Blog

Erik Davis on Acoustic Cyberspace

McLuhan Galaxy - Sun, 06/15/2014 - 7:58pm

Davis erik 2008 rauner michael.jpg Erik Davis

A talk delivered at the Xchange conference, Riga, Latvia, November 1997

Today I’d like to talk about some abstract ideas, some images, some open-ended notions about acoustic space. In particular, I am interested in the relationship between electronic sound and environments, on the Internet or in music. I won’t talk about the various technologies involved; instead, I’ll try to get at some of the deeper issues about sound and the ways it constructs subjectivities and can act as a kind of map.

A good place to start is with a distinction that Marshall McLuhan draws between visual space and acoustic space. McLuhan used the notion of visual space as a way to describe how Western subjectivity has been organized on a technical basis since the Renaissance. McLuhan argued that Renaissance perspective not only provided a powerful new way of organizing the visual field (in terms of representation), but also engendered a very specific form of subjectivity. He didn’t just associate this subjectivity with the point-of-view produced by Renaissance perspective painting—he related to it also to print technologies and to the new form of the book. In essence, he argued that the self that comes down to us from the Renaissance—the “molar” self of the modern West, as some have called it—is a visual self.

Renaissance perspective thus serves as a pictorial analogy for a much more general phenomenon—the power to create a distinct, single point of view that organizes thought and perception along linear lines. This is related to print technologies—and print culture—because, according to McLuhan, these technologies inculcate within us a habit of organizing the world in a linear, atomized, and sequential fashion. Central to this visual space is the axiom or assumption that “different” objects, vectors, or points are not and cannot be superimposed; instead, the world is perceived as a linear grid organized along strictly causal lines.

McLuhan contrasts this construction of visual space, and the kind of subjectivity associated with it, with what he calls “acoustic space.” Acoustic space is the space we hear rather than the space we see, and he argued that electronic media were submerging us in this acoustic environment, with its own language of affect and subjectivity. Acoustic space isn’t limited to a world of music or sound; the environment of electronic media itself engenders this way of organizing and perceiving the other spaces we intersect. (Read the rest of this essay at http://www.techgnosis.com/acoustic.html ).

Erik Davis is the author of Techgnosis: Myth, magic + mysticism in the age of information: http://techgnosis.com/techgnosis/techgnosis.html

 Read more about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Davis .

Visual versus Acoustic Space. Source: Gordon A. Gow, “Spatial Metaphor in the Work of Marshall McLuhan,” 75


Categories: Blog

“Lines of Thought” – McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology in Conjunction with the 15th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association in Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Fri, 06/13/2014 - 9:13pm

Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto

Friday June 20th

Reception 6:00-7:15 p.m.

Lines of Thought, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Curators: John Oswald & Dominique Scheffel-Dunand

An evening presenting McLuhanesque thinkers in a unique combination of soliloquies and dialogues, probing afresh the interaction of technology and culture in the 21st century. The live audience will be invited to respond and interact electronically.

This event is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Marshall McLuhan’s iconic text Understanding Media, and to pay tribute to McLuhan by nourishing conversations on the new world views that are shaping contemporary imagination and shouldering questions on what matters now and next.

6:00-7:15 Welcome Reception
Sponsors: St. Michael’s College & The Faculty of Information Coach House Institute – University of Toronto.
Welcoming remarks: Seamus Ross, Dean of the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
Domenico Pietropaolo, Principal, St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto
Dominique Scheffel-Dunand, Director, Faculty of Information, McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, University of Toronto
Special Guest: Howard R. Engel, Director, The Marshall McLuhan Initiative, St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba

7:30-9:30 p.m. Plenary Session: Lines of Thought

Participants: Sandra Braman (Author of Change of State: Information, Policy, and Power & Poet); Liz Dowdeswell Thought leader & practitioner in international development); Arsinée Khanjia (Armenian-Canadian actress and producer who often works with her husband, Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan); Derrick de Kerckhove (McLuhan translator and scholar & Professor); Abdul Khan (Global leader in Information & Communication for Development);Joshua Meyrowitz (Author of No Sense of Place & Professor); David Nostbakken (Media entrepreneur & McLuhan Centenary Fellow); John Oswald (Media artist & Composer);Sandy Pearlman (Music producer and creator & Professor);Greg Power (Public Relations & Communications Professional); David Rokeby (Artist in Visual and video art); Dominique Sheffel-Dunand (Director, McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology & Professor)

Sponsors: St. Michaels’ College in the University of Toronto, the Faculty of Music & The Faculty of Information Coach House Institute at the University of Toronto

MEA Conference participants & all others are requested to RSVP by June 18, 2014 to confirm your attendance via: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lines-of-thought-tickets-3298286263

UM-ban1.jpg (28080 bytes) UM-ban2.jpg (8063 bytes) UM-ban3.jpg (11501 bytes) UM-ban4.jpg (18776 bytes)

How to Get to Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto 

Subway Directions: Most people will be taking the subway from Ryerson to the University of Toronto. From Dundas Station take the train southbound towards Downsview to Museum Station, then refer to map on page 20 of the MEA Conference Program. Especially if shared between a group of people, taking a taxi may also be a reasonable possibility. Because it will be rush hour, delegates should leave themselves plenty of time for the trip. The one-way subway fare is $3 CDN, so it will cost $6 to go there and back.


Categories: Blog

“Lines of Thought” – McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology in Conjunction with the 15th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association in Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Fri, 06/13/2014 - 9:13pm

Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto

Friday June 20th

Reception 6:00-7:15 p.m.

Lines of Thought, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Curators: John Oswald & Dominique Scheffel-Dunand

An evening presenting McLuhanesque thinkers in a unique combination of soliloquies and dialogues, probing afresh the interaction of technology and culture in the 21st century. The live audience will be invited to respond and interact electronically.

This event is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Marshall McLuhan’s iconic text Understanding Media, and to pay tribute to McLuhan by nourishing conversations on the new world views that are shaping contemporary imagination and shouldering questions on what matters now and next.

6:00-7:15 Welcome Reception
Sponsors: St. Michael’s College & The Faculty of Information Coach House Institute – University of Toronto.
Welcoming remarks: Seamus Ross, Dean of the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
Domenico Pietropaolo, Principal, St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto
Dominique Scheffel-Dunand, Director, Faculty of Information, McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, University of Toronto
Special Guest: Howard R. Engel, Director, The Marshall McLuhan Initiative, St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba

7:30-9:30 p.m. Plenary Session: Lines of Thought

Participants: Sandra Braman (Author of Change of State: Information, Policy, and Power & Poet); Liz Dowdeswell Thought leader & practitioner in international development); Arsinée Khanjia (Armenian-Canadian actress and producer who often works with her husband, Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan); Derrick de Kerckhove (McLuhan translator and scholar & Professor); Abdul Khan (Global leader in Information & Communication for Development);Joshua Meyrowitz (Author of No Sense of Place & Professor); David Nostbakken (Media entrepreneur & McLuhan Centenary Fellow); John Oswald (Media artist & Composer);Sandy Pearlman (Music producer and creator & Professor);Greg Power (Public Relations & Communications Professional); David Rokeby (Artist in Visual and video art); Dominique Sheffel-Dunand (Director, McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology & Professor)

Sponsors: St. Michaels’ College in the University of Toronto, the Faculty of Music & The Faculty of Information Coach House Institute at the University of Toronto

MEA Conference participants & all others are requested to RSVP by June 18, 2014 to confirm your attendance via: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lines-of-thought-tickets-3298286263

UM-ban1.jpg (28080 bytes) UM-ban2.jpg (8063 bytes) UM-ban3.jpg (11501 bytes) UM-ban4.jpg (18776 bytes)

How to Get to Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto 

Subway Directions: Most people will be taking the subway from Ryerson to the University of Toronto. From Dundas Station take the train southbound towards Downsview to Museum Station, then refer to map on page 20 of the MEA Conference Program. Especially if shared between a group of people, taking a taxi may also be a reasonable possibility. Because it will be rush hour, delegates should leave themselves plenty of time for the trip. The one-way subway fare is $3 CDN, so it will cost $6 to go there and back.


Categories: Blog

The 15th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association – Final Program

McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 8:45pm

2014 Official Program

CONFRONTING TECHNOPOLY:
CREATIVITY AND THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

RYERSON UNIVERSITY – JUNE 19-22, 2014

Download the full Program in PDF from http://media-ecology.org/activities/2014MEAProgram.pdf

You may Like the conference on our Facebook page here http://tinyurl.com/lkn8at3

CONVENTION HASH TAG: #MEA2014

Photo of Media Ecology Association

THE CONVENTION AT A GLANCE (Download full Program for detailed schedule)

Thursday, June 19
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Meet and greet at Starbucks/POD 60 Lounge (LIB 72)
9:00-9:30 a.m. – Opening ceremony LIB 72
9:45-11:00 a.m. – Session 1.1
11:15-12:30 p.m. – Session 1.2
2:00-3:15 p.m. – Session 1.3
3:45-5:00 p.m. – ‘Addressing Technological Trauma’ – 50th Anniversary Memorial Plenary Session for Understanding Media LIB 72
5:30-7:00 p.m. – Marshall McLuhan Seminar Room: Commemoration and Reception RCC
7:30-9:00 p.m. – Featured Speaker: Joshua Meyrowitz LIB 72

Friday, June 20
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Meet and greet at Starbucks/POD 60 Lounge LIB 72
9:00-10:15 a.m. – Session 2.1
10:30-11:45 a.m. – Session 2.2
1:15-12:15 p.m. – Short Lunch Break
12:15-1:00 p.m. – ‘Innis’s Foray’ – Rick Salutin and Eric Peterson LIB 72
1:15-2:30 p.m. – Session 2.3
2:45-4:00 p.m. – Session 2.4
4:15-5:15 p.m. – Plenary Session: Early Days of the Toronto School of Communication LIB 72
6:00-7:00 p.m. – Welcome Reception: Walter Hall, University of Toronto
7:00-9:00 p.m. – Featured Event: ‘Lines of Thought’ – Walter Hall, University of Toronto

Saturday, June 21
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Meet and greet at Starbucks/POD 60 Lounge LIB 72
9:00-10:15 a.m. – Session 3.1
10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. – General Business Meeting (all welcome) LIB 72
11:45a.m.-1:15 p.m. – Lunch Break
1:15-2:30 p.m. – Plenary Session: Technics and the Sacred LIB 72
2:45-4:00 p.m. – Session 3.2

4:15-5:30 p.m. – Keynote Speaker: Ronald J. Deibert LIB 72

6:00-8:00 p.m. – Buffet Dinner Bond Place Hotel

7:00-8:00 p.m. – President’s Address/Awards Ceremony Bond Place Hotel
8:00p.m.-12:00 a.m. – Social

Sunday, June 22
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Meet and greet at Starbucks/POD 60 Lounge LIB 72
9:00-10:15 a.m. – Session 4.1
10:30 a.m.-11:45 p.m. – Session 4.2
12:00-12:15 p.m. – Closing Remarks


Categories: Blog

The 15th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association – Final Program

McLuhan Galaxy - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 8:45pm

2014 Official Program

CONFRONTING TECHNOPOLY:
CREATIVITY AND THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

RYERSON UNIVERSITY – JUNE 19-22, 2014

Download the full Program in PDF from http://media-ecology.org/activities/2014MEAProgram.pdf

You may Like the conference on our Facebook page here http://tinyurl.com/lkn8at3

CONVENTION HASH TAG: #MEA2014

Photo of Media Ecology Association

THE CONVENTION AT A GLANCE (Download full Program for detailed schedule)

Thursday, June 19
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Meet and greet at Starbucks/POD 60 Lounge (LIB 72)
9:00-9:30 a.m. – Opening ceremony LIB 72
9:45-11:00 a.m. – Session 1.1
11:15-12:30 p.m. – Session 1.2
2:00-3:15 p.m. – Session 1.3
3:45-5:00 p.m. – ‘Addressing Technological Trauma’ – 50th Anniversary Memorial Plenary Session for Understanding Media LIB 72
5:30-7:00 p.m. – Marshall McLuhan Seminar Room: Commemoration and Reception RCC
7:30-9:00 p.m. – Featured Speaker: Joshua Meyrowitz LIB 72

Friday, June 20
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Meet and greet at Starbucks/POD 60 Lounge LIB 72
9:00-10:15 a.m. – Session 2.1
10:30-11:45 a.m. – Session 2.2
1:15-12:15 p.m. – Short Lunch Break
12:15-1:00 p.m. – ‘Innis’s Foray’ – Rick Salutin and Eric Peterson LIB 72
1:15-2:30 p.m. – Session 2.3
2:45-4:00 p.m. – Session 2.4
4:15-5:15 p.m. – Plenary Session: Early Days of the Toronto School of Communication LIB 72
6:00-7:00 p.m. – Welcome Reception: Walter Hall, University of Toronto
7:00-9:00 p.m. – Featured Event: ‘Lines of Thought’ – Walter Hall, University of Toronto

Saturday, June 21
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Meet and greet at Starbucks/POD 60 Lounge LIB 72
9:00-10:15 a.m. – Session 3.1
10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. – General Business Meeting (all welcome) LIB 72
11:45a.m.-1:15 p.m. – Lunch Break
1:15-2:30 p.m. – Plenary Session: Technics and the Sacred LIB 72
2:45-4:00 p.m. – Session 3.2

4:15-5:30 p.m. – Keynote Speaker: Ronald J. Deibert LIB 72

6:00-8:00 p.m. – Buffet Dinner Bond Place Hotel

7:00-8:00 p.m. – President’s Address/Awards Ceremony Bond Place Hotel
8:00p.m.-12:00 a.m. – Social

Sunday, June 22
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Meet and greet at Starbucks/POD 60 Lounge LIB 72
9:00-10:15 a.m. – Session 4.1
10:30 a.m.-11:45 p.m. – Session 4.2
12:00-12:15 p.m. – Closing Remarks


Categories: Blog

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

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 )

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