Mass media bundling (fascis, bundle) is a negative concept for Vilém Flusser that harbors the danger of totalitarian or fascist utilization of the bundling of information. He describes as fascist a certain form of communication, regardless of its ideological content. For Flusser, dialogic network structures represent an alternative to bundling. Hence he distinguishes between bundling and networking, between one-channel media (mass media that follow a bundling circuit diagram in which broadcasters send bundled information to powerless recipients) and two-channel media (circuit diagrams based on setting up networks).
In his lecture “Telematik: Verbündelung oder Vernetzung?” [Telematics: Bundling or Networking?], Flusser applies his dialogic principle to the emerging information society (“Verbündelung oder Vernetzung?,” in: Bollmann, Kursbuch Neue Medien, 1995). His method could be called an “anthropology of the Internet”: According to Flusser, people are nodes of relationships that materialize only in relation to others. In this type of construction, proximity is not a category of spatial or temporal distance, but instead a category of the number and intensity of the relationships that connect people to others. Media produce bundles transmitted by broadcasting centers. Dialogic threads – cables, videos, etc. – can connect the fascist bundles into networks (“To Scatter,” in: Into the Universe of Technical Images, 2011). Achieving that requires overcoming the present consensus between images and their bundled transmissions on the one hand, and the receivers of the images on the other hand.
Flusser presumes that the consensus between image and human being results from people’s reluctance to assemble as well as the purpose of the images to distract people. In his view this needs to be countered by the consensus of a human visual culture that carries scattering over into a new kind of assembling – and converts bundling into a dialogic network. Flusser’s goal is a utopian (democratic) and telematic information society in which networking penetrates the mass media through and through; in which the networked islands, such as computer terminals or hypertexts, are able to tear apart the bundling. Images, sounds, and information establish interrelationships that result from the growing interlinking of computers and means of telecommunication.
Original article by Angela Lammert in Flusseriana