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City

The city that Vilém Flusser takes as his measure is a philosopher’s dream in the Platonic tradition. The essential parts of this city are the hill, the market, and buildings: the hill – the most pleasant place, unburdened by work – is the place of wisdom and leisure; the market is the place of political life and attracts the intellectuals; buildings are for work, production, and consumption.

Flusser saw the city in his day as dominated by buildings, that is, by work, production, and consumption. But in fact all people are made for the hill, that is to say, for the free and universal exchange of information. In keeping with this goal, Flusser designed the new city as a single network structure that spans the globe. All work is mechanized; people are relieved of it. The hill is not just accessible to the few but to all of humanity – such was Flusser’s projection of the ideal city onto the conditions of the late twentieth century, which are determined by science and technology.

Flusser’s idea of a network that allows information to ow freely and universally, which can be consolidated, enriched, and stored, became manifest in the development of the Internet. However, the network utopias developed around 1990, not just by Flusser, have given way to disillusionment through control of the Internet as well as political and economic conflicts over the unhampered ow of information. The delegation of work to machines has progressed, but without the effect of liberating the many. Urban dwellers and cultures that are producing new ways to form and influence political opinion by means of and within information infrastructures, both globally and locally, give reason to hope that the free and playful energies of Flusser’s new city will occasionally be released all over the world. In some cases, they reach not just the hills, but also the markets and the buildings.

Original article by Susanne Hauser in Flusseriana

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city.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/05 17:47 (external edit)