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Writing Complexity and the Technolocical Revolution. 1977

Flusser is being interviewed in Össtnerbruck. He spoke about the methods recording thoughts and events through the ages, how they were technological and also cultural revolutions. That now writing on it´s own, is not enough and a higher form of expression, a code of numbers – computer digital codes is producing synthetic images. The communication og a concept you have is a very clear image.

Before the creation of the alphabet 3500 years ago, there were only images a very specific way of looking at the world – a mythical way of thinking. This time he calls pre-historic.

When the alphabet was created, it produced historical and critical thought. A uni-dimensional and a uni-directional line of thinking. History begins with writing. The alphabetical system created a technological revolution, a change in the way of thinking.

Now we have a systematic and structural way of thinking. Which he calls the post-historic revolution.

Systems can be complex in 2 ways:

Structural Complexity: Where the system is structurally very complex, but easy to function. Like a Television, very complex structurally but very easy to operate.

Functional Complexity: Where the structure is very simple but function can be very complex. Like a Chess set has a very simple structure, but the function of the game can be very complex and many ways to execute.

Flusser talks about how structurally complex systems is stupefying the world, but the functional complex systems challenge creative thought. That it is up to us which way we want to go. His aim is the achieve functional complexity. He says that in the world we are living the aesthetic level and ethical thought is lowering. He also mentions that he would like to apply the functional complexity to the structural complex systems.

Flusser speaks about the old greek philosophy of the image, that there was prejudice to the image that it was a simulation of thought and that it was distrusted. The new images on the other hand he considers not to be copies but projection of thought.

He concludes that all the revolutions were a technical revolution and cultural revolution. The latest revolution, the post-historic, on the other hand is the first one that stimulates the nervous system and is also a spiritual revolution.


The Medium is the Message

In an interview after a conference in Sydney. The interviewer calls McLuhan Mr. Electric.

Environment affects the way of thinking..

The interviewer asks him if there is any room for critical thought and whether TV promotes illiteracy. He says that literacy is objective and TV subjective, and that he wants to avoid making judgements. But then says that radio people are far more literate than TV people.

Reading means to guess and a reader is a rapid guesser. Words have many meanings. He says good readers make good executives because they are quick at making decisions.

McLuhan says that advertising is an artform, but a corporate one. Advertising is made to make an effect. An artist sets a trap for the audience to trap for their attention. The same way advertisers do. The interviewer asks if thinks there are any advertisements he considers as masterpieces? McLuahn says there is no criteria to measure popular art. He speaks about Shakespeare being popular art of it´s time. That people in 50 years will judge popular art nowadays very differently.

The huge technology that is TV creates an environment, the program that is on it is incidental.