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Drei Zeitstrukturen (1988/1990)

Presumably between 1988 and 1990, Vilém Flusser gives a German-language lecture on three time structures. For the as yet unpublished archival material, time and place remain uncertain.

With Flusser's remarks, it remains to be assumed that the lecture took place in October 1988 in the Bürgerhaus in Cologne. Flusser himself explicitly locates himself in Germany and refers to three previous video-related events - possibly EMAF, April 1988, Electronica, September 1988 and 5th Film- und Videotreff Köln, October 1988.

The lecture's content refers to Flusser's publications Drei Zeiten. In: Sterz. Zeitschrift für Literatur, Kunst und Kulturpolitik, Graz, No. 48, December 1989, p. 31 and the related version with the same typescript title, published as Die Zeit als Rad und Fluss und Sandhaufen. In: Basler Zeitung, December 1988, again in: Nachgeschichten, 1990 and in: Nachgeschichte, 1993.1)


In this lecture, Vilém Flusser describes three distinct notions of time and their related modes of being and thinking. The first is that of magical consciousness, one that steps back from the world, in which time circulates, in order to generate an image of this world. The second is conceptual consciousness, one that swims in the world and is chained to its chains of causality. It aims to grasp and understand these chains in order to change them according to its own will. The final notion of time is driven by a calculating and computational consciousness, one that struggles against the world by disassembling it into bits, in order to synthesise improbable situations in the world. He emphasises that the gesture of calculating is always incited by the intent to compute, i.e. to analyse in order to synthesise, this corresponds to his notion of Einbildungskraft, the capacity to put ideas into an image.


“Zeit ist jene Tendenz, dank welcher die Welt immer gleichmäßiger, wahrscheinlicher wird. Oder wenn sie das umgekehrt sagen würden: Zeit ist jene Tendenz, nach welcher die Welt immer mehr Informationen verliert. Es ist jene Tendenz, nach welcher die Welt immer voraussichtlicher wird, immer langweiliger, immer monotoner, immer banaler. Je monotoner, banaler ein Sachverhalt, desto neuer.”
Time is that tendency thanks to which the world becomes more and more uniform, more and more probable. Or if they would say it the other way around: Time is that tendency according to which the world loses more and more information. It is that tendency according to which the world becomes more and more probable, more and more boring, more and more monotonous, more and more banal. The more monotonous, the more banal a fact, the more new.
“Oh Liebe! Könntest du dich mit mir mit dem Schicksal so verschwören, dass wir diesen ganzen jämmerlichen Zusammenhang der Dinge gänzlich erfassen. Würden wir es nicht in Bits zerfetzen um es dann nach Herzenswunsch zu komputieren? Was die Leute ringsherum sehen, all diese Katastrophenpropheten, ist, dass wir fähig geworden sind, dieses ganze jämmerliche Zeug in Bits zu zerschmettern. Was sie nicht sehen, ist, dass wir fähig geworden sind, dieses jämmerliche Zeug nach Herzenswunsch zu rekomputieren.”
Oh love! Could you conspire with me with the fate so that we grasp this whole miserable connection of the things completely. Wouldn't we shred it into bits to compute it according to our heart's desire? What people all around see, all these prophets of disaster, is that we have become capable of shattering all this pathetic stuff into bits. What they don't see is that we have become able to recompute this miserable stuff according to our heart's desire.

technical information

Title: Drei Zeitstrukturen (Three Time Structures)
Method: lecture
Location: Unknown (Cologne, Germany?)
Date: 1988/1990?
Filmed by: ?
Length: 02:01:38
Language: German (de)
VFA-Doc: VHS_022b
Source: Vilém Flusser Archive (VFA)



Vilém Flusser, Drei Zeitstrukturen (After Flusser’s Fluss), Unpublished video, Vilém Flusser Archive Berlin, 121‘38‘‘



Klaus Sander, Flusser-Quellen. Eine kommentierte Bibliografie Vilém Flussers von 1960–2002, in: Vilém Flusser Archive, Projects, (formerly intended for publication at European Photography, Edition Flusser, vol. I)
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drei_zeitstrukturen.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/05 17:47 (external edit)