Introduction

John Armitage

Paul Virilio is one of the leading critics of art and technology working today. He has an exceptional scope of investigation, which includes everything from the city to military architecture, from technology to geopolitics, from speed to ecology, aesthetics, cinema and war. This scope, aligned with a potent and piercing critical intellect, comprises the most exciting thing about studying Virilio.

The Virilio Dictionary aspires to of er a compressed yet understandable introduction to Virilio’s key concepts and clarify why his ideas are vital to our critical comprehension of contemporary art and technocultural studies. If we want an awareness of why Virilio’s notions are significant, and of the effect they are having on critical theory, art and technocultural studies, we must hang onto two important concepts simultaneously: phenomenology and hypermodernism. For many of his fellow critical theorists, Virilio is one of the world’s most important interpreters of phenomenological ideas working in the present period; and his writings on hypermodernism are some of the most powerful examinations of that cultural phenomenon (Armitage 2000; James 2007). Anybody writing on these two subjects will most likely find themselves wrestling with ‘Virilian’ notions.

Phenomenology is a movement rooted in the work of Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) concerned with philosophically examining and methodically enquiring into the argument that reality comprises of objects and events as they are perceived or appreciated in human consciousness and not of anything apart from human consciousness. It has been very prominent in numerous fields of critical, aesthetic and technocultural thought, and has had a specific influence on aesthetic criticism and technocultural studies: a detailed explanation and reflection on phenomenology can be found in the entry on ‘Phenomenology’. Hypermodernism, conversely, is the concept I (Armitage 2000) frequently employ to portray Virilio’s critical comprehension of the escalated logic of contemporary art and technoculture. It is the manner and the historical era wherein much art and technology is presently being created; a comparable usage of vocabulary sees Postmodernism used to depict the mode of art and technology created throughout the latter part of the twentieth century, or modernism to illustrate the critical works of art and technology created at the end of the nineteenth and

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The Virilio Dictionary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Acknowledgements iv
  • Introduction 1
  • Entries A–Z 17
  • Bibliography 215
  • Notes on Contributors 226
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