what is missing in the form perceived by eye movement, by the “tracking” that is indispensable to contemplation.

2 As though a “state of mind” were not directly influenced by the speed of a message! As though technological progress were neutral when it comes to the autonomy of thought, the authority of the individual! As though conditioning, putting people under their influence, depended merely on the good or bad will of organs of the press . . Why this obliviousness to the urgency, this negation of the disastrous effects of speed on the interpretation of events? From ancient Athens up to the transportation revolution of the nineteenth century, the democratization of relative speed was a major historical constant in the development of Western civilization.

Inertia of 46 47 one’s own body, apparent result of this general influx of (optical and sound) information whereby everything converges and concentrates on the being attentive to the no-delay path of images and sounds, the screen suddenly becoming a last “visible horizon,” a horizon of accelerated particles that takes over from the geographic horizon of the expanse in which the televiewer’s body still moves. Apparent horizon or deep horizon? The question of the optical thickness of the real environment arises again today for the inhabitant of this constricted planet, the question of the direct and customary transparency of materials—with the addition of the enigma of this indirect transappearance that derives from the capabilities of the “active” optics of the indirect light that illuminates the human habitat, just as the direct light of the sun or the electricity fairy once lit and revealed our surroundings, thanks to the properties of the “passive” optics of the various corrective materials such as air, water, or the glass in our lenses!

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