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The Gestures of the Professor (1974)

In 1972, Fred Forest1) traveled down to Fontevrault in central France, where the Flussers had settled soon after their return to Europe after 30 years in Brazil. He brought with him his Portapak excited at the prospect of doing some radical explorations of the potential of video for transforming society. Flusser saw in the collaboration with Forest an opportunity to develop his discourse on the gestures, a discourse for which video was particularly suited, in ways that extended radically from those available with the written word.


Two videos were shot on the same day with Flusser extemporizing freely in both speech and physical gesture on the phenomenology of Gestures, first in English and then in French. It is evidently a hot sunny day, Flusser has removed his shirt and is dressed only from the belt down, this accentuates the presence of the body of the thinker as part of its thought. Another salient feature of the video is the projection of strong shadows of the gesticulating Flusser on a wall.

Before shooting, the two collaborators had decided on certain rules they would follow:
a. Flusser would speak about gestures using gestures
b. Forest would not only record the gestures but also respond with his own (camera) gestures
c. Flusser would go on speaking and gesturing until the tape was over. If he finished before the tape was finished he would remain in front of the camera until the tape finished, allowing other potentialities of the video technology to reveal themselves.
d. it was intended that these tapes be shown in a public forum where the audience were to “criticize” the gestural discourse in the projects using their own gestures.

technical information

Title: Les gestes du professeur (The Gestures of the Professor)
Method: lecture
Location: Fontevrault, France
Date (created): 1972
Date (published): 1974, 2015
Filmed by: Forest, Fred
Produced by: Gottlieb, Baruch
Medium: video
Length: 00:41:42
Language: English (en), French (FR)
Genre: documentary
Source: Fred Forest - all rights reserved



Fred Forest, Les gestes du professeur. Version produced for the exhbition “BODENLOS:Vilém Flusser and the Arts” in 2015 by Baruch Gottlieb (41min42s)



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gestures_professor.txt · Last modified: 2023/01/29 21:13 by steffi_winkler