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Michael Hanke

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil

Michael Hanke holds a Masters degree in communication from the University of Bonn, Germany (1984); a Ph.D in semiotics from the University of Essen, Germany (1991), two post-doctoral appointments, the first at the University of Siegen, Germany (1991-1992), and the second at the Free University of Berlin (2014-2015), in addition to an habilitation in communication sciences from the University of Essen, Germany (1998). He was a visiting professor in institutions in Belo Horizonte, Cologne, Weimar, Mainz, and Berlin, and his research focuses on the area of communication, with emphasis in communication theory, semiotics, discourse analysis, intercultural communication and the work of Vilém Flusser. He is currently an associate professor in German Language and Media at the Federal State University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil. Recent publications include entries about the concepts of “Communication”; “Communicology”; and “Public/Private Space”, in Flusseriana – An Intellectual Toolbox  (Minneapolis: Univocal, 2015); and the book Kommunikation – Medien – Kultur. Vilém Flussers Signaturen der telematischen Gesellschaft (Berlin: Kadmos, 2016).

Articles of Michael Hanke

“Ein Mensch ist kein Baum.” Vilém Flussers Phänomenologie der Einwanderung

Vilém Flusser was not only a multiple emigrant himself, he also analysed this experience, which he ultimately saw as an integral part of human existence, theoretically, culturally and philosophically. In the reception of this migration theory, little attention has been paid so far to an earlier, programmatic contribution from his Brazilian phase, which is therefore given special attention here: his plea “For a Phenomenology of Immigration” written in 1971 shortly before he remigrated again to Europe. With its counterpart, the “Philosophy of Emigration” written in 1966, it marks the beginning of a series of articles that deal with immigration and emigration as well as general migration, as featured in the philosophical autobiography Bodenlos and the text collection The Freedom of the Migrant.

Ein Mensch ist kein Baum (PDF 173.64 KB)

From Language to Communication – Vilém Flusser’s path from language philosophy to communication and media theory

This article reconstructs Vilém Flusser’s first academic field of research, the philosophy of language, documented by the two books, Language and Reality and Philosophy of Language, that arose from his initial interest in language in general; and how these early probings were preserved in the later course of his work when his focus changed from language to communication and mediation. It fleshes out concepts that represent a continuity in his work, such as sign, meaning and symbol, information, knot, entropy, discourse, the technological world, and dialogue and conversation; all of this being based on a wider concept of language that encompasses not only speech but also sound, images, and symbolic forms in general. It intends to shed light on the continuity in Flusser’s work over the course of its progress and changing focuses.

Reading Flusser

Reading Flusser (PDF 68.79 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)

Über Zufall und Notwendigkeit der Flusserforschung. Eine Vignette aus gegebenem Anlaß

Os Fundamentos Científicos da Comunicação. Uma crítica flusseriana a comunicólogos cearenses e seus desdobramentos

Little is known on Flusser´s activities after his return to Europe from Brazil in 1972 and before the end of the seventies – settling first in Italy, then in France. It is fairly unknown, for instance, that he wrote reviews of Brazilian books about media and communications in order to evaluate and indicate them or not for publication in France. Three of those books are A Comunicação do Grotesco, by Muniz Sodré; Sociedade de massa (Comunicação e Literatura), by Luiz Beltrão; and Fundamentos Científicos da Comunicação, by various authors. Since Flusser hardly makes reference to this activity in his works, those reviews are of special interest because they present him as a connoisseur of communication theory, including cybernetics, in critical dialogue with contemporary Brazilian and international theory. The reviews analyzed here also provide information about the reception and the history of communication sciences in this period.

Fundamentos (PDF 307.67 KB)

Vilém Flusser Nucleus Research Group / Grupo de Pesquisa Núcleo Vilém Flusser

Nucleus Research Group (PDF 135.47 KB)
Grupo de Pesquisa (PDF 152.75 KB)

Vilém Flussers Sprache und Wirklichkeit von 1963 im Kontext seiner Medienphilosophie

Language and Reality (Língua e Realidade), written 1963 in Portuguese, is Vilém Flusser’s first publication on the subject of language. Communication as inter-subjective conversation is regarded here as the very form in which language lives up to itself. Already in this early phase of his Brazilian work – which so far has not been given the attention it deserves – future themes are present in an embryonic way. His reflections on electronic brains participating in a communication network, for instance, can be found again in the concept of a telematic information society. Flusser’s recourse to European language theories throws a rather unexpected light on his media and communication theory of the eighties and early nineties.

Sprache und Wirklichkeit (PDF 206.51 KB)

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