Project’s Target is Paul Virilio’s accident museum, Unknown Quantity. Virilio’s instruction is to read “accidents as signs”, to view accidents as the site of a new metaphysics of speed and technology. This inverts the emphases of Greek metaphysics, which assumes that essence—permanent, unchanging characteristics—is the primary feature of reality, and that changeable features are secondary and accidental.
Virilio calls for a new metaphysics, one capable of dealing with the persistent acceleration inherent in modern life. With mechanical and electronic technology, we no longer have the time to think critically, as we did when dealing exclusively with the apparatus (technology) of literacy. Under conditions where everything is accidental, where there is no being or substance, we need a new way of understanding and existing.
Pruitt-Igoe is the product of Western metaphysical investment—a strong reliance on clean geometry and elimination of secondary characteristics. As an accident-sign, Pruitt-Igoe expresses the potential for this metaphysics, and valorization of mathematics, can lead to an irredeemable social disaster.