Flusser Studies 15 – May 2013
O filósofo que gostava de jogar: o pensamento dialógico de Vilém Flusser e a sua busca pela liberdade
This article examines the role of playing in Vilém Flusser's thinking. In addition to a deeper conceptual insight, this analyses conducted on the philosopher's work investigates how he understood play as a specific manner of being in the world. In this regard, this paper aims to gain insight into how Flusser accepted this kind of existence for himself. His texts, his thoughts and his methods are based on a playful attitude towards culture, language, his references and towards his readers. A closer look at this specific aspect of Flusser's writing shows how the writing itself materializes the philosophy it suggests. The analyses are based on three key concepts: dialog, image as a concept, and the bureaucrat/employee; concepts which allow the understanding of how the playful dimension of Flusser's thinking can be important in order to figure out how he sees in the concept of the Homo Ludens a feasible ethical posture for the practice of freedom in contemporary society.
O inóspito: uma pequena arqueologia do conceito de espaço no pensamentode Vilém Flusser
The article proposes an archeology of the concept of space in Vílem Flusser’s thinking. To do so, it reflects on the inhospitable, which refers to space and spatiality. In its Latin etymology, the word comes from hospitalitas, and carries the meaning “condition of the outlandish”, the traveler, the enemy, the nomad. Thus, we think about the inhospitable as a quality of space that houses the hostile, subjecting us to the condition of foreigners who feel the hostility in the space we inhabit. For Flusser, humanity has gone through three major catastrophes, all related to the concept of space. The first is the hominization, a result of the abandonment of the treetops by an animal that came to terms with the ground, making itself more vulnerable to predators. The second is the civilizing process, which ocurred ten thousand years ago, when nomadic man sits and stays earthbound; space is limited and increasingly filled up with others, the guests, who are at heart, hostile. It is the problem of the other. After those ten thousand years of a sedentary lifestyle, our home became so inhospitable that we went back to being nomads; we are confronted by the inhospitable “within ourselves”, subsequently, inaugurating the third catastrophe.
Pensamento Poético e Pensamento Calculante: o Dilema da Cibernética e do Humanismo em Vilém Flusser
This paper discusses the complex and contradictory status of cybernetics in Flusser’s thought. These contradictions are, to a large extent, intrinsic to the cybernetic paradigm, as demonstrated by authors such as Katherine Hayles and Céline Lafontaine. The strange combination between the humanistic point of view and cybernetics’ destruction of the humanistic subject, already present in Norbert Wiener, engenders a permanent and creative tension within Flusser’s work. The article argues that it is this creative tension that allows Flusser to establish a dialogue with radically new models of subjectivity, while at the same time remaining faithful to what – according to him – characterizes the apex of human experience: freedom and the willingness to engage in a playful relationship with the surrounding environment.
Estética da Fotografia: um diálogo entre Benjamin e Flusser
This article seeks to establish a dialogue between the philosophical aesthetics of Walter Benjamin and Vilém Flusser, by pointing out the various intersections and resonances relating the two thinkers in their unique vision of the place and role of photography in contemporary culture. For both philosophers, the photographic apparatus in fact operates a fundamental cut, a paradigmatic rupture not only in the universe of images and in terms of a visual ontology, but in our own way of being and being-in-world. It is not just a new image (mechanical, reproducible, multipliable), but a new apparatus, a medium that brings into play a series of perceptual metamorphosis by introducing new ways of feeling and perceiving the world. Therefore, radically transforming our relationship with the visible and its invisible counterpart.
Fluss/er. Circle – Spiral – Cloud
This text is an attempt to capture Flusser’s thinking and its evolution over the years by focusing on three interrelated images: the circle, the spiral and the cloud. The first two are based on Flusser’s translation and retranslation theory, which negates the notions of simple progress, linearity and hierarchy. The third one is related to the last phase of Flusser’s thinking organized around the notions of calculation and the dot-like structure of digital images. Clouds are seen as swarms of free-floating points of view created by calculatory combination, as fields of possibility. The text begins with a short reflection on Flusser’s own name suggesting a direct link between it and some central tenets of his philosophy. The proper name Flusser is an image that can be used to interpret Vilém Flusser’s own thinking.
Os Fundamentos Científicos da Comunicação. Uma crítica flusseriana a comunicólogos cearenses e seus desdobramentos
Little is known on Flusser´s activities after his return to Europe from Brazil in 1972 and before the end of the seventies – settling first in Italy, then in France. It is fairly unknown, for instance, that he wrote reviews of Brazilian books about media and communications in order to evaluate and indicate them or not for publication in France. Three of those books are A Comunicação do Grotesco, by Muniz Sodré; Sociedade de massa (Comunicação e Literatura), by Luiz Beltrão; and Fundamentos Científicos da Comunicação, by various authors. Since Flusser hardly makes reference to this activity in his works, those reviews are of special interest because they present him as a connoisseur of communication theory, including cybernetics, in critical dialogue with contemporary Brazilian and international theory. The reviews analyzed here also provide information about the reception and the history of communication sciences in this period.
“O Ser que nega”
The article develops the Flusserian metaphor of the mirror as a being who denies, by relating it to the short stories of Machado de Assis and Guimarães Rosa, which have “The Mirror” as their title. The mirror of these three writers, just as their fiction or their philosophical fiction, denies reality to propose an alternative reality. The article also shows how the thinking of Vilém Flusser is connected with the fiction of God built by civilization, with the God of fiction as He appears in literature.
A natureza de Vilém Flusser: experiências limites
In the book O mundo codificado, Vilém Flusser claims that the purpose of life is to make us forget the lack of sense in life, which constantly moves us towards death. We are subjected to it in nature's domain. According to Flusser, human communication is unnatural given that its goal was once to organize and store information. However, we ask, is it really possible to oppose culture and nature as entropy and negentropy, the given and the constructed? This article discusses the concept of nature proposed by Vilém Flusser in relation to the representations of nature in the works of the writer Guimarães Rosa and of the botanist C.F.P. Von Martius.
Flusser: um pensador visionário
A visionary thinker is one who thinks for the future and, accordingly, is somehow displaced in his/her own time. This article presents some of the reasons that lead us to consider Flusser as a visionary thinker. The influence of his work, especially in Brazil, is emerging with increasing power. This is a reliable indicator of the thesis concerning his ability to anticipate future issues. There are reasons, detectable nowadays, explaining why at the time Flusser wrote, his work was not understood in its full scope. Some of Flusser’s major conceptual concerns will be discussed as previews of the contemporary cultural scenario.
As utopias de Flusser
For Flusser, Auschwitz revealed “the potential utopia embedded in our culture. For the first time in our history we can feel that the utopia towards which we strive […] is the extermination camp”. And he concluded: “There can be no political paradise. Because political consciousness is unhappy, every consciousness is unhappy.” This paper argues that his media theory intended to “project us beyond the [Western] project”, which ended in Auschwitz. The utopian traces of his work come to light in his engagement with Brazil, in his informational theory, in his formulation of a positive “Heimatlosigkeit” and of “post-history”. He was not a classic utopist, nor a Marxist, but someone engaged in the design of a new world free from fascism.
Aula em fluxo: arte, comunicação, educação
By exploring performance concepts, this article seeks to deepen and systematize epistemological, aesthetic, and technical matters related to the interfaces between communication, education and art. To this end, it calls upon transdisciplinary methodologies implicated in phenomenological research. It further seeks the ongoing integration between theoretical and technical experiences, as well as scientific methods and creative artistic processes.
O místico e o feiticeiro. Contrapontos entre imagem técnica e narrativa seqüencial em Alan Moore e Vilém Flusser
By using an analogy from the Kabbalah, this paper compares Flusser’s thought-design with ideas from the graphic-writer Alan Moore, in order to show their unique similarities, their differences of perspective, and especially the involuntary complementarity of their notions of “narrative” and “image” — for us, twin foundations for the theoretical definition of “Sequential Art.”
Imagem como língua: uma leitura flusseriana
This article explores the concept of language as shown by Flusser in his book Língua e Realidade in order to explain that it is a comprehensive and symbolic structure which can be undertood in a restricted or in a broad way.
Ciência e imaginário: a fotografia como heurística
The epistemological rupture that defined the divide between science and common sense, necessary for the advance of the former, has also established a scientific iconoclasm. Through a revision of the Philosophy of Science and imaginary studies, convergence and dissention, arguments between image and science are sought out in this paper. While using photography as a prototype, this paper argues it can be a heuristic device that integrates creative imagination into the scientific procedure, in order to philosophically embrace the advances in natural sciences.