A Winters Journey
Four Conversations with Marianne Brausch
Translated by Chris Turner
4.25 x 7 inches, 102pp. October 2011
ISBN : 9781906497859
Rs 425.00 (HB)
French cultural theorist and urbanist Paul Virilio is best known for his writings on media, technology, and architecture. Gathered here in A Winter’s Journey are four remarkable conversations in which Virilio and architectural writer Marianne Brausch look at a twentieth century characterized by enormous technological acceleration and by technocultural accidents of barbarism and horror.
The dialogues in A Winter’s Journey—structured loosely around the dates 1940, 1950, 1960 and 1980—chart Virilio’s intimate intellectual biography, from his childhood lived against the unstable backdrop of a heavily bombed, wartime Nantes to maturity in a crisis space that is neither entirely militarized nor yet fully civilian, but somewhere between the two. In the course of these conversations, Virilio and Brausch ultimately find hope that in understanding the events of the last century and the cultural responses spawned by them, we can create a more humane era that is more adept at handling the transformations of its technology and culture.
A Winter’s Journey is a revealing and engaging look into the intellectual life and ideas of one of the most influential theorists of contemporary civilization.
Paul Virilio (b. 1932) trained at the École des Métiers d’Art, specializing in stained-glass art work, and subsequently worked alongside Henri Matisse and Georges Braque. He studied phenomenology with Maurice Merleau-Ponty at the Sorbonne and in 1958 conducted a phenomenological inquiry into military space. In 1963, he began collaborating with the architect Claude Parent and formed the ‘Architecture Principe’ group. The pair went on to build the Saint-Bernadette du Banlay church at Nevers. After the May 1968 uprising in Paris, Virilio was appointed a professor by the students at the École Spéciale d’Architecture. In 1975, he co-organized the Bunker Archéologie exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, a collection of texts and images relating to the ‘Atlantic Wall’. With L’Insécurité du territoire (1976) and Vitesse et Politique (1977), he began the publication of a series of remarkable essays that have had a major influence on French social thinking. He retired from full-time teaching in 1998 and moved to La Rochelle. In recent years, he has concentrated on writing, on social and political activism, and on mounting high-profile exhibitions (Unknown Quantity, 2003, and Native Land, 2009, at the Fondation Cartier in Paris).
Chris Turner is a writer and translator who lives in Birmingham, England.