The concept of the archaeological disciplines that Michel Foucault adapted for science in his famous work The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (French original 1966) was explicitly used by Vilém Flusser in his essay “A Consumidora” [The Consumer], published as “A Consumidora Consumida” [The Consumed Consumer] in the magazine Comentário by the Instituto Brasileiro Judaico de Cultura e Divulgação [Jewish-Brazilian Institute of Culture and Information] in Rio de Janeiro in 1972. There are many instances in Flusser’s work where he has recourse to an archaeological mode of thought and accounts for his thinking as “excavating” deep-lying layers of objects. This can apply to the realm of language and images, the historical and prehistorical anthropological world, the areas of gestures and body language, or the realm of culture and values.
Flusser states that today, disciplines which deal with the thick strata of the “[cultural] past that is rejected, blanked out, and ostensibly has been overcome” (“A Consumidora Consumida,” in: Comentário, vol. 13, no. 51, 1972, p. 39; translated from the Portuguese) are garnering increasedattention. This past conditions us far more than the “historical past.” Because it strongly influences us, “we are losing interest in history and becoming more interested in archaeology (which is basically researching waste)” (ibid.; translated from the Portuguese). This results in the emergence of archaeological disciplines, such as ecology, psychoanalysis, etymology, mythology, etc., which are more forceful and which investigate “waste” in an efficient way. Their obvious function is to free us from “waste determinism,” just like the natural sciences seek to free us from “natural determinism,” and the cultural sciences that “endeavor to free us from cultural determinism” (ibid., p. 40; translated from the Portuguese).