25th January 11am “Paul Virilio and the Aesthetics of Disappearance”
An introduction to this important thinker (also curator and photographer) by John Armitage.
THIS EVENT WILL TAKE PLACE IN CENTRESPACE, in THE VISUAL RESEARCH CENTRE, lower level DCA. This is to coincide with the screening week of “Atom Town: life after technology.”
This illustrated lecture examines his contribution to the debates over contemporary aesthetics by considering one of his most powerful texts, The Aesthetics of Disappearance (2009a). It explains the importance of the argument of this book to afford an entry point into it for uninitiated English-speaking readers. The lecture then surveys the ramifications of Virilio’s study for theorizing and practicing media in the present period.
The theme of the book is the development and modern-day condition of human perception in the world’s advanced cultures. Virilio’s text is therefore about how diverse ways of perceiving and coping with the realms of photography and technology, science, and cinema are appreciated and incorporated into postmodern culture.
Perhaps the principal claim of the text is its description of the aesthetics of disappearance as an “irresistible project and projection toward a technical beyond” (Virilio 2009a: 103). Before presenting an explanation of what Virilio means when he employs concepts such as “aesthetics” or the “technical beyond,” it is vital to grasp how this assertion stems from The Aesthetics of Disappearance in its entirety. Consequently, the purpose of this lecture is to offer a foundation for an appreciation of what he means by defining the aesthetics of disappearance in this way.
Professor John Armitage is Associate Dean and Head of the Department of Media at Northumbria University, UK. He specializes in the cultural and media theory of Paul Virilio, the French contemporary philosopher and ‘critic of the art of technology’. Professor Armitage is the founder and co-editor, with Ryan Bishop and Douglas Kellner, of the Duke University Press journal Cultural Politics and the editor and author Paul Virilio: From Modernism to Hypermodernism and Beyond (2000), Virilio Live: Selected Interviews (2001), Virilio Now: Current Perspectives in Virilo Studies (2011), Virilio and the Media (2012), The Virilio Dictionary (2012), and Virilio and Visual Culture (2012).
Virilio books are available in the university library.
War and Cinema
The Information Bomb
The Aesthetics of Disappearance.