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The Futurism of the Instant [Hardcover]

Paul Virilio

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Book Description

22 Oct 2010
With around 645 million people expected to be displaced Ð by wars and other catastrophes Ð by 2050, Virilio begins The Futurism of the Instant by looking at the future of human settlement and migration through the evolution of the city. What he finds is an accelerating exodus from the city as we have known it, an exodus that reverses the desertion of the countryside for the city in the past. This exodus creates a circulating city of transients on the move that will remove us further and further from our native lands en route to the ultimate exile, beyond planet Earth itself Ð something the world′s mad scientists have already been planning for some time. Exploring the shifts in scale involved in such population flows and the fraught and complex relationship between sedentary settlement and globalization, Virilio considers what the resultant loss of identity might mean, not only in terms of the exhaustion of biodiversity, but also in terms of the catastrophic elimination of temporal diversity, with the compression and fragmentation of time enabled by the nanotechnologies in an ever increasing acceleration of reality. This previously unimaginable prospect is brought closer by the accident of an instant that wipes out all distinction between past, present and future within the black hole of globalized interconnectivity.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (22 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745648630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745648637
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 12.3 x 18.8 cm

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"One of the most verbally exuberant of modern philosophers." The Guardian "Paul Virilio has long been one of the most fascinating and provocative thinkers of our contemporary moment." Douglas Kellner, UCLA "If Walter Benjamin had one true intellectual descendant who extended his inquiries into the second half of the twentieth century, this must be Paul Virilio." Lev Manovich, author of The New Media

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars short but good 2 Dec 2013
By Tony - Published on Amazon.com
The font in this book is really big- it's really more of a long essay than a full blown book.

Some key quotes-

the vanishing line of the trajectory is supplanting the fixed point and the objective axiality of the city (23)

The moment is uninhabitable, like the future (23)

The static vehicle of the very high dynamic building will take over from the dynamic deprived of energy at once by the exhaustion of natural resources and the exhaustion of banking resources, with the elevator taking the place of the domestic automobile (47)

'Turning the sky into the most beautiful place on Earth' this slogan of aviation company air France seems to confirm the trend towards a type of agglomeration where exurbanism at altitude will tomorrow extend the utopia of the disurbanism of the 1920s and 1930s, a time when the highway became the grand boulevard in the settlement of linear towns and stretched all the way to the confines of the soviet union (54)

Given the current systemic crisis and having lost confidence in the financial markets, where prices have become too volatile, rich countries are buying themselves faraway lands, at low cost, relaunching the old slogan of the colonial empire: here begins elsewhere (67)

To mobilize bodies- the social body as a whole- as they have already mobilized, the attention of whole populations, through the arsenal of tele technologies of the mobile and its multiple screens: this is indeed the unavowed reason for the endless growth in the carrying capacity, the capacite’ d’ emport, of the small as well as big vehicles that clutter up the logistical platforms (ports, airports, railways)- multimodal platforms- of interconnected networks that will destroy the town, the city and its historic centre, even more surely than the urban highway did last century (79)

He also touches on the ways in which cities are being transformed by the constant need for transportation, compartmentalization, and the way in which the horizon of perception is shifting towards the future, making the present place and time uninhabitable. Funny and insightful throughout but somewhat difficult.
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