Cover: detail from a painting by Joy Garnett.
Virilio and Visual Culture
JOHN ARMITAGE & RYAN BISHOP
Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2013
264 pages, £24.99, ISBN: 978 0748654444
My chapter: Towards a New Ecology of Time (p.37 ff)
John Armitage and Ryan Bishop have brought together a diverse array of academic scholars, artists, painters, researchers and translators in this excellent collection on Paul Virilio and his contribution to visual cultural studies. Published in the ‘Critical Connections Series’ with Edinburgh University Press, the diversity of the contributors in this collection testiﬁes to Virilio’s rich life of intellectual engagement, from the 1950s and his writings on architecture through to the 1980s and his more celebrated contributions to debates on the socio cultural effects of cinematics, vision technologies, surveillance and the role of accelerated cultural developments in advanced societies.
‘Sacred humanism’ is a form of resistance to the disintegration of ethical and aesthetic markers and the ensuing loss of meaning in contemporary art/media culture. This opposition, although Armitage stresses the point that ‘the sacred’ emanates from within the profane, resonates to different degrees across the chapters of this collection. Joy Garnett uses it to structure her critique of techno-culture and in particular its closure of distance. Garnett explores alternatives (‘correctives’) to the dominant power of the dromosphere through germinative, creative and spatial processes and activities (painting, cook ing and other ‘poetics of ephemera’ such as the ‘accident in art’) that not only acknowledge the ‘dogma of acceleration as a pollutant’ (39) but also contribute to the deceleration of time, accentuate the particularity of a bodily/human function (hand –eye coordination for example) and introduce a process of critical and reﬂective duration.
ENDA MCCAFFREY Nottingham Trent University © 2013 Enda McCaffrey
Read the full review by Enda McCaffrey in Modern & Contemporary France (Routledge, Oct 31, 2013)