Field of Vision

"The field of vision has always seemed to me comparable to the ground of an archaelogical investigation" (Virilio, quoted by Crary, p.1) 

Firing position with the photographic gun. Etienne-Jules Marey

In War and Cinema, Paul Virilio traces the "fatal coherence" between the eye and the arm (weapon) in the logistics of military perception. As has often been observed, what can be seen in warfare is what can be destroyed, and the technical developments of twentieth century warfare are characterized by the joint progress of visibility and invisibility. For Virilio the techniques of cinema and those of warfare became so bound up in the twentieth century that for him, film criticism has no meaning. It is reality that must be analysed in filmic terms. Starting with Etienne - Jules Marey's invention of the Chronophotograph the first of many matings between the machine gun and the movie camera, which unites the repetition of the automatic weapon with the repetition of cinema, Virilio focusses on common themes between warfare and cinema: the projecting lights of anti-aircraft batteries as spectacle, for instance, from Nuremberg to studio logos.