Open Sky: Part 1

Reading: Open Sky by Paul Virillio, Part 1

Let me begin by explaining how confusing this read was. It was originally translated from French to English, which may account for some of the “far-out” theories presented. Virillio uses a lot of cosmic comparisons that probably would make more sense if I studied physics, but as of now I’m kind of lost. Here’s what I got from the reading.

Virillio, a phenomenologist, presents the view that technology, specifically global technology, is not everything that it’s been hyped up to be. Technology has virtually shrunk the world. By that I mean that we are now able to communicate with people across the globe with the touch of a button (where years ago we could never do that). Virillio basically fears that the speed of technology will continue to speed up. He argues that “duration” is no longer an issue because we communicate instantly. There’s an issue with our perception of real-time.

Does being telepresent justify real time? According to this article, apparently not. Virillio thinks we’re “killing ‘present’ time by isolating it from is here and now, in favour of a commutative elsewhere that no longer has anything to do with our ‘concrete presence’ in the world . . .”

He also states that our society is uncertain of reality because there isn’t a difference in the mass messages we receive in our public and private space.

He basically thinks technology is a threat to our entire existence.

Discussion Question

1. So what do you think about this theory in general?

2. Is duration a huge problem? Or has our society adapted to it?


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