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Ménage à trois: Riflessioni sulle nozioni di diafanità e trasparenza nell’opera di Mira Schendel, Jean Gebser e Vilém Flusser

This paper deals with the difficult friendship between Mira Schendel and Vilém Flusser, as well as the role, which the life and work of the German philosopher, writer, and translator Jean Gebser (1905-1973) played in their dialogue. In the late 1960s, Schendel and Flusser studied and discussed Gebser’s Ursprung und Gegenwart. Schendel, who visited Gebser in Switzerland in 1968, was profoundly influenced by his spiritual view of reality and used his notion of Diaphanität (transparency) to interpret her own early work. In a few essays and in the Bodenlos’ chapter dedicated to Schendel, Flusser reinterpreted the work of the Brazilian artist in terms of his own philosophy, transforming the religious notion of Diaphanität into the sole ability to see beyond the surface of things. This, however, is only one aspect of the complex relationship between the three thinkers. The paper also deals with the impact the text in Bodenlos had on the Flusser-Schendel relationship and with the pervasive influence of Gebser’s work upon Flusser’s thought between the 1950s and the 1980s. Gebser’s model of the four different and succeeding Bewußtseinsmutationen, mutations of conscience, proposes five different dimensions (Bewußtseinsstrukturen), which move from zero to the fourth dimension. This notion can also be found in Flusser’s model of code evolution, which he developed in Into the Universe of Technical Images. Flusser proposed five stages, which move, however, in reverse, from four to zero dimensionality.

Ménage à trois (PDF 531.78 KB)

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