Applying Flusser


Processing: Flusser says photographs are read as 2d compilations of symbols and signifiers. That the introduction of the technical image changed the way we see the world. The introduction of the technical image influenced thinking, moving us from a text-based society to an image-based society and with this a transition from linear thought to conceptual where text supports image instead of reverse as was previously.

After reading Flusser, my perspective of the function of images and especially of my own images changed. His ideas made me realize the power that each image contains. It made me feel an urgency to act and work to use this power in order to illuminate and not to obfuscate. His writings also made me aware of my desire to direct the meaning of the images I produce more specifically.

At the conclusion of his essay titled The Distribution of Photographs he says “To summarize: Photographs are received as objects without value that everyone can produce and that everyone can do what they like with. In fact, however, we are manipulated by photographs and programmed to act in a ritual fashion in the service of a feedback mechanism for the benefit of cameras [which expands elsewhere as being for the benefit of the programmer of the camera and whomever the program serves]. Photographs suppress our critical awareness in order to make us forget the mindless absurdity of the process of functionality, and it is only thanks to this suppression that functionality is possible at all. Thus photographs form a magic circle around us in the shape of the photographic universe. What we need is to break this circle.”(64) 

I’ve been enlightened to see everywhere the concepts of images, what they communicate subtly and not so subtly and the way these concepts support the ruling class and damage the media illiterate (and literate) citizen. (Flusser defines media literacy as the ability to decode and encode images.) I have been thereby thinking of how the projects I have begun could be used to “break the circle.” I am working through these ideas but will show them in class soon.


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