Flusser’s Plantonic Philosophy
This essay examines the imagery of trees in Flusser’s works such as Natural:Mind, as well as shorter essays “On the Forest” [Da Floresta] and “Plant Film.” The figure of trees and plants cut across the different facets of Flusser’s corpus: from his employment of Husserlian phenomenology, to his retooling of Heidegger’s metaphysics, to his views on media thinking and the apparatus. Understanding his engagement with the plant world can help us understand his modernist method of thinking and the importance of language as a mediating apparatus for thinking. Together, these ideas about trees offer a unique view into Flusser’s thinking of media as a locus of innovation and resistance – two modernist concerns par excellence.
Aberturas / Opening
“Openings” is the first of four essays written by Vilém Flusser regarding the work of Russian-Brazilian painter Samson Flexor (1907-1971). Published in “Suplemento Literário do Estado de São Paulo”, the article is marked by a heideggerian-existentialist style and presents what is probably Flusser's first concrete dive into a monstrous imaginary during his years in Brazil, where the philosopher lived between 1940 and 1973. Flusser's essays on Flexor are dated between 1967 and 71 and cover the “Bipeds” phase and the so-called “white” phase from the painter’s work. Later he would write one last essay, called “Flexor: in memoriam”, for the painter’s biography, written by Alice Brill in 1990. This Portuguese-English translation of “Aberturas” includes one photograph of Flexor with some of his "Bipeds" at the IX Bienal de São Paulo, in 1967.
"Für eine Phänomenologie des Fernsehens" I: Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Immanuel Kant und Günther Anders
Although Flusser does not explain and develop his philosophical and methodological claims on the first three pages of his mini treatise „Für eine Phänomenologie des Fernsehens“ (1997 <1974>), there is enough evidence for Flusser’s fundamentally phenomenological credo. The philosophers of Flusser’s implicit references can be unmistakably detected: Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Immanuel Kant and Günther Anders. On the one hand, Flusser appears to be strongly rooted in the phenomenological tradition. On the other, in a text on Husserl’s (late) philosophy written in 1986/87, Flusser reveals that he had changed his mind in the meantime turning to a sociology of media that dispenses with the phenomenological stance that was the main aim of his thinking on media in the 1970ies.
Um diálogo entre Flusser e Heidegger: o ser no universo
To Flusser, technical images create different meanings and realities, leading to an inversion of our “being-in-the-world” to a “being-face-to-face-with-the-image.” In this situation, the distinction between real and imagined, then, would no longer make sense, since only the image itself becomes something concrete. Thus, according to the author, we end up facing back the objective world. Regarding this statement, we propose, in this paper, through a dialog between Heidegger and Flusser, a discussion about being in the universe of technical images.
„Paradies und Hölle“. Vilém Flussers fabelhafte Expedition in die Abgründe der Tiefsee und des Menschen
Flusser’s philosophical fiction Vampyroteuthis Infernalis develops a complex and paradoxical conception of space and place, strongly inspired by Lamarckism and Darwinism and by his reading of Heidegger’s Being and Time. Exploring these and further intellectual sources, scientific contexts and similar literary scenes of submarine life, this paper reconstructs Flusser’s diabolical trip into the abyss and his intent to overcome anthropocentrism. From the methodological point of view, the paper belongs to the field of literary and cultural animal studies and focuses on topographical aspects included in Flusser’s hybrid tale of a deep-sea squid. Thus, the intrinsic relationships between completely different appearing spaces and species are highlighted.