Education, Culture & Society Forum location:Leuven date:23 Novemver 2012
The topic of my presentation is the increasing introduction and deployment of digital technologies, like i-pads, e-communities and m-learning in the sphere of formal education (i.e. at schools and at universities). In order to come to terms with this evolution I develop a perspective on the interrelatedness of education and the use of particular technologies, which is based on Vilém Flusser’s ‘phenomenology of gestures’. I will concentrate more precisely on the practice of ‘writing’, which since the origin of the western school system, has been considered as a basic dimension of education. I will analyze this practice as a materially conditioned and heavily embodied activity which defines the possibilities of how we lead our individual and collective life. I confront these ideas with those of Bernard Stiegler, who in spite of sharing a similar technology-centered approach, draws different conclusions. Whilst Stiegler tries to preserve a certain relation with history (of technology) as a precondition for education to take place, Flusser opens the possibility to imagine a fundamental alteration in our relation to history, resulting from a digitally based mode of thought. I try to elaborate further Flusser’s comments on ‘digital thinking‘ as opposed to ‘alphabetic thinking’ by linking these to Agamben’s thoughts on profanation and on the messianic (which might be called a ‘post-post-historical’ condition).