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Vilém Flusser’s Fluss (1991)

The media artist Michael Bielicky paid Vilém Flusser a visit in late August of 1991 at his residence in Robion, France. The two of them had met three years before at the European Media Art Festival in Osnabrück.


This experimental videodocumentation portrays the more performative gestures of Flusser’s thinking and mediation of knowledge, accompanying him on his garden terrace, on walks through and around Robion, as well as playing chest. In a series of six chapters Flusser discusses his notion of “technical revolutions”, Jewish religion, language and image culture, the alphabet as cultural memetics, as well as the prehistory and history of Southern France. In a more serious tone, he reflects the fall of the Sovietunion, issuing a word of warning to the impending resurgence of the murderous nationalistic ideologies which had been challenged and subdued by the Russian Revolution. Against this background, Flusser paints a more hopeful vision of the future with his notion of a “telematic society”, a society wherein ideology has been superseded by formal thinking, in which people are connected through their competences and can find dignified forms of living.


“Wenn wir gegenwärtig Zeugen einerdoppelten Umkodierung der Schrift sind – einerseits wird die Schrift in Bilder umkodiert, zum Beispiel in Form von Videos, wie Sie es jetzt gerade verwenden, andererseits wird die Schrift in Zahlen umkodiert und diese Zahlen können Bilder generieren, die so genannten numerisch-generierten Bilder. Wenn dies der Fall ist, wenn also gegenwärtig die Schrift in eine Zange genommen wird und einerseits seitens Zahl und andererseits seitens Bildern zerknackt wird, so bedeutet das ein Ende des Geschichtsbewusstseins und ein Ersetzen dieses Bewusstseins durch ein neues, das wir mangels etwas Positivem das post-historische Bewusstsein nennen.” 14:35-17:20
If we are currently witnessing a double recoding of writing - on the one hand, writing is being recoded into images, for example in the form of videos, as you are using right now, and on the other hand, writing is being recoded into numbers and these numbers can generate images, the so-called numerically-generated images. If this is the case, if therefore at present the writing is pincered and crushed both on the side of number and images, this means an end of the historical consciousness and a replacement of this consciousness by a new one, which for lack of something positive we call the post-historical consciousness.


The transcript to this video was edited in German by Steffi Winkler1) and translated to English by Baruch Gottlieb2) published in Flusser Studies 17, May 2014.

technical information

Title: Vilém Flusser’s Fluss
Genre: documentary
Location: Robion, France
Date: 1991
Published: 1994
Medium: video
By: Bielicky, Michael
Length: 00:36:58
Language: German (de)
VFA-Doc: VHS_022a
Source: Michael Bielicky - all rights reserved



Michael Bielicky, Vilém Flussers Fluß. Eine Dokumentation, Köln 1994 (235 Media Verlag, 45min)



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flussers_fluss.txt · Last modified: 2023/01/29 21:35 by steffi_winkler