Between Representation and Projection: Music in Vilém Flusser’s Work
According to Vilém Flusser, music has a logical-mathematical structure that corresponds to the basis of human thought in general. “Pure music,” supposedly free of language in the strict sense, exemplifies this point. By being independent of representation and figuration, “pure music” reveals the development of Western thought, which Flusser would also theorize through the decoding of letters into numbers. For Flusser, the mathematical structure of thought represented by the concept of “pure music” also leads to the advent of machines and apparatus, similar to the way the decoding of words into numbers brings forth the abstraction of calculation. Computers, for instance, can project worlds onto the human senses with equally creative possibilities. The proximity between music and calculation allows for an understanding of music in contrast with musicological or historical approaches. In this sense, music is an element of Flusser's thought which anticipates some of his themes. Flusser's understanding of music as a mathematical concept independent of representation is further exemplified by his formulation of a telematic society based upon the model of chamber music.