(Mere) thought is already a mute, internal form of speech. In being spoken aloud, it is articulated as audible contemplation.Vilém Flusser’s “philosophy in fieri” (Kommunikologie weiter denken, 2009, p. 14; translated from the German) arises during speech, the moment of improvisation allowing a short circuit between emotion and reflection. Understanding becomes visible as a process in which experience occurs before (or during) interpretation: resonance.
The result is a rapid interplay of argumentation with staging, dramatic presentation, performance. When speaking, Flusser sketched scenes and presented them to the audience, projecting an intersubjective mental space from within himself. Behind the projection is “the black box of the ‘body’” (Gesten, 1991, p. 201; translated from the German), for understanding, is conditioned on the outward projection (throwing) of thought: speech, like the beam of a projector, must meet with external resistance. Only in this reflection can what is within be viewed from without, and only in this way can a thought be “received” (ibid., p. 194; translated from the German).
When the word leaves the mouth, it is a performative boundary crossing, a displacement activity – a leap over the world to the other. Speech, for Flusser, is a dialogical act. Finding words thus becomes a constructive gesture, a mental movement. That also means giving concrete expression, embodied form, to philosophical ideas, which can then be spatially and corporeally experienced. In speaking, Flusser produces the space in which he encounters the world and the other. This is political engagement.
Telling stories, bobbing and weaving, doubling back, sometimes raging, Flusser dared the alphanumeric code (language) to come out and play. The point is “to articulate inexpressible problems […] in order to push the limits of human conditionality further out” (ibid., pp. 59–60; translated from the German). And every formulation, every thought, must prove itself again and again because only “successful articulation […] is identical to understanding” (Aussprechen, p. 2; translated from the German).
Original article by Sarah Theurer and Veronika Hoffmann