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Timothy Leary, Marshall McLuhan & Electronic Media

McLuhan Galaxy - Sun, 06/08/2014 - 12:08pm

This essay was previously published here, but was taken down by request, pending publication by BoingBoing, where it  just appeared this week. This is a short excerpt and readers should follow the link at bottom to read the full essay, especially the previously unpublished letter from Marshall McLuhan regarding Timothy Leary. The full essay can be found at http://tinyurl.com/p5geazq .

Timothy Leary & Marshall McLuhan, turned on & tuned in

Michael Horowitz and Lisa Rein tell the fascinating tale of McLuhan and Leary’s friendship, and present an unpublished letter from the Leary Archives.

Man is about to make use of that fabulous electrical network he carries around in his skull” – Timothy Leary & Richard Alpert, 1963

“Electric technology, by virtue of its immediate relation to our nervous system, is itself a sort of inner trip, with drugs playing the role of sub-plot or alternative mode. It may well appear a few years hence that the panic about psychedelic drugs relates less to the chemistry than to the hidden terrors which people feel in the presence of electric technology.” –Marshall McLuhan, June 1974 (From a previously unpublished letter, full text below.)

There is no other 1960s intellectual figure whom Timothy Leary came to admire more than Marshall McLuhan. He considered McLuhan’s famous statement – “The medium is the message” — the most important cultural insight of the ‘60s, a decade saturated with insightful and lasting one-liners, some of the most famous coming from Leary’s own brain. Leary has even credited the world’s foremost media theorist with giving him the pep talk that resulted in his own famous mantra: “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.”

In 1964, when LSD was fast becoming a national issue on a trajectory that eventually made it the most vilified drug of the decade, McLuhan’s treatise Understanding Media became (alongside The Tibetan Book of the Dead) the latest roadmap for Leary’s positioning on the subject that had increasingly preoccupied him since he and Richard Alpert had been forced out of Harvard, where they had been doing groundbreaking research on psilocybin, LSD and DMT during the early 1960s.

McLuhan argued that all media are “extensions” of our human senses, bodies and minds, that “amplify and accelerate existing processes.” It was the medium itself, regardless of the content, that was the message. Read the full essay here: http://tinyurl.com/p5geazq .

See also Leary, McLuhan and Electronic Technology here: http://tinyurl.com/kzoy9oz .


Categories: Blog

Marshall McLuhan, Media, & the Ecology of the Digital Age

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 06/07/2014 - 2:29pm

Marshall’s Media Ecologies

For four decades, Marshall McLuhan has been the Bob Dylan of the communication academy. In the late 1960s, Tom Wolfe entertained the thought that McLuhan might be “the most important thinker since Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Pavlov . . . the most famous man his country ever produced.” Woody Allen gave him a cameo in the movie Annie HallWired magazine named him its “patron saint,” and bands from Genesis to Radio Free Vestibule have written him tributes. He is more than an intellectual; he is an icon. But Marshall McLuhan, who passed away in 1980, always seemed an unlikely candidate for oracular status.

Born in Alberta, Canada, in 1911, McLuhan was what every concerned father calls a “permanent student.” He received his first undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg in 1933 and took ten years to get his Ph.D. He was a professor his entire professional life, a bookish man with a love for classic literature and an unholy affection for James Joyce’s treatise Finnegan’s Wake; but McLuhan was also Delphic—a prophet for the electronic age—and his aphoristic predictions transcended the academy to seize the imagination of the mainstream.

To oversimplify, McLuhan’s great insight was to see media in its broadest sense: as ecology. The word “medium” (from which “media” was derived), refers to “an intervening substance through which something else is transmitted or carried on.” And that’s the key. McLuhan’s claim was that the intervening substances we use—phonetic letters, radio broadcasts, YouTube videos, blogs, and whispers—are just as important as the messages they convey.

As McLuhan famously put it, the medium is the message; and if, as he claimed, all media are extensions of man, then we are not just the passive recipients of media but a critical part of media itself. This makes media an ecosystem—like a marsh, savannah, or swamp—that surrounds us, consumes us, and works us over in every imaginable way. McLuhan writes, “Environments are not passive wrappings, but are, rather, active processes which are invisible. The ground rules, pervasive structure, and overall patterns of environments elude easy perception.”

And the advent of electronic media in the twentieth century may be the biggest shock to that ecosystem in at least 500 years. McLuhan comments, “The new media are not ways of relating us to the old ‘real’ world; they are the real world and they reshape what remains of the old world at will.”

Whereas the printed word is just an extension of the eye, and the spoken word an extension of the ear, McLuhan claimed that electronic media are an extension of man’s central nervous system—all inclusive and limitless, interactive and multi-sensory. Their nature—light, electricity!—grants them power to impact not simply individual locales, but entire nations in real time, transforming the world from a mass of separate villages to one global village with shared experience and imagery.

Obviously, McLuhan’s volumes of work are too extensive and nuanced to treat comprehensively in one essay, but his basic analysis forces us to ask questions. What are our environments and their boundaries? How do we identify these complex interactions and view our ecosystem in new and interesting ways?

This is an extract from a longer essay titled Marshall McLuhan, Media, & the Ecology of the Digital Age in SALVO Magazine. Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/llzdteu ,


Categories: Blog

Marshall McLuhan, Media, & the Ecology of the Digital Age

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 06/07/2014 - 2:29pm

Marshall’s Media Ecologies

For four decades, Marshall McLuhan has been the Bob Dylan of the communication academy. In the late 1960s, Tom Wolfe entertained the thought that McLuhan might be “the most important thinker since Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Pavlov . . . the most famous man his country ever produced.” Woody Allen gave him a cameo in the movie Annie HallWired magazine named him its “patron saint,” and bands from Genesis to Radio Free Vestibule have written him tributes. He is more than an intellectual; he is an icon. But Marshall McLuhan, who passed away in 1980, always seemed an unlikely candidate for oracular status.

Born in Alberta, Canada, in 1911, McLuhan was what every concerned father calls a “permanent student.” He received his first undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg in 1933 and took ten years to get his Ph.D. He was a professor his entire professional life, a bookish man with a love for classic literature and an unholy affection for James Joyce’s treatise Finnegan’s Wake; but McLuhan was also Delphic—a prophet for the electronic age—and his aphoristic predictions transcended the academy to seize the imagination of the mainstream.

To oversimplify, McLuhan’s great insight was to see media in its broadest sense: as ecology. The word “medium” (from which “media” was derived), refers to “an intervening substance through which something else is transmitted or carried on.” And that’s the key. McLuhan’s claim was that the intervening substances we use—phonetic letters, radio broadcasts, YouTube videos, blogs, and whispers—are just as important as the messages they convey.

As McLuhan famously put it, the medium is the message; and if, as he claimed, all media are extensions of man, then we are not just the passive recipients of media but a critical part of media itself. This makes media an ecosystem—like a marsh, savannah, or swamp—that surrounds us, consumes us, and works us over in every imaginable way. McLuhan writes, “Environments are not passive wrappings, but are, rather, active processes which are invisible. The ground rules, pervasive structure, and overall patterns of environments elude easy perception.”

And the advent of electronic media in the twentieth century may be the biggest shock to that ecosystem in at least 500 years. McLuhan comments, “The new media are not ways of relating us to the old ‘real’ world; they are the real world and they reshape what remains of the old world at will.”

Whereas the printed word is just an extension of the eye, and the spoken word an extension of the ear, McLuhan claimed that electronic media are an extension of man’s central nervous system—all inclusive and limitless, interactive and multi-sensory. Their nature—light, electricity!—grants them power to impact not simply individual locales, but entire nations in real time, transforming the world from a mass of separate villages to one global village with shared experience and imagery.

Obviously, McLuhan’s volumes of work are too extensive and nuanced to treat comprehensively in one essay, but his basic analysis forces us to ask questions. What are our environments and their boundaries? How do we identify these complex interactions and view our ecosystem in new and interesting ways?

This is an extract from a longer essay titled Marshall McLuhan, Media, & the Ecology of the Digital Age in SALVO Magazine. Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/llzdteu ,


Categories: Blog

Loss of Privacy: Marshall McLuhan’s Warnings

McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:54pm

big-data-eye

This is from a Letter to the Editor to one of the local newspapers:-

Heed McLuhan’s warnings Published on Fri May 30 2014

Re: Snowden: The gift that keeps on giving, May 24

With all the recent articles about CSEC and the NSA, I can no longer smugly blame the present day government(s) for this surveillance mess we’re in. While poking through Marshall McLuhan’s letters recently I found these revelations.

On April 14, 1969, McLuhan wrote to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau: “Under electric conditions there can be no privacy. The privacy invaders are the bulwark of the new knowledge industries, from the pollsters, to the insurance companies, and the credit ratings, ‘the eye in the sky,’, the age of the ‘snoop’.”

Then on March 2, 1970, McLuhan wrote the following to the Office of the Prime Minister: “Any conventional bureaucracy becomes a police state when speeded up by a new technology such as telephone or telex.”

To illustrate his point McLuhan used the example of the conventional car “speeded up” giving rise to “the extreme instance of police state” via “helicopters and computers.”

On March 23, 1967, McLuhan wrote to his good friend John Wain [Oxford U scholar & author] about the effects of his own increasing public exposure: “When you go into the public domain by the media route everybody develops the illusion that they own you. They resent even slight efforts at privacy.”

In the near half century since McLuhan’s observations, human interaction has “speeded up,” rendering old-fashioned socializing and dating obsolete. We now find ourselves eagerly executing online surveillance of each other.

Perhaps we should all slow down and privately reflect on these ideas for a moment. Is that possible in this day and age? (Source: http://tinyurl.com/qevu6cr )

panopticon image


Categories: Blog

Loss of Privacy: Marshall McLuhan’s Warnings

McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:54pm

big-data-eye

This is from a Letter to the Editor to one of the local newspapers:-

Heed McLuhan’s warnings Published on Fri May 30 2014

Re: Snowden: The gift that keeps on giving, May 24

With all the recent articles about CSEC and the NSA, I can no longer smugly blame the present day government(s) for this surveillance mess we’re in. While poking through Marshall McLuhan’s letters recently I found these revelations.

On April 14, 1969, McLuhan wrote to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau: “Under electric conditions there can be no privacy. The privacy invaders are the bulwark of the new knowledge industries, from the pollsters, to the insurance companies, and the credit ratings, ‘the eye in the sky,’, the age of the ‘snoop’.”

Then on March 2, 1970, McLuhan wrote the following to the Office of the Prime Minister: “Any conventional bureaucracy becomes a police state when speeded up by a new technology such as telephone or telex.”

To illustrate his point McLuhan used the example of the conventional car “speeded up” giving rise to “the extreme instance of police state” via “helicopters and computers.”

On March 23, 1967, McLuhan wrote to his good friend John Wain [Oxford U scholar & author] about the effects of his own increasing public exposure: “When you go into the public domain by the media route everybody develops the illusion that they own you. They resent even slight efforts at privacy.”

In the near half century since McLuhan’s observations, human interaction has “speeded up,” rendering old-fashioned socializing and dating obsolete. We now find ourselves eagerly executing online surveillance of each other.

Perhaps we should all slow down and privately reflect on these ideas for a moment. Is that possible in this day and age? (Source: http://tinyurl.com/qevu6cr )

panopticon image


Categories: Blog

Supernova Shines Light on Digital World

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 06/02/2014 - 6:18pm
Supernova shines light on digital world

Calgary’s Theatre Junction timed its presentation of Sometime Between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova to coincide with the Festival TransAmériques. The bilingual work is “an investigation of our relationship with the digital world,” says director Mark Lawes. (Photograph by: Alexandre Mehring)

Sometime Between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova is a bilingual work largely inspired by Marshall McLuhan

MONTREAL — Mark Lawes, artistic director of Calgary’s Theatre Junction, says his show is “an investigation of our relationship with the digital world.”

Sometime Between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova is a bilingual work largely inspired by Marshall McLuhan, who is credited with anticipating the birth of the Internet. The setting is a sound stage for a B-movie, and the characters — isolated by technology — express themselves through dance, spoken word and video.

“Because we work in English and in French, we’re quite an anomaly in the West,” Lawes said.

It was Douglas Coupland’s recent biography of McLuhan that reconnected Lawes with the author who coined the phrase “global village.”

Another influence was the everyday life Lawes was sharing with his partner, Raphaële Thiriet, who lives in France. They rely heavily on Skype to communicate. She has collaborated with Lawes on this show, which took shape during a three-month residency in France before it premièred in Calgary in March 2013. That’s when a couple of artists from Montreal’s La Pire Espèce, one of the resident companies of Aux Écuries, saw it and expressed interest.

The idea is to present “a window to our work” while the FTA takes place, Lawes said. “We were in discussions with the festival,” he added, “but it ended up not happening.”

He has already planned a return visit for September, when Theatre Junction will be doing a three-week residency with a new show.

Sometime Between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova was staged from Friday, May 30 at Théâtre Aux Écuries, 7285 Chabot St. Call 514-328-7437 or visit auxecuries.com. (Source http://tinyurl.com/ms6x3k3 )


Categories: Blog

Supernova Shines Light on Digital World

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 06/02/2014 - 6:18pm
Supernova shines light on digital world

Calgary’s Theatre Junction timed its presentation of Sometime Between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova to coincide with the Festival TransAmériques. The bilingual work is “an investigation of our relationship with the digital world,” says director Mark Lawes. (Photograph by: Alexandre Mehring)

Sometime Between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova is a bilingual work largely inspired by Marshall McLuhan

MONTREAL — Mark Lawes, artistic director of Calgary’s Theatre Junction, says his show is “an investigation of our relationship with the digital world.”

Sometime Between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova is a bilingual work largely inspired by Marshall McLuhan, who is credited with anticipating the birth of the Internet. The setting is a sound stage for a B-movie, and the characters — isolated by technology — express themselves through dance, spoken word and video.

“Because we work in English and in French, we’re quite an anomaly in the West,” Lawes said.

It was Douglas Coupland’s recent biography of McLuhan that reconnected Lawes with the author who coined the phrase “global village.”

Another influence was the everyday life Lawes was sharing with his partner, Raphaële Thiriet, who lives in France. They rely heavily on Skype to communicate. She has collaborated with Lawes on this show, which took shape during a three-month residency in France before it premièred in Calgary in March 2013. That’s when a couple of artists from Montreal’s La Pire Espèce, one of the resident companies of Aux Écuries, saw it and expressed interest.

The idea is to present “a window to our work” while the FTA takes place, Lawes said. “We were in discussions with the festival,” he added, “but it ended up not happening.”

He has already planned a return visit for September, when Theatre Junction will be doing a three-week residency with a new show.

Sometime Between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova was staged from Friday, May 30 at Théâtre Aux Écuries, 7285 Chabot St. Call 514-328-7437 or visit auxecuries.com. (Source http://tinyurl.com/ms6x3k3 )


Categories: Blog

Trapped Light, A Documentary Media Project by Natalie Logan, Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 05/26/2014 - 11:41am
Cover Photo

MAY 29 Opening Reception: May 29th, 6-9 pm. Exhibition continues until June 11th. Opening Reception: May 29th, 6-9 pm. Exhibition continues until June 11th Luff art + dialogue, 688 Richmond Street West, #202. Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat, 1 – 5 pm, and by appointment. Trapped Light is a documentary media project featuring a series of holograms and an interactive laser installation, which invites us to reflect on the nature of light as we understand it – as a wave and a particle, as poiesis and science. Film Screening and Discussion on the Poetry of Physics with author and physicist Professor Robert K. Logan, PhD: June 11th, 6 – 9 pm. *****

Visible light, which represents only a tiny sliver within the electromagnetic spectrum, has been described in conflicting ways. According to quantum theory, it is experimental observation that causes light to manifest itself as either a particle or a wave. Thus, our current understanding of light introduces ambiguity to our notion of reality.

Trapped Light comprises a series of holograms and an interactive laser installation that explore our perception of and relationship to light and space. It seeks to visually express that which is not always perceptible to the naked eye, for which we need external media to represent that aspect of our reality. Holograms are created by wave interference from laser light, which is split between the object and the holographic emulsion. They allow us to see light frozen in time, representing the object without physical form. The laser installation, modelled after the Michelson Interferometer, projects a moving pattern of light caused by wave interference. It is affected by the smallest of movements, thus visually amplifying our own movement in the gallery space as an abstract light projection of dark and light fringes.

The interference seen in the laser projection and the figure-ground interaction, which takes place between the glass surface and the projected space of the holograms in Trapped Light, puts us in a paradoxical state where we can reflect on the nature of light as we understand it—as a wave and a particle, as poiesis and science. ( http://docnow.ca/artists/natalie-logan/ )

Artist Bio

Natalie Logan is an interdisciplinary artist who bridges her skills in various media to explore the subject of light. In addition to completing an Honours BA at the University of Toronto, she has studied with notable artists and collectives such as Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti, Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School, and the Photon League and Light Foundry holography labs. For the past three years, Natalie has been working with artists, designers and academics as a Research Assistant for OCAD University’s PHASE Lab as its primary holographer. She also works as a freelance photographer, cinematographer and editor. Some of her work can be seen at www.natagraphy.com .

Profile picture for luff art + dialogue
Categories: Blog

“The Acoustic-Unconscious: Recovering Marshall McLuhan” – Seminar in Ethnomusicology & Sound Studies with Veit Erlmann

McLuhan Galaxy - Sun, 05/25/2014 - 12:59pm

Although this seminar happened several days ago at the University of Oxford, I am posting it here because it underlines another academic area of influence that Marshall McLuhan has had, in this case, on sound studies, with his concept of  “acoustic space.”

Sounds Assembling by Bertram Brooker (1928)
Image from Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) Open to all  and admission is free 
Seminar in Ethnomusicology and Sound Studies        “The Acoustic-Unconscious: Recovering Marshall McLuhan Professor Veit Erlmann Endowed Chair of Music History, Professor of Ethnomusicology and Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin     Thursday 22nd, May 2014 (TT Week4)  (17:00-18:30)   –   Ertegun House, St Giles, University of Oxford

Abstract

Marshall McLuhan is considered to be a founding figure of sound studies, but he is also (in)famous for his techno-determinism, Orientalism and, most importantly, oral/literate dichotomy. By contrast, his concept of “acoustic space” is often overlooked. Erlmann argues that it is time to revisit McLuhan’s contribution to early sound studies and to examine the place of “acoustic space” in his theory of media. In so doing he hopes to broaden the current debate about sound on the edge or the “unsound” to what Erlmann calls the “acoustic-unconscious.” An short excerpt of McLuhan being interviewed in 1967 can be watched below. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/pk6flzp )

Biography (follow the above link to see the complete biography) Veit Erlmann holds the Endowed Chair of Music History at the University of Texas. He studied musicology, sociology, anthropology and philosophy in Berlin and Cologne, where he obtained a Dr.phil. in 1978 and did a Habilitation in musicology in 1989 and in anthropology in 1994. As an ethnographer he has done fieldwork in Morocco (1972), Cameroon (1975-1976), Niger (1979), South Africa (1982-1987), Lesotho (1982), Ecuador (1987), and Ghana (1989).  Currently he is working on a book on intellectual property in the South African music industry that will be published by Duke University Press. In addition to his ethnographic work he also retains a strong interest in musicology, cultural studies and cultural history, primarily in relation to Europe.
Categories: Blog

MZTV Museum of Television Opens in Liberty Village, Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 05/24/2014 - 7:54pm

By Ed Conroy / MAY 23, 2014

Museum Television Toronto

Toronto’s own visionary prophet of the airwaves Moses Znaimer re-opened his Museum of Television yesterday, and now welcomes all curious and card carrying fans of the medium to visit this weekend as the MZTV Museumof Television & Archive participates in the citywide Door’s open program.

Not just content with pioneering and broadcasting his own unique brand of exalted content, Znaimer also digs the apparatus: his collection of vintage Television sets is a geeked-out heavenly shrine to the art of TV technology, from boxy postage stamp sized screens to hulking, Martian-like monstrosities on the likes of which our (great) grandparents witnessed the first human being walking on the moon.

Moses Znaimer

 The mandate of the MZTV Museum of Television and Archive is “to protect, preserve and promote the        receiving instruments of television history”, and with the largest collection of North American boob tubes  dating from the 1920s to the 1970s on display, a stroll down the aisles of the MZTV museum is guaranteed to  nuke your nostalgic synapses.

 As a learned student of communications philosopher Marshall McLuhan, Znaimer has long  been fascinated with the delivery system – “the Medium is the message!” – and iconography  showcasing classic TV sets can be found throughout his work, from the salad Citytv days  right up to his booming Zoomer empire.

 Highlights of the Museum include the truly alien RCA TRK-12 Phantom Teleceiver, “the rarest TV set on the  planet” from the 1939 New York World Fair. The guts on this beautiful unit were intentionally open and on  display to remove any doubt that magic might have been responsible for the live images it displayed – sort of like the Citypulse newsroom of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

TRK Television

WHERE : The ZoomerPlex, 64 Jefferson Avenue in Toronto’s Liberty Village (one block South of King Street)

Read the rest of this article and see photos of other rare TV sets, as well as videos of historic programming at http://tinyurl.com/lylts5p .

zoomer museum


Categories: Blog

Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies – Public Seminar – Friday, May 30, Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Fri, 05/23/2014 - 5:37am

Work blog img

The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) cordially invites media researchers, creative practitioners, and social activists to the second part of its public seminar series Moving Forward. The seminar offers an opportunity to connect through a Round table discussion, film screening, and exclusive performance on media, diversity issues, and silenced voices at Toronto’s industReal arts room (688 Richmond Street West) from 6 to 10 pm on Friday, May 30.  The evening opens with a reception honouring distinguishing participants Sylvia Fraser, Tushar Unadkat, Salvatore Greco, Mary Fantaske, Michael Sizer, and Heryka Miranda.

An award-winning novelist, a memoirist, a travel writer and a journalist from The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, Sylvia Fraser has published a dozen books under her own name. She is probably best known for her 1987 international bestseller, My Father’s House: a Memoir of Incest and of Healing, credited as being one of the first to break the taboo on childhood sexual abuse. She has also written hundreds of magazine articles, for which she has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Matt Cohen A Writer’s Life Award for her body of work. She has taught creative writing at Banff Centre and various university workshops, and participated in extensive media tours across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

Roundtable discussant Salvatore Greco has been an integral part of the Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) RTA School of Media at Ryerson University. His critical observations and insightful views on Rob Ford’s celebrity status and alternative use of tabloid formats set new grounds for social justice in media culture. Ryerson University’s Mary Fantaske reveals hidden truths in marginal representations of bodies and abilities. She is an activist and Masters student from the Department of Communication and Culture at Ryerson University. Filmmaker and activist Michael Sizer shows how the public can use citizen journalism and screens his ground-breaking film The Whole World is Watching after the Roundtable discussion. The Roundtable also includes internationally celebrated, awards winning media personality, Tushar Unadkat, holds a Master of Design from the University of Dundee, Scotland and Honors in Photography from University of Wolverhampton, England.  CEO and Creative Director of MUKTA Advertising, Unadkat is honoured with Canada’s Trailblazer award at the 12th Annual Reel World Film Festival then in 2012.

The event closes with a live performance titled Stepping Into Her Knowing by social change artist and holistic dance practitioner Heryka Miranda. Of Guatemalan-Mayan/ US American heritage, Heryka Miranda, gives a voice to the voiceless, subverts disabilities, and honours Indigenous communities and land defenders through accompaniment, activism and sacred ceremonies using the expressive dance arts. In 2013 she was the International Guest Fellow with the award-winning Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Company in Santa Fe, New Mexico and an ambassador of Limitless Productions that was recently featured among academics, artists and activists at the Feminist Art Conference (FAC). In August, Heryka begins her graduate studies in Dance/Movement Therapy and Mental Health Counseling at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.

This series is hosted by Holly Larson and moderated by Samita Nandy. Featured on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Rogers Television among many more, Nandy holds a PhD on fame from the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts (MCCA) at Curtin University in Australia and is the Director of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS).

The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) is an international non-profit organization with cross-disciplinary faculty members, postdoctoral researchers, and creative practitioners specializing in media literacy, critical studies of fame and celebrity activism. The centre facilitates academic and media partnerships with the aim of strengthening higher education and creative industries, and has been covered by Canada’s CTV National News in 2014.

Date: Friday, May 30 (6 – 9 pm)
Location
: industREALarts room (688 Richmond Street West) in Toronto, Canada
Admission: $10

For more information on the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies and subscription, visit www.cmc-centre.com or contact Samita Nandy at info@cmc-centre.com or 416-985-8887.


Categories: Blog

Sometime Between Now & When the Sun Goes Supernova Set for Théâtre Aux Ecuries, Montréal – May/28-30

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 8:03pm

Created in 2013 in Calgary, Sometime between now and when the sun goes Supernova is Mark Lawes’ new multidisciplinary bilingual creation for a hyper-accelerated world, where the familiar rubs shoulders with the strange. Inspired by Marshall McLuhan’s theories on media which essentially predicted the internet 50 years before its application, Sometime between now and when the sun goes Supernova is an inquest, one that investigates manifestations of personal isolation in an increasingly connected globalized world. The performers are caught on the soundstage of a B-horror movie or a pornographic film; yet the setting could be a suburban home. Amnesia flirts with psychosis in a world where we feel the convulsions of a hyperactive, digital, consumer society. Sometime between now and when the sun goes Supernova will be presented at Théâtre Aux Ecuries from May 28-30.

“I am interested in the hybridization of identities and how culture shapes who we are. Douglas Coupland and Marshall McLuhan were both born in the Canadian West, a place in search of identity, where utopian ideals are often transformed into dystopia, their opposite. Inevitably Los Angeles, Hollywood and the phenomenon of the ‘suburbs’ became my subject of investigation; like Brentwood, where Marilyn Monroe is buried for example. The existence of these suburbs hinges on a false reality: the gated community, a safe, comfortable cocoon for the nuclear family, a perfect, clean and artificial environment, the image of a private Garden of Eden sold to middle-class Americans and Canadians by spinners of dreams… A new generation was born out of these suburbs, lost in the “supersaturated information age” as Coupland put it.” -Mark Lawes, Artistic Director, Theatre Junction

For three months during the summer of 2012, Mark Lawes and his team developed Sometime between now and when the sun goes Supernova under the auspices of the City of Paris and the l’Institut français international art-in-residence program at Les Récollets. Since 2006, Lawes has been creating work with a multidisciplinary company of artists. His writing for the stage is created organically out of a friction between fragments of history, visual art, contemporary dance, music, and an alphabet of material coming from dramaturgical research. Playing with the possibilities of live performance, Lawes continues to cross boundaries between artistic disciplines. His first trilogy, based on themes of death, desire and the Canadian West, received two national tours- to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre (On the Side of the Road, 2009) and Montreal’s Usine C (Lucy Lost Her Heart, 2012). Theatre Junction will be back at Théâtre Aux Ecuries in September for an artistic residency that will host the first phase of their next creation. This work is poised to break out for the national and international scene. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/o8e2tky)


Categories: Blog

Subtle Technologies Festival – Where Art & Technologies Meet, May 20-31 – Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 7:15pm

subtletechlogo

Join us to celebrate participatory culture in art and science at this year’s 17th annual Subtle Technologies Festival. Looking at art, science and DIY culture we will investigate the tools and techniques of harnessing collective knowledge and creativity. Our theme for 2014 is “Open Culture”. The festival will celebrate the ways artists and scientists are creating and making use of tools and techniques to harness the collective power, knowledge and creativity of the citizen. Bringing together artists and scientists who are working in these domains will open streams of dialogue leading to increased collaboration between artists and scientists who are interested in contribution of an engaged public.

 Festival Highlights

EXHIBITIONS

Opening Reception – May 23 at 7:00 pm

Open Culture/Urban Interventions, curated by Nina Czegledy – May 20-31

Featuring: Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter, Willy Le Maitre, Ron Wild and Joe Geraci, Patricio Davila and Dave Colangelo, Donna Legaut

Paul H. Cocker Gallery, Department of Architectural Science, Ryerson University, 325 Church Street, Toronto

Open Access, curated by Farah Yusuf – May 23

Featuring artworks by Hacklab.TO, Maggie Flynn, Risa Horowitz, Scott Kobewka and Sheraz Khan, Joana Moll, Joseph Emmanuel Ingoldsby, Thomas Rex Beverly, Milton Friesen, Marinos Koutsomichalis, Afroditi Psarra, Maria Varela

Lobby of Architecture Building, Ryerson University, 325 Church Street, Toronto

SYMPOSIUM – May 24 & 25 – **REGISTER NOW**

DAY 1 – Saturday May 24 – Click here for full schedule and list of events

Day 2 – Sunday May 25 – Click here for full schedule and list of events

A diverse look at open culture in art and science. From DIY bio-printers to citizen science, crowdsourcing, open access journals and performance work we will explore the movement towards greater participation across and among disciplines.

LIB 72, Ryerson University

PUBLIC LECTURE – May 24 at 7:30 pm

Scientists Are Doing it for Themselves: Open Access, Open Data, Citizen Science
presented by John Dupuis

followed by

Panel Discussion
Critical State Making: Applying Open Culture in Post-Conflict Development
facilitated by Stephen Kovats

OCADU , Room 230, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto

WORKSHOPS

DIT Alternative Energy Grid - May 21 from 6:30-9:30 pm and May 22 from 6:30-9:30 pm

Maker Space

RTA School of Media, Rogers Communication Center — RCC 194

Church and Gould http://www.ryerson.ca/maps/images/campus_map.pdf

Click here to register. 

DIY Water Sensing - May 30 at 6:00-9:00 pm and May 31 at 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Place: Semaphore Demo Lab, Main floor, Robarts Library

130 St. George Street, on the University of Toronto campus

Click here to register.

Subtle Technologies gratefully acknowledges the support of

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Special thanks to our Festival host:

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Thank you to our partners:

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Festival Website: http://subtletechnologies.com/festival/festival-2014-2/


Categories: Blog

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McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 6:25pm

ST Festival 2014 LOGO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Categories: Blog

Paul Ryan, Video Artist, Media Educator & Scholar (1943-2013)

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 05/19/2014 - 11:24am

Ryan, Paul IMG

A founding member of the pioneering media collective Raindance, Paul Ryan was both a practitioner and theoretician of the early video movement in the 1970s. Over four decades, Ryan’s video work evolved from free-form collaborations with members of Raindance to the invention of formal collaborative practices and the conceptualization of a notational system for interpreting the natural and built environment with electronic media. NASA published his Earthscore Notational System. Ryan’s design for an Environmental Television Channel was presented at a United Nations conference. His conceptualization of a program for a new Hall of Risk in Lower Manhattan was presented at the Venice Biennale.

Ryan authored seminal texts on video, which were published in the pioneering journal Radical Software (1970-74). Ryan’s writings were also published in journals such as Leonardo, Afterimage, Millennium, Terra Nova, and Semiotica. He was also the author of numerous books. including Two is not a Number (2011), The Three Person Solution (2009), Video Mind, Earth Mind (1992), and Cybernetics of the Sacred (1974), which is recognized as an influential text of the early video movement. His writings were also published in numerous journals, including Leonardo, Afterimage, Millennium, Terra Nova, and Semiotica.

Ryan was born in 1943 in the Bronx, New York and died in 2013. He spent five years of his early life as a novice in the Passionists, a Roman Catholic preaching order. He received a B.A. from New York University and pursued graduate studies with Philosopher of Communication Theory Marshall McLuhan at Fordham University*. This graduate work qualified Ryan as a conscientious objector of the Vietnam War.

Ryan’s work was included in the landmark exhibition TV as a Creative Medium at the Howard Wise Gallery in 1969. His works have been presented at the Venice Biennale; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and recently at Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany, among other venues. Works by Ryan are currently being archived at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., including his Television EcochannelEarthscore Notation and Hall of Risk Program.

Ryan was an Associate Professor in Graduate Media Studies at the New School in New York for many years. He lived in New York City and Solebury, Pennsylvania, until his death. (Source: http://www.eai.org/artistBio.htm?id=400 )

* Paul Ryan’s CV provides this detail regarding his time at Fordham University (1967-69): Worked for a year as a research assistant to media scholar, Marshall McLuhan; anthropologist, Edmund Carpenter; educator, John Culkin and painter Harley Parker. My second year at Fordham was devoted to exploring video as a medium in McLuhan‟s terms, publishing my findings and exhibiting my video art. Legally, these two years fulfilled the alternate service requirement for my conscientious objector draft status. I consider this work, this combination of theory and practice, the equivalent of earning an MFA degree. ( http://tinyurl.com/mqy6m8d )

***** 

In this 1995 interview, Paul Ryan talks about being Marshall McLuhan’s research assistant at Fordham, and other influences on him and his later work with video, including Teilhard de Chardin, cybernetics, computers (See especially the first 15 minutes):


Categories: Blog

Distant Early Warning Line Card Deck (1969)

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 05/17/2014 - 12:52pm
Photo courtesy of Eric McLuhan By Tim Belonax on the Design Envy website

Is it possible to train the way that you think, the same way you might prepare for a sporting event or study for an exam? Is it possible to improve the way that you think or are we simply born into one pattern of thought? As a graphic designer, there’s bound to be a point in your process where thinking creatively becomes a challenge or you simply want to push beyond your comfort zone.

I first became interested in thinking as a focused subject when I joined Project M in the summer of 2007. John Bielenberg, Project M’s founder, is notorious for “thinking wrong,” a method for breaking heuristic bias within a person’s thought process. He introduced me to Edward DeBono, who originated the term “lateral thinking” and was a proponent of teaching thinking as a subject in schools. DeBono’s Thinking Course was one particular book that John recommended, and it’s kept me interested in the subject ever since. 

I recently stumbled upon a deck of cards that were dedicated to creative thinking. Marshall McLuhan’s “Distant Early Warning” card deck was released in 1969 as part of McLuhan’s “DEW-Line Newsletter.” 

“The card deck was intended to stimulate problem-solving and thinking, in a manner that later came to be known as ‘thinking-outside-the-box,’” says Scott Boms, spokesperson for the McLuhan estate. The newsletter was initiated by New York publisher Eugene Schwartz, at the height of “McLuhan-mania.” The cards were designed by McLuhan, his eldest son Eric, Harley Parker and George Thompson, long-time family friend and assistant to McLuhan at the Center for Culture and Technology. The deck perfectly reflects McLuhan’s vision of the artist in a time of rapid social and technological change:  

“I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it,” stated Marshall McLuhan in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.

The DEW Line was a real thing. Stretching 3,000 miles across arctic Canada at approximately the 69th parallel sat a chain of 63 integrated radar and communication stations. Completed in 1957 during the height of the Cold War, the DEW Line was intended to provide advance warning of imminent air attacks on Canada and the United States. While McLuhan’s views were often very academic, he certainly had a sense of humor.

 The DEW Line Published through the Human Development Corp., the “DEW-Line Newsletter” came in different forms, like a record or slides, often including pre-released chapters from McLuhan books.  Each card deck comes in a slipcase and includes instructions for use. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/k5m7jru ) . The cards can be purchased at: http://ericmcluhan.com/bookshop . Eric McLuhan The language and typography of the cards worked with the existing graphics of playing cards See also The Distant Early Warning Line (DEW) Card Deck (1969) - http://tinyurl.com/qbu88d2

Artists as “the Antennae of the Race” - http://tinyurl.com/nqtt32z

See all the cards here: http://tinyurl.com/pwwjj9q


Categories: Blog

An Evening of Marshall McLuhan & Bucky Fuller in Rotterdam

McLuhan Galaxy - Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:19pm

Two of the greatest minds of the 20th century, and sadly two of the most under-appreciated. 
This is a great article showcasing several letters written by Marshall McLuhan to his contemporaries, from Tom Wolfe to Buckminster Fuller. It is a fantastic read.
http://thisrecording.com/today/2011/10/27/in-which-we-know-nothing-of-his-work.html” />

Marshall McLuhan & Buckminster Fuller 

Friday 23 May    
20:00 – 22:00 
Arminius, Rotterdam

Buckminster Fuller is hard to classify. He is either engineer or architect or inventor or discoverer or geographer or mathematician or all of these. He was born in another century, and it seems clear that he is working on ideas which relate to the next century. In his own words, one could say he is a ‘Comprehensive Man’.

Television is cool and radio is hot, that’s the message, and the medium is Marshall McLuhan. Like most of McLuhan’s writing, his statements are pithy, apparently simple and provocative to the point of being outrageous. Marshall McLuhan studies the media as a way of understanding what makes us live the way we do. He is concerned with all media but he is best known as the prophet of the electronic revolution. See more at: http://tinyurl.com/l3772wq

Buckminster Fuller and McLuhan

Buckminster Fuller & Marshall McLuhan in front of René Cera’s painting Pied Pipers All (Image: Dick Darrell/Getstock) See http://tinyurl.com/3vyboez


Categories: Blog

Marshall McLuhan’s DEW-Line Newsletter (1968-70)

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 05/10/2014 - 1:04pm

The Marshall McLuhan DEW-Line Newsletter was “an early warning system for the changing age we live in”. It was issued by media theorist, commentator and critic Marshall McLuhan [between 1968 and 1970], and included several loose-leaf facsimile papers on the nature of media, society and advertising, loose-leaf reproduced advertisements, and typographic experiments. DEW-Line is an acronym for Distant Early Warning Line, a defence system set up in the northern reaches of Canada during the Cold War to detect and report any incoming invasion of North America by the Soviets. The DEW Line became a metaphor for McLuhan on the role of art and the artist at a time of rapid social and technological change and he repeated the idea frequently. He wrote in Understanding Media (1964) “I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.” (Source: http://tinyurl.com/jwocuzr ).

McLuhan biographer Philip Marchand writes that the newsletter was the brain child of New York publishing entrepreneur Eugene Schwartz, who conceived of the idea of publishing McLuhan, as Schwartz put it, “in a medium that could be delivered faster than a book but had more inherent depth than television “ – that is, through periodic newsletters. After McLuhan’s arrival at Fordham University in the Bronx in the summer of 1968 to spend the next year there, Schwartz signed him to a two year contract. The newsletters were to be edited by McLuhan’s son Eric, ensconced in an office on the top floor of 200 Madison Avenue. Marchand writes: “The newsletter was offered to the public at $50 for a year’s subscription; more then 4,000 people eventually signed up. Schwartz considered this figure to be ‘relatively low’. He assured McLuhan that this was only the beginning and that circulation would climb as the newsletter took off. The readers were primarily top-flight executives in advertising, in firms like IBM. Schwartz even made sure a copy was sent to the White House”. The first issue appeared in July of 1968. (Marchand, P.  (1990). Marshall McLuhan: The Medium & the Messenger. Toronto: Vintage Canada, pp. 209-210).

See promotional material, likely issued by direct mail, arranged in matrix fashion here:- http://tinyurl.com/m4ufy7j )

http://mcluhangalaxy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/6941e-dewcard-bmp.jpg?w=500

DEW Line Card Deck – A spin-off product to the newsletter


Categories: Blog
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