Flusser, Vilém. ‘Warning’ Into the Universe of Technical Images trans. by Nancy Ann Roth (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011) 3-4


Utopia means groundlessness, the absence of a point of reference. We face the immediate future directly, unequivocally, except inasmuch as we cling to those structures generated by utopia itself. That is what has happened in this essay: it clings to contemporary technical images, it criticizes them.


Therefore this essay is to read not, or not primarily, as the projection of a fantasy into the future but rather as a critique of the present – even though the critique will be caught up in a sense of the inevitability and superior force of the new.


Taking contemporary technical images as a starting point, we find two divergent trends. One moves toward a centrally programmed, totalitarian society of image receivers and image administrators, the other toward a dialogic, telematic society of image producers and image collectors.

[…] we are still free at this point to challenge these values. What we can no longer challenge in the dominance of technical images in this future society. Assuming that no catastrophe occurs (and this is by definition impossible to predict), it is likely – bordering on certain – that the existential interests of future men and women will focus on technical images.

This gives us the right and duty to call this emerging society a utopia. It will no longer be found in any place or time but in imagined surfaces, in surfaces that absorb geography and history.


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