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The Art of the Motor

1995
Author:

Paul Virilio
Translated by Julie Rose

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A major new work-and a best-seller in France-by one of the most exciting figures in contemporary French thought, this book asks how technology has changed the way we understand the world.

A major new work-and a best-seller in France-by one of the most exciting figures in contemporary French thought, this book asks how technology has changed the way we understand the world.

This is Virilio at his best.

Theory and Event

“The Art of the Motor represents a major new statement of Virilio’s highly original philosophy of technology. It includes analyses of such recent developments as nanotechnology and virtual reality. Virilio is a brilliant, complex, and wonderfully idiosyncratic thinker whose work is most deserving of the increased attention it is receiving in the English-speaking world.” Brian Massumi, McGill University

A major new work-and a bestseller in France-by one of the most exciting figures in contemporary French thought, this book asks how technology has changed the way we understand the world.

The Art of the Motor conjures a world in which information is speed and duration is no more. Information as speed? This, Paul Virilio tells, is the third dimension of matter-the speed of the transmission of information has collapsed the extension of the dimension of space and the duration of the dimension of time. He details the ways in which this change has led to a new visual regime, a serialization of images and sound that permits an extraordinary manipulation of both the form and content of messages. For Virilio, the incredible pace of the mutation of appearances, a pace made possible by the “art of the motor,” ends up mutating reality itself. The political ramifications of this change become clear as Virilio describes how social processes and institutions respond to dominant models of visualization.

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Paul Virilio is an urbanist, architect, and writer who teaches at the Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris. His works in English include The Aesthetics of Disappearance (1991) and Bunker Archeology (1994).

Julie Rose is a writer and translator. She recently translated The Vision Machine (1994), also by Paul Virilio.

Book Default Image

This is Virilio at his best.

Theory and Event

The Art of the Motor represents a major new statement of Virilio’s highly original philosophy of technology. It includes analyses of such recent developments as nanotechnology and virtual reality. Virilio is a brilliant, complex, and wonderfully idiosyncratic thinker whose work is most deserving of the increased attention it is receiving in the English-speaking world.

Brian Massumi, McGill University

His writings move with a rare fluidity from the quotidian (train wrecks and city planning) to the exotic (stock market crashes and the ultramodern war machine). . . . Turning his corrosive intellect to the impact of technology on war, the body, and the media, Virilio pierces some of the darker veilings of the future.

Wired Magazine May 1996, interview with James Der Derian

Virilio is perhaps the most original among an increasing number of architects-urbanites wrting about media and communication today, and The Art of the Motor is a thought-provoking book.

Journal of Communication