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Computer

Vilém Flusser recognized the computer very early as a medium that is profoundly transforming all communication relations. He approaches the computer from very different perspectives: First, he associates it with “technical images,” in agreement with the “multimedia authors” of the 1980s, who discussed the computer primarily as a visual medium. He sees the new codes as the historical replacement of writing; the dawning of a new way of thinking that liberates itself from linearity and the “process-oriented, ‘progressive’ ideologies” (Does Writing Have a Future?, 2011, p. 147), and that transfers to apparatuses things which are in fact brain processes, ideas, and the images computed there.

Second, Flusser clearly sees that this is about numbers, intervals, and quanta. For example, in one of his texts he describes the “emigration of numbers from the alphanumeric code” (“Die Auswanderung der Zahlen aus dem alphanumerischen Code,” in: Matejovski and Kittler, Literatur im Informationszeitalter, 1996); in programs, he finds the “prescriptions,” Vorschriften, in the sense of instructions and programming (Does Writing Have a Future?, p. 55), and he seeks to redescribe images as a cloud of particles (Into the Universe of Technical Images, 2011, p. 16).

It is more about “computing” than about the apparatuses, about the networked society that is only now taking shape, and about the subjects who, “sitting in the nodes,” become the relays of the communication processes. And, ultimately, it is about the category of possibility: Flusser takes the concept of the “virtual” seriously and tries to show that computers open up a new world. That, above all, accounts for the optimism of his media theory.

Original article by Hartmut Winkler in Flusseriana

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