Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What does it all mean? Does Virilio even want us to know?

In “Indirect Light”, Virilio continues with the style we discovered in “The Third Interval.” By this style I am referring to the manner in which he invents or redefines words without ever providing the definitions he attributes to them. It appears to me that he intends much of his argument to be understood through the deep meaning these words hold, but by obscuring and condensing his message with these complex and hard to comprehend words he is making it much less accessible than it could be. He uses many 'clarifications' of words that are themselves extremely hard to interpret. However, many of the words are reoccurring and some seem to relate to others so there must be order and structure to this chaos, but without further explanation there is a very high barrier to understanding.

Despite all the confusion, I think I got glimpses of what Virilio is trying to say. When he talks about indirect light it seems like he is referring to the light captured by a video device being transported somewhere else and illuminating some display in real-time. In a sense, this display is being lit by the light captured elsewhere and therefore it is not the same light. Virilio combines this with the fact that displays and video recording devices are becoming more ubiquitous so that every surface and space can be a display and everything in space is recorded. I don't necessarily agree that this real-time capture to display explosion will really happen though because live feeds are extremely boring and worthless 99.9% of the time. In general, most of life is not worth reproduction. For as far into the future as I can predict I see people being more entertained and captivated with pre-scripted recordings or at least edited and selected 'reality.' Reality TV shows are a great example of this: they film all the time and only select a very small portion of the footage that is interesting and compelling enough to show the viewer. Even with this highly selective, non-real-time process, many of these shows are still boring in my opinion.

That being said, I don't really know if that is what Virilio was trying to say because it seems like he tried his hardest to make it hard to understand him. It would be interesting to see an updated version of these ideas though because since he wrote this in 2000 YouTube and online video in general has really taken off. I don't know how YouTube would fit in with his argument though because although it broadcasts videos all over the world in real-time, none of the videos are actually live feeds. On a similar train of though I wonder what he thinks of streaming video such as webcasts and what he would say about students that never go to class and prefer to simply watch the webcasts.

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Blogger Devaansh Shah said...

I hate it when I am corrected, but at times one has to be humble. And it was in Wednesday's lecture that I had to face the wrath of being corrected. (rambling!!!) the point I am trying to make is, it was only on wednesday, that I found out that this work is translated from french. so the terms that he uses, may have some meaning in french, most likely none in english

3/15/2007 11:39 AM  
Blogger Shyam said...

I agree reality tv is boring but there are other things about life that can be interesting to capture. For example, man's landing on the moon was seen by a lot of people on tv and that actually happened. It was reality. Anything live is usually preferred to something recorded by most people. Another example would be any sporting event. People would rather see it live and know that those things are happening right as they are seeing it. Even movies are edited and are not real, but often times movies are judged by people based on how REALISTIC it was.

3/16/2007 8:16 PM  
Blogger Alex K said...

It seems that Virilio tries to be scientific by creating terms for what he is trying to explain. However he does fail to define any of the terms and we, the readers, are forced to examine the little context that is given in order to try to understand what the terms mean. I don't think the translation has much to do with the style this has been written, but I do wonder what the translator was thinking while translating this (unless Virilio did it himself).

3/17/2007 1:41 AM  
Blogger Guillermo Murga said...

I was wondering how the translation could have lost some of original meaning Virilio was trying to say, and perhaps it doesn't make sense in English. But, I think he used such scientific terms that are hard to comprehend as a defense mechanism. If he sounds smart, the readers will probably think he knows what he is talking about and believe him. By sounding "smart", he is this to persuade readers about his text.

3/19/2007 12:32 AM  

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