Sunday, July 1, 2012


Vision Forum is developing a project on Czech-Brazilian philosopher Vilém Flusser (1920-1991) in collaboration with French-Brazilian group, Anahata. In accordance with Flusser’s media theory, FLUSSER’S BLACK BOX is an open project seeking collaborative exchange, in order to weave a web of dialogue on the philosopher’s conceptual framework. If you want to know more and/or participate. You can contact Anahata on:


"Our electric extensions of ourselves simply by-pass space and time, and create problems of human involvement and organization for which there is no precedent”.
Marshall McLuhan

FLUSSER’S BLACK BOX is an interactive multimedia installation about the life and oeuvre of Czech-Brazilian philosopher Vilém Flusser (1920-1991). In both its online and offline version, it will showcase a network of videos encompassing the philosopher’s biography and conceptual body of work. It will be presented in 2013 at a media art exhibition dedicated to Flusser in Brazil and in France.

A critical and visionary thinker of the technological shifts, especially in the field of communication, Vilém Flusser formulated a completely new and radical analysis of our culture. His philosophical fictions and essays, written as early as the 1960’s, presented us projections of the impact of technical innovations and are resumed today to understand recent cultural phenomena. For decades, he dedicated himself to classes and lectures on the structural changes in our culture and the way we communicate, thus gaining international notoriety as “thinker of the digital age” and “philosopher of the new media”. Self-educated, he had a great importance for Brazilian intellectuality as a journalist, writer and professor. During his life, he published essays and articles in different languages (Portuguese, French, English, German and Czech) for which he would translate himself, denoting his freedom of thought and his language skills.
Having died in 1991, he didn’t live to see the current multimedia boom that his provocative and visionary theories foresaw. His legacy has had repercussions in the work of many young academics, intellectuals, artists and designers, from all over the world, many of which take part in this project. We will present multiple examples of how his ideas are an important contribution to life in times of mass media and globalized culture.

In order to give form to this remarkable character, we will reconstitute to the viewer the charismatic and sometimes overwhelming presence for which Vilém Flusser is well known, emphasizing certain aspects of his personality with anecdotes told by his friends and family.

“There are no boundaries. [...] Only time will bring down the concept of frontiers all over the place: this is a man, this is a woman, this is Germany, that is France. There are no blacks or whites, no pure cultures or pure disciplines. Any systematic thinking is wrong, all kinds of systems are a violation. Reality is so tangled and for that reason, interesting”.
Vilém Flusser

Flusser always remained a migrant, an uprooted, since his flight from Prague during the Second World War, until his self-exile in the south of France, as well as during the 30 years he lived in São Paulo. Thus, Vilém Flusser’s life followed a path full of dramatic elements and stories that insert him in a notorious generation of exiles. “I survived, dizzy, to the beastly and stupid Nazi earthquake that ate up my world”. He felt like a stranger in the world, a concept he developed in his work, to which many can relate to. Flusser is, above all, a stateless person, groundless (Bodenlos as he defined himself), a citizen of the world. From this detached perspective, he developed a criticism of nationalist and authoritarian regimes and showed the importance of the migrant, who transports his culture wherever he dwells, acting as an innovative element.

“Vilém Flusser was a vigorous, dense and incisive thinker.[...][He] was not a well- behaved thinker”.
Celso Lafer

Flusser was an outstanding speaker and professor who played an important role in the life of several people, performing in crowded amphitheaters, gesturing and attracting with his irreverence. According to those who met him in person, Vilém Flusser was someone who had encyclopedic knowledge, whose charisma generated an almost hypnotic effect, which, combined with his peculiar sense of humor, made him a provocative character.
Moreover, in the weekly reunions he organized at his house, Flusser was involved in the formation of many exponents of Brazilian culture, among which Celso Lafer is the most well-known. He was engaged for a long time in the ”Brazilian project”, to which he contributed by teaching Philosophy and Human Sciences in different courses in some of the most respected institutions of São Paulo, and even starting the Social Communications graduation course at Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado. He had numerous of his articles published on the biggest Brazilian newspapers, Folha and Estado de São Paulo, and in 1962 became a member of the Instituto Brasileiro de Filosofia (Brazilian Philosophy Institute).