CFP: Artefilosofia Journal
Submission deadline: Today
In different moments of his work, Walter Benjamin reflects upon the question of technology and related issues such as work as the mediation between man and nature, conducting his critical analysis of progress. He says: “What’s the idea? to speak of progress to a world sinking into the rigidity of death. (...) The concept of progress must be grounded in the idea of catastrophe. That things are 'status quo' is the catastrophe. It is not an ever-present possibility but what in each case is given.” Marxism will also be reviewed by him according to his critical conception of progress: “Marx said that revolutions are the locomotive of world history. But perhaps things are very different. It may be that revolutions are the act by which the human race travelling in the train applies the emergency brake”. In “One Way Street” Benjamin recalls that “The mastery of nature, so the imperialists teach, is the purpose of all technology.” But he also offers an opposing view: “technology is not the mastery of nature but of the relation between nature and man.” In the second version of his essay about “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility” he develops a distinction between the first technology, its outcome being the sacrifice of life, and the second technology, which would have as paradoxical examples photography and cinema, based on the play with nature: “The origin the second technology lies at the point where, by an unconscious ruse, human beings first began to distance themselves from nature. It lies, in other words, in play. [...]The first technology really sought to master nature, whereas the second aims rather at an interplay between nature and humanity”. And so, he notes: “Because this technology aims at liberating human beings from drudgery, the individual suddenly sees his scope for play, his field of action [Spielraum], immeasurably expanded. [...] No sooner has the second technology secured its initial revolutionary gains then vital questions affecting the individual - questions of love and death which had been buried by the first technology - once again press for solutions”.
Vilém Flusser also considers these two sides or two types of technology, as well as the challenges of rethinking love and death in the age of technical images. His theory of images does not distinguish between auratic images (cultual) and pre-auratic images (reproducible) like Benjamin, but pre-modern images that are works of art, and post-modern images that are products of technology. The latter, as he notes in the beginning of his medialogy, are the ones that program us. In 1983 Flusser points out two possible paths for the future of writing: “it will either become a critique on tecno-imagination [...] or a production of pretexts for tecno-imagination (a plan for that technical progress)”. In the second case, we would move towards transforming life into an apparatus that will feedback itself eternally. In the other hand, in “The Universe of Technical Images” and other late works, Flusser bet on a profound radical transformation of our nature from the radicalisation of technical images. Like in Benjamin, we see technology awakening the fecundant seed of nature and developing its potential. In Benjaminian terms, Flusser writes in 1991, in his work “Technical Imagination”: “We have to rethink all our concepts of art, science, politics, freedom, conditioning, chance, necessity, and yes, of life and death”. And more: “The Einbildungskraft [imagination] that is being established now opens new fields of possibilities that we had not dared to dream about until now, that is: freedom will not be ‘of whom’ anymore, but ‘to whom’, and life will be the achievement of always new possibilities”. In the formulation of “A New Imagination”, text from 1990, we read: “the levels of existence that we have to conquer thanks to this new imagination promesse us life experiences, representations (Vorstellungen), feelings, concepts, values and decisions - things that until now we could at best only dream of; this audacity promises to put on stage habilities that until now were asleep within us”. Also for Flusser, the game is central in this new creative imagination: “only when images are made from calculation and not from circumstances [...] is when a ‘pure aesthetics’ (the pleasure in the game of ‘pure forms’) can unfold; only then can Homo faber detach from Homo ludens”.
Our proposal as organizers of the present dossier is that authors develop and deepen the discussion about the philosophy of technic in these two fundamental authors, be it a comparison between them or a deeper research in one of them. This theme becomes essential in our time, more and more conscious of the destructive element of technology and, at the same time, keeps on dreaming of technical or even naturalist post-technical utopias. In what way these two author’s proposals for re-thinking art from technic (téchne) was determinant to the theory of art? How can these theories be enlightened from the confrontation and dialogue with other authors who are critical thinkers of technic/art such as Ernst Bloch, Adorno, Horkheimer and Heidegger? Which philosophies and theories of history are behind these conceptions of technic/art and also how are they co-opted or tensioned by a theological and/or messianic thought? How can current technology be read from these works or, in the other hand, to what extent new technology demands updating or even overcoming the legacy of such authors? The current art-media rewrites the matter of technic; how can we think this phenomenon from Flusser and Benjamin? At last, how can the ethics of responsibility and the philosophy of technic of Hans Jonas be analyzed along with Flusser’s and Benjamin’s proposals?
Rachel Costa, Mestrado em Filosofia, UFOP e Escola Guignard - UEMG
Márcio Seligmann-Silva, Teoria Literária - UNICAMP
Deadline for submission: 03/22/2019.
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References: must be presented in alphabetical order. Bibliographical references should be elaborated according to the provisions of NBR 6023: 2002, of the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT), with only essential elements.
Bibliographic Reference Model of book
SURNAME, Name of the author; SURNAME, Name of the author. Book title: book subtitle. Edition. Location: Publisher, year. Xx p.
Bibliographic reference model of book available online:
SURNAME, Name of the author; SURNAME, Name of the author. Book title: book subtitle. Edition. Location: Publisher, year. Xx p. Available in. Access in: DD / MM / YYYY.
Bibliographic reference model of article published in periodical:
SURNAME, Name of the author; SURNAME, Name of the author. Title of the article. Name of the journal, City, v.00, n.11, p.111-222, jan. 2012.
Bibliographic reference model of an article published in a periodical available online:
SURNAME, Name of the author; SURNAME, Name of the author. Title of the article. Name of the journal, City, v.00, n.11, p.111-222, jan. 2012. Available in: Access in DD / MM / YYYY.