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Art and Fear (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers) [Hardcover]

Paul Virilio , John Armitage
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

27 Feb 2003 Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers
Paul Virilio traces the twin development of art and science over the 20th Century, a development that emerges as a nightmare dance of death. In Virilio's vision, art and science vie with each other for the destruction of the human form as we know it. At the start of the 21st century science has finally left art behind as genetic engineers prepare to turn themselves into the worst of expressionists, the Human Genome Project their godless manifesto, the human being, the raw material for new and monstrous forms of life. Virilio makes all the connections clear: between the way early 20th Century avant-gardes twisted and tortured the human form before making it vanish in abstraction and the blasting to bits of men who were no more than cannon fodder in the trenches of the Great War; between the German Expressionists' hate-filled portraits of the damned and the "medical" experiments of the Nazi eugenicists; between the mangled messages of sensationalist advertising and terrorism. A brutal logic rules this shattering of representation: our ways of seeing are now fatally shaped by unprecedented "scientific" modes of destruction.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. (27 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826460801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826460806
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 14.2 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,480,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Art and Fear is a logical step in Paul Virilio s long and distinguished career as one of the few true humanist scholars who has consistently challenged the assumptions of an increasingly post-human world In Art and Fear, Virilio proves once again that he is a brave and radical advocate of humanity. Choosing to direct his critique at the sacred world of avant-garde art, Virilio boldly offers much needed reflection for an art world that is too often reluctant to rigorously question its ethical commitments. For art historians, this challenging work will offer an alternative to a history of Modern art which is all-too-often people with heroic trailblazers and lovable rouges. For scholars interested in investigating the post-human, Virilio s work provides a disquieting meeting place for optimistic speculation and violent realities. And, finally, for those who are simply trying to keep up with Virilio's work, Art and Fear builds on an exciting repertoire, adding discussions or art and sound that extend earlier discussions of the built and the virtual. Reconstruction, May 2005

About the Author

Paul Virilio is Director of the Ecole speciale d'Architecture in Paris and author of over 15 books including Desert Screen.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief, powerfull and timely 20 Feb 2007
"Art and Fear" is probably the most-read philosophical piece in my book collection. (Admittedly that may have to do with its brevity). Virilio is at the top of his form, pondering what he believes to be the future of art, science and the human form - not just in representation but in biological actuality.

It has made me think long and hard. It has given me sleepless nights. But above all, it has entertained. While not the most lucid writing style, particularly for those readers not well versed in his areas of discourse, it is none-the less written in an expressive, almost poetic style.

Its not very long (so you can read it in a day and then brag you've done an entire philosophy book). Its not at all boring. I can't think of a better reason for anyone to pick up this book and read it - other than the sheer enormity and presence of his arguments.
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