Thursday, October 21, 2004

How to Orientate Oneself in the World: A General Outline of Flusser's Theory of Media

(courtesy of وب‌لوگ)


Although nowadays the "most important German philosopher of the seventies and eighties" (Flusser 2002: 8) is widely acknowledged to be one of the founding fathers of media theory, his fame still does not reach much further than the borders of the discipline which he helped to shape. Many of his books are not yet available in translation and many of the uncountable essays he wrote during his lifetime are still to be published.

The objective of this essay is to provide the reader with a general introduction in Flusser's theoretical insights. Flusser's distinction between different media will serve as a guideline. We will attempt to analyse Flusser's concept of "traditional images." In doing so, we will inquire into Flusser's view on the origins of media. We will describe the specific characteristics of each medium and the possibilities it creates. We will illustrate the confrontation between the medium of traditional images and the new medium of text. This will allow us to make a comparative analysis between the "universe" of the medium of the traditional images and that of the medium of text – as Flusser seems to believe that each medium generates a new kind of universe. According to Flusser the medium of text has recently been replaced by new technical media (first photography, later followed by digital images). The final paragraphs will deal with this paradigm change from text to technical images and Flusser's suggestions for gaining control over these new media.

Entire Essay

If you like this essay you should track back to its home:

Image and Narrative

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