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By Vilém Flusser

Contributor note: Martin Pawley (Introduction)
Publish yr note: First released 1993

This booklet provides 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 usual "things" as wheels, carpets, pots, umbrellas and tents, Flusser emphasizes the interrelationships among paintings and technological know-how, theology and expertise, and archaeology and structure.

Just as formal creativity has produced either guns of destruction and nice artworks, Flusser believed that the form of items (and the designs in the back of them) represents either a probability and a chance for designers of the longer term.

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Yet ‘intelligent’ machines (jackals, donkeys and slaves) are structurally extra advanced than ‘stupid’ ones. that's the reason why, because the business Revolution, now we have began to dispense with them. the economic computing device differs from a pre-industrial one in that it's according to a systematic concept. in fact, the pre-industrial lever has a intestine feeling in regards to the precept of the lever, yet in simple terms with the economic lever does it be aware of what it's approximately. this is often often expressed within the following approach: Pre-industrial machines are empirical; business ones are produced via know-how. on the time of the economic Revolution, technological know-how had a chain of theories in regards to the ‘non-organic’ international at its disposal – particularly, theories of mechanics. but if it got here to the natural global, it had few rules approximately theories. what sort of intestine feeling a donkey may have had approximately legislation was once a secret not just to the donkey yet to the scientists to boot. hence, because the commercial Revolution, the ox has given method to the locomotive and the pony to the aeroplane. The ox and the pony can't be produced by means of expertise. so far as slaves have been involved, it was once a extra advanced company. Technological machines grew to become not just a growing number of effective yet greater and costlier in addition. as a result, the ‘Man/machine’ dating used to be reversed, and guy didn't use machines anymore yet used to be utilized by them. He grew to become a comparatively clever slave of rather silly machines. In our century, this has replaced a section. Theories became extra refined, and hence machines became progressively more effective and while smaller and, particularly, extra ‘intelligent’. Slaves became an increasing number of superfluous and feature sought safe haven from machines within the carrier area or became unemployed. those are the well-known result of the automation and ‘robotization’ attribute of what's taking place in post-industrial society. yet this isn't the switch that truly concerns. what's way more vital is the truth that theories are commencing to be on hand for attainable software to the natural international besides. we're starting to discover which legislation govern the donkey’s intestine feeling. So sooner or later, know-how may be in a position to produce oxen, horses, slaves and super-slaves. this could be referred to as the second one or ‘biological’ commercial Revolution. even as, it's going to turn into obvious that the try to construct ‘intelligent, non-organic’ machines is at top a makeshift, and at worst a mistake; a lever doesn't must be a silly arm whether it is equipped right into a significant fearful process. The excessive point of intelligence of the ox may also be handed via locomotives equipped absolutely in line with ‘biological’ rules. the sturdiness of the ‘non-organic’ could be mixed with the intelligence of the natural sooner or later building of machines. quickly where could be crawling with stone jackals. yet this isn't inevitably a terrific scenario: to be crawling with stone jackals, oxen, slaves and super-slaves even as we're attempting to devour and digest the economic by-products poured out by means of them.

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