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Flusser’s Belief

This text is the third chapter of David Levis Strauss’ Photography and Belief, an examination of past and present convictions about the reality, authenticity, trustworthiness of the photographic image. Following on from considerations of the subjectivity of a photograph as developed by Benjamin, Barthes, and Berger, the photograph’s status as a sign and the implications of its indexicality, this chapter positions photography in a far broader context.  For Flusser recognises the photograph as the onset of a shift in human communications as vast as the invention of writing, introducing visual codes that undermine those of alphabetic writing, and opening completely different means of generating and storing information. Although Flusser spoke little of belief as such, he did speak often of doubt.  If we accept that doubt is not the opposite of belief, but of certainty, his approach touches continually on questions of belief. For Flusser remains uncertain whether the new society based on technical images – the first being the photograph – will be the most creatively exciting, humane society the world has ever known, or its very opposite, a mindless network of functionaries.

Flusser’s Belief (PDF 316.09 KB)

Estética da Fotografia: um diálogo entre Benjamin e Flusser

This article seeks to establish a dialogue between the philosophical aesthetics of Walter Benjamin and Vilém Flusser, by pointing out the various intersections and resonances relating the two thinkers in their unique vision of the place and role of photography in contemporary culture. For both philosophers, the photographic apparatus in fact operates a fundamental cut, a paradigmatic rupture not only in the universe of images and in terms of a visual ontology, but in our own way of being and being-in-world. It is not just a new image (mechanical, reproducible, multipliable), but a new apparatus, a medium that brings into play a series of perceptual metamorphosis by introducing new ways of feeling and perceiving the world. Therefore, radically transforming our relationship with the visible and its invisible counterpart.

Estética (PDF 363.64 KB)

De Flusser a Benjamin – do pós-aurático às imagens técnicas

This text presents some elective affinities and differences between the works of two powerful media theoreticians of the 20th century: Water Benjamin and Vilém Flusser. Both authors have shaped original perspectives on the relationship between art and technology. While holding a special place for the theory of photography, both have reflected upon the history of writing and its transformations during Modernity. In addition, both Benjamin and Flusser dedicated important texts to the question of translation and the philosophy of language. This text also examines the differences between the Benjaminian theory of writing and image reproduction connected to his concept of post-auratic images, and, on the other hand, the Flusserian theory of technical and post-historical images.

De Flusser a Benjamin (PDF 156.83 KB)

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