On the premise that reality is language, or everything that can be thought is thought in language, for Vilém Flusser it follows logically that every creation is a linguistic creation. Artists are people who create reality, who have the ability to think what has not yet been thought, and to expand the limits of language. Anyone who tears down boundaries, bringing into play new forms of perception, of understanding, and of connection to something, is an artist. This is not an assumption of genius; on the contrary, anyone can be an artist – anyone who sets about trying to expand the limits of his or her own thinking. Everyone who creates language – whether philosopher, scientist, or poet – is an artist, since being an artist is connected to an ability, and not to rules structured by a specific model for thought.
Flusser’s broad and open concept of the artist is consistent with concepts developed by John Cage, Wolf Vostell, Joseph Beuys, and others from the 1950s onward. In addition, for Flusser the concept of “artist” has a goal that goes beyond the conventional use of the term and is not restricted to the world of artworks. Flusser introduces an aggregate of the concept that is distinct from the traditional understanding, because for him artists are people who create in a specific language – in this case the language of the visual arts. Within this language, Flusser abstracts the idea of the artist and generalizes it by transforming it; not only with respect to one language, but also for creation between languages. When the artist expands the realm of reality, he or she goes beyond the limits of individual languages, mixing them together, and in this way expands the universe of every language. In his article “Arte Viva” [Living Art] (in: Ficções Filosóficas, 1998), it is in this spirit that Flusser proposes that artists should expand their eld of action. Genetics and the possibility of engineering new life-forms in ways that are not yet biologically determined challenge artists to act, because these creations go far beyond any technical fabrications, and advance into the realm of the new. The new is poiesis, what has been made, the result of artistic activity.