The Information Bomb (Radical Thinkers)
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“Civilization or the militarization of science?”
With this typically hyperbolic and provocative question as a starting point, Paul Virilio explores the dominion of techno-science, cyberwar and the new information technologies over our lives ... and deaths. After the era of the atomic bomb, Virilio posits an era of genetic and information bombs which replace the apocalyptic bang of nuclear death with the whimper of a subliminally reinforced eugenics. We are entering the age of euthanasia.
These exhilarating bulletins from the information war extend the range of Virilio’s work. The Information Bomb spans everything from Fukuyama to Larry Flynt, the Sensation exhibition of New British Art to space travel, all seen through the optic of Virilio’s trenchant and committed theoretical position.
to decide to schedule his computer-aided suidde, we know that mere tapping on a keyboard can become a risk-behaviour. Far from arousing compassion, the collective self-immolation of the members of the Heaven's Gate cybersect, announced on the Internet several weeks before the fateful date of 25 March 1997, has been taken as a personal affront by the unquestioning multi-media enthusiasts. How, they said, could technically sophisticated people, often recruited from American college campuses, have
Dior or Givenchy. One of these is, indeed, the designer of a collection of women's clothing and underclothes which are torn and stained blood-red, the name of which is 'Rape in the Highlands'. In the early years of the twentieth century, the novelist Paul Morand observed: 'Speed, in slamming two caresses together, turns them into a mortal impact.' Has not rape perhaps become the unacknowledged by-product of a technological emergency that is becoming routinized? Between July 1962, when American
an era of directionlessness, of nonsense, into an age of what Americans call the 'shaggy dog story'. In slow-motion or speeded up, here or elsewhere, everywhere and nowhere, with cinematic optics and its very special effects, not only was humanity knocked out of kilter, but it began to see double. Henceforth, what the acceleration of physical movement partially denied to -the familiar gaze would be found on the screen within everyone's reach. The mechanics of bird flight or the galloping of
humanity, the transhuman, built on the lines of transgenic crops, which are so much better adapted to their environment than the natural products. That this is indeed the case is confirmed by the recent declarations of Professor Richard Seed on his attempt to achieve human cloning, or the statements of those who openly advocate the production of living mutants, which are likely to hasten the coming, after the extra-terrestrial, of the extra-human, another name for the superhuman race which still
flouted time (thanks to the illusion known as persistence of vision), but also flouted the distances and dimensions of real space. The cinema was, in fact, a new energy, capable of carrying your gaze to other places, even if you yourself did not move. 'One must first speak to the eyes,' said Bonaparte. One can imagine the mileage the America of perspectiva - for which 'to halt is to die' - would be able to draw from this technique of fake movement, at the very point when the 'ever-changing