This article rereads Paul Virilio, drawing on the distinction between topography and topology to argue a case for Virilio as a rewriter of modernity. Invoking Jean-François Lyotard’s notion of rewriting modernity as an unbroken process of accumulation founded on affective life in “Re-writing Modernity” and “Argumentation and Presentation: The Foundation Crisis,” it enlists topology as a horizontal spatial structure that enables us to rethink space, time, and modernity outside the limits of the “squared horizon,” where the “squared horizon” is viewed as a spatial and textual metaphor for framing perspectives on the past, present, and future. The analysis deconstructs the topography of the “squared horizon” as a relationality in an unfolding continuum, where spaces exist ontologically and where the immaterial forces of the dromospheric and the atmospheric generate a relational and historical connectedness.
Rewriting Modernity: Topographical and Topological Variations in Paul Virilio’s Le futurisme de l’instant
Enda McCaffrey is professor of French theory and culture at Nottingham Trent University. He is the author of a number of books, including Octave Mirbeau’s Literary and Intellectual Evolution as a French Writer (2000), The Gay Republic: Sexuality, Citizenship, and Subversion in France (2005), and The Return of Religion in France: From Democratisation to Postmetaphysics (2009). He has been working in French theory, philosophy of religion, and French cultural studies for a number of years and has coedited French Cultural Debates (2001) and Existentialism and Contemporary Cinema: A Sartrean Perspective (2011). He is currently working on a new monograph, “Bodies without Organs: French Theory and Sexuality.”