Sub-Jects and Pro-Jects

I am doing my deep dive into Vilem Flusser, and I am currently reading a collection of his essays that he wrote from ArtForum 1986-91.  I have read art crit compilations before, but none as readable as this. Perhaps that is just because it speaks to my interest in art.

Of all the distinctions and observations that Flusser made, what I found interesting was his assertion that we are no longer Sub-Jects but Pro-Jects.  As subjects we interpret the world, as projects we project new possible worlds or new possible subjects or new possibilities.

The images in Lascaux represent an interpretation of the world.  This is the division of the world into subjects perceiving and representing, and objects to be perceived and represented.

The techno-images, or data visualizations, represent images of calculations. Calculations are not objects but processes and possibilities or probabilities. We pro-ject a point of view on the calculation when we turn it into a data-visualization.

We might even say some experiments in Modern Art such as the cubists or abstract expressionism themselves are data visualizations instead of pictorial representations. Are movements are ideologies – they are projections.

In the new world of the pro-ject what are our transcendental categories of understanding?

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