The Aesthetics of Disappearance
Virilio himself referred to his 1980 work The Aesthetics of Disappearance as a "juncture" in his thinking, one at which he brought his focus onto the logistics of perception—a logistics he would soon come to refer to as the "vision machine." If Speed and Politics established Virilio as the inaugural—and still consummate—theorist of "dromology" (the theory of speed and the society it defines), The Aesthetics of Disappearance introduced his understanding of "picnolepsy"—the epileptic state of consciousness produced by speed, or rather, the consciousness invented by the subject through its very absence: the gaps, glitches, and speed bumps lacing through and defining it. Speed and Politics defined the society of speed; The Aesthetics of Disappearance defines what it feels like to live in the society of speed.
"I always write with images," Virilio has claimed, and this statement is nowhere better illustrated than with The Aesthetics of Disappearance. Moving from the movie theater to the freeway, and from Craig Breedlove's attainment of terrifying speed in a rocket-power car to the immobility of Howard Hughes in his dark room atop the Desert Inn, Virilio himself jump cuts from such disparate reference points as Fred Astaire, Franz Liszt, and Adolf Loos to Dostoyevsky, Paul Morand, and Aldous Huxley. In its extension of the "aesthetics of disappearance" to war, film, and politics, this book paved the way to Virilio's follow-up: the celebrated study, War and Cinema.
This edition features a new introduction by Jonathan Crary, one of the leading theorists of modern visual culture.
Foreign Agents series
Distributed for Semiotext(e)
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Abel Gance absence acceleration Aesthetics of Disappearance Aldous Huxley already Amanda Lear anamorphosis Anthony Blunt automobile become Bernadette Soubirous bodies camera century child chronophotography cinematic cinematographic color consciousness coupling created crisis culture death desert dimensions Disney dream duration effect electronic epilepsy epileptic everything existence film finally forms France Soir G.E.R. Lloyd Howard Hughes Hughes human Huxley idea illusion instant invention invisible kind Lartigue law of movement light living longer look Lumiere brothers machine Marcel L'Herbier Marey Melies mobile motor natural objects Paris partner passenger Paul of Tarsus Paul Virilio perception phenakistoscope phenomenon photographs picnolepsy picnoleptic polemarch produced projection prostheses provoked reality replaced rhythm rite-of-passage screen seduction seems sensation sense sexual shadow sleep space spectator speed record stop suddenly technical prostheses technique thing tion transformed transport vector vehicle vision visual voyage wanted woman women young