Gestures by Vilém Flusser

By Vilém Flusser

Throughout his profession, the influential new media theorist Vilém Flusser saved the belief of gesture in brain: that folks convey their being on this planet via a sweeping variety of pursuits. He reconsiders time-honored actions—from conversing and portray to smoking and telephoning—in phrases of specific move, establishing a shocking new standpoint at the methods we percentage and protect which means. A gesture may perhaps or is probably not associated with really expert gear, notwithstanding its shape crucially impacts the individual that makes it.

These essays, released the following as a suite in English for the 1st time, have been written over approximately a part century and replicate either an eclectic array of pursuits and a sturdy dedication to phenomenological suggestion. Defining gesture as “a stream of the physique or of a device connected to the physique for which there's no passable causal explanation,” Flusser strikes round the subject from various issues of view, angles, and distances: every now and then he zooms in on a modest, usual circulate resembling taking a photo, shaving, or hearing track; at others, he pulls again to examine whatever as massive and sundry as human “making,” embracing every thing from the fashioning of straightforward instruments to mass production. yet regardless of the gesture, Flusser analyzes it because the expression of a specific kind of recognition, that's, as a selected dating among the area and the one that gestures.

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19 20 the gesture of writing To be able to write, we need—­among other things—­the following: a surface (a piece of paper), a tool (a fountain pen), characters (letters), a convention (the meaning of the letters), rules (orthography), a system (grammar), a system that signifies the system of language (semantic knowledge of a language), a message to be written (ideas), and writing. The complexity results not so much from the number of essential factors as from their heterogeneity. The fountain pen is at a level of reality different from that of, say, grammar, ideas, or a reason to write.

Of course, the concepts “left hand” and “right hand” are used metaphorically in the last sentence and not as description or observation. Nevertheless, there is a noticeable difference between the left and right hands. Let us hope that the metaphorical way of speaking in some sense reflects this perceptible difference. Speaking metaphorically, let us call the left hand that of “practice,” the right hand that of “theory,” and let us say that the movement the hands make as they try to meet is the effort to ground theory in practice and to support practice theoretically.

When the hands have grasped that the object is not for them, they let it go in a gesture of disappointment or even despair, so that other hands on another branch of the tree can grasp it. But when the hands have grasped that the object is suited to them, they are happy and begin to work with it. Every gesture of fabricating is proof that the hands have found their object by excluding other objects. The whole tree is negatively present as exclusion. ” That is another noble concept. Observing the gesture of fabricating has the advantage of demystifying this concept.

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