By Vilém Flusser

This e-book offers for the 1st time in English an array of essays on layout via the seminal media critic and thinker Vilém Flusser. It places ahead the view that our destiny relies on layout. In a sequence of insightful essays on such traditional ‘things’ as wheels, carpets, pots, umbrellas and tents, Flusser emphasizes the interrelationships among paintings and technology, theology and know-how, and archaeology and structure. simply as formal creativity has produced either guns of destruction and nice artistic endeavors, Flusser believed that the form of items (and the designs at the back of them) represents either a risk and a chance for designers of the long run.

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As is well known, these two men tried to manipulate logical thinking by using mathematics (the 'calculus of propositions') and came up against this irreducibility. Thus it is not possible to build a really proper bridge between the world of description (Hegel's world, for example) and the world of calculation (Planck's world, for example). e. at least since Descartes' analytical geometry), the structure of the world has changed beyond all recognition. News of this has got around slowly. This may tempt us to conclude that it is up to us how the world is structured.

So anybody who wants to know about our past should concentrate on excavating the ruins of factories. Anybody who wants to know about our present should concentrate on examining present-day factories critically. And anybody who addresses the issue of our future should raise the question of the factory of the future. If, then, one sees human history as the history of manufacturing and everything else as mere footnotes, the following rough periods can be distinguished: hands, tools, machines, robots.

This can be traced back to the second law of thermodynamics, which states that all material tends to lose its form (its information). This principle does not hold any less well (ifless impressively) in the case of immaterial objects of use: They too are on the road to entropy. We are beginning to become conscious of the temporal nature of all forms (and thus of all creation). Since entropy is beginning to obstruct us at least as much as objects of use are. The question of responsibility and freedom (this being the essential question of creation) arises not only in the process of designing but also in the process of throwing away objects of use.

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