Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eyegiene Estilo Derrida

In the following passage culled from Hydra, Jacques Derrida mulls the dynamics of religion in the high age of the vidiot--a realm where television fuses its innards with god, God, and gods. Get this, even the Pope has a cameo; in any event, this, then, is just a placeholder for a later discussion of eyegiene, or, for new readers, a chapter to be written in my new book on visual cultures:

There is insufficient space to multiply in this regard the images or the indications, one could say the icons of our time: the organization, conception (generative forces, structures and capital) as well as the audiovisual representation of cultic or socio-religious phenomena. In a digitalized 'cyberspace', prosthesis upon prosthesis, a heavenly glance, monstrous, bestial or divine, something like an eye of CNN watches permanently: over Jerusalem and its three monotheisms, over the multiplicity, the unprecedented speed and scope of the moves of a Pope versed in televisual rhetoric (of which the last encyclical, Evangelium vitae, against abortion and euthanasia, for the sacredness or holiness of a life that is safe and sound - unscathed, heilig, holy - for its reproduction in conjugal love - sole immunity admitted, with priestly celibacy, against the virus of human immuno-deficiency (HIV) -, is immediately transmitted, massively 'marketed' and available on CD-ROM; everything down to the signs of presence in the mystery of the Eucharist is 'cederomised'; over airborn pilgrimages to Mecca; over so many miracles transmitted live (most frequently, healings, which is to say, returns to the unscathed, heilig, holy, indemnifications) followed by commercials, before thousands in an American television studio; over the international and televisual diplomacy of the Dalai Lama, etc. So remarkably adapted to the scale and the evolutions of global demography, so well adjusted to the technoscientific, economic and mediatic powers of our time, the power of all these phenomena to bear witness finds itself formidably intensified, at the same time as it is collected in a digitalized space by supersonic airplanes or by audiovisual antenna. The ether of religion will always have been hospitable to a certain spectral virtuality. Today, like the sublimity of the starry heavens at the bottom of our hearts, the 'cyberspaced' religion also entails the accelerated and hypercapitalized relaunching of founding specters. On CD-ROM, heavenly trajectories of satellites, Jet, TV, Email or Internet networks. Actually or virtually universalizable, ultra-internationalizable, incarnated by new 'corporations' that are increasingly independent of the powers of states (democratic or not, it makes little difference at bottom, all of that has to be reconsidered, like the 'globalatinity' of international law in its current state, which is to say, on the threshold of a process of accelerated and unpredictable transformation).

Jacques Derrida: "Foi et savoir - Les deux sources de la 'religion' aux limites de la simple raison". La religion, sous la direction de J. Derrida et Gianni Vattimo, Paris: Seuil, 1996, p. 35-36

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