Abstract: In this essay I recollect and relate on two recent personal memories: my experiences of waiting for the departures of a train in Agra, India, and an airplane in Hong Kong. In order to understand these two lived experiences I compare and contrast the writings of Henri Bergson, and Paul Virilio on the concept of time. I offer an analysis of waiting that takes into consideration differing historical and cultural contexts and differing possibilities offered by technology and interpersonal relations. In particular, I reflect on the meaning of the lived experience of time by offering a Deleuzian reading of the possibilities of becoming while waiting.
We might recall in passing that there is no true presence in the World in one’s own world of sense experience – other than through the intermediary of the egocentration of a living present; in other words, through the existence of one’s own body living in the here and now. — Paul Virilio, 1997:38
Like many, I have always hated waiting. Often, I have asked myself whether purgatory rather than hell would not represent a more heinous punishment for a postmodern soul such as mine. Purgatory after all is but a limbo, an interstitial and provisory arrangement depleted of heroes or villains where souls await, static, uninformed, bored, for a long, long time.
The experience of waiting is the object of this essay. People seem to agonize with the ‘punishment’ of waiting everyday. Whether it is irksome, obsolete modem connections, cheesy on-hold telephone muzak jingles, highway fender-bender back-ups, or be-there-two-hours-before-your-flight duty-free jaunts, we wait – seemingly inactive, static, immobile – everyday, everywhere. Whereas an immensely vast fictional and academic literature and artistic expression has been dedicated to the concept of time, surprisingly very little attention is reserved to the experience of waiting. This brief article is meant as an exploratory view on this phenomenon. I will base my thoughts on recollections and reconstruction of two waiting experiences taken from my life. Throughout the next pages I will offer my reflections on the similarities and differences of these two experiences and their respective contexts, and in particular on how different conceptual and affective structures of time and space affected my experiences. I will mainly draw on three theoretical perspectives which I find particularly insightful: Bergson’s idea of time as duration as expressed in Time and Free Will, the recent work of Paul Virilio on dromology  , and finally the thought of Gilles Deleuze. I will argue that notwithstanding clear qualitative differences amongst them waiting experiences can always be conceived of as possibilities for becoming. The human ability to change renders the waiting experience dynamic rather than static, and allows the subject to focus on the creative lifelong process of becoming. Understanding waiting as an open possibility for change allows us to transcend the traditional view of waiting as an interstitial and static experience of time. I will first analyze Bergson’s thought in relation to my waiting in India and then Virilio’s writings on dromology in relation to my waiting in Hong Kong. Finally I will proceed to illustrating Deleuze’s concept of becoming and offering my final argument.
From Stasis to Lived Time: Waiting in India
Henri Bergson was by all accounts the most celebrated philosopher of his day. In Time and Free Will, first published in 1889, he proposed that the temporal dimension of consciousness was synonymous with freedom and creative spirit. Whereas we mundanely experience time as a dimension dictated by the movement of the clock if we allow intuition to dominate over our habitual intellectual mode of inquiry we may become intensely aware of our lived experience of time. As Bergson explained, the objective measurement of time by a clock is only an artificial and abstract representation of science that people need for practical purposes. Real time is durée (continuous duration); each moment flows with our memory of the past and appears to us as new and unrepeatable. We can see a clear illustration of how this intuition of the lived experience of time works by looking at my experience in India.
My first personal recollection of waiting begins in Agra, India, where I arrive in the early July 2001. Many travelers visit this relatively large Northeastern Indian city to experience the marvelous architecture of the Taj Mahal, yet fewer venture to its rural train station. I come to India from a long distance: a predictable world of “supermarkets, slot machines, and credit cards”, a “non-place surrendered to solitary individuality, to the fleeting, the temporary, and ephemeral”, comforted by “hotel chains, airplanes, and leisure parks” (Augé, 1995: 78-79). In India, I feel thrown onto the stage of a surreal circus whose logic seems to have ceded pace to the inevitable karma of tragedy. Agra’s train station is a representative microcosm of many realities I have witnessed hitherto in my journey. The ticket counter hall is swollen with the bodies of a community who is not here to travel anywhere, but rather here to gaze at few strange travelers or perhaps to offer them dubious services. There is nothing fleeting, nothing temporary about the few hundreds local souls populating the ticketing hall or the departure platforms, rather their corporeality is so intensely present it feels obscene. More than a ‘non-place surrendered to solitary individuality’, more than a node in a network of railroad communications, Agra’s station seems to function as an observatory viewpoint for the locals, much like a public square where people gather to comment on the ordinary and extraordinary of their town’s life and its visitors.
It is one o’clock in the afternoon; seven hours await my train’s departure. As I restlessly begin to wait, curious locals’ eyes follow my conspicuous search for privacy. Life here feels immediate, weighty, and incredibly humid. A flock of hungry flies sit with me on a hard wooden chair as I hug my backpack – the last material bastion of consumer possibilities. Anxiety steals fifteen minutes away; then the weight of time begins to bear down on me.
Time is real – Bergson explains. The immediacy of time, of the Other(s) seated in the waiting room, of the sweltering heat, of my fears, is quite striking to my sedated senses. My world feels intensely present. I feel a sense of engagement-with-my-world, a long forgotten sense of presence. Occidental sensitivity (or ethnocentric paranoia if you like), causes me to become acutely aware of the presence of foreign objects: the acid smell of urine coming from the adjacent toilets, the sharp shards of glass on the floor, the forlorn eyes of the military man sprawled on the chair next to me. All this feels present, immediate, and real – here and now. Two young Japanese women enter the room. I am familiar with the anxiety they exude. They sit down, coyly glance at my girlfriend and me and smile. We smile in return. ‘Well, what are we going to do to kill some time?’ – I normally would ask at home, but why kill time here? Minutes, hours seem to make less sense in this room. The flow of time has become alive here. Its passage is continuous. Every moment flows in bringing something new. Two small children now enter the room. The waiting room attendant communicates with us without words. My body perceives thirst.
Photo 1: Local children we met in the waiting room enjoy our souvenirs.(click image to enlarge)
Photo 2: The waiting room attendant. She is ‘boss’ as she liked to say. (click image to enlarge)
Bergson explains that in everyday life, time is often confused with space. This confusion is at the roots of our inability to experience freedom. We measure the passage of time and the intensity of emotions through and in space, as the movement of minutes, hours, days on a line, or as the quantification of feelings on a continuum. Yet, Bergson suggests, there is no such thing as a greater or a smaller anxiety, just as there is no such reduction of a flow (durée) into discrete units. Just as every moment carries with it the originality of the unfolding life of the universe, every sensation carries with it a qualitative human character that is unique and unrepeatable. By focusing on my immediate perception I become aware of the continuity of time. By negating the possibility of the forcefulness of an external dimension, such as that of physical (as opposed to phenomenological) time, I can free myself from the restrictions of space. Through my engagement-with-the-room, through my awareness of my self in time, here I have experienced waiting deeply and creatively.
“There are two ways of knowing a thing,” – Bergson wrote in The Introduction to Metaphysics (1903/1946: 159) – “the absolute and the relative”. From a relative standpoint, “I place myself outside the object itself,” whereas from an absolute standpoint:
I attribute to the mobile an inner being, and, as it were, states of soul; it also means that I am in harmony with these states and enter into them by an effort of imagination (Bergson, 1903/1946: 159).
The relative mode is that typical of positive science, whereas the absolute mode can be achieved through intuition: “the sympathy by which one is transported into the interior of an object in order to coincide with what there is unique” (Bergson, 1903/1946: 162). The intellect can never comprehend duration because the signs used to signify time are spatial symbols. The deep self instead can express itself freely through the pre-symbolic intuitive ability of consciousness. Bergson’s concept of time is antithetical to Euclidian or Kantian conceptions. Bergson (1960: 92-93) believed that Kant attributed space “with an existence independent of its content” and “made it an a priori, quantifiable, and fixed entity into which bodies would then be placed” (Antliff, 2000: 39). Bergson’s view instead is that space derives from movement, and movement is fundamental to continuity in duration (durée). Time has different rhythms, as Bergson (1896/1978: 275) suggests in Matter and Memory, “rhythms that slower or faster, measure the degree of tension or relaxation of different kinds of consciousness”, and these rhythms are quite evident in my waiting experience. While waiting I experienced the ‘melodic’ aspects of my consciousness of continuous time because I chose to contemplate on my internal lived experience of time in my world, rather on than the external and relative measurement of the clock.
Bergson’s philosophy achieved an unprecedented success in Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s. While his phenomenology of time has been tremendously influential over the past century, one is led to wonder whether contemporary life conditions have not changed so much to render the ahistorical Bergsonian view of time obsolete. For instance, has technology altered the way we perceive time? Has the speedy pace of everyday life in the western world influenced the way we feel about waiting? Arguably, the most revolutionary view on time of the current epoch has come from another French writer, Paul Virilio. Virilio’s writings on global speed are of extreme importance for our understanding of the experience of waiting. Even though I find his reconceptualization of time thought provoking, I also believe it creates a number of problems that I will examine briefly. In the following two sections I analyze Virilio’s theory in relation to my waiting in Hong Kong.
Playing Solitaire Around Jets and Malls
Hong Kong’s International Airport at Chek Lap Kok has this extraterrestrial feeling about it after six weeks spent in rural India and in the heart of the Himalayas. We land there in the late morning, en route from the chaos of New Delhi on to Vancouver and Seattle. Upon disembarkment – endowed with a four-hour long layover, we jet to the restrooms, change clothes, trade the body odor of adventure for that of civilization in a spray bottle and carefully fix our hair – we feel we need to look decent here. We have three and a half hours left to satisfy our cravings for ‘real’ Indian food (Indian food in India was just too real), nachos with extra cheese, and ice-cold import beer. After our stomach is filled, we decide to stroll around the airport shops to digest, check our email, and get caught up with Major League Baseball standings and with the latest Hong Kong-made all-in-one electronic agenda/TV/Internet connection/cell-phone gadget fashion. Then, we eventually inch our way toward the terminal. Still two hours are left to consume. While my girlfriend naps I challenge my boredom to a game of solitaire. “You know…” – she exclaims suddenly waking up: “…we should plan a trip to Hong Kong sometime… ” I wonder: “Aren’t we…here, now…?!”
Photo 3: A terminal gate at Hong Kong’s International Airport. Photo courtesy of HK Airport Authority. (click image to enlarge)
The experience of waiting in Hong Kong seems to have a different feel than it had back in India a few weeks earlier  . In Agra I felt somewhere, here I feel I am in a non-place. The airport looks incredibly familiar, I could find myself at LAX, JFK, Heathrow, and hardly notice the difference. Whereas Agra’s train station had a clear center, the ticketing hall, here every section is marginal, everyone is in transit. While we walked into Agra’s train station, here walking into or out of the airport is nearly impossible. The main exit doors lead on to a bullet-train station and roof-covered passageways to taxis and underground parking, while the entrance works as a bifurcation node opening up to peripheral possibilities: restaurants, shops, banks, ticket counters, communication facilities, ticketing, concourses, a 1300-room hotel, chapels, a health club, showers…
Space is known to affect our minds and our bodies; I experienced this vividly in Agra. Yet, here I find myself beyond traditional space, lounging in an artificial environment that protects me from the natural phenomena of space itself. Change is a reality in traditional space, but not here. Natural cycles are punctually controlled for my comfort. I feel neither a sense of warmth nor cold. My body is desensitized from the natural experiences of process, activity, or movement. My body is visible (and now perfumed and decent), yet no one is looking at me, or smelling me, or let alone talking to me. As I sit to observe the movement of others, I realize that others’ bodies are irrelevant to me as I am irrelevant to them. Movement is the spectacle, yet no one is really moving as escalators and conveyors are in charge of transporting bodies. I am in the spectacle, yet my script calls for inactive participation. As the cushion of my seat adjusts to my body weight and shape, the intensity of artificial light adjusts to the changing daylight let through by glass facades. My body is not being affected by space; here space is adjusting to my body.
I have this strange feeling of being home here. Just like in my city, everyone here is shopping around, on constant transit. My rootless-ness here, my metaphysical invisibility, my feeling of being considered nothing but a customer, of being suspended somewhere in space make me perceive a sense of alienation from my world, the usual everyday feeling I have been missing for weeks. I guess that is why I feel home. I am bored, sensorially underexposed, captured by predictability; something I am used to. Space around me has been McDonaldized, and I feel that I have too. There is no stable community, or logical center, or a common sense of presence and time here as there was in Agra, all I perceive is the murmur of Babylon; white noise is the score to my wait in this non-place.
If a place can be defined as relational, historical, and concerned with identity, then a space which cannot be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity will be a non-place (Augé, 1995: 77-78).
A non-place, writes Augé (79), is never entirely completed; here relations are negotiable and constantly changing. This non-place is far, at least conceptually, from Agra’s train station. DeCerteau, basing his argument on Merleau-Ponty’s thought in Phenomenology of Perception, would find the airport a geometric space deprived of the existential relations that made Agra’s train station an ‘anthropological space’. Consider this representation of a terminal gate tunnel by Rand Eppich  : here, only geometric lines characterize this space, not human relations.
Picture 1: Flights, Rand Eppich. (click image to enlarge)
The gate tunnel represents the character of the airport more than any other symbol. It is through the tunnel that we access the new hyper-dimensionality of space and time. Yet, access to the tunnel is severely restricted and precisely regulated. Entering it prior to the arrival of the plane would cause one to precipitate into the dark and the void; the void thus becomes a result of the impossibility to transport oneself across space. The mythical tragicomic fall from the tunnel also reminds us of the materiality of ground, of the ‘reality’ of essences outside the airport and outside the redefinition of space that speed and circulation have created. Hence, I wait patiently for my turn. Classes of preferred consumers board first; along with small children and those with special needs (is this Baudrillard’s ‘sentimental order’?).
My role here is clear, as a transported passenger I am to consume time and whatever else the airport sells. “For, after all, the airport demands that in the conjunction of vision and geography we see nothing smaller than the contradictory integrations of transnational capitalism” (Bratton, 1996: 3). I cannot refuse or deny the role that has been imposed upon me. Capital is circulating me along with other consumers, reducing us to human fragments of information contained in the microchips of a credit card. Consider this representation of a female traveler  made by Hong Kong’s SkyMart. It is ironic that the traveler is represented here through a cartoon character, as cartoons are spirit-less and may play life-like roles only within specified settings. The setting here is the SkyMart where the traveler is reduced to a shopper unconcerned with being present in the airport or its mall, moved by the logic of consumption though various stores, bombarded with commodities, and finally whisked away from the airport. Simple, fast, only a thirteen-hour flight away – why shop anywhere else? As Bratton (4) suggests, transportation is but a mass medium like any other, the only difference is that people are its content. Indeed at the airport I begin to doubt I am truly static in a conventional sense. I feel I am being transmitted from Hong Kong to Vancouver, and my layover is but a long commercial break I am forced to witness.
By now it is obvious to me I find myself not in a specific place. Rather, a global space has made me a participant of its logic. Time as an external and physical dimension here has taken on a new sense. My circadian rhythms are functioning on Kathmandu’s clock, my mind is projecting to Pacific Daylight Time, and the logic of the airport could not care less about either. An external sense of time has been obliterated along with the compression of space into a global aseptic room filled with delicious duty-free Swiss chocolate. Space has engulfed time, Virilio would argue, and space has been commodified by the global service industry of speed. With my credit card ready, all I need is a departure monitor and I am free to choose among my global roaming possibilities: Bangkok, $650; Paris, $1,235; New York, $995.95; Speed, ‘the utopia of the perpetual motion machine’: priceless.
Speed has made the world available to consumers, and airports have become shopping centers selling space. The complete circulation of bodies without any movement is no longer utopia, as Virilio explains in Polar Inertia. Inertia as perpetual access to space is rendered possible by globalization. My waiting is inert – Paul Virilio would argue: as a circulating fragment of light I am currently being re-placed by globalization. I do indeed feel home away from home. Yet, upon being transmitted to my destination, my journey will be far from complete, for my endless possibilities will remain open. I begin to see my return home as a new stop, perhaps as a new awaiting trial between past and future journeys. Virilio would argue that there is a clear continuity between my waiting here and my arrival. I am as displaced in Hong Kong as I am in Vancouver because I am either here or there only temporarily, as a fragment of light.
And why think of ‘home’ as within a city, after all? Paul Virilio (1986b: 17) tells us that the city has ended its role of primary political form and now speed, as pure circulation of everything has overthrown traditional relations of space and time. Yet, I still feel I am waiting, and my understanding of mechanics tells me velocity is precisely what is not happening! Virilio’s trick in The Aesthetics of Disappearance, is then to operate a Gestalt shift; that is, not to think of velocity, as in movement toward a point, but of speed as in the obliteration of distance between here and there. The increased speed of globalized existence has subsumed time into the dimension of space: as air travel, for example, reduces the time of a journey it also reduces distance. Because of the similarity and shortened distance of global spaces I then ought cease to think of movement as my body re-positioning itself across continents, and imagine rather my body as inert as Vancouver approaches me in Hong Kong and the two merge together with other global cities in the representation of the airport. Due to speed the airport becomes a node, the new center of the global cosmos. Here – Virilio would argue – I no longer ought to feelthe passage and movement of time while waiting, for I have already left, I am ‘inert’ in a temporal dimension defined by speed. According to Virilio, I am living in a sphere of Einstein’s relativity – the cosmos is now a dromosphere. Virilio in fact believes that the cosmos is now to be apprehended through speed and in speed (e.g. Virilio, 1986a). Light is the shadow of absolute speed for speed lights light (Crogan, 4). Speed defines social structures and history by separating the center from the periphery. In this picture, speed has redefined space and time and overtaken our body movement.
Times and Spaces: Deleuze and Becoming
While Virilio’s work is certainly thought provoking, a handful of inconsistencies beset his understanding of the concept of time. Virilio argues that the speedof global capitalism has shifted power from human bodies onto mechanical vehicles and audio-visual information diffusion systems characterized by ultimate velocity. In his view light speed is the engine of hypermodern society and human existence. Contemporary subjectivity is subjugated to the logic of speed. Human bodies yield their motor functions to the progress of technology:
Doomed to inertia, the inactive being transfers his natural capacities for movement and displacement to probes and scanners which instantaneously inform him about a remote reality, to the detriment of his own faculties of apprehension of the real (Virilio, 1997: 16).
Virilio believes that the contraction of space “inscribes a new temporal regime privileging a permanent present” (McQuire, 1999: 146). In this light-speed dominated culture, there emerges the condition of atopia: “the exhaustion of natural relief (spatial perspective) and of temporal distance (chronology or succession)” (McQuire, 1999: 147).
Is the experience of waiting then impossible in the hypermodernity of the airport, and presumably in everyday life in the western world? This is far from true in my view. My waiting experience at the airport is far from being obliterated, for I was still able to perceive the flow of time through intuition. Virilio’s fascination with technology and the myth of the accident (such as atopia) take him away from a more coherent phenomenological analysis of the lived experience of time. My experience at the airport, for example, still was that of waiting, that of the lived experience of the passage and continuity of time. In Bergsonian terms, my waiting experience at the airport is a qualitative perception of the flow of time that I could and did achieve by focusing on my internal experience. This is my free will, my dedication to my experience: every experience is different from the next for time never repeats itself. As I waited at the terminal I perceived the presence of a world populated by cell-phones, advertising, and public announcements for check-in as objects distinct from my awareness of myself. I did indeed perceive the differences between the worlds of Agra’s train station and Hong Kong’s airport, as much as I perceived my differing feelings about those contexts, yet concluding that I could not live time in an absolute way, as Virilio’s thought implies, would be a fallacy. Virilio commits a mistake by collapsing time onto the dimension of space, and by doing so he becomes unable to grasp the meaning of real  time as lived in human consciousness. As McQuire (152) points out, Virilio proposes the collapse of time and geographical distance while still relying on a typically phenomenological concept of presence, as can be deducted from the introductory quote to this paper. His understanding of the metaphysics of presence thus remains centered around a Bergson-like view of consciousness while failing to respect Bergson’s privileging of the time dimension.
Late modern or hypermodern societies, as Virilio suggests, are undoubtedly characterized by a general increase in the pace of life. Speed is often the bottom line in economic transaction, event coverage, transportation, and inevitably human relations. Auge’s characterization of the airport as the non-place par excellence of hypermodernity, or Virilio’s chrono-politics offer invaluable insights into global culture and postmodern society, yet in my view fail to respect the humanness of existential experience. Let this be clear, I am not suggesting that it is the conditions of postmodern life that make the experience of waiting and living time impossible, rather I am suggesting that it is rather Virilio’s view that much too hastily does away with human possibilities. Is it then possible to develop an understanding of waiting that takes into account the creativity and uniqueness of the human experience of time without neglecting to consider the historical peculiarities of postmodern life? This is indeed possible if we look at the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze.
While Deleuze never explicitly espoused the idea of postmodernism his writings have worked to assert the typically postmodern and post-phenomenological ideas of difference, multiplicity, disunity, and change. Deleuze’s philosophy can be said to be a philosophy of becoming, a view on life as a continuous possibility for change. Deleuze believes that stasis is repressive as stability represents the denial of the creative power of life to evolve, mutate, and become. Deleuze writes in Dialogues:
It is never the beginning or the end which are interesting; the beginning and end are points. What is interesting is the middle (Deleuze, 1987: 39).
Bergson was very influential in the development of Deleuze’s philosophy. Just like Bergson believed that the human intellect has a tendency to spatialize time and immobilize the flux of life, Deleuze believes that time and being never repeat themselves and that we ought to conceive of being always as becoming. As Deleuze writes, life
takes place in the middle: this indefinite life does not have moments, however close they might be, but only meantimes, between-moments (Deleuze, 2001: 5).
The solution Deleuze would offer is then to cease thinking of my waiting in Agra and Hong Kong as interstitial times, or as experiences of stasis. If life takes place in ‘meantimes’, and if life is made of between-moments that offer nothing but the opportunity to become, then waiting can be understood as a dynamic activity. Indeed it is through my waiting in India that I was able to meet strangers, explore unknown places, understand the continuity of time and my self, and ultimately use my experiences to change as a person. It is also through my waiting in Hong Kong that I was able to reflect on the redefinition of space and on the restructuring of relative time afforded by technology. Also, and perhaps more interestingly my wait in Hong Kong occurred at the “mediating point of the global convergence  ” of time and space within the airport as I was being transmitted through the airplane medium from one continent, through the airport, on to another continent. When we think of waiting as an opportunity, as goal-oriented and meaning-making activity we are able to re-evaluate both the nature of this experience and its subject: both waiting and the waiting subject become dynamic projects.
Whereas following Virilio we should think of speed as the obliteration of time, corporeality, and subjectivity, by thinking of waiting as a dynamic opportunity for becoming we can re-evaluate the experience of time in postmodernity. If we agree that globalization is in part an effect of the increase of speed, and that such increase has forced us to mutate our relative concepts of time but not to do away altogether with our creative power to perceive time we can arrive at a conclusion on the experience of waiting in the era of speed. First, as mentioned, waiting as a lived experience of time is to be intended as a dynamic opportunity to change. Second, through the numerous opportunities offered by global technologies our waiting becomes less static and characterized not by atopia but rather by continuous movement and change.
In conclusion, I would like to provide the reader with a brief summary of this journey. Throughout this essay I have used two examples derived from my personal experience to illustrate and analyze the thought of three of most influential philosophers of time of the past and current century. I have utilized Bergson’s phenomenology of time to explain the nature of the lived experience of waiting and re-evaluated his thought in light of the changing structure of life in a global and postmodern society as depicted by Paul Virilio. I have criticized the inconsistencies of Virilio’s thought while attempting to still account for his contributions, and finally integrated the Deleuzian concept of life as becoming into our understanding of waiting. I hope you will remember all this next time you need to cool your heels.
Antliff, Mark. “Creative Time: Bergson and European Modernism”, in Tempus Fugit, edited by Jan Schall. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000.
Augé, Marc. Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso, 1995.
Bergson, Henri. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. Translated by F.L. Pogson. New York: Harper and Row, 1960.
Bergson Henri. “The Introduction to Metaphysics” (1903), in The Creative Mind. Translated by Mabelle Andison (1946). Potowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1975.
Bergson, Henri. Matter and Memory (1896). Translated by N.M. Paul and W.S. Palmer (1911). New York: Humanities Press, 1978.
Bratton, Benjamin. “SURUrbia: An Introduction to Airports and Malls.” SPEED 1.3 (1996). Available online at
Certeau, Michel de. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. by S. Rendall. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
Crogan, Patrick. “Paul Virilio and the Aporia of Speed”. SPEED 1.4 (1997). Available online at
Deleuze, Gilles. Dialogues. Trans. by H. Tomlinson and B. Habberjam. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.
Deleuze, Gilles. Pure Immanence: Essays on a Life. Introduction by J. Rajchman, trans. by A. Boyman. New York: Zone Books.
Eppich, Rand. “Flights”. SPEED 1.3 (1996). Available online at
McQuire, Scott. “Blinded by the (Speed of) Light.” Theory, Culture & Society 16 (5-6) (1999): 143-159.
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception. Translated by Colin Smith. New York: Humanities Press, 1962.
Virilio, Paul. Polar Inertia. Translated by Patrick Camiller. London: Sage, 1999.
Virilio, Paul. Open Sky. Translated by J. Rose. London: Verso, 1997.
Virilio, Paul. The Aesthetics of Disappearance. Translated by P. Beitchman. New York: Semiotext(e), 1991.
Virilio, Paul. Speed and Politics: An Essay on Dromology. Translated by M. Polizzotti. New York: Semiotext(e), 1986a.
Virilio, Paul. “The Overexposed City.” Translated by A. Hustvedt. Zone 1(2) (1986b): 14-31.
 I am deeply indebted to my anonymous reviewers for their extremely useful comments.
 Dromology refers to the scientific and historical study of speed.
 Both photograph of Hong Kong’s airport terminal gate and SkyMart video are courtesy of Hong Kong Airport.
 Rather than a blueprint sketch or building plan, this is actually a representation of a finished flight tunnel made for the E-journal SPEED, whom I acknowledge for granting reprinting. SPEED is available at:
 If the link does not work set your browser to:
 Real is to be intended in Bergsonian terms.
 I would like to acknowledge one of my anonymous reviewers for this precious suggestion.
Author: Phillip Vannini is a doctoral student in Sociology at Washington State University. A strong believer in the multidisciplinarity of human research, he has published works on globalization, identity of the postmodern tourist, pop culture, as well on as social aspects of narcissism and conspicuous consumption. His research interests encompass the cultural meanings of love, the consumption of popular music, and the study of North-American subcultures.