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Im Spielraum der Ironie. Wie Vilém Flusser über Design schrieb

Flusser’s writings on design are mainly characterized by an essayistic and ironic style. In my text, I highlight Flusser’s use of these two styles, since he considered that the conventional approaches of established discourses could not adequately address the existing realities, and their complexities. For Flusser, essays are phenomenological narrations concerned with arbitrary objects, in which the distinction between common and high culture becomes blurred. That explains why his writings on design and ethics, or on design and war, are described as being difficult to access, and are even provocative. But it is not only the content of Flusser’s essays that provokes. His ironic and parodist style of writing is used to make a caricature of the complacency of the design debates of his time, and to point to the evasive question of responsibility in design. He noted that ethical issues were never raised in relation to the designed objects, and thus he portrayed the design of common or mundane objects as being irresponsible, given that designers focused their attention solely on the object, rather than on the people who use it, or on the cultural contexts in which they were used. Accordingly, Flusser identified design as a tool by which culture betrayed itself. To emphasize this point, he employed images and exaggerations in his essays, which he called “karikaturale Vereinfachungen.” Flusser uses an elaborate etymological juggling of words and caricatures, which is key to his writings on design. I argue that without his etymological caricatures and the irony in his writings, Flusser could not have expressed his philosophy of design with precision.

Spielraum der Ironie (PDF 272.4 KB)

Astúcias do Design

Today there is a plurality of design concepts and trends. After a brief presentation of such multifaceted perspectives, this article aims to discuss Vilém Flusser’s concept of design in order to emphasize its originality, which unfortunately has not been sufficiently brought into the light, especially by those who are both practically and/or theoretically involved with design. Moreover, it is a concept that, for its originality, adds complexity to that which is the backbone of design: the notion of project.

Astúcias do Design (PDF 141.38 KB)

Tutta un’altra Storia? Social network, narrazioni e identità digitali

The identity of individuals in a community, and in a “distributed” form of community, such as the social network, is formed/informed by relationships. The growing availability of information about these connections allows the quantification of social behaviors. Digital identities can be analyzed to identify – and spread – models, that is, generalizations created from the statistics of occurrences and patterns of words and colors, not just interpretations. The digital man is a “deluge of forms” more than a “material man” and the social networks design aims to in-form in order to control the actual and possible forms of a human being. Digital identities have been a proscenium of freedom and alternatives, but are now turning into stories written by the design of social networks and by the political and economic interests that drive such designs. This paper presents a reflection on these actualities, through an ideal conversation between Vilém Flusser and a few contemporary artists, sociologist, and philosophers.

Tutta un’altra Storia? (PDF 387.85 KB)

O design segundo Vilém Flusser

The works of Vilém Flusser contain explicit as well as implicit traces of a philosophy of design, principally in the way of an investigation about the sign intentionality of the human as a symbolic animal. Retracing Flusser’s anthropological and philosophical ideas and hereby the cultural evolution from the formation of things to the information of non-things, the present essay points to the importance and responsibility of the designer in society today.

O design (PDF 154.61 KB)

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