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 reader seem to share the same conditions, conundrums, problems that are not merely intellectual or logical, but – I think it’s fair – existential.  One such difficulty is the idea of the apparatus, the idea that any one of us is so intricately enmeshed with machines that our vision, hearing, thinking, memory, time perception and more are profoundly shaped in ways we cannot control.  And there is more, namely that these are our conditions of existence: there is no human life that does not involve the apparatus, serving it in some way as a functionary. To say “I am a functionary” (and mean it) is no more or less than to accept Flusser’s critical insight into contemporary conditions of human existence, and to move into a position to see gaps, spaces in which it is possible to resist the shaping, to make something new.  

The image: the space is called “Public Functionary.”  Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it promotes itself as a setting without a an intrinsic identity or character, and so open to all kinds of – temporary – uses.  

Author: Nancy Roth