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Flusser Studies 21 – June 2016 / Thematic focus: Design

Introduction (PDF 200.13 KB)

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)

Vilém Flusser’s Philosophy of Design

This article analyzes the sources of Vilém Flusser’s philosophy of design, which are found, primarily, in three books and one architecture magazine: Vom Stand der Dinge — eine kleine Philosophie des Design [On the State of Things — a small philosophy of design], edited by Fabian Wurm (1993); The Shape of Things — a philosophy of design, edited by Martin Pawley (1999); O Mundo Codificado. Por uma filosofia do design e da comunicação, [The Codified World — towards a philosophy of design and of communication], edited by Rafael Cardoso (2007); and the special edition on Vilém Flusser of Arch+, a Journal for Architecture and City Planning, titled Virtuelle Räume — Simultane Welten [Virtual Spaces — Simultaneous Worlds] (1992). Flusser’s contributions draw on conceptual constructs from different periods between 1970 and 1991, as well as different disciplines and contexts, such as culture theory, anthropology, media revolutions, telematics, also known as, digital culture, and design itself. However, his design concepts are primarily based on philosophy and influenced by Heidegger and Plato, whose ideas he applies throughout his work.

Philosophy of Design (PDF 518.74 KB)

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

Programing the Visible: Dialogues between Vilém Flusser and Harun Farocki

The 2016 São Paulo exhibition “Programando o Invisível” [Programing the Invisible], showcasing works by the artist and filmmaker Harun Farocki (1944-2014), questioned the role of images in the 21st century, and particularly those images constructed by computer algorithms for video games. One of the videos in the exhibition captured the dialogue that took place between Farocki and Vilém Flusser (1920-1991) in 1986. In this theoretically rich and promising video, titled “Shocking sentences, shocking images: a conversation with Vilém Flusser,” they discussed the hegemony of images and of their power in programing our visibility. The theme is one of the central questions in both their works, as if the filmmaker and the philosopher were speaking about the same thing, although in different and complimentary ways. Their works similarly urge a reflection about the possibilities of creation of a critical perspective in face of our image culture, and they both emphasize the question of freedom in a society increasingly programed and dominated by technical images.

Programing the Visible (PDF 191.62 KB)

Do invisivel ao redor: o que se vê e o que não é aparente

This paper discusses spaces permeated by connectivity and communication flow. It approaches “place” as a field of semantic migrations in which architecture tends to include the invisible aspects of communication technologies. The paper also discusses creative processes and artistic experiments that propose ways of “seeing” and of visualizing electromagnetic fields, radio waves, wi-fi and cellular signals generated by media networks. These artworks point to the invisible dimensions of spaces with intense urban circulation, such as the São Paulo city center, where there is a dramatic convergence and crossing of signs and systems.

Do invisivel (PDF 396.24 KB)

O tradutor e a janela: Entre o método e a prática

This paper addresses the issue of how to use translation as a method to understand archives. To this end, this paper proposes an intersection between Vilém Flusser’s reflection about his own writing method and the artistic experience of Mabe Bethônico as translator of the archives of the geologist and geographer Edgar Aubert de la Rüe.

O tradutor e a Janela (PDF 340.45 KB)

Exhibiting the Archive: a review of the exhibition Without Firm Ground – Vilém Flusser and the Arts

Exhibiting the Archive (PDF 120.83 KB)

International Symposium Transcoding Flusser

Synthetic Thinking (PDF 320.14 KB)

Print edition

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