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Fotografieren als phänomenologische Tätigkeit. Zur Husserl-Rezeption bei Flusser

Vilém Flusser not only defines his theoretical work as phenomenology, he considers the act of photography itself a phenomenological act. For this reason this contribution seeks to answer the question how much Flusser’s conception of phenomenology owes to Edmund Husserl and in what ways he has transformed Husserl’s own philosophical tenets. The main idea of this essay is that Flusser has reduced Husserl’s phenomenology to the concept of phenomenography. Nowhere in Flusser, in fact, can we trace any mention of Husserl’s idea of phenomenology as an aprioristic science of essentials. On the basis of this reduced understanding of phenomenology as a cultural science, however, Flusser discovers a remarkable structural affinity between philosophy and photography.

Fotografieren (PDF 188.67 KB)

Das Strahlen in der Black Box. – Sprechen und Hören in der Medienphilosophie Vilém Flussers

This essay explores the rather rare studies on the subjects of speaking and hearing in the works of Vilém Flusser. It begins by identifying the historical and systematical modes of speaking and hearing in Flusser’s media philosophy. The phenomenology of the body (Leib) plays a central role in the discussion of these particular modes of communication. Significant for Flusser’s interpretation of these modes is the relation they have to a notion of political space. In this regard the essay asks: what is the impact of “the end of politics” on speaking and hearing?

A perturbante estranheza do Novo: o Brasil de Vilém Flusser

Is Flusser’s Phenomenology of the Brazilian a Brazilian utopia or does it contain just the depiction of an alienated underdeveloped country? The article tries to demonstrate that it is neither. Surely, there is a utopian tradition to “thinking” Brazil. Right from its “discovery,” Brazil was a utopia. In some way, even the utopian genre as such is Brazilian, as Utopia (1516) was (vaguely) written within the context of the debate over the “discovery” of Brazil. But, of course, a utopia is not about the other but about the self. Nevertheless, Brazil also inaugurated a rather distinct tradition of discourse: the discourse about the New. Brazil, in the sixteenth century, was the “New World” (Vespucci). The idea of a “New World” requires a conceptual revolution as it necessarily alters what was the world before: one’s own world ages. Flusser continues this tradition. He thinks Brazil neither as a better nor as a worse complement to the European self but as something which, from a European/“occidental” point of view, is unimaginable, absurd, even abject. His book is about the strangeness of Brazil and its disproportionate difference. To think the New is almost impossible (and, occasionally, Flusser cannot avoid slipping into the utopian trap). It seeks to overcome the categories of thinking of the self as it emerges, however, the self can only find absence and even perversion of meaning. So, to the “occidental” eye, and as an underdeveloped country, Brazil appears principally as a country of alienation. This means that the Brazilians degenerated from the human way of being perceived as “true” to the “occidental” eye. Now, Flussers asks: what is the true human way of being? It is teleological concept. The Brazilians never had a “true” being to lose. The concepts of alienation and underdevelopment, therefore, are not only inappropriate for “thinking” Brazil, they hinder the conception of the profound alterity of the country. What is unthinkable and inadmissible for these categories is the place of the New. The New, in conclusion, only appears if the self changes and becomes other. In this sense, to think the New which Brazil represents means to become Brazilian, which is what happens with the narrator-immigrant of the book.

Estranheza do Novo (PDF 150.1 KB)

No-nada. Formas brasileiras do niilismo

In his notes from 1887-1888 Nietzsche wrote that “European Nihilism," the “uncanniest all of guests” [unheimlichste aller Gäste], is already waiting at the door. He tried to show that there will be several ways of nihilism in history. The present essay investigates the question, starting out from Vilem Flusser's “Fenomenologia do Brasileiro," whether there are specific “brazilian ways of being-in-nothing” [estar-no-nada].

No-nada (PDF 134.14 KB)

Verwurzelung und Bodenlosigkeit – Strukturelle Fremdheit bei Vilém Flusser

The paper delivers a reading of Flusser’s Concept ‘Bodenlosigkeit’ (groundlessness) with respect to the Husserlian concept of ‘Lebenswelt’ (life-world). By examining the connection between ‘Bodenlosigkeit’ with its complementary term ‘Verwurzelung’ (rootage), ‘Bodenlosigkeit’ is illustrated as Flusser’s idea for what current phenomenological approaches call ‘structural foreignness.’ ‘Structural foreignness’ functions as an important premise for Flusser’s subsequent philosophy of dialogue and communication.