Flusser Festival 2021

A commemoration of the life and work of Vilém Flusser on his 101st birthday

Virtual Flusser 100+ Festival, online 12 May 2020, 10:00-22:00 CEST

Flusser 100+ Festival is an annual Flusserian encounter consisting of all manner of dialogical and discursive forms, presentation, workshops and unlikely information on the birthday of thinker of technology and communication Vilém Flusser.

In 2021, due to the ongoing public health crisis, Flusser 100+ will be held online.
Flusser 100+ Festival 2021 is presented in cooperation with West Den Haag.


all times are CEST, presentations are 20 minutes, followed by 20 minutes dialog

  • 10:00 Start
  • 10:03 Introductions by Steffi Winkler & Baruch Gottlieb
  • 10:20-11:00 Sebastian Sierra-Barra & Leonardo Reyna: Lecture-Performance “Evolution, Komplexität, Musik”
  • 11:0011:40 Gehao Zhang: Blockchain, Digital Memory and Censorship
  • 11:40-12:20 Marc Lenot: Photography and Exchange Value
  • 12:20-13:20 Flusser France Roundtable with Marc Lenot, Anderson Pedroso, Colette Tron, Elise Rigot, Rainer Guldin, Marc Partouche, et al (en français)
  • 13:20-14:00 Mike Anusas: Faces
  • 14:00-14:40 Marcel René Marburger & Lucrezia Zanardi: artistic archival research and practice
  • 14:40-15:20 Monai da Paula Lefort & Niko de Paula Lefort Archipel Stations Community Radio: Plateau Flusser (performance)
  • 15:20-16:00 Jesse Torres: Flusser’s concepts of Science Fiction
  • 16:00-16:40 Gabriel Phillipson: Tanz den Untergang mit mir 
  • 16:40- 17:20 Francesco Restuccia: Flusser’s Homo Ludens and the inertia of happiness
  • 17:20-18:00 Miklos Peternak: Reading & illustrating Flusser during pandemia
  • 18:00-18:40 Steffi & Baruch with Michael Bielicki: What’s new at Flusser.club? Video collection, Emulations, FlusserWiKi (workshop talk)
  • 18:40-19:20 Erick Felinto: The Nameless Things in the Ocean
  • 19:20-20:00 Peter Zhang: Flusser and Interlinguality
  • 20:00-22:00 Birthday Toasts & Thematic dialogues with Andreas Ströhl, Simone Osthoff, Miklos Peternak, Colette Tron, Monai da Paula Lefort, Masafumi Fukagawa, Peter Zhang, Marcel René Marburger


Baruch Gottlieb & Steffi Winkler

Founders and co-chairs of Flusser Club e.V. welcome participants and viewers and introduce the day’s program.

Sebastian Sierra-Barra & Leonardo Reyna

Evolution, Komplexität und Musik

Sebastian Sierra Barra is a media anthropologist and professor for organizational development at the Evangelische Hochschule Berlin. His research focuses on the co-evolution of humans and technology. Leonardo Reyna is a Cuban pianist. He studied piano at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin and plays worldwide as a concert pianist. The lecture and performance they present deals with the evolution of hearing and the auditory system. Following Flusser, they ask what it means to design ears for the telematic society.

 Gehao Zhang (Macao/CN)

the relation between blockchain, digital memory and censorship with cases about news coverage on Covid-19 in China

Marc Lenot (FR)

Photography and Exchange Value

Flusser France roundtable

news from the Flusserian Community in France en français with Marc Lenot (FR), Rainer Guldin (CH), Elise Rigot (FR), Anderson Pedroso (BR),  Marc Partouche (FR), Colette Tron (FR)

Mike Anusas (Scotland, UK)

Faces, that surface of organisms ‘with as many holes as a Swiss cheese’ (Flusser 1999: 81), have always been a micro-territory of organic-synthetic fleshed-out politics. Recent mass-masking of faces emphasise their condition as emanating, coughing, casting, gazing, as well as absorbing, collecting, receiving and gazed upon, surfaces. Faces are also masked in actions of transgression, oppression, protest and expression, whereby an anonymous collective coherence is attempted to resist individual identification. In this presentation I will therefore ask: what is a face and what do they mean for freedom?    ↑top

Marcel René Marburger & Lucrezia Zanardi (DE)

Incited by Vilém Flussers suggestion that artists are most suitable to find a way out of our fateful alienation from reality through media, Lucrezia Zanardi and Marcel René Marburger will discuss the potentialities of artistic archival research and practice in general and the origin of the Vilém Flusser Theory Award as an early attempt to institutionalize collaborations between archives and artists. In their sense artistic interventions in archival institutions are considered to be fundamental to question and create positive disruptions and movements towards our interaction with memory. In her research and artistic practice Zanardi investigates reshaping possibilities resulting from alternative ways to experience and re-narrate preserved physical traces. This eventually leads to new fruitful experiences, like the one aimed at inside the Etty Hillesum birth house in Middelburg. The two lecturers hope to open up a dialogue on those topics discussing artistic strategies on remembering and rethinking Vilém Flusser and his oeuvre.    ↑top

Lucrezia Zanardi

is an artist and PhD researcher at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Dortmund, in cooperation with Radboud University, Nijmegen. She studied at the IUAV University of Venice and at the University of Arts and Design of Karlsruhe, graduated in Multimedia Arts in Venice (2016). Master in Photography and Photographic Studies at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Dortmund (2020). Lives in Dortmund.    ↑top

Marcel René Marburger

is a Cologne based media- and art theorist and professor for design theory at the University for Applied Arts and Sciences of Dortmund. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the aesthetic relevance of Vilém Flusser writings (Flusser und die Kunst, Köln: 2011). From 2007 to 2010 he was the scientific supervisor of the Vilém Flusser Archive; starting in 2005 he has been co-editor of 18 International Flusser Lectures, in 2008 he initiated the Vilém Flusser Theory Award (now Vilém Flusser Residence Program) with Siegfried Zielinski and Transmediale. In 2017 he started kiU-Salon (with Harald Opel), discussing nonlinear storytelling and the future(s) of audiovisual media.    ↑top

Plateau Flusser (DE/FR/BR)

Plateau Flusser is a radio environment cross-referencing spatially and generatively content from the Vilem Flusser Archive audio collection. The system will be set up at the VFA in Berlin and presented as a radio performance, in which Vilem Flusser plural and multifarious aural presence is staged through the dynamism of electromagnetic material and bodily interactions.     ↑top

Monai de Paula Antunes and Niko de Paula Lefort (Archipel Stations Community Radio)

Monai and Niko are generative artists and researchers. Monai is interested in complexity and communication together with their material, spatial and political entanglements. She currently researches under the framework of Wild Design, bringing light to unconventional design practices in which human agency is not engineering processes, but dynamically developing into as well as together with systems. Niko is a musician and sound artist, whose work articulates complex aural relational systems and their psychophysiological echoes from within harmonic spaces and acoustic ecologies by employing microtonality, field recordings and radio transmission, weaving the fields of electroacoustic music, interaction design and instrument building for composition, performance and installation. Together they explore different aural spaces that entangle subjects and environments, highlighting the incessant responsiveness of sound and narratives.    ↑top

Jesse Torres (BR)

Jessé Torres is a PhD candidate in Language Sciences at the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina (UNISUL). He holds a master degree in Language Sciences by the same institution and a bachelor degree in Journalism by the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC). His doctoral studies are financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) – Brazil

The objective is to present and discuss my PhD research’s recent findings. My focus is Flusser’s concepts of Science Fiction. Since early texts, such as “The History of the Devil”, Flusser criticizes the genre for its lack of imagination and rigor. He believes that science fiction should be something more like Hans Vaihinger’s fictions. In his later conference “Science Fiction”, Flusser states that perhaps we will find these truly science fictions not in literature, but in technical images.    ↑top

Gabriel Salvi Philipson (BR/DE)

Tanz den Untergang mit mir 🙂
From a reflection about the motive of the dance in the scientific activity and the pandemic situation, I will propose, in my presentation, that the potency both actual and extemporaneous of Flusser’s philosophy of exile lies in the drift from Nietzsche’s Wanderer to Flusser’s Einwanderer, that is, in the drift from Nietzsche’s transvaluation of all values to Flusser’s decodification of what is sacred. This points to understanding Flusser as an author in the passage from the twentieth century or generally “postmodern” notation system to another one, not posthumanist, but “compostist”.  

Gabriel Salvi Philipson is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Literary Theory at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and in Romanistik at Freie Universität Berlin. His doctoral research is funded by Fapesp (2017/27004-7), Capes, and DAAD. He holds a master’s degree in Literary Theory and Comparative Literature from the University of São Paulo (USP, 2017), and received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the same institution (2013).    ↑top

Francesco Restuccia (IT)

Francesco Restuccia is a post-doctoral fellow at the Istituto Italiano di Studi Germanici in Rome. He obtained his PhD in Philosophy (Aesthetics) at La Sapienza – University of Rome in 2018, with a thesis about Vilém Flusser as a critic of idolatry in the age of new media. He’s also member of the Advisory Board of the international journal Flusser Studies, and Associated Member of the ERC project AN-ICON (An-Iconology: History, Theory, and Practices of Environmental Images – University of Milan). He is publishing a book about Flusser’s theory of idolatry: Il contrattacco delle immagini. Idolatria e comunicazione a partire da Vilém Flusser (Meltemi, Milan 2021, forthcoming).

The concept of play is central in Flusser’s thought
In several occasions, when he elaborates on his conception, he uses the expression “Homo Ludens”, quoting the title of an important book by the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga. However, when Flusser reveals his main inspiration for his theory he only mentions the mathematician Anatol Rapoport. We can clearly see his debt towards Rapoport’s conceptions, for example when he describes a game as a combination of elements in accordance with rules, but if we compare Flusser’s and Huizinga’s thoughts they seem almost opposite at least in one respect: the relation between play and magic.
According to Huizinga, play, cult, ritual and magic can almost be identified, as rituals have a ludic dimension and play has a sacred dimension (the magic circle). Huizinga believes that since the 19th century we are loosing our capability of playing because we’re not able to believe in the magical world of play anymore.
On the contrary, Flusser conceives magic and play as belonging to two separate and mutually exclusive fields: the objectifying and idolatrous sphere of enchantment, which prevents any real interaction, and the ludic sphere of dialogue. The 20th century is the age of play and nevertheless it is becoming difficult to play, because our world is still too magical. Playing, according to Flusser, requires putting something at stake (‘etwas aufs Spiel setzen’, literally, to put something into the game), but we won’t do it until the magical dimension of technical images enmesh us in our “inertia of happiness” (‘Trägheit des Glücks’). This is why Flusser’s reference to “Homo Ludens” might well be polemical: being homines ludentes is not our true eternal nature, as Huizinga seems to think, but something we must learn to become, by overcoming our inertia of happiness.   ↑top

Miklós Peternak  (HU)

Reading & illustrating Flusser during pandemia
A telematic experiment in three phases – a presentation.
Since a year we in Hungary including me at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts giving lectures, talks, seminars etc. exclusively online, due to the local regulations. During this Spring semester I decided to make a small experiment with my art students in the frame of my lecture-series, “Image Anthropologie” (the title resembles Hans Belting’s book, but this is more about media archeology + image theory). The experiment consisted of three phases. First I asked them to read Vilém Flusser’s essay, Die Stadt als Wellental in der Bilderflut which is avilable online in Hungarian translation. As it is not easy to find out, as if they really read a text or not, I also asked them to search for or create illustrations to this text, at least one but three as a maximum and send them to me. Than I created a ppt, including all the illustrations in chronological order (using the time data of their e-mail). As there are 45 students in the class from diverse departments (graphic, intermedia, painting, restauration, art theory, etc.) I expected some diversity. Finally I sent them back the collective results asking to observe/examine and comment it in written form. The process was quite interesting, so I thought to present you the original ppt with comments, using the same medium as it was created. (teams, zoom, jitsi, skype, etc.)    ↑top

Workshop Talk: Flusser Video Collection, Emulations, Flusser WiKi

Erick Felinto (BR)

Professor, State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Department of Media Theory – Graduate Program in Media Studies, CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development), Visiting Scholar at Universität der Künste Berlin (Institut für zeitbasierte Medien)

The Nameless Things in the Ocean: Vilém Flusser’s and H. P. Lovecraft’s Marine Monstrosities
Although arising mainly from his racial fears, Lovecraft’s marine creatures can also be interpreted as a representation of the dangerous psychic depths that threaten the human mind. Besides panic in the face of radical otherness, this paper suggests that Dagon, Cthulhu and the many other inhabitants of Lovecraft’s unseen worlds embody the ancient idea of the inhuman aspect of the ocean. In that sense, Lovecraft is not distant from a vision of the seas that highlights its mysterious, unfathomable nature, a perspective that one also finds in the works of Czech-Brazilian philosopher Vilém Flusser. Going all the way back to Greek philosophy, with Plato’s mistrust of the seas as a domain of impurity and tainted knowledge, water has been perceived as that which does not leave traces and therefore cannot be trusted. From Carl Schmitt’s frightening “fishmen” (Fischmenschen) to Vilém Flusser’s Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, a long imaginary tradition of marine dread associates the ocean with notions such as uncertainty, hybridity and inhumanity. The goal of this presentation is, therefore, to investigate how Lovecraft’s and Flusser’s vision of the seas and its inhabitants conforms to this centuries-old imaginary. Moreover, the talk also addresses some recent transformations in the philosophical perception of the ocean as a place of positive indefiniteness and chaos. By resorting to woks such as David Will’s Dorsality (2008) and Melody Jue’s Wild Blue Media (2020), I intend to sketch an image of the sea that “washes over every human identitarian horizon” (Wills, 2008, p. 20) while simultaneously positively embracing its chaotic nature. My main objective is thus to investigate whether Flusser’s and Lovecraft’s marine monstrosities might be turned on their heads in order to allow for an affirmative and progressive reading not unlike what Walter Benjamin purports to do by appropriating the notion of the inhuman (Unmensch) (Hanssen, 1998).   ↑top

Peter Zhang (US)

Flusser and Interlinguality
Peter Zhang is Professor of Communication Studies at Grand Valley State University. His research is interdisciplinary in nature, spanning such fields as media theory, interality studies, techno-ethics, Deleuze studies, Flusser studies, Virilio studies, rhetorical studies, Zen, and I Ching, among other things. He has published a long list of articles in these fields. Currently, he serves as Director of the School of Communications’ Study Abroad Program in London. He has guest edited a special issue of Canadian Journal of Communication, three special section/issues of China Media Research, and a special section of Journal of Multicultural Studies of the Orient on interality studies, and guest co-edited two special issues of Explorations in Media Ecology entitled “Probing the Boundaries of Media Ecology.”    ↑top

Birthday toasts and thematic dialogs

with Andreas Ströhl, Simone Osthoff, Masafumi Fukagawa, Aaron Jaffe, Michael Miller, Miklos Peternak, Colette Tron, Monai da Paula Lefort, Masafumi Fukagawa, Peter Zhang, Marcel René Marburger

Andreas Ströhl (DE/US)

Dr. Andreas Max Ströhl, born in Munich, West Germany in 1962. M.A. in German Literature, Theater and American Studies, University of Munich in 1987. Journalist. Since 1988 working for the Goethe-Institut. Met Vilém Flusser in Prague in 1991. Published (about) Flusser and taught media theory since. 2003-11 Director of Munich Filmfest. Ph.D. about Flusser in European Ethnology, University of Marburg, Germany, in 2009. Director of the Goethe-Institutes in North America since 2016, based in Washington.    ↑top

Simone Osthoff (BR/US)

Simone Osthoff is a Brazilian born and US-based scholar focusing her research on experimental art practices and decolonial histories. She is Professor of Art and Critical Studies in the School of Visual Arts at the Pennsylvania State University, and holds a Ph.D. from the European Graduate School. Osthoff is a Fulbright Fellow and frequent participant and organizer of symposia. Among her publications is Performing the Archive: The Transformation of the Archive in Contemporary Art from a Repository of Documents to an Art Medium.    ↑top

Masafumi Fukagawa (JP)

Masafumi Fukagawa is curator of photography, design and contemporary art, member of AICA JAPAN the Japanese section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA = Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art) and translator of “Vilém Flusser: Towards a Philosophy of Photography” ( Keiso-shobo 1999 Tokyo)    ↑top

Aaron Jaffe, Michael Miller et al (US)

Aaron Jaffe is Frances Cushing Ervin Professor of American Literature at FSU. He has published Modernism and the Culture of Celebrity, The Way Things Go: An Essay on the Matter of Second Modernism, and other work in modern and contemporary literature, media, and theory. Michael F. Miller is Adjunct Professor of English at Lone Star College – Tomball. After completing his PhD in English in 2019, he served as a Spatial Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at Rice University. In addition to co-editing the forthcoming collection Understanding Flusser, Understanding Modernism (Bloomsbury Academic 2021), his work has appeared in Contemporary Literature, Arizona Quarterly, symplokē, boundary 2 online, Modernism/modernity print+, and The Journal of Film and Video, among others. He is currently completing a book, titled Proximity by Proxy: Contemporary Literature in the Age of Social Media, which examines recent literary production’s vexed mediation by the dawn of total connectivity and online platforms.    ↑top

supported by our members and West Den Haag