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Manipulating a dead world. Vilém Flusser and the clashes with the (concept of) “objectivity”

The purpose of the article is to consider how the objective view, which has guided our way of conceiving and acting in the world for so long, may be related to the sustainability crisis we are currently experiencing. Our intention is to reflect on the importance of the intersubjectivity proposed by Vilém Flusser in the formation of an ecological outlook that favors a way of being in the world that is better able to deal with the impending crisis. As such, the complex thought proposed by Edgar Morin, the education for autonomy defended by Paulo Freire and the archetypal psychology of James Hillman, in line with Flusser's ideas, offer certain opportunities to think about more intersubjective ways of apprehending and orienting ourselves in the world. This discussion intends to contribute to an evaluation of the way we educate our children and our young people and to suggest a more ecological pedagogy, which is essential for humanity to deal with one of the main challenges of our century.

Communicology and Education. Possibilities for intersubjective experiences of knowledge

This paper positions Vilém Flusser’s pedagogical propositions in relation to his concept of communication, which in turn is based on his diagnosis of the ethical, aesthetic, and epistemological transformations currently being imposed on societies. The study starts from Flusser's understanding that cultural models are going through a crisis.  The core of this crisis lies in uncertainty concerning the consolidation of behaviours, experiences, and knowledge, an uncertainty readily observed in educational structures. Education, a subject not often explored in Flusserian thought, is understood here as ideologically planned communication for social functioning. This understanding is defended here as supporting the construction of more conscious and engaged new knowledge under the crisis conditions Flusser described. Because it resists both objectivation and subjectification of thought, intersubjectivity becomes a goal of education, a potential means of  creating dialogic environments.


In this interview, Fred Forest, Jean-Louis Poitevin and Martial Verdier, discuss the relationship between Fred Forest and Vilém Flusser, their collaboration over the years and the influence they had on each other’s work and thinking. Verdier was at one time Forest’s assistant; he is now Secrétaire Général of TK21 and has recorded and edited the discussion. The interview begins with their first meeting between Forest and Flusser and the person of Flusser himself. It then moves on to a major field of collaboration: gestures (ca. 4.38) and the role of dialogue and intersubjectivity (ca. 5.55). They also discuss the notion of apparatus (ca. 9.00), video (ca. 17.25) and the group “Art Scociologique” (ca. 20.25 and again ca. 37.40). Forest talks about the dissolution of the group and about one of his members Hervé Fischer (ca. 38.30) (see the interview with Fischer in this issue). Verdier questions Forest about Flusser’s impact on his work and the way he himself influenced Flusser’s thinking (ca. 29.30). The very last question concerns the future of art. The situation today, Forest says, is tragic, but there is also hope for “a return to more honest, profound and valuable” things.

Password: Flusser

Kopfkino – nach Flusser

In this paper I reflect on pictures. Kopfkino (cinema in the head) stands for a chain of associations that arises in my mind because of a pictorial impulse. By adopting many different points of view, I can modify and broaden those chains of associations and include new pictures or change old concepts. By referring to an example for such a Kopfkino, I explore how I can actively influence my Kopfkino with the help of Flusser’s writings.

Kopfkino (PDF 131.46 KB)

Interview avec Fred Forest / Entrevista com Fred Forest

This conversation about Vilém Flusser, between new media art critic Annick Bureaud and media artist Fred Forest, took place in Paris on December 22, 2008. Forest is a pioneer of video, media and network art whose actions and interventions establish pauses and disruptions in the usual flow of communication. His works are frequently critical, often humorous and on occasion insolent. Forest also writes and theorizes his own artistic creations besides maintaining a constant dialogue with philosophers and theorists. Flusser was one of those with whom intellectual exchange was always densely rich, productive and collaborative. In this interview, Forest speaks about some of his video projects developed with Flusser, as well as his news media and public interventions in the 1973 São Paulo Bienal, for which Flusser served as curator. Bureaud and Forest’s conversation bring to life the energy and more human, intersubjective exchanges that characterized the Forest-Flusser friendship, and which are seminal to both artistic creation and intellectual thought. Bureaud insightfully points out that unfortunately such vivid encounters are rarely found in scholarly research and in the history of art. In the hands of Forest and Flusser though, often overlooked gestures, shared for instance in a seemingly banal conversation on a summer afternoon or on a subway ride in Paris, become fully meaningful.

Interview (PDF 303.95 KB)
Entrevista (PDF 100.27 KB)