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By Paul Virilio

Advent by means of Bernard Tschumi In A panorama of occasions, the distinguished French architect, city planner, and thinker Paul Virilio makes a speciality of the cultural chaos of the Eighties and Nineties. It was once a time, he writes, that mirrored the "cruelty of an epoch, the hills and dales of way of life, the standard clumps of conduct and commonplaces."Urban disorientation, the machines of warfare, and the acceleration of occasions in modern lifestyles are Virilio's ongoing matters. He explores them in occasions starting from media assurance of the Gulf warfare to city rioting and lawlessness. a few will see Virilio as a pessimist discouraged through "the acceleration of the truth of time," whereas others will locate his recording of "atypical occasions" to be clairvoyant.

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Overexposed for one hundred long days, this conflict has finally suffered the same fate as the news. The first televisual war, the war of the Persian Gulf has not escaped the law of the genre: now you see it, now you don’t. It is enough to make you think the electronic process known as image compression, which allows information to be stored, has promoted the compression of history and finally the disappearance of the event! Four A war in two dimensions—plus a third, The Imbalance of Terror the dimension of time, of the real time of televised broadcasts—a world war in miniature perceived via the intermediary of the screen, the Gulf War is inseparable from its cathodic framing, to the point where it only subsists afterward in the memory of those video cassettes now on sale alongside war games and the Nintendo series.

To the spatio-temporal distortions of distance and the delays due to the very rapidity of transport, of the physical displacement of people, is now added the fluctuation of these appearances instantaneously transmitted at a distance . . Interactive technologies that favor an as yet unperceived event, this sudden cybernation of geophysical space and its atmospheric volume—and not merely of the machine or object, as occurred with the invention of the first automatons. This time it means the establishment of a kind of control of the geophysical environment whereby the visual piloting that is the instantaneous coming together of places would supersede the piloting of vehicles that still move around in those places .

Without this, it would seem, the relativistic nature of our ability to observe would disappear, once again disconnecting the observer and the observed, which is how things were in the past, in the age before Galileo. But let us abandon this futile historical regression and return to the technologies of real time. Having succeeded in broadcasting at the limit speed of elementary particles electro-optical images and electroacoustic sounds, as well as telemetric signals that enable not only teleaudition or television but also teleaction, laboratories supported by their respective governments are now tackling improvements in the resolution of the televised image, in order to speed up this indirect transparency and further enhance the optical magnification of the natural environment.

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