„Mit Schere und Klebstoff“: Überlegungen zur filmischen Techno-Imagination bei Vilém Flusser
This essay explores Flusser’s theoretical texts on the cinema and the concept of cinematic technical imagination. Flusser wrote about the cinema at two specific moments in his career, in the mid 1960ies and the late 1970ies. Altogether, however, this corpus amounts only to a handful of texts, very little indeed if compared to Flusser’s extremely prolific output on the philosophy of photography and the creative works of single photographers. In his analysis Flusser draws a radical distinction between film making and the structure of movie theaters, that is, between production and distribution. The cinema not only is far from having realized all its creative potential as a medium, the very way films are consumed thwarts the revolutionary force hidden within the medium. To really appreciate its force fully one would have to study the cinematic technical imagination and its ability to create a radically new vision of the world.
Vampyroteuthis: a Segunda Natureza do Cinema. A ‘Matéria’ do Filme e o Corpo do Espectador
Vilém Flusser's Vampyroteuthis Infernalis reenacts and actualizes the time-honored tradition of a mental experiment that purports to efface the boundaries between man and animal. This ancient conceptual device, known in Baroque times as physica naturalis, seeks to illuminate the world of culture by means of its approximation with the world of nature. Instead of opposing poles, nature and culture become reflecting mirrors where man can acknowledge his ties to nature and the animal kingdom. More than just a rhetorical trope, the so-called allegory of natural history comprises what could be defined as a "philosophy of animality," espoused by thinkers such as Walter Benjamin, Gilbert Simondon and Jacques Derrida. In Vampyroteuthis, Flusser resorts to a strange marine creature in order to elaborate a sophisticated meditation on human existence and our relationship with the technological apparatuses we incessantly devise. The goal of this paper is to examine the recent history of the allegory, tracing its developments in the works of contemporary scholars, such as Siegfried Zielinski, Manuel de Landa and Vilém Flusser himself. Moreover, it investigates the applicability of the "philosophy of animality" within the field of film theory, suggesting an approach to filmic experience that focuses on the "material" aspects of cinema and regards the spectator's body as a site for the translation of images into affect and sensation.