The known forms of criticism are only possible in certain habitable zones. Lately, these seem precariously confined to surfaces shrinking precipitously. Professions of critical humility abound, commonsensical, descriptive reading lessons about realism, flat ontologies, the mortifications of theory, etc., are legion. The lynch-pin of this pseudo-reading lesson involves retraining ourselves to want less as we wait in line for alien perspectives. This essay invites us for a journey to find Flusser’s Planet: a habitable zone for criticism. From Richard McGuire’s Here (2008) to Stephen Hawkings’ Five Favorite Places, following Flusser’s five-runged schema that plunges into inhuman deep time – in a four-dimensional, ancestral zone shared with animals, plants and rocks – and then reaches an apex of sorts in the zero-dimensional computational universe, the essay proposes a Flusserian form of criticism in the idea of an “extreme deixis,” a criticism that would emphasize the subject’s position in the world, with a focus on questioning temporality.
Can We Think Computation in Images or Numbers? Critical Remarks on Vilém Flusser’s Philosophy of Digital Technologies
The article questions Flusser’s concept of the computational universe based on technical images. Emphasizing the role of the calculative, formal consciousness the article suggests a non-representational, non-hermeneutical approach to “calculating machines” as machines that allow to mechanize a certain type of thinking (mathematical thinking). At the same time, the article reformulates Flusser’s search for a new philosophy as a critical intervention into the programmed universe, arguing that this philosophy must not follow its technical logic, but find a way to reflect how different techniques and practices shape the numerical, imaginative and textual consciousness.