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Autotelic Digital Play: Flusser and the Gesture of Smoking a Pipe

This essay takes the form of a slide show that juxtaposes selected quotes from various authors and primarily from Vilém Flusser’s essay “The Gesture of Smoking a Pipe.” These excerpts are accompanied by a selection of short video documentaries of interactive installations created by some of my former students. This juxtaposition of quotes and videos, places side-by-side Flusser’s description of ritualistic, impractical everyday gestures, and the playfulness of interactive art experiences. As Ian Bogost argues in his essay “The Cigarette of this Century,” our 21st century smartphone addiction is comparable to the 20th century cigarette addiction. By contrast, could interactive art provide the same kind of magical, autotelic experience, away from our production and communication concerns, as pipe smoking has provided Flusser?

A slide show

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)

Um diálogo entre Flusser e Heidegger: o ser no universo

To Flusser, technical images create different meanings and realities, leading to an inversion of our “being-in-the-world” to a “being-face-to-face-with-the-image.” In this situation, the distinction between real and imagined, then, would no longer make sense, since only the image itself becomes something concrete. Thus, according to the author, we end up facing back the objective world. Regarding this statement, we propose, in this paper, through a dialog between Heidegger and Flusser, a discussion about being in the universe of technical images.

Diálogo (PDF 144.62 KB)

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.

Aula em Fluxo (PDF 237.17 KB)

Flusser: um pensador visionário

A visionary thinker is one who thinks for the future and, accordingly, is somehow displaced in his/her own time. This article presents some of the reasons that lead us to consider Flusser as a visionary thinker. The influence of his work, especially in Brazil, is emerging with increasing power. This is a reliable indicator of the thesis concerning his ability to anticipate future issues. There are reasons, detectable nowadays, explaining why at the time Flusser wrote, his work was not understood in its full scope. Some of Flusser’s major conceptual concerns will be discussed as previews of the contemporary cultural scenario.

Pensador visionário (PDF 176.42 KB)

Mensch oder Landschaft – was war zuerst da? Antworten aus Vilém Flussers Vogelflüge

The essay is dedicated to the relationship of nature and culture. Landscapes are formed by natural and cultural influences. Cultural influences include two components: the changes on the land made by men and the changing ideas about landscape. Landscapes are concepts; therefore they cannot exist without men. Flusser explores this theme by describing his visit to the French Jura Mountains. He outlines how, first animals and later men used the Ofenpass, a pathway in the Alps. Separated river valleys were transformed from natural areas to landscapes, which can be regarded as men’s homes.

Mensch oder Landschaft (PDF 194.06 KB)

Horizontes da filosofia do exílio: as Américas de Horkheimer e de Flusser

This article is a comparative study between Flusser’s and Horkheimer’s philosophy of exile. Their biographies are similar: they both suffered from persecution in their countries due to the anti-semitism of the Nazi regime, and saved themselves by immigration, first to another European country and later on to the Americas. But the similarities stop here. In the United States Horkheimer recovered intellectual freedom, but the American reality only confirmed the European mind set he had left behind: the empire of instrumental reason and the pervading presence of barbarism. Flusser, on the other hand, discovered a completely new world in the Brazilian territory: different not only from a geographic point of view but from a human perspective as well.

Hacia una cultura crítica de la televisión – o los medios de comunicación masivos en V. Flusser y G. Anders

This paper focuses on theoretical analogies in the work of Günther Anders and Vilém Flusser. An aspect that is relevant for both writers is the growing importance of mass-media – especially radio and television – shaping more and more the cultural climate of the present era. Mass-media tend to restrict our everyday experience of reality, creating a phantom, matrix-like reality effacing and substituting the world. Unlike Günther Anders, Vilém Flusser believes in the democratic possibilities of dialogue that can turn media into a creative affair.

Palavras e Signos: as estéticas da significação em Deleuze e Flusser

The aim of this work is to investigate the process through which we can produce meaning. In order to achieve such a goal, it is our intent to compare - in such a way that can be described as the friction between two pieces of wood - the ideas of Flusser and Deleuze on the subject. Therefore, the results achieved by the texts Língua e Realidade and Proust et les signes will be characterized in their differences and similarities in order to describe the process of making sense as a poetic and an aesthetic gesture. Both of the authors found their reflection about word/sign in a space division between worlds of signs and cultural types of language. This contribution wants to journey through such worlds and countries not only to make a map of Flusser and Deleuze’s ideas, but also to find space divisions of our own. In this sense, the cities of Jerusalem and Athena were discovered as two different ways to think about language – and the possibility (or not) of a communication between these two tracks are the main opposition of the ideas studied here.

Palavras (PDF 289.94 KB)

Flusser’s Moral Theory – Philosophy as Melancholy

~Flusser is a moral philosopher worthy of careful study and criticism. This paper is my attempt to critically investigate this crucial, moral, aspect of his writings. To focus attention on the significance of his moral theory, I shall compare Flusser with Hegel, a comparison that is not accidental as both philosophers tried to explain “evil” in dialectical terms by elaborating on myths derived from the Book of Genesis. Hegel discusses the issue in his version of the Story of the Fall of Man and Flusser does so in his interpretation of the Story of Creation. The contribution of both is obviously important, but I think Flusser’s narrative can achieve what Hegel set out as his aim but failed to accomplish. Flusser’s understanding of evil reflects on and fosters the exercise of a particular moral virtue, namely, modesty. There is little doubt that, for Flusser, the moral individual lives a heroic life. Is Flusser providing “the cure” to evil? There is no way of knowing it in advance. In the last analysis, this is a matter for each reader to decide.

Moral Theory (PDF 333.5 KB)