Interview with Friedrich Kittler
Speed, war and politics
PV: At the moment, are we not witnessing a tremendous hype around the Internet, cyberspace and the virtualization of everyday life? Concepts such as ‘tele-shopping’, for example, mean that people will no longer meet face to face, as in the city centres of old, but, instead, stay at home and shop from there. How do you respond to such developments? For me, as an urbanist, it is all profoundly disturbing.
FK: Such developments look like the outcome of a very remarkable and hidden strategy, one that is only now coming to fruition, after having been in the preparation stage for well over fifteen years. 1982, for example, saw the distribution of the first personal computers. That was their name even then. ‘Lonesome cowboys’ you’d put on an office table. However, they could do only one thing: write text. I emphasize the latter because somehow these devices have become better and better over the past few years and now they’re going to swallow up all other media: the telephone, the telegraph, the fax, and, before long, images, sound and CDs too. And on top of that, you can wire them all together, worldwide, thanks to those wonderful networks. Thus, that very modest investment that sits on every third desk in the developed countries metamorphoses in a flash into a global information network. That’s a really big spider and scares all other media to death.
PV: But doesn’t the emergence of global information networks also mean that we have reached, in all possible senses, the frontier velocity of electromagnetic waves?
By this I mean that we have not only achieved the escape velocity that enables us to shoot satellites and people into orbit but also that we have hit the wall of acceleration. This means that world history, which has constantly accelerated from the age of the cavalry to the age of the railway, and from the age of the telephone to the age of radio and television, is now hitting the wall that stands at the limit of acceleration. The question is what happens to a society that stands at the limit point of acceleration? In past societies, for example, progress was predicated on the nature and development of their acceleration. Acceleration was not only related to speeds of memory and calculus, but also of action.
Today, though, one can no longer speak only of ‘tele-vision.’ One must also speak of ‘tele-action’. To be ‘interactive’ means to be here, but to act somewhere else at the same time. And yet, I doubt whether the questions I am concerned with are being raised at all today. How many people, for instance, realise that a global historical accident has been triggered as consequence of this situation? For every time a new type of velocity is invented a new type of specific accident occurs. I’m always stating that when the railway was invented, derailment was invented too. Ships, like the Titanic, sink on a given day at a given place. However, since the invention of ‘real time’, we have created the accident of accidents, to speak with Epicurus. That means that historical time itself triggers the accident, as it reaches the frontier of the speed of light.
My impression is that what is being bandied about as the progress of communication is in fact merely a step backward, an unbelievable archaism. To reduce the world to one unique time, to one unique situation, because it has exhausted the possibility to devise new systems of acceleration, is an accident without precedent, a historical accident the like of which has never occurred before. Indeed, this is what Einstein called, very judiciously, ‘the second bomb’. The first bomb was the atomic bomb, the second one is the information bomb, that is, the bomb that throws us into ‘real time’. I believe that what people say about the performance of computing also applies to the faculty of looking at the world, to the faculty of shaping the world, of steering it, but also of living in it.
FK: Then probably the two dangers described by Einstein go hand in hand, historically and systematically. For instance, one of the trendy ideologies at the present time is that the new information technologies like the Internet are good for fast, efficient and global communication. But the truth is that both computers and atomic bombs are an outcome of the Second World War. Nobody ordered them. It was the strategic and military situation of the Second World War that brought them into being. Hence, they were not devised as communication tools but as a means of planning and conducting total war. And yet, none of this is currently admitted by the cyberspace ideologists in the USA, Europe, or Japan.
Even so, unlike you, I do not believe that the limit of acceleration has already been reached. For me, the catastrophe, so to speak, lies in the fact that while the current speeds of transmission and calculation cannot be upped much further, it is still possible to extract strategic and economic advantage from the possession of a system that is faster than one’s competitor’s. There is still a difference between secret machines and the machines sold on the market, and this difference is about performance and velocity. And it is still unclear where things are headed. The speed of light is indeed an absolute limit. But that is in a vacuum. However, in real existing technologies, electricity goes much slower than in a vacuum. Consequently, there still lie huge battles ahead in the realm of acceleration, with optical circuits replacing silicon and so on. These developments are going to mean acceleration with a factor of millions. Hence, I have some difficulty in seeing the accident develop already.
Yet I do believe that time as a relevant input is indeed eluding some people. To me, the urgent question is: how are culture and politics going to react to the slow demotion of their power? For both are predicated upon everyday speech and the normal human nervous system, which are both slow. However, neither speech nor the nervous system can be handled any more without machines preparing, assisting, and, in the end, even assuming some of their decision-making processes. How does one react to these developments, as a philosopher, as a politician?
Interactivity, information Chernobyl and imperialism
PV: You are totally right in pointing out that the origin of these technologies lies in the Second World War. Indeed, one must state that with the invention of the atomic bomb, something completely different got invented too, something that is presently in crisis by the way, and that is nuclear deterrence. Should we not say the same today in connection with the information bomb? Should we not say that interactivity is in some way a form of radioactivity? This is not a mere metaphor; it is a very concrete thing. Should we therefore consider a different form of deterrence for the next century? I don’t mean military deterrence, which was about preventing the use of the atomic bomb, but social deterrence, which would be about preventing the damage caused by the progress of interactivity. Why? Because, for me, a global society founded on ‘real time’ is simply unthinkable …
And yet, isn’t interactivity already happening, so far as our working and home environments are concerned? Should we not attempt to prevent the consequences of this immediacy of action and information exchange? How will it affect the poor and the weak? Is a social deterrence of the global information society conceivable? For me, such developments carry the same risks as a Chernobyl-like catastrophe, with damaging consequences for people’s way of life and for social relations. Aren’t there signs already today of social disintegration? For instance, isn’t structural unemployment an effect, or a type of fall-out following the explosion, of the information bomb? And this is only the beginning. What is your opinion on these social dimensions of the information bomb?
FK: Sure, the present mass unemployment is caused by the automation of production. I just have this vague feeling that sociologists and politicians are also to blame for the fact there is so much unemployment. For example, information technology is the only technology I know of that is radically reprogrammable. That is, it can constantly turn out new things, as opposed to the assembly line Henry Ford erected in Detroit, where one single make of automobile passed through for dozens of years. Thus, with this basic technology, which was really invented for the purpose of innovation, one could invent all the rest. However, our current conceptions of society and education mean that many people are systematically denied access to this technology. There is, then, an endemic computer illiteracy being created in society, through propaganda, advertising, and marketing strategies, and these prevent many people getting access to the technology. I am sure that today’s hackers would not be able to find a job.
But that is an incomplete answer to your question. As far as an information-Chernobyl is concerned, it might already have happened once, in a primitive version, with the crash of the stock market in 1987. For such crashes show what the consequences are of the fact that, today, business takes place on a world-wide information network. To counter such developments measures are, of course, being taken. But what all this means is that the good old days when everybody could do whatever they wanted with their own computers are now firmly behind us.
We are all being controlled through our machines, and the more networked these machines become, the stricter the mechanisms of control and the safeguards will get. And this also holds true for the bureaucracies that are built into that system. At best, the Internet will remain a space of freedom for a year or two, but, within a few years, it will most probably have fallen into the hands of big capital, and then the controls will be put in place. The other danger is that, along with the control mechanisms, the informational bureaucracies – precisely in order to avoid an information Chernobyl – will also expand. Thus, together, big capital and the informational bureaucracies may well simply scuttle the liberalization of information. In other words, it is highly likely that a new hierarchy will be set up as counter to the danger of system collapse, and it will be structurally the same as the one that currently exists between the computer literate and the computer illiterate. Consequently, on one side there will be those who understand the codes, like the cryptographers and cryptologists in the Second World War. But, on the other side, there will be the masses in their billions who are shut out for security reasons.
PV: Of course, and every time technologies have been made speedier, economic accumulation and concentration have also taken place. Today, for example, we are witnessing a conglomerate gigantism, whether it is in the form of Time Warner or Bill Gates. We see monopolies arising from the demise of anti-trust legislation, and all these developments contribute to the centralization of command. At the very moment we are being told that the Internet is bringing us freedom in terms of place and time, we see that by sheer coincidence information trusts are emerging, world-wide conglomerates, which, incidentally, are no longer simple multinational corporations.
I am also wondering whether it is not the case that through this illusion of information-induced freedom a new uniformity is being implanted in a masked form. Something that, thanks to its multiformity, its way of thinking, and its culture, is implanted very easily. We know, for instance, how the medium, in whatever circumstances, devalues the information in the transfer from written text to screen text. We also know that the computer is making us poorer in spirit. For example, whether we want it to or not, the computer synthesizes information. Now, anyone who uses a synthesizer in music – let us say as a stand-in for a violin – knows very well that a real violin has a completely different sound from that of a synthesized violin. And yet, the computer is nothing but an information synthesizer. The content of information is being semantically reduced, something cognitivists know very well, by the way, and this, it seems to me, is something we should take note of. Unfortunately, these things pass unnoticed.
As usual, everything negative remains untold, yet it is, interestingly enough, always there, in an embryonic form. How is it possible to state that technologies are being developed, without any attempt being made at learning about the very specific accidents that go with them? And while this obviously holds true for the television, it holds true for multimedia technologies too.
FK: Probably one should act as Bill Gates does and sell things as if they were not what they are. You sell computers, but you tell people that they are desks, or desktops, or you tell them that they are television sets, the television sets of the future. That way, you can throw a thick mist around these devices and their system-specific shortcomings, and sell many of them. This is very much an American marketing strategy, and one may surmise from it that the drive towards trusts and conglomerates is possibly the last historic chance available for the Americans to maintain Pax Americana on the technological road. For example, after it had looked as if the technological advantage had moved to Japan in the 1970s, America succeeded in the early 1990s. But only by virtue of its edge in electronics and computers, and most prominently in its efforts to define the standards under which we are now communicating over the Internet and with other networked machines. The question is: are these standards the best in a human or a mathematical sense? These are two very important aspects. For example, standardization and unification are absolutely in tune with globalization, and it is quite baffling that nobody in Europe – no expert, no industry – is attempting, even in a small way, to question these new standards which are coming the way they do, and as they are, over the big pond.
Territory, time and technology
PV: For me, the new technologies make space disappear into a void, in its extent and in its time. This is a profound loss, whether one acknowledges it or not. There is also a pollution of the distances and time stretches that hitherto allowed one to live in one place and to have relationships with other people via face-to-face contact, and not through mediation in the form of tele-conferencing or on-line shopping. What is your opinion about this profound loss? Are we not calling an end to ourselves and to the spatial and temporal dimensions of the world this way?
FK: There is indeed a loss of space, because everything now takes place in the diminutive spaces of electronic circuits. But the ironic thing about all this is that I still have difficulty in realizing it, the fact that time has definitely contracted. One of my favourite games is to play with computer graphics. I take a small piece of the world, a very simple central perspective, write a program, and let it run. One picture, which takes a photographer the famous one-thirtieth of a second, will take 5 or 6 minutes of computation time on a very advanced computer. That is, it’s only after those few minutes that the next picture will appear. The simulation, or synthesis of the images of the world is still not taking place in ‘real time’ at all. Look at the problems facing people who produce computer-generated films: they need 20 hours of computation time for one dinosaur, and then the thing walks across the screen for a measly 3 seconds. Here time is still very much a problem, and the historic moment, where the time of the world will really have been overtaken lies far, far ahead. That’s what all these controversies are about.
As for the loss of proximity, I could live with that, in time. Let’s take an example from real life again. It’s no fun to spend your life with just three commands under the MS-DOS operating system, so you open directories, move them around and delete them. But as soon as you’re under UNIX, from the start you’re merely one person amidst 300 programs, of which you know ten at best. So during the first few months you get to know twenty programs, then forty, finally 100. You then discover that you’re not alone any more. Rather, you live with 100 programs, of which you only need twenty, and then you also find that there are two or three programs you never needed to learn, because they’re running in the background. These programs are called ‘daemons’, by the way, and they have a very bizarre proximity to the user. You never see them, and yet they’re constantly doing something for you, like the angel in the mediaeval Angelo Loci. Indeed, I have this feeling that we should slowly let go of that old dream of sociologists, the one that says that society is by nature made up only of human beings. Today – and tomorrow – the term ‘society’ should include people and programs. There are, I think, already possibilities of proximity. Programs are not stupid. After all, it’s why they were written in the first place. They are often more intelligent than your neighbour around the corner.
PV: Yes, but every new technical advance involves a loss of something. For example, the loss of social bonds is linked to the demise of the proximate human being. That is, someone who has a material existence, someone who might even smell bad, who might even be a boring nuisance. Now, though, one can simply zap such people away. The loss of proximity is one of the causes of the current crises in our cities. And yet there is always an actual place where one lives. But, today, it is not what is near that is privileged but what is far away. Indeed, it seems that the person on the computer screen is preferred to the person who is close at hand. This even extends to marriage. In so-called ‘living apart together’ relationships, for instance, men and women live in separate houses, as if they were already divorced. And the children get to learn, as a kind of aside, how to commute constantly between their mother and father. And that is only the beginning. Through ‘cybersex’ one can now have intercourse at a distance too. But aren’t all these examples metaphors of decay? Are these not already an effect of the information bomb? This is how it seems to me, even if I am exaggerating. But who wouldn’t exaggerate when faced with such developments? I am convinced that, as with pointillism and divisionism in the arts of the nineteenth century, nuclear physics, the decay of matter, and, of course, fractal geometry have social consequences. That is, the decay of matter not only affects the social structure of the individual but also the reflexive relationship of the couple, the latter of which is the true basis of the evolution of human history. Why? Because demography is the founding element of history. This is significant, isn’t it? I do not object to computer programs, but I wish the programmers would speak more of men and women. What is your opinion?
FK: Fractal geometry was invented with the aim of making Euclidean geometry somewhat more complex. Suddenly, we have a world that is no longer made up exclusively of straight lines and circles, but one consisting of curvatures and clouds. And all these beautiful things are very similar to human flesh, unlike, for example, the angular buildings of Le Corbusier or the somewhat complicated lines drawn by Phidias of Athens. However, although fractal geometry has always existed in principle, it only became calculable after the invention of the computer. Nevertheless, its complexity is nearer to human beings than Euclidean geometry.
Euclid’s ideas resemble the process described by Foucault and yourself, in which young recruits were drilled and formed into battle lines in the eighteenth century. However, the new mathematics of chaos might very well turn out not to be a model that will necessarily break up couples but, rather, attend to the complexities of the individual. Similarly, the feedback theory could, potentially, attend to the relations within couples. Put bluntly, it seems to me that Freud’s theory about the relationship between men and women is sillier than the theory Bateson elaborated on the grounds of feedback-chains. To be able to show that a two-way conversation is infinitely malleable seems to me to be a considerably more sophisticated description of social linkages than a description that relies on internalized images involving an incessant and lifelong struggle. Thus Bateson’s feedback-based description of informational relations is evidently grounded in the techniques of message dispatching. And, when it was first advanced, it could not be derived from psychology.
The models that are available nowadays to describe complexity are better than the previous models. But why people – and I include myself here – would rather sit in front of a computer than do other things such as have a conversation is difficult to explain. Perhaps it is a fascination with power? For example, in earlier times, some people directed their love away from their wives and families and directed it instead towards an image of Jesus or Mary. Today some people direct their love toward new technologies. But whether it is the technology itself that sucks away our Eros, our libido, or whether it is the handiwork of the people who market it I am not so sure.
Technological fundamentalism, integration and social cybernetics
PV: I believe that a caste of ‘technology monks’ is being created in our times, and that there exist monasteries of sorts whose goal it is to pave the way for a new kind of ‘civilization’; one that has nothing to do with civilization as we remember it. The work of these technology monks is not carried out in the way that it was in the Middle Ages. Rather, it is carried out through the revaluation of knowledge, like that achieved for Antiquity. The contribution of monks to the rediscovery of Antiquity is well known. But what is not well known is that we now have technology monks, not mystics, but monks who are busy constructing a society without any points of reference. Indeed, we are confronted with what I call ‘technological fundamentalism’. That is, fundamentalism in the sense of a monotheism of information. No longer the monotheism of the Written Word, of the Koran, of the Bible, of the New Testament, but a monotheism of information in the widest sense of the term. And this information monotheism has come into being not simply in a totally independent manner but also free from any controversy. It is the outcome of an intelligence without reflection or past. And with information monotheism comes what I think of as the greatest danger of all, the slide into a future without humanity. I believe that violence, and even a kind of ‘hyper violence’, springs out of technological fundamentalism.
For example, at present, there is a lot of talk about the problems posed by the resurgence of militant Muslim fundamentalism. Bombs are planted and so on. But I believe that at the same time almost as much work is going into the development of the information bomb; a bomb that will have the same destructive effects on society’s capacity to remember its past, a past that has a structure of its own and shapes the present. We are merely the product of what was. And whoever forgets the past is condemned to live it anew, as the saying goes. And yet this is exactly what is happening with new information and communications technologies. That said, I am not at all inimical to information. It is simply that there is not enough debate about the totalitarian dimensions of information. On the other hand, I do not think that it is appropriate to blame the technology monks for the sins of technological fundamentalism just because no one else takes responsibility for them. The technology monks do not always know about these sins. What’s your opinion on the fundamentalist dimension of information?
FK: I totally agree. Of course, the people who are programming the whole thing are blissfully forgetful of the history of Europe, and the invention of printing and modern calculus which made it all possible. Both came more or less contemporaneously into being around 1450–1500. Book printing made it possible to copy and disseminate everything, and algebra made it possible to calculate everything. But these two things did not happen together. What was written still had the need of police action or the force of love to compel people to do what was described. But when you program, a real kind of ‘integrism’ appears. One does not simply write: what one writes, the program performs – period. And the final coming together of the promises of the printing press and those of modern mathematics, after 500 years of latency, represents infinite power: a true kind of integration in that all previously separated technologies – metallurgy, semiconductors and electricity – now merge together. It is difficult to say whether there is a limit to these developments. Indeed, I think this is the burning question of the moment.
Basically, there are but a few far-seeing scientists who say that the principle of digitization in itself is quite wonderful, but that there are inherent limits to its performance, which, therefore, gives the lie to all the marketing hype. These limits consist in the unremarkable fact that nature is not a computer, and that, therefore, a number of highly complex human phenomena, by their very nature, fall outside the scope of the current processing paradigms. This is, in fact, the only rational hope I have that we have not arrived at the end of history. Because if the digital calculators did not have a kind of internal limitation, they would truly bring world history to an end, in all the aspects that you have mentioned: time would no longer be human time, space would no longer be human space, but merely a corridor within the circuits of these wonderful little machines. But if these little miracles themselves have constraints, then we can envisage without difficulty a twenty-second and a twenty-third century in which the principles of digital machines would not be discarded, but would instead be complemented by some sort of new – yet to be invented – principle.
PV: Isn’t it time for those who build these machines, and who praise their merits, to get together and examine the damaging effects of information monotheism? For example, in 1888, the inventors of the European railway system met in Brussels. Why? Because the development of steam engines was progressing apace, and because the performance of locomotives was increasing rapidly, and the engineers were building more and more fantastic tunnels and more and more stable metallic bridges. But there was a problem: the train dispatching system could not keep pace with the increasing performances of the machines. That’s why they met in Brussels and also why they created what is nowadays called controlled traffic management. The so-called ‘block system’ was devised there. Thus, if the TGV [high-speed train] runs smoothly nowadays, it is because there is an automatic block system and because the position of the signals is repeated in the train driver’s cab. This means that there are hardly any train accidents any more. The starting point of the discussions in Brussels was on the negative, on what did not function. Contact switches and signals were devised, and these became the basis of a very sophisticated form of data management. But why are there no conferences nowadays on the damaging consequences of unemployment? On the wrong turns taken by urbanism? On the obverse side of technical progress? Why don’t we busy ourselves today, just like the engineers of the nineteenth century did, with the specific accidental risks of the railways, that is, the derailment. Why don’t we busy ourselves with the specific – albeit, I admit, immaterial – danger posed by the data networks and the arrival of social cybernetics? If I am not mistaken, I think that both Alan Turing and Norbert Wiener feared the application of cybernetics on society? And now we are being told by politicians like Ross Perrot that social cybernetics is not only progress but the apex of democracy!
It seems to me that it is about time that the people who are working on those programs start implementing a counter-program also, in order to put a limit to these sorts of developments. Why, for example, don’t they apply their intelligence to the negative aspects of technological development? Why do they always conceal the original sins of these techniques, whereas shipbuilding was furthered by making ships waterproof, and the aeronautic industry was furthered by making engines and the monitoring of air space more reliable. Why don’t we have such people in the realm of digitization?
FK: I have only one answer and it is a totally idiosyncratic one. As is often revealed when accidents take place, many firms are made up of one-half engineers and one-half non-technical sales people, such as marketing executives and lawyers. The spokespersons for such firms are always attorneys, with a smattering of MIT professors every now and then. I do not know of any large company where things are in the hands of the people who devise the computer program. Thus the people who devise the program, and who also know what is wrong with computer systems, are basically treated as program slaves. I am sorry to use this term but that is what they are called in the industry itself. However, the people who are in charge of corporate propaganda, the people who actually own the firms, like Bill Gates at Microsoft, have written maybe five pages in the last twenty years, and that is it. This social division precludes discussions about negativity. The people whom you quoted earlier are in fact free academics. They think like physicists but they don’t work for the computer industry. Nevertheless, it is very important to discuss these matters with the people who plan, build and operate computer systems.
Information, catastrophe and violence
PV: Why not discuss them in Brussels then? After all, the block system conference took place in Brussels. I think that you have put your finger on what this is all about: commercial enterprise. But information cannot be allowed to become a commercial enterprise. It is the stuff the world is made of. For example, what we are doing right now has nothing to do with entrepreneurship; it is a dialogue, a conversation. How can one possibly limit the question of information to the realm of the commercial enterprise? Worse still, to enterprises that are evolving into absolute monopolies? We are facing the tyranny of real-time information. But information should be a product of everyday usage, like electricity. We are a phenomenon of matter, of its mass and energy. That is, we constitute, sui generis, history and existence. To be is to speak. Is not the Latin word for infant ‘the one who does not speak’? Now, information is being turned into a product of global enterprises. It is a tragedy that is being sold to us as progress. It makes me angry, especially when I think that Europe is not taking any action on these issues at the moment. For instance, when those who are responsible for the licensing of new computer products met in Brussels in 1994 they were totally enthusiastic for the new systems and products. And those who went there in order to plead for a more sceptical approach were treated as if they were a nuisance. And that happens in the place where European information policies are supposed to be created and implemented.
FK: That is the catastrophe. For are we not talking about the amalgamation of an old definition of copyright, dating from the times of Goethe, with the property rights of intellectual products which have arrived with the invention of the new digital machines? In fact, this most recent definition of copyright not only does away with any kind of author’s right but also with any form of ‘spiritual’ property. Why? Because the new machines can imitate any other machine, and that includes us, in so far as they can imitate our thinking. Thinking machines were of course a gift from England and invented shortly before the war by Turing. His ideas were then imported into the United States, and the big question there was: how can we make a profitable proposition out of this? Well, it looks like they have been tremendously successful over the past fifty or sixty years.
The most scandalous piece of news that has reached me recently is that it has become possible in the US to patent mathematical equations. For 2,000 years such acts were prohibited. Indeed, mathematics was the freest of all sciences and fell outside the scope of patents. But if American concerns succeed in having the European ‘author’s right’ modified to suit their own ends, then exactly the opposite will have been achieved than what was intended by people like Turing. This is a real menace. Information cannot be allowed to be privatized. However, I do not believe that the privatization strategy will hold out in the long run. This is because the machines are proliferating out of control. Consequently, the software cannot, in the end, be protected by patents. And nor should it be in the long run. So far as the hardware is concerned, the machines as such, well, everybody knows that the manufacturing costs are going down all the time. The result of this will be that, in ten years time, what are now the absolute top-notch machines will be had for almost nothing. In short, we may not get informational democracy right away, but we may get zero-cost property soon.
PV: Perhaps, then, instead of looking at these issues from a pessimistic standpoint, we should conclude our conversation by looking at them from a more optimistic one? But this is difficult. For have we not attempted, amidst all the current enthusiasm for tele-technologies, to formulate our critical thinking about their future? However, let us not focus here on the future of the marketization of these products, or on the future of information monopolies, but, rather, on the future development of the machine. Why? Because its development does not run parallel with the sale of computers but with the evolution of its own Live\Virilio.vp Thursday, July 19, 2001 11:55:16 AM Color profile: Disabled Composite Default screen performance. And the evolution of machine performance, as you said, is predicated upon the recognition of the damaging effects of negativity. We should therefore warn people against the archaic instincts of those who pretend to create a global realm of information without bothering to analyse to what extent the reduction of content has destructive consequences. Of course, these consequences not only impact upon small firms and on the millions of people who remain unemployed. They impact upon the actual creation and historical development of human beings themselves, not to mention the development of social thought. And therein lies the key regulative element. For the human memory is not merely the dead memory of the computer hard drive but the living memory of human beings. And without living human memory there is only the violence revealed by the explosion of the information bomb …
Translated by Patrice Riemens.
© 1999 Taylor and Francis Ltd. The Editors of Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, Freidrich Kittler, John Armitage and Paul Virilio. Conversation with Freidrich Kittler, as edited and introduced by John Armitage in Angelaki, 4 (2), 1999. © 1999 translation by Patrice Riemens.
VIRILIO LIVE: Selected Interviews/ © Selection and editorial matter, John Armitage 2001/SAGE Publications London. Thousand Oaks, New Delhi
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