Autotelic Digital Play: Flusser and the Gesture of Smoking a Pipe
This essay takes the form of a slide show that juxtaposes selected quotes from various authors and primarily from Vilém Flusser’s essay “The Gesture of Smoking a Pipe.” These excerpts are accompanied by a selection of short video documentaries of interactive installations created by some of my former students. This juxtaposition of quotes and videos, places side-by-side Flusser’s description of ritualistic, impractical everyday gestures, and the playfulness of interactive art experiences. As Ian Bogost argues in his essay “The Cigarette of this Century,” our 21st century smartphone addiction is comparable to the 20th century cigarette addiction. By contrast, could interactive art provide the same kind of magical, autotelic experience, away from our production and communication concerns, as pipe smoking has provided Flusser?A slide show
Programing the Visible: Dialogues between Vilém Flusser and Harun Farocki
The 2016 São Paulo exhibition “Programando o Invisível” [Programing the Invisible], showcasing works by the artist and filmmaker Harun Farocki (1944-2014), questioned the role of images in the 21st century, and particularly those images constructed by computer algorithms for video games. One of the videos in the exhibition captured the dialogue that took place between Farocki and Vilém Flusser (1920-1991) in 1986. In this theoretically rich and promising video, titled “Shocking sentences, shocking images: a conversation with Vilém Flusser,” they discussed the hegemony of images and of their power in programing our visibility. The theme is one of the central questions in both their works, as if the filmmaker and the philosopher were speaking about the same thing, although in different and complimentary ways. Their works similarly urge a reflection about the possibilities of creation of a critical perspective in face of our image culture, and they both emphasize the question of freedom in a society increasingly programed and dominated by technical images.