Orga/Mecha Vision

As Massumi points out in Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, there can be no vision without the faculties of tactility and movement. In this he is describing the organic vision of an individual human subject. Virilio makes a similar leap for the question of machinic vision in Open Sky with his recognition that technical optics have become kinematic and that the perception of touch has become integral to such a vision.

To put Virilio's observation in different words, and paralleling Massumi, we might suggest that the social abstraction, ordering, and processing demanded of a machinic visual faculty is not possible without the tactile enabling of the digital pulses of electricity/information that constitute its technical apparatus.

Further, while movement is required for this technical form of sensation to become possible, in this case the relation is inverted to the movement of the objects themselves, since the technical apparatus (photo finish, RFID timing system) is stationary. Which should serve as an adequate reminder that the technical apparatus superimposed upon the sprint and marathon sportscapes emerges due to the incapability of organic vision to administer bodies and preserve the integrity of the enclosure at high speeds or broad spatial scales.


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