Paul Virilio is one of the most prominent French cultural theorists of today’s age and time. He is popularly known as the inventor of concepts such as ‘dromology’ (the ‘science’ of speed). At the same time, Virilio is renowned for his claim that the logic of acceleration lies at the heart of the organization and transformation of the modern world. Irrespective, his ideas and concepts remain misunderstood by many postmodern cultural theorists. In this paper, and supporting the trend setting work of Arthur and Marylou’s Kroker contribution of Virilio’s writings will be evaluated by expressing that they exist beyond the terms of postmodernism and that they should be conceived of as a contribution to the emerging debate over ‘hyper modernism’.
Virilio was born in Paris in 1932. His mother was a Breton and fathers an Italian Communist. Soon, in 1939 Virilio was taken to the port of Nantes, where he continued to be bogged and petrified by the spectacle of Hitler’s Blitzkrieg during World War II. He got his initial training at the Cole des Métiers d’ Art in Paris. Virilio soon became an artist in stained glass and interned alongside Matisse in different churches in the French capital. In 1950, he converted to Christianity amidst the company of ‘worker-priests’. This was following military conscription into the colonial army during the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962). In the meanwhile Virilio studied and focused on phenomenology with Merleau-Ponty at the Sorbonne. The military, spatial, and organizational features of urban territory aroused Virilio’s curiosity and inspiration. Henceforth, Virilio’s early writings began to appear while he catapulted and projected himself as an ‘urbanist’.
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