thinking the to-come of the present – the virtuality of our time

Fibreculture Journal published in its 2nd issue this highly interesting article by Phillip Roe. He undertakes the demanding effort to lay out some threads for the indication of the notion of new media studies. I especially liked his clear distinction of the expression of the actual (possible) and the virtual:

The mistake that is often made in areas such as new media studies is precisely this confusion of the virtual and the possible. This then leads to the virtual, rather than the possible, being placed in opposition to the real. This mistake cannot be over-emphasised, it is crucial – because the effect of this mistake is that the virtual is accommodated to the order of simulation and representation and therefore loses its reality. In this accommodation, we lose the principle of operation of the virtual – the virtual, in effect, loses its virtue. Deleuze is very specific about the magnitude of the effects of this mistake in that ‘Any hesitation between the virtual and the possible, the order of the Idea and the order of the concept, is disastrous, since it abolishes the reality of the virtual’ (Deleuze, 1994: 212). ..

In the concluding quote from Derrida’s ‘The Deconstruction of Actuality’ he points out (and we should notice by ourselves) that the impact of new media‘s virtuality cannot be underestimated:

Virtuality now reaches right into the structure of the eventual event and imprints itself there; it affects both the time and the space of images, discourses, and “news” or “information” – in fact everything which connects us to actuality, to the unappeasable reality of its supposed present. In order to “think their time”, philosophers today need to attend to the implications and effects of this virtual time – both to the new technical uses to which it can be put, and to how they echo and recall some far more ancient possibilities (Derrida, 1994: 29-30).
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