Paul Virilio (1932-2018) was a French philosopher, cultural theorist, and urbanist. Although he was best known for his writings on speed (“dromology”), Virilio was also a historian of warfare, technology and photography; a philosopher of architecture, military strategy and cinema; and a politically engaged commentator on history, terrorism, mass media and human-machine relations.
Deleuze was perhaps most influenced by Virilio’s books L’Insécurité du territoire (The Insecurity of Territory, 1976) and Vitesse et Politique (Speed and Politics, 1977), both of which are discussed in A Thousand Plateaus.
In Foucault 18 (8 April 1986), Deleuze considers the critique of Michel Foucault’s work that Virilio presents in Speed and Politics. Modern societies, Virilio argued, cannot be defined by the terms “discipline-confinement,” but rather must be considered from the viewpoint of the terms “highway-control,” that is, the primary function of the police is to control and modulate movement. Deleuze himself would develop this insight in his essay “Postscript to Societies of Control,” though he insisted it was already anticipated in Foucault’s analyses.
Deleuze also makes reference to Virilio’s 1984 Guerre et Cinéma (War and Cinema) in both the Foucault and Cinema seminars.