Daniel Irrgang is a research associate at Weizenbaum Institute, Berlin, within the research group ‘Inequality and Digital Sovereignty‘. He holds a PhD in media studies on diagrammatics and expanded mind with a case study on Vilém Flusser’s concept of technical image. Among other fields, his research focusses on visual depictions of information from a media theory/cognitive studies perspective, interface or HCI paradigms, exhibition concepts as well as epistemological problems, often in a media archaeological context.
Articles of Daniel Irrgang
Reversing the vectors of meaning. The diagrammatic language of Vilém Flusser
According to his own cultural analysis, Flusser was a man of yesterday. He, who wrote nearly every day of his life, was himself subject to the “textolatry” of modernity. A modernity, though, which would soon shift into a new epoch which Flusser and others had given similar names: post-histoire, post- modernity, information or telematic society. In this new situation, according to Flusser, written text would become a marginal code, soon to be superseded by the “technical image” as universal means of communication and information storage. Thus, Flusser described authors like himself, which would stay engaged with text, as “the new illiterates” of the upcoming age. But although Flusser was a man of the written word, I will argue that there was at least one type of sign system with which he also operated frequently and which can be linked to his image heuristics: the diagram. Scattered over his manuscripts, letters and notes, over 160 diagrammatic sketches can be found in the Vilém Flusser Archive. Compared to the thousands of documents in the archive, this seems to be a small number. But his diagrammatic sketches are not only interesting considering the nearly exclusively textual character of Flusser’s legacy; they can also be described as Flusserian technical images. According to the semiotic definition of the diagram by Charles S. Peirce, diagrammatic signs constitute a specific subclass of the icon: A diagram resembles its object not by visual but structural similarity. By drawing a diagram, one proposes a hypothesis about the structure of its object, thus manifesting an abstract concept as a concrete sign. Here we come close to Flusser’s notion of technical images as projections of abstract models. Following up on this comparison, the paper pleas for a non-trivial relation between Flusser’s heuristic of the technical image and his diagrammatic practice.
Flusser-Quellen. Teil I: Vorwort des Vilém Flusser Archivs, Oktober 2017
Flusser-Quellen (Flusser-Sources) is a comprehensive list of all of Vilém Flusser’s texts published between 1960 and 2002. It includes essays, book chapters, books CDs in seven different languages. It also contains a list of all interviews and videos directly related to his person and his work. Flusser-Quellen was developed by Klaus Sander in collaboration with the Vilém Flusser Archive and Andreas Müller-Pohle’s European Photography. The original plan was to publish this material as a volume of Müller-Pohle’s Editions of Flusser, together with a CD-ROM version. The material can be accessed here: http://s3.amazonaws.com/arena-attachments/1485097/d85714e287d539db39da46f0e5198b20.pdf?1512484296
Die Briefe zwischen Vilém Flusser und Felix Philipp Ingold, 1981–1990
This article examines the correspondence between Vilém Flusser and Felix Philipp Ingold, a professor of cultural and social history of Russia, besides being a well-known poet, writer, and translator. In this extensive correspondence (1981–1990), both scholars reflect upon and criticize each other’s work, in a very productive manner. Especially Flusser, who was challenged to be more precise about central terms of his cultural philosophy, and media/communication theory. The article gives an overview of the last topics discussed by them. However, because it could not equality examine all concepts in depth, it focus upon the correspondence that helped Flusser clarify his concept of technical/synthetic image – which remains, nevertheless, an ambivalent term.