From Hegel to Zielinski: An Essay on German Media Philosophy
This article discusses an original media philosophy emerging in the German-language since the 1980s. Its relevant contexts described here include phenomenology, social critical theory (the Frankfurt School), and deconstructionism. The starting point of this paper is Hegel’s romantic vision of culture as language, and the area of meanings conveyed by speech and writing, whereas the conclusion is the vision of culture permeated by digital technologies. The so-called “medial turn” is a new opening for philosophical reflection under the aegis of Medienphilosophie. The presentation of its conceptual framework and analytical style is addressed here by the methodological and philosophical devices of Siegfried Zielinski’s media archeology.
Mit anderen unsterblich werden. Der Dialog bei Vilém Flusser
This essay deals with Flusser’s theory of inter-subjectivity by reflecting upon immortality, which can originate in dialogical exchange with others. Flusser’s utopia of a telematic society will be discussed as an utopia of dialogical living, referring to Martin Buber’s dialogic principle. This contribution would like to develop Flusser’s thoughts on a responsible society in an age of massification through the media. In this context, the experience of Bodenlosigkeit as well as the idea of self-projection are of fundamental significance.
Verso una teoria dei gesti
In his work “Gesten. Versuch einer Phänomenologie,” Flusser investigates the concept of gestures. Starting from a first definition of gestures, which explores the “causality” of movements, Flusser then discusses the meaning of the concept “gesture” in the broader context of culture as a symbolic expression. In this essay, we discuss Flusser’s view on gestures by studying them with respect to their function and meaning in communicative processes, both obvious and hidden. From a semiotic point of view, we analyse Flusser’s thoughts on the function and the properties of gestures and provide a definition of “gesture”, which reflects its cultural, symbolic, and significant aspects. Particular emphasis is given to the role of gestures in communicative processes and their imbedding in the cultural environment.
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.
The Art of the Vampyroteuthis - Vilém Flusser, Vampyroteuthis infernalis: His Art
In this excerpt from his hybrid text of philosophical fiction, Vilém Flusser examines the history and future of human art and communication from the perspective of a giant deep-sea squid, the Vampyroteuthis infernalis. Fictionalizing some of the accepted biological details about the extant species of squid, Flusser oscillates between an encyclopedic description of the animal’s anatomical and behavioral characteristics and a cultural history of human art making. He proposes the world of the Vampyroteuthis as a model for human communication in the age of television, film and digital images. With his skill for de-familiarizing everyday aspects of human life, Flusser holds the molluscan creature up to his reader as a mirror in which human behavior can be considered from an opposing, almost inhuman perspective.
Invisible in plain sight, and as alive as you and I: An Interview with Eduardo Kac
Eduardo Kac’s visionary oeuvre shares with Vilém Flusser an exploration of language and communication without regard for the usual disciplinary boundaries, thus often combining art, science and technology with communication, philosophy and poetry. In this interview, Kac talks about his transgenic creations, which began in 1999, and include Alba, his famous and controversial GFP Bunny born in 2000. Kac also examines the different meanings of genetic manipulation in art, science and religion, and further points to the future of bio art as well as that of his own work.
Interview avec Fred Forest / Entrevista com Fred Forest
This conversation about Vilém Flusser, between new media art critic Annick Bureaud and media artist Fred Forest, took place in Paris on December 22, 2008. Forest is a pioneer of video, media and network art whose actions and interventions establish pauses and disruptions in the usual flow of communication. His works are frequently critical, often humorous and on occasion insolent. Forest also writes and theorizes his own artistic creations besides maintaining a constant dialogue with philosophers and theorists. Flusser was one of those with whom intellectual exchange was always densely rich, productive and collaborative. In this interview, Forest speaks about some of his video projects developed with Flusser, as well as his news media and public interventions in the 1973 São Paulo Bienal, for which Flusser served as curator. Bureaud and Forest’s conversation bring to life the energy and more human, intersubjective exchanges that characterized the Forest-Flusser friendship, and which are seminal to both artistic creation and intellectual thought. Bureaud insightfully points out that unfortunately such vivid encounters are rarely found in scholarly research and in the history of art. In the hands of Forest and Flusser though, often overlooked gestures, shared for instance in a seemingly banal conversation on a summer afternoon or on a subway ride in Paris, become fully meaningful.
Human Consciousness and the Construct of Meaning in the Communication Theories of Marshall McLuhan and Vilém Flusser
Two of the most original and influential communication theorists of the past century, Canadian Marshall McLuhan and the German-Jewish-Czech born Brazilian Vilém Flusser, expounded the view that the dimensions and perceptions of consciousness are recurrently modified through the adoption of new forms of media intervention to acts of human communication. For these two theorists, then, communication acts play the decisive role in the formation of identity. In this respect they are both electronic age versions of classical rhetorical theorists who, far from simply writing primers on persuasion, brought to their task an entire social ontology of human consciousness. By contrasting their evaluations of the communication theory by criteria and opinions, coming across most pronouncedly is their common belief that the communication process is an adjunct to human experience; one which nonetheless has the ability to shape the self-constructing perceptions of our consciousness and construct meaning in the world.
McLuhan, Flusser, and the Mediatic Approach to Mind
The following text aims at reconstructing and comparing two paramount theories of the mind as historical product of the increasing predominance of media. Marshall McLuhan and Vilém Flusser both develop a theory of media, setting out, however, from very different points of departure. McLuhan tends to stress media in general, whereas Flusser insists on the importance of the predominant codes of communication. In spite of this, their theories show striking similarities. The deeper coincidence between McLuhan and Flusser lies in conceiving of existence and consciousness as formed or determined by the media. Another salient similarity can be detected in the definition of three great ages of human history, brought about by significant transformations in communication.
In his studies on the subject of human communication Flusser repeatedly refers to the concept of canals and channels. He classifies basic structures of various situations of communication by means of disclosing interconnections and arrays of canals. This paper takes a closer look at the concept of canals in Flusser’s work and aims to systematize his different and sometimes inconsistent approaches. Further it discusses the significance of this topic for Flusser’s late work.