By Paul Virilio
Paul Virilio is one in all modern Continental thought's most unusual and provocative severe voices. His imaginative and prescient of the effect of contemporary expertise at the modern worldwide is robust and irritating, ranging over artwork, technology, politics and struggle. In paintings and worry, Paul Virilio strains the dual improvement of artwork and technological know-how over the 20 th century. In his provocative and hard imaginative and prescient, paintings and technology vie with one another for the destruction of the human shape as we all know it. He strains the connections among the way in which early 20th century avant-garde artists twisted and tortured the human shape prior to making it vanish in abstraction, and the blasting to bits of guys who have been not more than cannon fodder i nthe trenches of the good warfare; and among the German Expressionists' hate-filled images of the damned, and the 'medical' experiments of the Nazi eugenicists; and among the mangled messages of worldwide advertisements, and the supplier of worldwide terrorism. Now, in the beginning of the twenty-first century, technological know-how has eventually left paintings in the back of, as genetic engineers arrange to show themselves into the worst of expressionists, with the individual the uncooked fabric for brand new and enormous kinds of existence. artwork and worry is vital examining for a person puzzling over the place artwork has long past and the place technological know-how is taking us.
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Extra resources for Art and Fear (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers)
But how far do we go in the opposite direction? As far as SNUFF L ITERATURE, in which the conformism of abj ection innovates an academicism of horror, an official art of macabre e ntertainment? In the United S tates, to take one example, the torturing of the human body by sharp instruments seems to have become the preferred image of advertising, accord ing to the Wall Street Journal of 4 May 2000 . Hit over the head by such media bludgeoning, the art lover is surely already the victim of what psychiatris ts call impaired judgement.
Sir Fr ancis Galton, the unredeemed eugenicist, is back in the land of his cousin Darwin: freedom of aesthetic expression now knows no bounds. Not only is everything from now on 'possible' . I t is 'inevitable' ! Thanks to the genetic bomb , the science of biology has become a maj o r art only, an EXTREME ART. This helps make sense of the title of that Heinrich Heine I nstitute conference, 'The Elimination of Nature as a Theme in Contemporary Art' . It also makes sense of the recent innovation not only of a COUNTER CULTURE, opposed to the culture of the bourgeoisie, b u t also of an art that is frankly COUNTER-NAT U R E , ped d ling as it does a eugenics that h a s finally tri umphed over all prejudice absolutely, in spite of the numberless horrors of the waning century.
ART MAUDIT or Artist Maudit? What can you say, meanwhile, abou t the likes of Richard Hiilsen beck, one of the founding fathers of Dada, who told a Berlin audience in 1 9 1 8, at a conference on the new trends in art, 'We were for the war. Dada today is still for war. Life should hurt. There is not enough cruelty/' S The rest is history. Twenty years later the ' Theatre of Cruelty' would not be the one defined by Antonin Artaud but by Kafka, that prophet of doom of the metamorphosis engineered by the camps, the smashing to smithereens of humanism.