Art and Fear

Paul Virilio

It’s a little ridiculous how long I’ve been reading this book, considering it’s less than 100 pages long. It doesn’t even feel so dense but running at such a blistering pace that it’s a difficult to continually put it down and pick it back up again, as it becomes necessary to constantly backtrack to get back up to speed. I still wound up feeling like I barely maintained the thread throughout and should have done my best to read it in one sitting.

The thing I love about his writing is that he recognizes the need to emphasize with both all caps and italics:

To better understand such a heretical point of view about the programmed demise of the VOICES OF SILENCE, think of the perverse implications of the colouration of films originally shot in BLACK AND WHITE, to cite one example, or the use of monochromatic film in photographing accidents, oil spills. The lack of colour in a film segment of snapshot is seen as the tell-tale sign of a DEFECT, a handicap, the loss of colour of the rising tide under the effects of maritime pollution …

I’m not sure I agree with all his ideas, like that synchronized sound entirely ruined cinema, though I appreciate how he defines genetic engineering as a frightening new version of expressionism. But then there were also a lot of references that went over my head, with the lack of breadth in my mid-20th century art history knowledge. In that regard, I should have definitely attempted reading this somewhere other than on the subway.