“Natural:Mind” – Vilém Flusser’s Phenomenology of Nature (E-Seminar)

Dr. Anita Jóri
“Natural:Mind” – Vilém Flusser’s Phenomenology of Nature

E-Seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
6 Video live sessions: Wednesdays, bi-weekly, 10-14 h, starts 6.5., 20.5., 3.6., 17.6., 1.7., 15.7.2020

The cultural theorist and philosopher Vilém Flusser (1920–1991) developed his own style of phenomenological analysis in the 1970s when he also published his book Natural:Mente (Natural:Mind) 1979 in Portuguese. This project belongs to the series of phenomenological writings about objects and in the case of Natural:Mind (trans. 2013), he opened the discussion on natural objects. The publication is a collection of individual essays with titles such as Paths, Birds, Rain, Cows, and Mountains. So, “[t]hey can stand alone, each one, under their own weight” (Flusser, 2013, p. 129) with their own styles imposed upon their subjects.
Living in Brazil for 32 years had a great impact on Flusser observing nature from a different angle. For him, nature is a product of culture; therefore, he rejects the ontological differentiation between nature and culture in general. His interest in this subject also led him to cooperate with artists. E.g. with the bio artist Louis Bec, they organised events in the frames of the hypothetical institute “Institut Scientifique de Recherche Paranaturaliste” about phenomena of orthodox and parallel nature. One of the best results of their projects was the book and drawing series Vampyroteuthis Infernalis on the life of the vampire squid. Another great example is the photographer Joan Fontcuberta’s art catalogue Herbarium (1985) about his own “pseudoplants”, in which Flusser wrote the introduction.
During the seminar, we will also discuss these collaborations with the help of reading Flusser’s essays on this subject and other related texts from different authors such as Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

Flusser, Vilem: Natural:Mind, Minneapolis: Univocal Publishing, 2013.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credit: regular and active participation.

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

Anita Jóri is a research assistant at the Vilém Flusser Archive, Berlin University of the Arts (since October 1, 2016). In 2010 she finished her master studies in 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 the 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 language philosophy, in particular his structural (intercultural) analysis of languages and language families.