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The (a)political dimension of school: Vilém Flusser's project with no purpose for education

Drawing on still unpublished texts by Vilém Flusser found in the Vilém Flusser São Paulo Archive, this essay explores the crisis in education described in those texts, and a possible way of resolving it. Underpinning the discussion is the understanding politics the informs these and other selected passages in Flusser's work, calling attention to an aspect of his thought little explored in research about Flusser to date. The essay argues that politics is a fundamental notion in Flusser's communicology, and further, that politics can be interpreted as a way of integrating intersubjectivity, that is, integrating positive results of education into a whole capable of using, rather than being used by the apparatus. However, the victory of education in the face of the apparatus’ project would pass through the conquest of apolitics.  Supporting evidence for these notions was sought in letters from Flusser, exchanged, mainly with his Brazilian friend José Bueno.

Communicology and Education. Possibilities for intersubjective experiences of knowledge

This paper positions Vilém Flusser’s pedagogical propositions in relation to his concept of communication, which in turn is based on his diagnosis of the ethical, aesthetic, and epistemological transformations currently being imposed on societies. The study starts from Flusser's understanding that cultural models are going through a crisis.  The core of this crisis lies in uncertainty concerning the consolidation of behaviours, experiences, and knowledge, an uncertainty readily observed in educational structures. Education, a subject not often explored in Flusserian thought, is understood here as ideologically planned communication for social functioning. This understanding is defended here as supporting the construction of more conscious and engaged new knowledge under the crisis conditions Flusser described. Because it resists both objectivation and subjectification of thought, intersubjectivity becomes a goal of education, a potential means of  creating dialogic environments.

Flusser’s Sonic Modernity

This chapter addresses Flusser’s often neglected writings on music and sound as they relate to his understanding of modernity. Taking two lectures ‘On Music’ and ‘On Modern Music’ given in Sao Paolo in 1965 as its departure point, Flusser’s conceptualization of a sonic modernity is examined within his ‘communicological’ theory. Contrary to a McLuhanesque media theory of the auditive, I argue Flusser’s theorization is distinct due to his characteristic ‘groundlessness’ and seeks to destabilize, rather than restabilize, a liberal Western humanist modernism.

Sonic Modernity (PDF 348.92 KB)