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Posted in aesthetics games play

“What if…?”:

What if we just took the “what if?” state of mind to be playing? I find I really need a definition, and this is both simple and versatile (I can’t be the only one who…

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Posted in Apparatus photography

What can’t be photographed

The photographs sent back to earth from Mars have a kind of “signature,” something that both acknowledges the colossal technical achievement of the mission and clearly signals its photographic limits. In particular, many of the…

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Posted in Flusser Flusser on Photography photography

Black Box

Flusser used the phrase “black box” to describe at least two very different objects: a camera (in Towards a Philosophy of Photography) and the postal system (in “Letters,” Does Writing Have a Future?).  As radically different…

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Posted in Apparatus creativity Flusser on Photography photography

A Photographer on Mars

Opportunity Rover was a very engaging robot.  It “lived” on Mars for nearly 15 years, gathering and transmitting data back to earth; it “died” or, as NASA put it, completed its mission on 13 February 2019.  In terms…

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Posted in games

Flusser, “Games”

This is my translation of a very brief, very early essay Flusser wrote about games, containing his telling suggestion that homo ludens should designate the human specie. But this is not, as others — notably…

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Posted in Apparatus functionary

I am a functionary

I am a functionary.  The phrase sounds like an admission or confession.   But Flusser’s writing keeps drawing us – or at least me – back in, rewarding repeated readings, never feeling “finished” because both writer and…

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Posted in Apparatus Flusser photography

Automated Memory

“Apparatus” is Flusser’s unavoidably cumbersome term for the mesh between humans and devices, an interface so familiar we rarely notice. When the enmeshed devices also mesh with one other, the resulting structures shape — channel…

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Posted in family history writing

Educated and Groundless

I finished reading Educated yesterday, Tara Westover’s memoir of her survivalist Mormon upbringing and subsequent separation from it. By her account, the separation was achieved by means of formal education.  Only once in the book does…

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Posted in games play

Play and Games

In German, the two words are the same, or at least have the same root. “Spiel” is a game, and “spielen” is the verb — roughly “to spiel.” They’re two different words in English, “game”…

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Posted in Bateson language play

This is Play

This is the title of an article (Stephen Nachmanovitch, New Literary History, Vol. 40, No. 1, Winter, 2009), pp. 1-24.) about play in general, but specifically about Gregory Bateson’s theoretical approach to it – involving studies…

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