DescriptionOn 10 September 2008, amid much fanfare, the Great Collider run by CERN in Geneva was turned on. The Collider was supposed to fire protons around a seventeen-mile loop of tunnels, causing them to crash into one another at close to the speed of light and break into even tinier particles. Nine days later the Collider broke down and had to be switched off, the accelerator temporarily silenced, the reckless search for 'God's particle' put on hold.
At the same time the speeded-up markets of global finance, with screens of multi-coloured numbers designating the rapid flows of capital, are suddenly thrown into confusion when news spreads that the great Titan of Wall Street, Lehman Brothers, has filed for bankruptcy. Investors panic, share prices plunge and the accelerated markets of global finance seize up.
In his latest book, Paul Virilio - the leading theorist of our obsession with technology, speed and power - rewrites 'The Book of Exodus', but the exodus he talks about is no longer conducted in a single file of people headed for some possible Promised Land. It is a closed-circuit exodus within a cramped world, where reduction in human stocks will suddenly look like the only solution to the lockdown of history.
Too Late for Private Life.
The Great Accelerator.
Steven Poole, The Guardian
'An exciting yet terrifying account of how contemporary society is shaped by an ever-increasing demand for speed … Locating time at the centre of all forms of knowledge, Virilio shows how speed and its measurement is a question belonging to the realm of politics, economics and religion as much as to physics and quantum physics.'
Times Higher Education
'Paul Virilio's indispensable new work, The Great Accelerator, considers history, privacy and, especially, speedup. If our accelerated postmodern culture is a closed circuit, Virilio asks, are not speed and light reconfigured as ""dromology"" and traditional philosophy as too ""slow""? Thought-provoking and contentious, The Great Accelerator will be a widely discussed book.'
John Armitage, Northumbria University
'Paul Virilio's The Great Accelerator continues his interrogations of speed and time forecasting the end of history, time and knowledge as we once knew them. Futuristic to the zero point, Virilio dazzles, illuminates and provokes as we speed through his latest vision of what is to come and what's happening now.'
Douglas Kellner, UCLA, author of Cinema Wars and Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy
- An important new book by the world’s leading theorist of technology, speed and power.
- Virilio reflects on our preoccupation with speed, whether in the form of the Great Collider developed by scientists at CERN to try to discover ‘God’s particle’ or in the form of the speeding up of the markets of global finance - and on what happens when these high-tech systems break down.
- Written in his distinctively brilliant and ironic style, this book continues Virilio’s relentless probing of the obsessions of our contemporary civilization.
- This book will be of great interest to students and scholars in social and cultural theory, media and cultural studies as well as the interested general reader.