Language and Reality. Vilém Flusser‘s philosophy of language

Dr. Anita Jóri
Language and Reality. Vilém Flusser‘s Philosophy of Language

Seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Wednesdays, 10-14 h, bi-weekly, 7 dates: 17.4., 8.5., 22.5., 5.6., 19.6., 3.7., 10.7.2019
Grunewaldstr. 2-5, Vilém Flusser Archiv, room 208

The focal point of the seminar is the Czech cultural theorist and media philosopher Vilém Flusser’s (1920-1991) philosophy of language. Flusser developed his language-related concepts in his Brazilian period, thus most of these texts were written in Portuguese. However, many of them were recently translated into English and we can read them in this seminar.
One of the main works of this period of Flusser’s oeuvre is “Language and Reality” (1963, transl. in 2017), a philosophical and theoretical exploration into language. According to his thesis, language is not simply a map of the world but also the driving force for projecting worlds. In order to underlie his ideas on how language creates reality or realities, Flusser often turned to cybernetics, music, poetry, mysticism, religion and the visual arts. These examples we will also relate to his extended correspondence with artists (e.g. with Mira Schendel).
To understand the discourse around these questions we will also read some of his related lectures from the series „Philosophy of Language” (transl. in 2016), presented at the Brazilian Institute of Philosophy (IBF) in São Paulo in 1965. There we will also see how other thinkers such as Cassirer, Carnap, Heidegger or Wittgenstein influenced Flusser. Through these ideas, we will try to reflect on contemporary issues such as multilingualism, language and power, language and manipulation, and the obstacles of translation.
The seminar might be interesting for students who would like to widen their knowledge in communication studies as well as philosophy of language and semiotics.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credit: The participants are asked to read different texts for each seminar and to hold presentations.

Ausrichtung der Veranstaltung: orientierend, kritisch
Kompetenz/Aktivität der Teilnehmenden: reflektieren/denken, artikulieren

Anita Jóri is a research assistant at the Vilém Flusser Archive, Berlin University of the Arts (since 2016). She studied history, pedagogy and applied linguistics at Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, HU). In 2017, she finished her PhD thesis “The Discourse Community of Electronic Dance Music”. During her studies she received different scholarships in Prague, Vilnius, and Berlin. Earlier as a research assistant at the University of Pécs (HU) and Macromedia University of Applied Sciences (Berlin), Anita Jóri took part in different research projects. Moreover, she was a lecturer in media studies (2013-16) of the study programme “Communication in Social and Economic Contexts” (seminar title: “Visual and Artifact Analysis through the Example of Electronic Music“) at Berlin University of the Arts. She gained her first work experience at the Vilém Flusser Archive as a scholarship holder of “Erasmus+” (2011/2012), later as a project coordinator of the “Vilém Flusser Residency Program for Artistic Research“ in cooperation with “transmediale“, festival for art and digital culture (Berlin). As a linguist, she is interested in Flusser’s early works on language and philosophy of language, in particular his structural (intercultural) analysis of languages and language families.