12 06/15

idiots, hand workers, philosophers

Tags: , , , , | Categories: digital media, machine

According to Vilém Flusser, Plato establishes three possible relations between us and the world of the Ideas. First, we cannot remember the Ideas and therefore staying in the world of appearances. He calls those in this sort of relation: the idiots. In case the we do remember the Idea, there are two options. First, we could press the ideas out of the appearances and become hand workers or artists, politicians in Plato terms. Or second, we could turn and look directly at the ideas in which case we become theoreticians, philosophers in Plato. Plato mistrusted the artists of the politicians because in their handling of the appearance, the emerging idea is any the original pure Idea. It is a distortion. Their handling prevents access to the Idea as such by presenting a simulation. That way it is explained the hatred some monotheistic religions have to images.


Platonisch Pyramide nach Flusser.

Platonisch Pyramide nach Flusser.


In a cybernetic fashion, Flusser presents us a contemporary example of image creation. Someone thinks a space and atemporal ideas, he then codes them into a computer and this in turn produces an image that corresponds to the pure idea he had thought. This is a pure image of the pure idea because it is based on various technical codes such as a Cartesian coordinate system and symbolic operations with numbers. The image then turns into drawings and plans for an aeroplane that a series of automatic robots build.
Plato would take the person thinking the image and sitting in front of a computer as a true philosopher because these images are pure theory. They are processes of thought not or representation. The computer and the robot merely substitute for the hand workers. And those who pay and trust their lives to what the robots have built are the idiots.
If the person’s interest lies exclusively on the theoretical beauty and the process of thought of the image, he or she might be then a philosopher or a pure artists. Someone who has access the second degree of imagination brought by the technical images. This pure artist does not seek to imagine a particular aeroplane or any contrete entity. Her or his focus is exclusively on the abstract idea. There is no imitation nor simulacrum. Others, the politicians or in a more contemporary accent, the robots, would take this image-idea and imitate it and use it as a model. This pure artist experiences the pure idea, while the robots only try to press an appearance out the idea, whether it is an aeroplane or anything else.

  • Flusser, Vilém. Ein neuer Platonismus?. In kulturRevolution: modelle von gehirn und seele. Nr.19. November 1998. Klartext Verlag, Deutschland.

20 11/08

Images after the reality after the images.

recently for n-time I watched again (yeah I know) Blade Runner. I cannot stop finding meanings and inspirations, being awed and getting scared by this film. A couple of sequences made me think again about the nature of the images and its artificiality. Images, in Blade Runner attested both authenticity and proof. In this fictional world there is concern about what is authentic and the humanity of artificial beings is under question. The replicants are perfect simulations of living creatures, they simulate everything at the more finest details, but as simulations they are meant to be something they are not, to possesses something they were denied to have. However, paradoxically they want desperately to be.

The Voight-kampf test.

[…]you are talking about memories

Images, memories, self-imposed references of a source. The production, circulation and consumption of images is a kind of paranoia. Just by looking at my hard drive I came to discover the amazing amount of pictures, images, memories I’ve stored. Some of them are so far away in the time and the space they simulate, that they have become something totally different from my memories, they have life by themselves. Even though I know I’m doomed to continue producing and consuming images. I have to recognised that after a while they are any longer about me and my selfish attempts to save imperceptible moments to live my past again. They replicate themselves and threat me.

A world constructed of images is the final triumph of a chain of simulations to separate ourselves of the alien nature surrounding us. The more clean, immaculate, pure the images the better, this is very well known by Roy Batty, his (its) entire world is an outside-imposed image. Why do we identify much more easier logos, trademarks, people’s images than trees, flowers or mountains? Why do we want to frame everything? Why do we continue believing about the actuality, reality, and neutrality of images? Images are any longer about reality, the world is not the images. Why do we, with anxiety, follow the beauty impose by the generators of images? The meaning-machines are doing a great job, ruling the meanings. We are not away from the images, we are trapped in the images, they one of the new gods. Even worst, as in a Huxleyan nightmare we are happily filling in our world with millions of images every millisecond, all the same, all with an endless replicated selfish meaning(less). The person of the year is you! screamed a big machine, but the picture was empty, nothing in there just a mirror and we looking narcissistically at ourselves, this is our brave world, just a mirror we are too afraid to look beyond it. All these framed moments, are dying like flickrs under a rain of images…

[…] it’s time to die.

[…]you won live, but than again, who does?