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Flusser Studies 03 - November 2006

Introduction (PDF 76.78 KB)

Língua Brasileira / The Brazilian Language

Língua Brasileira (PDF 72.13 KB)
The Brazilian Language (PDF 88.25 KB)

O vídeo como representação da vida: por prisioneiros do Carandiru

This article is based on the 2006 Masters Thesis by the author, presented to the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais to obtain the Masters Degree in Social Communication. It analyzes the consequences of the production of technical images for the knowledge of daily life, understood as "life-world," a concept developed by Schütz and Luckmann. Although Flusser argues that technical images possess the potential to transform knowledge (epistemology) as well as models of behavior (ethics) and experience (aesthetics) in daily life, technical images are analyzed here from the epistemological point of view. The analysis of spatial, temporal and social arrangements made by Schütz's approach to social science allows the identification of immutable aspects of existence. These aspects are then applied to the life-world construed intersubjectively by the prisoners of the Carandiru’s prison in São Paulo, as well as described in images and utterings made by two prisoners, during one night in a prison cell.

No-nada. Formas brasileiras do niilismo

In his notes from 1887-1888 Nietzsche wrote that “European Nihilism," the “uncanniest all of guests” [unheimlichste aller Gäste], is already waiting at the door. He tried to show that there will be several ways of nihilism in history. The present essay investigates the question, starting out from Vilem Flusser's “Fenomenologia do Brasileiro," whether there are specific “brazilian ways of being-in-nothing” [estar-no-nada].

No-nada (PDF 134.14 KB)

A insustentável leveza de pensar: Jogos, joguinhos e jogaços de Vilém Flusser

This article seeks to disclose the strategies used by Vilém Flusser for writing his texts while living in Brazil. After presenting the basic elements of his Brazilian „performance“, we turn our attention to the controversies around him – why was he rejected by many contemporary scholars, why was he subjected to severely ironic criticism by professional critics and – at the same time – aroused great interest among a vast number of readers? Starting from the analysis of his book “Language and reality“ and from three essays, we try to show that the philosopher developed the practice of playing a particular kind of game as a clear and sophisticated strategy to get across an emotional and eloquent meaning through his work. In the last pages of his book “Brazilian Phenomenology," written shortly after leaving Brazil for good, he introduces the behavioral characteristics of a new man, the “homo ludens" whose involvement with society displays structure of a game: neither to win, nor to avoid defeat, but to play with the purpose of changing the rules of the game. Studying the works of Vilém Flusser, we reach the conclusion that he himself used this third type of action, crossing through the traditional discourse of western science, causing the indignation of professors, irritating journalists and fascinating readers.

A insustentável leveza (PDF 110.11 KB)

One of the most important Brazilian philosophers

This article seeks to introduce Flusser’s Brazilian phase to English-speaking readers. It refers to Abraham Moles, who recognized Vilém Flusser as one of the most important Brazilian philosophers, but it remembers also that probably many Brazilian academic philosophers would not agree with Moles. Flusser’s reception is complicated, for one, because Flusser was a foreigner and outsider-philosopher, and also because, in the sixties, he strongly criticized his Brazilian peers. Vilém Flusser formulated a proposal to confront the apparatus, to confront technicism and to confront Brazilian “developmentism.” His proposal consists of attributing certain values, but via a philosophy ex situ, a philosophy written by an eternal and foreign foreigner.

Brazilian Philosopher (PDF 98.02 KB)

A perturbante estranheza do Novo: o Brasil de Vilém Flusser

Is Flusser’s Phenomenology of the Brazilian a Brazilian utopia or does it contain just the depiction of an alienated underdeveloped country? The article tries to demonstrate that it is neither. Surely, there is a utopian tradition to “thinking” Brazil. Right from its “discovery,” Brazil was a utopia. In some way, even the utopian genre as such is Brazilian, as Utopia (1516) was (vaguely) written within the context of the debate over the “discovery” of Brazil. But, of course, a utopia is not about the other but about the self. Nevertheless, Brazil also inaugurated a rather distinct tradition of discourse: the discourse about the New. Brazil, in the sixteenth century, was the “New World” (Vespucci). The idea of a “New World” requires a conceptual revolution as it necessarily alters what was the world before: one’s own world ages. Flusser continues this tradition. He thinks Brazil neither as a better nor as a worse complement to the European self but as something which, from a European/“occidental” point of view, is unimaginable, absurd, even abject. His book is about the strangeness of Brazil and its disproportionate difference. To think the New is almost impossible (and, occasionally, Flusser cannot avoid slipping into the utopian trap). It seeks to overcome the categories of thinking of the self as it emerges, however, the self can only find absence and even perversion of meaning. So, to the “occidental” eye, and as an underdeveloped country, Brazil appears principally as a country of alienation. This means that the Brazilians degenerated from the human way of being perceived as “true” to the “occidental” eye. Now, Flussers asks: what is the true human way of being? It is teleological concept. The Brazilians never had a “true” being to lose. The concepts of alienation and underdevelopment, therefore, are not only inappropriate for “thinking” Brazil, they hinder the conception of the profound alterity of the country. What is unthinkable and inadmissible for these categories is the place of the New. The New, in conclusion, only appears if the self changes and becomes other. In this sense, to think the New which Brazil represents means to become Brazilian, which is what happens with the narrator-immigrant of the book.

Estranheza do Novo (PDF 150.1 KB)

Vilém Flusser e a Terceira Catástrofe do Homem ou as Dores do Espaço, a Fotografia e o Vento

Vilém Flusser’s contribution to modern Media Theory might have found a possible synthesis in his text “Nomadic Reflections” presented in one of the ‘Kornhaus-Seminare’ organized by Harry Pross, on the subject of Euronomadism. Flusser presents a division of the history of humankind into three great catastrophes: humanization, civilization and a third catastrophe, still nameless. This last one that is occurring now will turn humankind back to nomadism. Wind, the desert, granules and emptiness become again decisive categories for the communicative behavior of humankind, already perceivable through photography and technical images. Things and their materiality lose in value, non-things and their immateriality gain in value.

A Terceira Catástrofe (PDF 122.39 KB)

Do Funcionário e de suas implicações

This article deals with job affairs and their socio-historical consequences. We will discuss how workers have been turned into a functionaries after the beginning of post-history by analyzing today’s society from the point of view of the relation between work and functioning. We will also discuss the consequences of the modifications that go with the shift into post-history and their epistemological and socio-cultural implications to provide an analysis of Flusser’s thinking on this matter.

Do Funcionário (PDF 162.09 KB)

A migração como expansão da realidade e renovação das culturas

The essay is about Vilém Flusser's philosophy of migration and considers the importance of custom, the permanent residence, and the material possessions required for human existence. The different languages, customs, beliefs and geographical regions lead one to understand reality in different ways, all of which influence one's self-expression. In the book, Von der Freiheit des Migranten, Vilém Flusser investigates the phenomenon of migration by way of analyzing applicable philosophical concepts, although he does not ignore some important matters related to politics and the economy.

A migração (PDF 166.81 KB)

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