Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Paul Virilio is a manly kind of name. Here he is on speed, as it were (my emphasis). Read it as fast as you can:
Paul Virilio's treatise The Aesthetics of Disappearance -- more virtuosic meditation than traditional scholarship -- considers the motivations and repercussions of a contemporary society fascinated by speed. Speed, or velocity, is understood literally as space (distance) mapped against time (duration), reaching its absolute limit in light, which collapses both space and time.
Speed and velocity aren't the same thing, but moving swiftly on:
Indeed, Virilio is attuned precisely to the culturally correlated obsession with moving (driving, flying, riding) at high speeds and viewing (watching) moving (light) images. At this limit, light (absolute speed) dissolves the implicit dualism suspended between these phenomena, that of embodied motion and that of disembodied stimulus, anticipating a neuro-psychological event effectuated by the simultaneous or synchronic discharge of neurons to the brain resulting in an epileptic, or, in Virilio's terms, picnoleptic, seizure. Such lapses are quite common in maturing children whose developing psychic mechanisms are often momentarily incapable of assimilating the prevailing contingency of outside experience, and in adults during their waking moments -- Virilio's example, which opens the book, is of dropping one's morning coffee, a lapse in consciousness for which one is fundamentally unaccountable. Crucial to these two moments, each operating synecdochly, is their structural place at the point of passage between radical binaries: unconscious sleep and conscious awareness; unconscious infancy and conscious adulthood. Speed, then, by inducing such sensory overload, supplants the project of reason (mature consciousness) by eliding observable difference, situating the observer in a perch between things -- between binaries -- the observer himself marked, en passant, as indifferent. Indeed, the world sped up (or the world from the vantage of speed) is experienced as multiplicitous variety irreducible to diachronic singularity or topographical proximity, history, discourse, context, obfuscated for the experience of pure, undifferentiated surface: light.
I was speed-reading with no trouble, until I stumbled over "synecdochly". I can only say part of it, but not all of it - will that do?
Posted on 12/29/2009 4:50 PM by Mary Jackson
30 Dec 2009
Set Sale For Peradventure
(well, just maybe)
To live the life synecdoche
Big Apple, not Schenectady
New York, New York
Not York, you dork
Don't have a cow, man
Or death of Kauf Mann
On set ten sails, man
- Bay Area Rapid Transit Simpson
Stop All The Spits
Before the Gentle Reader, peradventure angered, though not surprised, that I failed to cut the mustard, departs in high Dijon, he or she might do well to check out the following classic exchange between NER's eminences gray matter, Mary Jackson and Hugh "The Brain" Fitzgerald:
30 Dec 2009
It's an il Duce who fouls his own Naples on Larry Summers' Eve.
- Benito Virilio & Haile Synecdochly