Tuesday, March 18, 2008


When Paul Virilio predicts that the speeding up of time in the form of web “real time” is going to result in an “information bomb” in the same way that Einstein predicted the collapse of space-time at the speed of light, what does he envision? What would an “information bomb” look like; how would it manifest itself?
His own argumentation called his thesis into question for me: he highlights the parallel, for example, between the Italian Renaissance’s formation of spatial perspective and the internet’s formation of temporal perspective. While another dimension was discovered, changing visual representation forever, nothing exploded. Visual representation was not harmed; there was no Armageddon of the way we move through space, either in art or in life. So why should I believe that the introduction of real time, which is essentially the exploration of a new dimension, will speed forward into an information explosion?
Furthermore, the “real time” projects we looked at this week seem (to me) to disprove his argumentation. John Simon’s “Every Icon” should be the perfect example of overexposure in real-time (it will create every possible image I could see on the web) but his project clearly will not have the effect of a crash.
Is the kind of “crash” he has in mind, for example, the threatening mail that Jenni received? In “Visual Crash,” he argues that real-time closes the distance between RL and surveillance, so that the information we receive visually is no longer distinguishable from what we see. I suppose that a person so accustomed to integrating the real-time actions of a virtual presence into his own consciousness could lose track of what is “real” and what is “online.” Maybe a Jennicam viewer could convince himself that he has an interactive, rather than a reactive, relationship to the images he sees, and then demand that Jenni modify her behavior according to his demands. But even that letter turned out to be a hoax.
So I guess my question is: when I think about the crash of information’s general relativity, what should I be afraid of?

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