©2015 Metaflux Publishing


Into Immaterial Culture

by Vilém Flusser
Translated by Rodrigo Maltez Novaes
Paperback, 46 pages
210mm x 148mm
Design by Chagrin
ISBN 978-0-9933272-0-9

01 July 2015


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Is the alphabet about to disappear? How will we communicate without it? Are there any indications of new, emergent codes? Is human communication going through a mutation? These are only some of the provocative questions posed by Vilém Flusser in Into Immaterial Culture.

The four essays of this book were delivered as a series of lectures at the School of Communication and the Arts of the University of São Paulo in August of 1986, one year after the publication of the first Brazilian edition of Towards a Philosophy of Photography, published as A Filosofia da Caixa Preta.

Through these four short essays, Flusser presents, in nuce, his communications theory. Their style is condensed, with a series of quickfire sentences, which are best read in conjunction with his major works of the same period. However, for a fist time reader of his work, these four lectures are a good introduction to some of Flusser’s polemic and provocative concepts regarding human communication, its future, and its ethical, aesthetic, and epistemological implications; a vision that is paradoxically utopian and dystopian.


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.