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Flussers In the Universe of Technical Images was published in 1985, and was part of a surge of speculative, science-fiction like books and films about the information age that was slowly but surely emerging. Related titles include William Gibsons Neuromancer (1984), Jean Baudrillards Fatal Strategies (1983), Paul Virilio’s Negative Horizon (1984), and James Camerons The Terminator (1984). In the book Flusser tries to speculatively come up with a set of concepts that would allow him to enter into the Universe of technical images that is slowly but surely coming about in the 1980’s. In Chapter 11 he makes a fundamental shift in his writing strategy, and decides to go beyond the philosophical project of inventing new concepts for new situations, and actually enter the Universe of Technical Images in order to become the future ‘telematic man’. The next 10 chapters are among the best ever written by Flusser and describe what he sees and experiences as telematic philosopher in UTI. He makes a distinction between traditional or handmade images, technical or machinic images and dialogical, digital images. This last category is interactive, democratic, open, divine, as is the corresponding telematic man.

Por um método flusseriano / For a Flusserian Method

In academic circles, Flusser has been traditionally considered to be a “minor” thinker, an author who lacks scholarly rigor and systematicity. If a text can be understood as a testimony of how thought operates, this article follows and explores in Flusser’s texts, his process of writing-thinking, as a particular method. To this end, three procedures will be invoked to systematize a methodological trinity: a form of affirmative writing that implies a certain economy of words; a paradoxical way of writing that creates, and afterwards dilutes dichotomies; and a textuality that is experiential, that is, an aesthetic of existence. The purpose of this endeavor is to create new methodological procedures inspired by Flusser’s processes of writing-action and thought-movement.

Método flusseriano (PDF 250.46 KB)
Flusserian Method (PDF 246.71 KB)

Drafting the Techno-Imagination: A Future for Literary Writing?

Vilém Flusser paints a dire picture for the future of literary writing. He contests that it is doomed to be replaced by automated language games. In that sense, one can see literature and the image-culture as antagonistic forces. Drawing on examples from contemporary German literature, however, I show in which ways the literary imagination may contribute to the formation of the techno-imagination. The authors Ulrike Draesner and Thomas Lehr scrutinize the impact that visual media has on conceptual thinking and identity. Core ideas from Flusser’s media theory, such as the photographer as homo ludens, communication as resistance to natural entropy, and the re-conceptualization of space and time, feature prominently in the two 2005 novels Spiele (Games) and 42. In these texts, the imaginative capacity of fictional literature provides a conceptual space in which a new awareness towards technical images is drafted, tested, and reviewed.

Drafting (PDF 310.67 KB)

Vilém Flussers Bild-Theorie. Zur Philosophie des technischen Bildes ausgehend von der Fotografie

Towards a Philosophy of Photography presents all aspects of Flusser’s theory of technical images as well as the images’ ambivalence and paradoxes: the relation of writing and image from a historical and a post-historical perspective, the definition of technical images as images of concepts and as products of the (here: photographic) apparatus. The starting point of this approach to the photographic image is meta-theoretical: Flusser’s philosophical method oscillates between ‘telling stories’, a philosophical argumentation in the tradition of phenomenology, language philosophy and structuralism, a specific use of metaphors – and often together with Flusser’s own reflections of his ‘stories’, of ‘method’ and ‘metaphors’. This article explores Flusser’s philosophy as a field of intertwined ‘layers’ of argumentation that overlap in Flusser’s search for a new philosophy, corresponding with the new kind of images he proposes: a new philosophy in or through images. From this perspective, the shift from writing to image is accomplished by a shift from meta-theory to a ‘dia’ philosophy (Dieter Mersch), referring to the ‘metaphorological’ dimension of Flusser’s texts and his ‘gestures’.

Bild-Theorie (PDF 358.3 KB)

Meu bem, você não entendeu nada: a generosidade cética de Vilém Flusser

The sentence “My dear, you didn’t understand nothing” was one of the preferred sentences of Vilém Flusser in his dialogs with scholars and visitors. But this judgment was not used as a vain statement of superiority. On the contrary: Flusser wanted to demonstrate the impossibility of any final truth, underlining the necessity of doubt and of the fictional structure of all our perception. Flusser’s famous sentence, apparently destructive, was not less than an unsuspected generosity, giving the scholars and visitors back what most kinds of opinion eliminate, that is, the doubt and the phenomenological view to see things from more than one perspective.

Meu bem (PDF 177.95 KB)

Das Strahlen in der Black Box. – Sprechen und Hören in der Medienphilosophie Vilém Flussers

This essay explores the rather rare studies on the subjects of speaking and hearing in the works of Vilém Flusser. It begins by identifying the historical and systematical modes of speaking and hearing in Flusser’s media philosophy. The phenomenology of the body (Leib) plays a central role in the discussion of these particular modes of communication. Significant for Flusser’s interpretation of these modes is the relation they have to a notion of political space. In this regard the essay asks: what is the impact of “the end of politics” on speaking and hearing?

Sagrado e profano na escrita. Vilém Flusser e Christoph Türcke

The article compares two readings of the dialectic of the sacred and the profane in relation to the concept of writing. Flusser believed that there is no future for writing because it becomes an obsolete code, increasingly overcome by programming. Türcke, on the other hand, observed that the paradigm shift introduced by new media did not change in any way the basic structures of capitalism, on the contrary, it reinforced and renewed them. While Flusser stated that writing is profane, linear, and therefore tied to the conditions of causality, historicity, authorship and scientific progress, Türcke examined a historical development of writing, which explored the specific functions of the profane and the sacred. 

Sagrado e profano (PDF 371.85 KB)