©2015 Metaflux Publishing


Artforum // Essays

by Vilém Flusser
Edited by Martha Schwendener
Series Editor Rodrigo Maltez Novaes
210mm x 148mm
Design by Chagrin
ISBN 978-0993327230
19 June 2017
Metaflux // Vilém Flusser


In 1986, after the international success of Towards a Philosophy of Photography, Vilém Flusser started to publish regularly in Artforum Magazine, New York, under the editorship of Ingrid Sischy. Artforum // Essays gathers together for the first time, in one volume, all twenty-nine essays, both published and unpublished, which Flusser wrote for the magazine until his tragic death in 1991.

The core of every essay in this series is an investigation, from several different perspectives and through an essentially phenomenological approach, of the continual dialectic between the ancient Greek concepts of tékhne (art) and theoria (contemplation/speculation), which in Flusser's view, continue to inform contemporary culture. His analyses are posited within a contemporary discussion in relation to both the schisms and confluences between art, philosophy, and science, but also questioning the very definition we give to these fields of human cultural production.

However, the fundamental question that Vilém Flusser asks in this series of short, provocative essays, and which he explores in most of his literary production, is this: can we really make such a clear distinction between aesthetics, epistemology, and ethics as forms of knowledge production? And if through a phenomenological analysis we discover that indeed the boundaries of these fields of human production are not so well defined, then what are the implications for us of such an analysis? Are we already engaging in different modes of cultural production (in its widest sense) but are not yet fully aware of it?


The philosopher Vilém Flusser was born in Prague in 1920 but emigrated to Brazil, fleeing from Nazi persecution, at the outbreak of war in 1939, arriving in Rio de Janeiro at the end of 1940, with his wife and parents-in-law, after a short stay in London. The Flussers settled in São Paulo during the 1940s, where they lived for thirty-two years. In the early years of the 1970s they moved back to Europe, settling first in Italy, and subsequently in Robion, France, where they lived until Vilém Flusser’s untimely death in 1991 after a car crash, as he left Prague at the end of a symposium.

During the years he lived in Brazil, Flusser wrote for several Brazilian periodicals and taught at different academic institutions, among them, the University of São Paulo, the Brazilian Institute of Philosophy, and the Institute of Technology and Aeronautics. His first two books, Lingua e Realidade and A História do Diabo, were published in Brazil during the 1960s. In the late 1970s, and throughout the 1980s, Flusser travelled most of Europe lecturing and participating in conferences and symposia, during which time he published his most well-known titles. He came to prominence in the field of Media Theory after publishing his seminal book Towards a Philosophy of Photography in 1984, shortly followed by Ins Universum der Technischen Bilder in 1985, and Die Schrift. Hat Schreiben Zukunft? in 1987.

As a polyglot, Flusser wrote in four different languages, German, Portuguese, English, and French. The Metaflux // Vilém Flusser collection aims to present to an international readership, high quality translations of Flusser’s Brazilian writings, including courses, monographs, essays, and letters, as well as works originally written in English by the author.

The Metaflux // Vilém Flusser collection is possible due to the generous support of Miguel Gustavo Flusser.