(Paris, 1932-- )
Philosopher and communications theorist Paul Virilio was trained to become a master glassmaker and worked with Georges Braque in Varengeville and Henri Matisse in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. At the same time, however, he took courses at the Sorbonne and avidly plunged into perceptual psychology, architecture, photography, and film. In 1963 he and Claude Parent founded the Architecture Principe group, which resulted in the construction of the Church of Ste. Bernadette in Nevers (1963-1966). In 1975 he became director of the Ecole Spéciale d'Architecture, a private architecture school in Paris where he was already a member of the faculty.The same year, he exhibited photographs of bunkers under the title "Bunker Archéologie", and toward the end of the 1970s, he participated a research group on the sociology of defence at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and founded Radio Tomate (Tomato Radio) with philosopher Felix Guattari. Virilio's crititical writings deal with the cultural effects of the acceleration of world time, the technological revolution presently under way, from Internet and multimedia to home automation, electronic surveillance, medical technology, and cybersex. In his analyses of technology and speed, the disintegration of territories, accidents, and information and its mediatization, he predicts the disappearance of space in favor of a citizen-terminal in a virtual city and signals the change in representations whereby presence in real time replaces real space.
Bibliography of works available in English translation: Speed and Politics (1977, tr. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986). Popular Defence and Ecological Struggles (1978, tr. New York: Semiotext[e], 1995). The Lost Dimension (L'espace critique, 1984, tr. New York: Semiotext[e], 1991). War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception (1984, tr. London: Verso, 1989). The Vision Machine (1988, tr. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1994). The Aesthetics of Disappearance (1989, tr. New York: Semiotext[e], 1991). The Art of the Motor (1993, tr. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995).