Thinking possibilities for freedom in a programmed world.
Is there any room left for freedom in a programmed world? This is the essential question that Vilém Flusser continually asks in Post-History. Written initially as a series of lectures to be delivered at universities in Brazil, Israel, and France, it was subsequently developed as a book and published for the first time in Brazil in 1983. This, the first English translation of Post-History, finally brings to an Anglophone readership Flusser’s first critique of apparatus as the aesthetic, ethical and epistemological model of present times. In his main argument, Flusser suggests that our times may be characterized by the term “program”, much in the same way that the 17th century is loosely characterized by the term “virtue”, the 18th by “reason” and the 19th by “progress”. In suggesting this shift in worldview he then poses a provocative question: If I function within a predictable programmed reality, can I rebel? And how can I do it? The answer comes swiftly: Only malfunctioning programs and apparatus allow for freedom. Only a malfunctioning functionary can hope for freedom. The essence of freedom is unpredictability. But once co-opted and objectified by apparatus and their programs, all that is left for us is a life of bored contentment within the nauseating paradise of a predictable eternal return of the same. Throughout the twenty-one essays of Post-History, Flusser reminds us, in his distinct essayistic style, that any future theory of political resistance must take this shift in worldview into consideration, together with the horrors that Western society has brought into realization because of it. Only then may we start to talk again about freedom.
Vilém Flusser (1920–1991) is increasingly recognized as one of the most influential thinkers of digital and global culture.
Rodrigo Maltez Novaes is a translator and research fellow at the Vilém Flusser Archive.
Post-History trailer, a film by Bruno Stecconi
|Details||Paperback | 167 pages | 4.9 x 7.625" | Letterpress Cover | Cover Design by Jason Wagner|