Reflexões Acerca da Ética do Artificial - Do Paradigma de Simon ao Paradoxo de Flusser
This essay aims to develop a critical dialogue between Herbert Simon’s and Vilém Flusser’s ideas about design by focussing on Simon’s The Sciences of the Artificial (1996) and a collection of Flusser’s writing on design, Codified World – towards a philosophy of design and communication, (Rafael Cardoso, ed., 2006). The essay begins with an analysis of the differences between the concepts of artificiality and project-design, contrasting the Simonian postulate of problem solving with the paradoxical Flusserian notion of obstacle for removing obstacles. Simonian utilitarianism and his discourse of technical neutrality are questioned by Flusser’s ideas about the need for a post-industrial design ethics. If Simon’s utilitarian approach concentrates on the technical efficiency of artifacts, Flusser’s existentialist perspective focuses on the communicative and dialogic aspects of objects, emphasizing the issues that revolve around the freedom and responsibility inherent in every creative act.
Von Vilém Flusser’s Gesten ausgehend. Zur Phänomenologie des Entwerfens und seiner Werkzeuge
This essay draws on Vilém Flusser’s phenomenological approach and speculative thinking to envision a theory of architectural design. It focusses particularly on the last book he published during his lifetime, Gesten (Gestures) 1991. Based on a series of lectures held in São Paulo and in the mid-seventies in France, Gesten offers a sequence of 18 essays reflecting upon everyday activities as “movement(s) of the body or of a tool attached with the body, for which there is no satisfactory causal explanation” (3-4). The book culminates in the call for a general theory of gestures. Starting from a close reading of some of these chapters, this essay examines the relation between gestures and thinking, between gestures and the future, with a particularly close look at the gesture of making. Gestures are discussed in terms of primary means of visual expression, which in many ways become starting points for design processes. Flusser's general theory of gestures facilitates a theory of architectural design based on a phenomenological analysis of its tools and processes. By going back to some of Flusser's writings on tools, machines and apparatuses and their unforeseen repercussions, new design practices and digital design tools can be understood as ways of simulating and anticipating the consequences of design decisions, permitting us to better understand and deal with them.
Experiment und Versprechen – Über die Entgrenzung des Denkens
A speculative impulse is inherent in or precedes every experiment, presumably every thought. The hoped-for promise of an answer, a solution, a proof, is thus built on an idea of mental outgrowth. It is characterised by not-knowing, from which it takes its course (cf. Busch et al. 2020). The starting point of this paper is the experiment Vampyroteuthis infernalis (Flusser / Bec 1987) as a model of a fabulatory, creative epistemology (Bozzi 2007), which at the same time functions as a symbol of human existence in postmodernity. Part scientific treatise, part parody, part philosophical discourse, part fable, this work presents itself as an im/possible form of speculative research and exploratory speculation at the same time. Flusser thus provides fruitful impulses for the persistently discussed approaches of experimental and practice-based research in the formative disciplines, such as design, art or architecture, which are discussed in this paper as well as a possibly related disruption of knowledge hegemonies.
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.
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.
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.
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.