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William A. Hanff

William A. Hanff is Assistant Professor of Media Theory, Film, Journalism, Digital Documentary and Media Relations at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington D.C.  He has  also been a visiting professor at the University of Maryland

Articles of William A. Hanff

Science Fiction / Science Fiction

Near the end of his career, Vilém Flusser delivered an address to an informal group in Vienna called the “TV Club Wien”. Like many of Flusser’s lectures, it was preserved in the typed notes he used for its delivery.  In this short, but remarkable lecture, Flusser expands on many of the ideas that he had set forward earlier in A Dúvida (On Doubt) and Die Schrift. Hat Schreiben Zukunft? (Does Writing Have a Future?). Flusser considers both science and fiction to be texts in the creation of ideas. He points out that many scientific texts show far more imagination than what is frequently called science fiction. In this lecture, Flusser contrasts two different epistemologies: one that moves closer and closer to truth by “falsification”, by being less and less improbable; the other, moves closer and closer to absurdity and gnosis, while remaining phenomenologically disciplined, is more and more improbable. As an example of the first, Flusser gives the contemporary scientific method. As an example of the second, he gives Leonardo da Vinci’s fantasia essata, an exacting fantasy. Flusser does not believe these to be at odds, any more than he does not believe science and fiction to be at odds.  He concludes with the idea that these come together best in computer codes, and possibly in synthetic images, which result from scientific research. Another of Flusser’s later essays, “On Memory (Electronic or Otherwise)”, also began as a lecture presentation. His “Science Fiction” was not published and remained untranslated, but should prove to be an insight into Flusser’s creative thinking on the topic. Special thanks to Siegfried Zielinski and Daniel Irrgang at the Vilém Flusser Archive in Berlin.

Science Fiction (PDF 166.31 KB)
Science Fiction (PDF 113.21 KB)

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