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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

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)

Juego e imaginación en Vilém Flusser

In several texts Vilém Flusser argues that if we had to define some specificity that characterizes the human being nowadays it would be homo ludens, because of the multiple cultural revolutions that have occurred, which have radically altered man’s existence, especially his imagination. The argument outlined in this paper is that the category of play not only reveals a specificity of contemporary man, but also represents his philosophical gesture. It is a central notion for Flusser’s criticism of the apparatus as a technical device.

Juego e imaginación (PDF 223.74 KB)

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