Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Writings

2004
Author:

Vilém Flusser
Andreas Ströhl, editor
Translated by Erik Eisel

Writings

Key writings from one of Europe’s most provocative theorists

Vilém Flusser’s innovative writings theorize—and ultimately embrace—the epochal shift that humanity is undergoing from what he termed "linear thinking" (based on writing) toward a new form of multidimensional, visual thinking embodied by digital culture. For Flusser, these new modes and technologies of communication make possible a society (the "telematic" society) in which dialogue between people becomes the supreme value.

This collection of essays examines with extraordinary range and depth the key tension between the inescapability of change and the necessity of forming permanent attachments in a world transfigured by digital technology and literal displacements.

Theory and Event

Ten years after his death, Vilém Flusser’s reputation as one of Europe’s most original modern philosophers continues to grow. Increasingly influential in Europe and Latin America, the Prague-born intellectual’s thought has until now remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world. His innovative writings theorize—and ultimately embrace—the epochal shift that humanity is undergoing from what he termed "linear thinking" (based on writing) toward a new form of multidimensional, visual thinking embodied by digital culture. For Flusser, these new modes and technologies of communication make possible a society (the "telematic" society) in which dialogue between people becomes the supreme value.

The first English-language anthology of Flusser’s work, this volume displays the extraordinary range and subtlety of his intellect. A number of the essays collected here introduce and elaborate his theory of communication, influenced by thinkers as diverse as Martin Buber, Edmund Husserl, and Thomas Kuhn. While taking dystopian, posthuman visions of communication technologies into account, Flusser celebrates their liberatory and humanizing aspects. For Flusser, existence was akin to being thrown into an abyss of absurd experience or "bottomlessness;" becoming human required creating meaning out of this painful event by consciously connecting with others, in part through such technologies. Other essays present Flusser’s thoughts on the future of writing, the revolutionary nature of photography, the relationship between exile and creativity, and his unconventional concept of posthistory. Taken together, these essays confirm Flusser’s importance and prescience within contemporary philosophy.

Writings

Vilém Flusser (1920–1991) was born in Prague and taught philosophy in Brazil.

Andreas Ströhl is director of the film department at the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes in Munich.

Erik Eisel works for a software technology company in Southern California.

Writings

This collection of essays examines with extraordinary range and depth the key tension between the inescapability of change and the necessity of forming permanent attachments in a world transfigured by digital technology and literal displacements.

Theory and Event

Until now there has been a dismal lack of translation of Flusser’s work here in the United States, which makes Andreas Ströhl’s carefully compiled collection all the more important. Flusser is the perfect theorist to read after postmodernity because in his work there is a forward-looking gesture addressing our current situation, that of a transitional period between epochs.

Rain Taxi

This collection is a must-read introduction into the connected and networked world of one of the most original and prophetic thinkers of the past century.

Leonardo

Writings

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction Andreas Ströhl

What Is Communication?
On the Theory of Communication
Line and Surface
The Codified World
Criteria—Crisis—Criticism
Habit: The True Aesthetic Criterion
Betrayal
The Future of Writing
Images in the New Media
On the Crisis of Our Models
Change of Paradigms
Taking Up Residence in Homelessness
Exile and Creativity
A New Imagination
Mythical,Historical,and Posthistorical Existence
Photography and History
A Historiography Revised
The Vanity of History
On the End of History
Waiting for Kafka
Orders of Magnitude and Humanism
Celebrating
Designing Cities
Humanizations
Essays
In Search of Meaning (Philosophical Self-portrait)
Selected Bibliography
Copyright and Original Publication Information

Index