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Por um método flusseriano / For a Flusserian Method

In academic circles, Flusser has been traditionally considered to be a “minor” thinker, an author who lacks scholarly rigor and systematicity. If a text can be understood as a testimony of how thought operates, this article follows and explores in Flusser’s texts, his process of writing-thinking, as a particular method. To this end, three procedures will be invoked to systematize a methodological trinity: a form of affirmative writing that implies a certain economy of words; a paradoxical way of writing that creates, and afterwards dilutes dichotomies; and a textuality that is experiential, that is, an aesthetic of existence. The purpose of this endeavor is to create new methodological procedures inspired by Flusser’s processes of writing-action and thought-movement.

Método flusseriano (PDF 250.46 KB)
Flusserian Method (PDF 246.71 KB)

Imagens da Pós-História: um diálogo entre Flusser e Benjamin

This paper intends to establish a dialogue between Vilém Flusser and Walter Benjamin, considering their similarities and their differences. First, this approximation is inscribed in the philosophy of language, in which both authors take the category of “nomination” as a primordial act. Second, their common interest in technology and media, as determining elements in modern society, leads to a fertile and critical discussion towards the concepts of “technological reproducibility” and “technical image”. Finally, and no less important, is the philosophy of history, in which their positions contrast: their concepts of “history” and “post-history” are defined by the opposition between continuity and discontinuity. According to Flusser, history is essentially linear. It starts with the invention of writing and ends with the invention of technical images in post-history, which is essentially discontinuous. Benjamin, on the other hand, declines the concept of history as continuity, and develops a model based upon the principle of “assemblage”, in which history and post-history are simultaneously embraced. Flusser’s concept of post-history, nevertheless, is similar to Benjamin’s concept of history in some aspects, mainly in their common emphasis upon technical images. The crucial difference between them lies in the word “post-history” (Nachgeschichte), or “posterior history”, which in Benjamin does not have the same substantive meaning Flusser gives it, nor does it designate a specific period.

Há futuro para a tradução na sociedade pós-histórica? / Does Translation Have a Fu-ture in the Post-Historical Society?

Researchers studying Flusser’s work are faced with two apparently distinct periods: in the first period, while he lived in Brazil, Flusser developed his theory of language; in the second period, after his return to Europe, his theory of the media and post-historical society. In this paper, I intend to explore some of the connections between those two periods of Flusser’s thought, and point to some possible ways Flusser’s view on language and translation can be applied to his conception of post-historical society. Flusser's reflections suggesting that writing is coming to an end are analyzed here in an effort to identify the place occupied by translation in a world where history and writing are losing ground to technological images. In this context, this work emphasizes the crucial role assigned by Flusser to translation: that of building bridges, not only between different languages and cultures, but also between different fields and models of knowledge.

Há futuro (PDF 193.58 KB)
Does translation (PDF 202.9 KB)

Post-History, technical images and freedom in times of barbarism

Amongst the various media theorists who emerged in the last century, Walter Benjamin and Vilém Flusser are unquestionable references in regard to issues related to the narratives and the world of images. In addition to thinking about media devices and apparatuses beyond technical objects, both Benjamin and Flusser considered media images as concepts that articulate new epistemological and ontological views of the world.

On the other hand, it is possible to identify in both theorists thought processes that engage the concept of history with different perspectives. In line with critiques of a universal and hegemonic history, and without falling into an apologetic discourse about a presumed end of history, these authors offer us fresh perspectives in relation to historicism through a fruitful dialogue with the realm of technical images.

Post-history, technical images, and freedom in times of barbarism focuses not only upon contributions by Walter Benjamin and Vilém Flusser, but the article also examines the curatorial perspective of Arquivo Vivo, showcased at the Paço das Artes, in São Paulo, in 2013. This exhibition highlights the central position of art in the production of knowledge about images, history, and narratives within the framework of contemporaneity.

Post-History (PDF 228.26 KB)

A positividade da negação: o exílio de Flusser no Brasil

This text contextualizes Vilém Flusser’s exile in Brazil during the turbulent period of the civil-military uprising of the 1960s, both historiographically and philosophically. It focuses upon the Flusserian network and the discussions of his intellectual constellation. Flusser’s philosophical thoughts are examined through earlier writings including the books History of the Devil and Phenomenology of the Brazilian, in addition to essays published in newspapers, and to his personal correspondence. Interdiscoursive relations are further examined in reference to the writings of Ernesto Grassi and Ernst Jünger. Although Grassi and Jünger arrived in Brazil under different circumstances, they nevertheless introduced concepts that were somehow compatible with Flusser’s narrative of Brazilian history. Special attention is drawn to Flusser’s notion of “progress” and “history” in relation to the Cold War period.

Negação (PDF 252.3 KB)

É possível “hackear” a existência?

The purpose of this article is to broaden the application of Flusserian concepts by investigating the figure of the hacker as one who will replace the traditional figure of the revolutionary (as a historical agent). The hacker must be taken as a modus vivendi, a model of a daily practice required under the risk that we may be fully subsumed by the dynamics of the new context of post-historical relations.

Hackear (PDF 212.77 KB)

Creativity with Apparatuses: from Chamber Music to Telematic Dialog

This article examines Flusser’s ideas on creativity with apparatus as a model for communication in a telematic society. By placing Flusser’s thinking in the post World War II context, it explores relations to Walter Benjamin’s criticism of technical reproduction and Katherine Hayles’ notion of the post-human. By focusing on Flusser’s suggestion of chamber music as a prototype of telematic dialog, it proposes an analysis of chamber music, electroacoustic music and digital audio technology aiming to critically illuminate Flusser’s utopian vision of telematics dialog from the perspective of music.

Between Representation and Projection: Music in Vilém Flusser’s Work

According to Vilém Flusser, music has a logical-mathematical structure that corresponds to the basis of human thought in general. “Pure music,” supposedly free of language in the strict sense, exemplifies this point. By being independent of representation and figuration, “pure music” reveals the development of Western thought, which Flusser would also theorize through the decoding of letters into numbers. For Flusser, the mathematical structure of thought represented by the concept of “pure music” also leads to the advent of machines and apparatus, similar to the way the decoding of words into numbers brings forth the abstraction of calculation. Computers, for instance, can project worlds onto the human senses with equally creative possibilities. The proximity between music and calculation allows for an understanding of music in contrast with musicological or historical approaches. In this sense, music is an element of Flusser's thought which anticipates some of his themes. Flusser's understanding of music as a mathematical concept independent of representation is further exemplified by his formulation of a telematic society based upon the model of chamber music.

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.

Segunda Natureza (PDF 354.65 KB)

O retrato de Rosa em Bodenlos

Romance comes from a human illusion: ”l'illusion de pouvoir comprendre autrui.” With this phrase, Czech writer Milan Kundera, in his book entitled Le Livre du rire et de l'oublie, satirizes the proliferation of the memorialist or intimate writing of the 20th century. Without writing romance and without intending to comprehend his own life on the basis of what sequential and causal logic may propose, the writer Vilém Flusser, also Czech, writes Bodenlos. In Bodenlos, the profile created of the Brazilian writer João Guimarães Rosa (in form of a portrait) helps in creating the writer’s own. This article proposes to relate Rosa and Flusser using Bodenlos as a basis for what?

O retrato de Rosa (PDF 135.28 KB)