Friday, 13 November 2009


Virilio's dromology of media phenomena is a mass condition, a near universal social malady, characterised by DISAPPEARANCES. He describes the physiological condition of PICNOLEPSY – similar to frequent epileptic fits, constant interruptions after which the subject is UNAWARE of the time he or she has lost, the absence is not perceived. According to Virilio we are all picnoleptics, we are all subject to these lapses in consciousness, to these moments of disappearance or 'absences'. By announcing this, condemns us all to an illness that we are UNAWARE OF.

"Hier befinden wir uns noch auf dem Gebiet der filmischen Illusion und der auf den Monitoren vorüberflimmernden Informationen: wir werden informiert, aber wir empfinden nichts dabei, d.h. Wir werden apathisch...die Stimuli der Beobachtung werden durch sich wiederholdende (und bereits bekannte) Informationen gestört, sie werden durch die Geschwindligkeit überrascht.” (Virilio, Paul “Ästhetik des Verschwindens” aus dem Französischen von Marianne Karbe und Gustav Roßler, Merve Verlag 1986, Berlin, 52)

FURTHERMORE, he uses the term 'paradoxical awakeness' and applies it to the collective consciousness, “our conscious life which is not to be considered without dreams, is just as hard to consider without paradoxical awakeness.” (Ibid. 15) We are so numbed by the speed of this constant pseudo toxic media exposure, we are unable to perceive our own illness. PICNOLEPTICS are numbed beings, neither fully awake nor asleep.

This desciption shares similarities with Marshall McLuhan's chapter "The Gadget Lover - Narcissus as Narcosis" in 'understanding media'. Blinded with a narcisstic love of your own extended nervous system is the modern parable, and the effect points again to numbness/narcosis.

1 comment:

  1. The near Total Picnocleptic event of our time is the deliberate elimination of the phenomenon of Death. It is, however, soon to be replaced by the Un-Picnoleptic Theatre, where death, as in long ago times, takes place on the stage.