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Polona Tratnik

Polona Tratnik is Scientific Councilor at Institute IRRIS, Full Professor and Dean of Faculty for Slovene and International Studies of New University. She was a Fulbright visiting scholar and guest professor in the USA, China, Finland, and Mexico. She is the president of the Slovenian Society of Aesthetics, and vice-secretary general of the International Association of Aesthetics. She has authored Conquest of Body. Biopower with Biotechnology (Springer, 2017) and Hacer-vivir más allá del cuerpo y del medio (Herder, 2013).

Articles of Polona Tratnik

Flusser’s Vampyrotheutic Sublime

This short essay suggests that Flusser found in the Vampire Squid a modern sublime: an animal that escapes instrumental mentality and creates a human fear of the unknown. In Vampyroteuthis Infernalis Flusser discussed the cephalopod, which he imagined to be a giant “beast,” and its deep-sea habitat. He was aware of the impossibility of the two species, Vampyroteuthis Infernalis and human, to meet. Such meeting would sublate the subject-object relationship. While he respects the vampire squid and its inhuman Umwelt, Flusser still imagines the creature as an impossibly powerful, alien thing. In this regard, Vampyroteuthis Infernalis and the greatness of its abyss unfold the sublime.

Vampyrotheutic Sublime (PDF 307.42 KB)

Art as Acting Against the Program of the Apparatus

Vilém Flusser is one of the first scholars to address the systems of technical media, as well as the biotechnological manipulation of the living world, in relation to the issue of programmability. In this regard Flusser questioned the position of the actor, the operator or perhaps the creator in these systems. If the functionary and the apparatus merge into a unit and apparatus has its program, what is the role the artist if he or she is not just anyone who is exhausting the options offered by the program? In the paper the functionary of the apparatus of the camera and the “creator” in the field of biotechnics are compared in order to establish the similarities in both “creative” practices of an (artistic) photographer and of a biotechnological artist, as well as discuss the similarities with other artistic practices discussed by Flusser. The apparatus functions as “intelligent machine” thus it has certain power. The subject involved in the game of the apparatus is subjected to its structure. The question is, how to establish the critical stance, how to act against the apparatus. This transposes the notion of an artist as a supposed creator to the notion of an artist as the one who resists the structures of power.

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