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Arjen Mulder

Arjen Mulder is a biologist and media theorist and has published several books of  essays on the relationship between technical media, physical experiences and art. His books include 5 Dutch books with essays, including Het fotografisch genoegen (The Photographic Enjoyment, 2000), De vrouw voor wie Cesare Pavese zelfmoord pleegde (The Woman for whom Cesare Pavese Committed Suicide, 2005), and Wat is leven? (What is Life? 2014) In English: Book for the Electronic Arts (with Maaike Post, 2000), Understanding Media Theory (2004) and From Image to Interaction (2010). He co-edited a series of books including transUrbanism (2002), Information Is Alive (2003), Feelings Are Always Local (2004), aRt&D: Research and Development in Art (2005), Interact or Die! (2007, MediaArtResearchAward 2008 at Ars Electronica), Dick Raaymakers Monography (2008), The Politics of the Impure (2010) and Vital Beauty (2012). He lives in Amsterdam, Holland, and teaches media theory and social semiotics in Rotterdam and Ghent (Be).

Articles of Arjen Mulder


Flussers In the Universe of Technical Images was published in 1985, and was part of a surge of speculative, science-fiction like books and films about the information age that was slowly but surely emerging. Related titles include William Gibsons Neuromancer (1984), Jean Baudrillards Fatal Strategies (1983), Paul Virilio’s Negative Horizon (1984), and James Camerons The Terminator (1984). In the book Flusser tries to speculatively come up with a set of concepts that would allow him to enter into the Universe of technical images that is slowly but surely coming about in the 1980’s. In Chapter 11 he makes a fundamental shift in his writing strategy, and decides to go beyond the philosophical project of inventing new concepts for new situations, and actually enter the Universe of Technical Images in order to become the future ‘telematic man’. The next 10 chapters are among the best ever written by Flusser and describe what he sees and experiences as telematic philosopher in UTI. He makes a distinction between traditional or handmade images, technical or machinic images and dialogical, digital images. This last category is interactive, democratic, open, divine, as is the corresponding telematic man.

Meaning and Agency in the Universe of Technical Images

This presentation is about the differences between traditional or handmade images, technical images made by apparatuses, and dialogical, interactive images. What Flusser called technical images we call analogue images. Digital images are understood by Flusser under the name of dialogical or interactive images. Flusser wasn’t yet able to make this clear distinction in 1985 when writing Into the Universe of Technical Images, but this is how both types of images developed since then.

Meaning and Agency (PDF 1.32 MB)

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