A Cycling Renaissance
While in architecture school back in 2005, I took a philosophy elective entitled 20th Century Theories of the End of Art. That same year, Armstrong won his fifth Tour de France. The thread that connected these seemingly disparate events in my mind was one of the assigned course readings, Art & Fear, by French Cultural Theorist, Paul Virilio. Virilio's essays in this work focus on the idea that the 'go for it' embracement of technology in Western culture and its correlations to speed and power leads to a cultural hubris and drains the collective humanity out of us. Art & Fear illustrates this with examples of vulgar hybridizations of man and technology from the macabre chemicalization of corpses in the Body Worlds exhibits of Gunther von Hagens to Austria's Sterlac, who uses mechanical prosthetics in his aim to fuse man and machine. Chemicals and machines—that brings us back to Armstrong.