Vilém Flusser looks at the world as a relational field in which infinite virtualities resonate. Among these, there are also humans who only self-actualize when they enter into dialogic relations with others. Accordingly, the terms “individual” and “society” cannot be considered as separate from one another, and if this happens we are confronted by abstract extrapolations: “Neither the human being nor the society is concrete, but rather the relational field, the network of intersubjective relations.” (“Verbündelung oderVernetzung?,” in: Bollmann, Kursbuch Neue Medien, 1995, p. 16; translated from the German).
As in Martin Buber’s work, it is the relation with the “You” that makes the “I” real, thus Flusser believes that humans are knots within relations that become real only in relation to others. Intersubjective networks, therefore, are the only structures from which both individuals and society can emerge (ibid.). In this view, “[w]e are but knots within a universal network of information flux that receive, process and transmit information” (“On Memory,” in: Leonardo, vol. 23, no. 4, 1990, p. 399).
Flusser envisions an information society based on network structures (senders-receivers who, by integrating their decisions in a network with those made by other nodes, give rise to comprehensive decisions as a “cosmic superbrain”) in which new information can only be produced through a dialogic game with preexisting information stored in memories – in this way Flusser anticipates the present general character of the remix as social practice (Campanelli, Web Aesthetics, 2010; Navas, Remix Theory, 2012).
At the nexus represented by the “I,” unpredictable and improbable computations occur. This new information is experienced as intentional (or as freely produced) because each “I” is a unique nexus which, by its position and the information it stores, is distinguished from all other nexuses in the network. Even the telematic society envisioned by the media philosopher has this character of uniqueness. Flusser – who anticipated the informational paradigm of the networked society (Castells, The Rise of the Network Society, 1996) – suggested that this form of social organization differs from all earlier societies because it is the first to recognize that the production of information is its actual function (Into the Universe of Technical Images, 2011).
Original article by Vito Campanelli