Thank goodness that the Powers That Be at the iSchool, Faculty of Information, at the University of Toronto have corrected the mistake of naming Marshall McLuhan’s famous Centre for Culture and Technology after an obsolesced architectural structure (“coach house”), in itself of little value, instead of the man who made this modest little building world famous!
U of T’s Coach House Institute has long been associated with Marshall McLuhan, one of the university’s most famous professors. And now, the interdisciplinary institute in the Faculty of Information, is being renamed in his honour as the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology.
“It is fitting and appropriate to regard the base of McLuhan’s teachings as a McLuhan Centre,” said Faculty of Information dean Wendy Duff. “Back in the 1960s, McLuhan’s Coach House teachings stimulated and challenged students to fully use their creative imagination in understanding how we shape technologies, and how they, in turn, shape us.”
The name change comes about in the midst of renewed activities and extensive planning under the leadership of McLuhan Centre Interim Director Seamus Ross, who has engaged McLuhan Centenary Fellows David Nostbakken and Paolo Granata, and more recently McLuhan Program Director Sarah Sharma, with a goal of “developing opportunities to extend McLuhan’s formative insights on culture and technology to reach across new terrain, including a Toronto that is very different today than it was when McLuhan was writing,” according to Sharma.
Ross agreed, saying “the poetic probes and multidisciplinary approaches of Marshall McLuhan in the past century have emerged as prescient for our current rapidly changing world. The McLuhan name itself stands for the strength of creative inquiry.”
McLuhan’s son, Michael McLuhan, said it “warms the heart” to see the legacy of his father’s work at the Centre enshrined by this renaming, where “so much foundational, ground breaking work was done in the emerging field of media studies.”
McLuhan spent his career as a professor of English at the University of Toronto. The McLuhan Centre preserves and honors his intellectual heritage by fostering and supporting innovative scholarship and interdisciplinary research in the broad field of humanities, according to the tradition of the so-called Toronto School of Communication. The centre had its beginnings when on October 24, 1963, John Kelly, president of St. Michael’s College, and U of T president Claude Bissell together decided to establish a Centre for Culture and Technology, which later became McLuhan’s office in the English Department at St. Michael’s College.Read more about the history of the McLuhan Centre
The centre will be officially renamed at a conference later this year called “Toronto School, Then, Now, Next” celebrating and building upon the work of McLuhan, Harold Innis, Walter Ong, Eric Havelock, Northrop Frye, and Glen Gould, among others.
Call for Papers for La Revue D’Études Interculturelles de L’Image | Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies
| en français |
“The artist tends now to move from the ivory tower to the control tower of society”. —Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (1964)
This special issue exploring “Marshall McLuhan and the arts” encourages new approaches to the study of McLuhan’s influential theses on perception, design, and the built environment as well as the artist’s changing role in postindustrial society. Submissions will excavate previously unknown, or lesser-known, narratives and linkages, and/or engage contemporary resonances and possibilities for intersection with current critical theories and debates.
Recent years have been witness to McLuhan’s re-emergence as a major interdisciplinary thinker whose writings bridge the study of communication, culture, and technology. The computational, materialist and sensorial foci of his thought offer suggestive alternatives to approaches and assumptions embedded in the linguistic turn. Our volume calls for papers that explore his work on design, perception, and visualization as well as how his insights continue to inform or otherwise connect up with current art and design production as well as theories about their place and meaning in contemporary culture.
McLuhan rose to prominence as a public intellectual in the mid-1960s; his scholarship was always responsive to contemporary developments and unfolded as a series of shifting collaborations. As a result, his work registers the impact of that decade of disruptive change on such topics of continuing relevance as networks, embodiment, and sensory knowing (among others). Yet it is not only in reading the work of his contemporaries—Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, Buckminster Fuller, and even Jane Jacobs, to name but a few—that one hears echoes of McLuhan. Equally interesting are the ways in which current art and design theory invokes this history, sometimes directly, yet more often without fully acknowledging McLuhan’s legacy. Amidst the contemporary climate of crisis, we encourage new and inclusive perspectives on McLuhan’s modelling of the dynamics of art and social change.
We invite papers that engage the historic McLuhan, as well as those that decipher his influence—acknowledged or indirect—on current practices and theories. We are planning to work with the following three-part structure, although these categories may shift on the basis of submissions. The following topics are suggestions not restrictions:
1) Contributions, sources, and after-images:
– McLuhan, Sigfried Giedion, and “anonymous” histories of material culture
– Symbolism, Cubism, and environmental art
– Design and urban planning
– McLuhan on multi-modalities and sensory perception
– McLuhan as art “theorist”
– Futurism and Accelerationism
– Art and computation, information art, algorithmic culture, and museum culture
2) McLuhan and artists:
– Influential artists in his life (e.g., Glenn Gould, Harley Parker and Wyndham Lewis)
– Advertising and commercial design
– Artists inspired by McLuhan (e.g., John Cage, Nam June Paik)
– Possibilities for adapting (or complicating/contesting) McLuhan’s insights today
– The artist as corporate consultant, or “drop-in”
3) McLuhan as artist:
– Mosaic and other non-linear forms
– Interaction of image and text; text as art
– Art and public engagement/education
– McLuhan as performance artist
Essays should be between 2500 and 8000 words in length in either English or French.
In keeping with the mandate of the journal, pieces may include visual content as part of their argumentation rather than simply as supplemental material. Scholars, artists, and curators are encouraged to submit proposals: we ask that artists and curators contextualize their work with academic analyses, and we encourage academics to incorporate visual elements, including photography and other visual art as part of their analyses.
Please send full submissions by October 15, 2016 to: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include a 100-word abstract and a 100-word bio.
Please include any images separately, as well as embedded in the submission, as high-resolution (300-dpi) files.
<< L’artiste tend aujourd’hui à se déplacer de la tour d’ivoire à la tour de contrôle de la société.>> — Marshall McLuhan, Pour comprendre les médias (1964)
Ce numéro spécial « Marshall McLuhan et les arts » propose d’explorer de nouvelles perspectives dans l’étude des thèses majeures de McLuhan sur la perception, le design et l’environnement urbain, ainsi que sur le rôle de l’artiste dans la société postindustrielle. Les contributeurs sont invités à analyser des textes déjà connus ou peu étudiés, à les comparer et à souligner leurs résonnances avec les théories critiques contemporaines.
Depuis quelques années, nous assistons à une reviviscence des recherches sur McLuhan autour de la portée interdisciplinaire de ses écrits qui permet d’établir des liens entre les études sur la communication, les études culturelles et la technologie, pour ne citer que trois domaines. En outre, l’intérêt de McLuhan pour les médias, et plus généralement pour les mondes matériel et sensoriel, offre des alternatives stimulantes aux approches critiques ancrées dans le linguistic turn. Ce numéro d’Imaginations sollicite des articles qui approfondissent les recherches de McLuhan sur le design, la perception, et la visualisation. Nous proposons d’étudier comment ses idées continuent d’être d’actualité et de trouver des échos dans les productions artistiques et dans le design contemporain, ainsi que dans les théories sémiotiques ou dans le domaine de la rhétorique.
Marshall McLuhan a connu une grande notoriété comme intellectuel public au milieu des années 1960. Ses recherches se sont sans cesse alignés sur les avancées contemporaines et ont donné lieu à une série de collaborations novatrices. Ainsi, son travail évoque les années 1960 comme une décennie de grands changements dans la cybernétique, dans les médias, dans les connaissances sur la neurologie des sens, etc. Néanmoins, l’influence de McLuhan n’est pas seulement perceptible dans les travaux de ses contemporains –Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, Buckminster Fuller, ou Jane Jacobs, pour ne nommer que ceux-ci. Elle l’est également dans les théories sur l’art et le design aujourd’hui qui évoquent son parcours parfois ouvertement, parfois hélas sans reconnaître entièrement son héritage. C’est pourquoi, dans le climat contemporain de crises diverses, nous invitons les chercheurs à considérer des approches nouvelles et inclusives sur la manière dont McLuhan inspire et sert de modèle à des dynamiques de transformation dans les arts et la société.
Nous souhaitons recevoir des articles qui réfléchissent aux travaux de McLuhan d’un point de vue historique, et qui explorent son influence –directe ou indirecte– sur des pratiques et théories contemporaines.
À ces fins, nous proposons trois axes de réflexion, bien que d’autres perspectives soient aussi envisageables :
1/ Contributions, sources et après-images :
– McLuhan, Sigfried Giedion, et histoires « anonymes » de la culture matérielle
– Symbolisme, cubisme, et art de l’environnement
– Design et planification urbaine
– McLuhan face aux multi-modalités de la perception sensorielle
– McLuhan comme « théoricien » de l’art
– Futurisme et accélérationnisme
– Art et ordinateurs, art et cybernétique, culture algorithmique, culture des musées
2/ McLuhan et les artistes
– Artistes qui l’ont influencé (ex. Glenn Gould, Harley Parker, Wyndham Lewis)
– Publicité et design commercial
– Artistes influencés par McLuhan (ex. John Cage, Nam June Paik)
– Possibilités d’adopter (ou de contester/critiquer) les idées de McLuhan aujourd’hui
– L’artiste comme consultant corporatif
3/ McLuhan l’artiste :
– Mosaïque et autres formes non-linéaires
– Interactions entre texte et image ; le texte comme art visuel
– Art et engagement/éducation publique
– McLuhan comme artiste performeur
Consignes aux auteurs
Les articles doivent être de 2500 à 8000 mots, en anglais ou en français. Suivant le mandat de la revue, peuvent contenir des images. Nous invitons les chercheurs, mais aussi les artistes et commissaires d’exposition à soumettre texte ou intervention. Il est recommandé aux artistes et aux commissaires d’exposition d’accorder leur travail pratique avec les exigences de la recherche académique. De même, les chercheurs universitaires sont invités à inclure du matériel visuel à leurs textes afin d’enrichir leurs analyses.
Votre soumission doit accompagnée d’un résumé de 100 mots et d’une notice bio-bibliographique de la même longueur. Veuillez joindre vos images haute résolution (300-dpi) séparément et les inclure dans le texte.
Professors Arthur Porter and Marshall McLuhan, with artist René Cera, admiring Cera’s mural Pied Piper All, the Centre for Culture and Technology, University of Toronto, 1969. Photograph by Robert Lansdale
“Racoon” from the Liz Magor: Habitude exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. (Scott Massey)
Two artists channel Marshall McLuhan in Montreal exhibition
Marshall McLuhan’s most radical idea was that everything we make also remakes us. Two new exhibitions at Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain grapple with this proposition from very different perspectives. Liz Magor, who was born in 1948, works with what McLuhan called the material extensions of the body – clothes especially, but also shelters and implements. Ryan Trecartin, who was born in 1981, is all about electronic extensions, particularly cellphone cameras, social media and reality TV.
Magor’s pieces typically juxtapose a ready-made – a manufactured thing such as cigarettes or liquor bottles, or a dead bird – with cast replicas of other ordinary things – gloves, towels or cardboard boxes. The cast item is often the container or concealment device for the ready-made. What looks like two piles of folded towels in Double Cabinet (Blue) is actually a hollow space packed with cases of beer. Aside from the failed deception, the use of the laboriously handmade things as the frame for the manufactured objects tells you something about how this Vancouver artist sees their relative importance in her work.
“Through some mysterious operation,” she says in an interview published in the exhibition catalogue, “the found things become really alive when set against the sculptural representation of something ordinary. … Even a dead bird is more alive than the replica of a cardboard box.”
There you have the kernel of what most of the work in the MAC’s four-decade retrospective is about: Magor’s fascination with the mystery through which an artist’s replica gives new meaning to something plucked from the world. I think the mystery has something to do with the felt nature of time, which runs differently for commodities that have “the potential to return to the world and resume their business,” as Magor says, than for a piece made to be walled up in a museum.
Ryan Trecartin sometimes makes objects, but is best known for the riotous claustrophobic videos he produces with Lizzie Fitch and a host of other artists, actors and friends. One of the earliest, and perhaps the only one with a sole performer, is Kitchen Girl (2001), a three-minute short in which Fitch drags a baby carriage upstairs, screaming the whole time, and then cooks a boot for two children who are actually bulbous stuffed toys. It’s a fairy tale gone mad, and its most telling feature is that once Fitch is in the kitchen, she does everything with a microphone in her hand.
The three group videos from 2013 included in Priority Innfield, a version of which has shown at the Venice Biennale, belong to another era, after the explosion of social media. In these films, the fourth wall that kept Fitch from acknowledging Trecartin’s sneaking hand-held camera in Kitchen Girl has become a picture window, polished to a blinding sheen by the Internet and phone cameras.
Everyone primps and preens for the camera in harsh frontal lighting, while saying things such as, “No one has a name yet,” and “One of the most elegant things about facts is that I believe them.” The cast forms a competitive bitchy fellowship that feels more real than they do individually. Their constant upstaging and photo-bombing often looks like an enactment of Candy Darling’s comment about making films at Warhol’s Factory: “Whichever one of us is the pushiest gets to be the star.” Read the the full review at http://goo.gl/Jv6Jlp .Musee d’art contemporain de Montreal
A Fiction Book About Canadian Academia in the 1960s Involving Marshall McLuhan & Northrop Frye: The Devil’s Party: Who Killed the Sixties?
An upstart from the wilds of Northern Manitoba, Jason Faraday joins Lennie’s circle. Lennie’s forebears are Ukrainian; Jason’s Irish. Lennie considers them both spawn of the derelicts of Europe. A bond is formed which sees them through graduation and, at the dawn of the 60s, off to graduate school at the University of Toronto. Their paths continue to cross throughout the 60s.
Lennie’s spiritual soulmates are Spengler and Blake. For him they are the great decoders of history. His University of Toronto mentors include Northrop Frye and Marshall McLuhan and a number of others who enter the story under their own names. But not all is poetry and high culture. There are perilous clashes with authority back to back with bizarre sexual peccadilloes. There is something of Raskolnikov in Lennie, also something of Tom Jones.
Lennie assails what he sees as the smug complacency of the elite, the grim rectitude of the moral majority, the obsessive materialism of the obedient classes, the brainwashing of the populace by warmongers, giant corporations, their lackeys in brain washing, the growing irrelevance of the universities, and above all the sanctimonious spoilers of sexual joy. Teaching at the University of Manitoba he quickly gets a reputation as a firebrand. Among his students and his more stout-hearted colleagues, he becomes a lodestone who draws them into his vision of the rampage for change sweeping the world. Read more about the book at http://goo.gl/KcLvUl .
About Bob Rodgers: Bob Rodgers taught English at McGill and the University of Toronto before moving into film and television. As executive producer at the U of T Media Centre he wrote, produced, and/or directed more than 100 educational programs, among them a 30 part series: “The Bible and Literature, a Personal View by Northrop Frye”. Later as freelance filmmaker he made documentaries for the NFB (“Fiddlers of James Bay”) and the CBC National Network (“NWT: One-third of Canada”). In 2001 Bob self-published a short story collection, “Secrets From Home”. He has since written two novels: “Hot Ice”, about diamonds, ecology, and caribou in NWT; and “The Devil’s Party”, his take on the 1960s among the fledgling literati of the counter-culture.
Read the book review of Robert Fulford in the National Post (June 27, 2016): Bob Rodgers examines who killed the ’60s by bringing Canadian icons back to life on the page – http://goo.gl/PbukJx . Thanks to Ruthanne Wrobel for this information.
This book is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.
Marshall McLuhan at his Coach House at St. Michael’s College
The home has an official historic designation and was where McLuhan grew up.By: Samantha Power For Metro Published on Tue Jul 05 2016
Marshall McLuhan preached that the “medium was the message” and for the next week anyone will be able to take their own impressions from his historic family home.
The doors are open at the author and intellectual’s historic home in Highlands this week. The micro museum celebrates McLuhan and his affect on the media world.
“He’s a pretty important thinker from Edmonton,” says Chelsea Boos, programming coordinator with Arts Habitat Edmonton, which now runs the space. “He was forecasting the kinds of things that we’re dealing with before anyone else had thought to look at T.V. or media at all.”
Arts Habitat took over the space in 2013, after city council helped fund the purchases and protected the home as a heritage property.
The house has been open on a limited basis since, January but will be much more available for the rest of this week. Stuart McKay, the family genealogist, provides the family history in the main floor of the home which showcases historical family portraits and McLuhan’s library of works, as well as a T.V. wall installation.
The house also provides arts residency space through the Tennis Club, an artist collective. After six months of operations Boos is most proud of getting this space up and running.
“Having them here as another energy that adds to the space,” says Boos. “It works conceptually really well with the neighbourhood.”
Boos is hoping the community connection will continue to grow as the McLuhan House settles more into the neighbourhood.
“I’d like for it to become a more organic process,” says Boos.
Tour Info: Self-guided walking tour – July 4-8 – 1:00pm – 7:00pm
11342-64 St. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Distributed for Intellect Books270 pages | 7 x 9 | © 2016 | November Publication This book brings together a number of prominent scholars to explore a relatively under-studied area of Marshall McLuhan’s thought: his idea of formal cause and the role that formal cause plays in the emergence of new technologies and in structuring societal relations. Aiming to open a new way of understanding McLuhan’s thought in this area, and to provide methodological grounding for future media ecology research, the book runs the gamut, from contributions that directly support McLuhan’s arguments to those that see in them the germs of future developments in emergent dynamics and complexity theory.
REVIEW QUOTESGraham Harman, American University in Cairo “Very good essays on a crucial intellectual topic. . . . I’m hopeful that this anthology will help kick off another McLuhan movement . . rooted in McLuhan’s place in the great tradition of philosophies of causation.”
John Lennon & Yoko Ono Talk With Marshall McLuhan, December 20, 1969 at the Coach House, University of Toronto
See previous postings on this blog on McLuhan & Lennon:-
John Lennon in Conversation with Marshall McLuhan – https://goo.gl/ffyg0N
Marshall McLuhan’s Interview of John Lennon – https://goo.gl/14xQu1
Marshall McLuhan & John Lennon – https://goo.gl/d0PRzT
New Book: The Beatles and McLuhan: Understanding the Electric Age – https://goo.gl/b19GOJ
A Symposium on McLuhan’s Media Practice: Literature and Communication, University of Westminster, London, UK
Click on individual images for close-up view.
Location: University of Westminster , 309 Regent Street, City of London, United Kingdom
Date: Mon, Jun 20 at 10:30am – 4:30pm
This special event explores the legacies of media theorist, literary scholar and public intellectual Marshall McLuhan in the context of archive materials. Discussing McLuhan’s contributions to our understandings of media practices, the history and futures of the book, and literary modernism, not least through his own annotations on Joyce and others, the symposium welcomes participants from the Marshall McLuhan Estate and The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Toronto, as well as academics, curators and publishers involved in McLuhan studies in Europe.
Speakers will include: Andrea Boegner (McLuhan Salon, Canadian Embassy, Berlin), David Cunningham (IMCC), Doris Gassert (Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland), Tom Lamberty (Merve Verlag Berlin), Graham Larkin (art historian, Ottawa), Andrew McLuhan (McLuhan Estate), John Shoesmith (Fisher Rare Book Library), Leigh Wilson (Contemporary Small Press Project, IMCC) and Simon Worthington (Mute Magazine).
McLuhan was a central and also provocative figure in early media discourse – some of his pronouncements shaped the subject itself while others remain divisive. However, his research and teaching activities and his contributions to publishing, although hugely influential, have been more difficult to assess. Recent access to McLuhan’s richly annotated library presents a remarkable new research resource, while early drafts of his own books are providing insight into his collaborations with designers, and a clearer view of a unique literature and communications practice is emerging. This symposium assesses these developments and ways in which new materials can be delivered digitally to international researchers, and considers new agendas for McLuhan Studies through the dual perspectives of literary criticism and contemporary publishing research.Get tickets at the source article’s site: https://goo.gl/tX186N For information about the Fisher Library’s McLuhan collection see: https://goo.gl/fYGFyE The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto
Sketch of McLuhan by Sorel Etrog
This paper offers a retrospective of the images McLuhan used after the “Global Village” to characterize and illuminate the evolution of late-twentieth century media landscapes. A variation of this article was published 2011 in the Canadian Journal of Media Studies 9(1): http://cjms.fims.uwo.ca/issues/09-01/Chrystall.pdf.
The McLuhan revival of the 1990s saw the retrieval of Marshall McLuhan — the post-pop-icon — and his transformation into the “spin doctor for the digital revolution, the ghostly booster for virtual communities and the prophet and patron saint of business on the internet” (Ostrow xvii). Despite Kroker’s earlier assessment, that McLuhan’s works are obsolesced by the new digital environment, McLuhan’s famous phrases began operating as “globally recognizable jingles for the work of multinationals trading in digital commodities” (Genosko 10).1 Since the revival, McLuhan’s phrases have been fetishized within the academy too. In The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Semiotics, Media and Communications, for example, Danesi reduces McLuhan’s legacy to that of a communication “theorist,” who argued that electronic technology has transformed the world into a “global village,” best known for coining the phrase “the medium is the message” (140).
Danesi’s treatment of McLuhan is not an anomaly. Since the revival, McLuhan has rarely been afforded escape velocity from his earlier aphorisms and phrases. His critics and commentators all too frequently seek to encounter McLuhan and his oeuvre in a similar manner — through the lens of one or more of his famous aphorisms or phrases — treating the medium solely in terms of a fragment of his message. The fragment of McLuhan’s “message” invoked above all others has been the image of the global village (Dery). McLuhan’s critics and commentators have sought to leverage the global village to inform and focus a variety of critiques of McLuhan’s corpus. Andreas Huyssen, for example, makes the global village an integral part of a reading experiment created to critique McLuhan. According to Huyssen, a truer account of McLuhan’s “media theology” can be seen if we substitute Holy Spirit for electricity; God for Medium; and planet united under Rome for global village (183). Fawcett too hangs his commentary on McLuhan off the global village. He uses the phrase to launch a critique of McLuhan’s apparent optimism for television, over-estimation of the pedagogic possibilities of video, propensity to ignore criticism, Christian optimism, inadequate diagnosis of re-tribalization, misreading of James Joyce, use of overstatement and/or hyperbole, relationship to the wealthy, carelessness, belief in an orderly world, and ignorance of financial and fiscal matters.
McLuhan’s global village has also been a prominent feature in discourses catalyzed by the explosive growth of the Internet. Antecol, for example, looks at the media and communications scene of the late-1990s through the lens of McLuhan’s global village. The crux of his inquiry is “are we there yet?” Has McLuhan’s “prophecy” been realized? Tom Wolfe’s approach is not dissimilar. According to Wolfe, McLuhan is something of a prophet and the global village is the first and most memorable name for the digital universe McLuhan predicted. Cohen offers a similar assessment. He argues that while McLuhan’s acoustic space was not, precisely, cyberspace it appears to have been close enough for those within the sphere of its development to have made the links to McLuhan and to foster the popular belief that McLuhan had prophetically anticipated a world that bore witness to his vision….. (Read the rest at https://goo.gl/fol5pK ).
About Dr Andrew Chrystall – Dr Andrew Chrystall teaches in the School of Communication, Journalism & Marketing, Massey University, New Zealand. His research unfolds from the aesthetic-historical and interdisciplinary approach of Marshall McLuhan, the Toronto School of Communication, and Media Ecology. His research portfolio demonstrates sustained attention to the effects of media and the interrelations between culture and technology. In addition to his primary discipline(s)—Media and Communication Studies—Dr. Chrystall has a background in Public Relations, Sociology and Theology. He also had a vital and exciting career in a variety of “cultural” industries prior to becoming an academic. Dr Chrystall also likes surfing, playing judo and is an underwhelming jazz guitarist.See also on this blog The Metaphor Morphs: From Global Village to Global Theatre – https://goo.gl/eAjgQ2 .