By Paul Virilio
Paul Virilio is one in every of modern Continental thought's most unusual and provocative serious voices. His imaginative and prescient of the effect of contemporary expertise at the modern international situation is strong and traumatic, ranging over paintings, technological know-how, politics and war. In paintings and worry, Paul Virilio strains the dual improvement of paintings and technological know-how over the 20th century. In his provocative and not easy imaginative and prescient, paintings and technological know-how vie with one another for the destruction of the human shape as we all know it. He lines the connections among the way in which early 20th century avant-garde artists twisted and tortured the human shape prior to making it vanish in abstraction, and the blasting to bits of fellows who have been not more than cannon fodder i nthe trenches of the nice battle; and among the German Expressionists' hate-filled images of the damned, and the 'medical' experiments of the Nazi eugenicists; and among the mangled messages of world ads, and the organization of world terrorism. Now, firstly of the twenty-first century, technology has eventually left artwork in the back of, as genetic engineers organize to show themselves into the worst of expressionists, with the person the uncooked fabric for brand spanking new and titanic different types of lifestyles. paintings and worry is vital interpreting for someone thinking about the place paintings has long past and the place technological know-how is taking us.
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Thanks to the decryption of the map of the human genome, geneticists are now using cloning in the quest for the chimera, the hybridization of man and animal. How can we fail to see that these 'scientific extremists', far from merely threatening the unicity of the human race by trafficking embryos, are also taking their axe to the whole philosophical and physiological panoply that previously gave the term SCIENCE its very meaning? In so doing, they threaten science itself with disappearance. Extreme arts, such as transgenic practices, aim at nothing less than to embark BIOLOGY on the road to a kind of 'expressionism' whereby teratology will no longer be content just to study malformations, but will resolutely set off in quest of their chimeric reproduction.
The trend everywhere was towards the simultaneous synchronization of image and sound. Whence the major political role played at the 37 ART AND FEAR time by cinematic NEWSREELS, notably those produced by FoxMovietone in the United States and by UFA in Germany, which perfectly prefigured televisual prime time. Alongside booming radiophony and the live rallies of Nuremburg and elsewhere, the talkies would become one of the instruments of choice of the fledgling totalitarianisms. For Mussolini, the camera was the most powerful weapon there was; for Stalin, at the same moment in time, the cinema was the most effective of tools for stirring up the masses.
It might be appropriate at this juncture to remember Joseph Beuys whose work Silence parallels, not to say echoes, Edvard Munch's 1883 painting The Scream. Think of the systematic use of felt in Beuys' London installations of 1985 with the gallery spaces wadded like so many SOUNDPROOF ROOMS, precisely at a time when the deafening explosion of the AUDIO-VISUAL was to occur - along with what is now conveniently labelled the crisis in modern art or, more exactly, the contemporary art of the crisis of meaning, that NONSENSE Sartre and Camus were on about.
Art and Fear (Continuum Impacts) by Paul Virilio