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Telematic Freedom and Information Paradox

The text discusses the relations between the notions of freedom and information in Vilém Flusser’s philosophy and aims at systematizing this complex problem. Flusser’s ideas on freedom in the ages of programs are deeply indebted to modern science, in particular to thermodynamics (Léon Brillouin), biochemistry (Jacques Monod), and information theory (Claude E. Shannon). In this article I present this indebtedness, contextualize it within a wider scope of Flusser’s oeuvre, and argue that the notion of information – borrowed from the hard sciences – does not provide firm grounds for his existentialism or his philosophy of communication. On the contrary, information (understood by Flusser in a twofold and contradictory way as entropy and negentropy) introduces foundational ambivalence and ambiguity to his philosophical project. I conclude that information – as defined by mathematicians and physicists – allows us to express freedom in the technoscientific era of programs in a non-reductionist fashion.

Telematic Freedom (PDF 342 KB)

X: The Gesture of Essaying

Drawing upon Flusser’s sketch of “being-in-the-skin”, this essay explores the significance of the dialogical form of chiasmus for Flusser’s conception of gesture, arguing for an understanding of his “gesture of writing”, as a gesture of essaying, wherein a “poetic subject” is manifested – one who is born to understanding, gestated, in the process of conversing in-between, where “meaning” is organised through rhythm. The essay itself sets up this argument through a gesture of essaying, placing Flusser into conversation with a broader discourse on writing and gesture.

The Gesture (PDF 259.43 KB)

É possível “hackear” a existência?

The purpose of this article is to broaden the application of Flusserian concepts by investigating the figure of the hacker as one who will replace the traditional figure of the revolutionary (as a historical agent). The hacker must be taken as a modus vivendi, a model of a daily practice required under the risk that we may be fully subsumed by the dynamics of the new context of post-historical relations.

Hackear (PDF 212.77 KB)

Pensamento Poético e Pensamento Calculante: o Dilema da Cibernética e do Humanismo em Vilém Flusser

This paper discusses the complex and contradictory status of cybernetics in Flusser’s thought. These contradictions are, to a large extent, intrinsic to the cybernetic paradigm, as demonstrated by authors such as Katherine Hayles and Céline Lafontaine. The strange combination between the humanistic point of view and cybernetics’ destruction of the humanistic subject, already present in Norbert Wiener, engenders a permanent and creative tension within Flusser’s work. The article argues that it is this creative tension that allows Flusser to establish a dialogue with radically new models of subjectivity, while at the same time remaining faithful to what – according to him – characterizes the apex of human experience: freedom and the willingness to engage in a playful relationship with the surrounding environment.

Pensamento poético (PDF 254.74 KB)

O filósofo que gostava de jogar: o pensamento dialógico de Vilém Flusser e a sua busca pela liberdade

This article examines the role of playing in Vilém Flusser's thinking. In addition to a deeper conceptual insight, this analyses conducted on the philosopher's work investigates how he understood play as a specific manner of being in the world. In this regard, this paper aims to gain insight into how Flusser accepted this kind of existence for himself. His texts, his thoughts and his methods are based on a playful attitude towards culture, language, his references and towards his readers. A closer look at this specific aspect of Flusser's writing shows how the writing itself materializes the philosophy it suggests. The analyses are based on three key concepts: dialog, image as a concept, and the bureaucrat/employee; concepts which allow the understanding of how the playful dimension of Flusser's thinking can be important in order to figure out how he sees in the concept of the Homo Ludens a feasible ethical posture for the practice of freedom in contemporary society.

O filósofo (PDF 167.07 KB)

A arte e o vazio da cultura

This essay explores the relation between art and culture by taking into account the profound ambiguity inherent in any artwork. This very ambiguity makes it possible to understand art works as part of a cultural process and as modifiers of this process.

Arte (PDF 194.03 KB)

O belo è elevado, o agradavel é conservador

This essay explores the relation between art and culture by taking into account the profound ambiguity inherent in any artwork. This very ambiguity makes it possible to understand art works as part of a cultural process and as modifiers of this process.

O belo (PDF 193.61 KB)

Das ’Ende der Politik’ in der Kulturphilosophie Vilém Flussers

In my contribution I try to work out the political implications of Flusserian thought. I show first that the beginning of post-history, which Flusser himself does not date precisely, should be determined from a political point of view - Auschwitz. For Flusser, as well as for the political philosopher Hannah Arendt, Auschwitz presented a breach with the Western tradition. But, opposed to Arendt, Flusser states that the breach of tradition in a sense continues, and the renewal of the political space, considered possible by Arendt, becomes increasingly impossible with the impact of the technical pictures. The forecast of the „death of the politics‟ is explained by Flusser with the fact that a specific political difference, namely that of public and private space, has become fragile because of the communication revolution. To preserve the freedom and dignity of the human being in post-history, the lost balance of dialogue and discourse, according to Flusser, has to be restored and an „installation of the apparatus-totalitarianism‟ has to be prevented. Finally, I close with a short reflection about how Flusser‟s theory of the telematic society can be understood as an answer to the menace of the political in modern society, as it was assumed by Arendt in Vita activa.

Ende der Politik (PDF 256.21 KB)

Vilém Flussers Technik Begriff

According to Vilém Flusser, it is not enough to define technics as merely technology – the scientific subjection of the world by human beings. Technics is a human attitude towards the world and is thus inseparably connected to the process of human thinking and therefore to the human existence in general.  This text wants to provide insight into Flusser’s extended concept of technics and how it can offer an alternative perspective on the relation between human beings and technics.

Technik Begriff (PDF 220.61 KB)