Been Hoping We Might Meet Again

By Elaine Kahn 

Two Canadian Catholic 20th-century public intellectuals whose lives and ideas intersected in surprising ways. This collection of their entire correspondence – from 1968 to 1980 – shines a light on their friendship and mutual respect during a fascinating period when television ruled and the world was becoming a global village. Annotated by scholar Elaine Kahn, who encountered the work of both these thinkers as a teenage student, the letters are a window on ideas and concepts that shaped the world we know today.

Forward by Paolo Granata, Coordinator of the Book & Media Studies program at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto & Curator of the McLuhan Salons series.

Published by NOVALIS – Pub. date: 2019-03-01 –  No. of pages: 176 – ISBN: 9782896885886

Invitation to the Book Launch

TIME: 6pm to 7:30pm     –     DATE: Tuesday, April 16, 2019

LOCATION: Munk School of Global Affairs, 315 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON

RSVP: louise.donkor@novalis.ca

Munk School


Click on the image to read the text

The J. R. de J. Jackson Lecture

91 Charles St. West, Victoria College Chapel
In the University of Toronto

Paula McDowell, English Dept., New York University

Paula McDowell specializes in eighteenth-century British studies, media history and theory, and the History of the Book. With the support of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has published The Women of Grub Street: Press, Politics and Gender in the London Literary Marketplace, 1678-1730 (Oxford, 1998), Elinor James: Printed Writings (Ashgate, 2005), and articles on subjects ranging from the epistemology of ephemera to models of the Enlightenment. Her most recent book, The Invention of the Oral: Print Commerce and Fugitive Voices in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Chicago, 2017), won the John Ben Snow Foundation Prize, awarded annually by the North American Conference on British Studies for the best book by a North American scholar on any aspect of British Studies from the middle ages to the eighteenth century. It examines the oral/literate binary as a heuristic — a tool for understanding that itself has a history — and argues that the concept of “oral culture” was, in fact, a back-formation of the explosion of print commerce. She is currently working on another archivally-based book, on the life, career, and reading and writing practices of the Canadian professor, scholar, and media theorist Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980).

Presented by the Book History and Print Culture program in association with the Friends of the Victoria University Library,  the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology, and the Toronto Eighteenth Century Group.

For more information about the Toronto Eighteenth Century Group, see http://sites.utoronto.ca/tecg or contact Simon Dickie at simon.dickie@utoronto.ca

For more information about the Toronto Centre for the Book, see https://bhpctoronto.com/events/


Unfortunately, none of this information seems to have been disseminated in time from the folks at the University of Windsor to the McLuhan community of interest in and associated with the University of Toronto or elsewhere in Canada. It no doubt was shared with the McLuhan Centre, but that once authentic centre for McLuhan and related studies no longer offers McLuhan-specific programming and is consequently not supported by the McLuhan community of interest in Toronto.

FEEDBACK #4: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts, SoCA Gallery, 2019. Photo credit: Nadja Pelkey

University of Windsor, School of Creative Arts: 17 February 2019 – 9 March 2019
College for Creative Studies, Detroit: 15 February 2019 – 23 M
arch 2019

Marshall McLuhan was an academic and a historian of literature with a passion for slang word games and jokes whose audacious observations on media and technology made him one of the most famous public intellectuals of the 1960s and an icon of pop culture. And despite all the shock of the new, McLuhan’s approach remains as fresh and pertinent today as it was back then. Maybe now that the electronic environment has finally become second nature, we are able at last to encounter the importance of McLuhan’s practice.

Feedback: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts is a recursive series of exhibitions and symposia with a focus on McLuhan’s radical, experimental publication practice. A prototype for a new form of intellectual for the electronic age, McLuhan eschewed peer review and published his ideas experimentally, often collaboratively in the popular press, testing for reactions. This active “live scholarship” was roundly scorned by many of his academic colleagues, admiringly envious of the dynamism of his ideas and the seeming endless appetite for them in the mass media. McLuhan allowed himself to be taken up in the media, and the media rewarded him with fame.

Critical and concerned about the effects of new technologies, McLuhan found hope and even redemption in art’s capacity to catalyse and manifest the as-yet-invisible social and physiological implications of technological transformation. This is evidenced in the radical originality of his discursive language, replete with poetry and puns, and in projects which irreverently transgressed disciplinary conventions and taboos in order to elaborate vital exchanges between the specializations.

“To prevent undue wreckage in society, the artist tends now to move from the ivory tower to the control tower of society. Just as higher education is no longer a frill or luxury but a stark need of production and operational design in the electric age, so the artist is indispensable in the shaping and analysis and understanding of the life of forms, and structures created by electric technology.
… No society has ever known enough about its actions to have developed immunity to its new extensions or technologies. Today we have begun to sense that art may be able to provide such immunity.” –
McLuhan, Understanding Media, Chapter 7

This exhibition, anchored in archival material from McLuhan’s most daring projects, examines how contemporary artists fulfill McLuhan’s prescription, elaborating the feedback circuit between technology and its social matrix, to generate the techniques and capabilities needed to confront our most urgent challenges today.

In tune with notions of entanglement we receive from advanced physics, we no longer have access to an absolute outside from which we can observe and analyze our conditions. We need to learn to analyze while still being part of what we are trying to understand, and this, according to McLuhan, requires the skills and sensitivities of artists.

For Feedback #4 (Detroit) see https://goo.gl/ctPwzR

Conceived and curated by Baruch Gottlieb and Marie-José Sondeijker


Previous iterations of Feedback:

  • Feedback #1 (22.09.2017 – 19.11.2017), West Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands
  • Feedback #2 (27.01 – 24.02.2018), EIGEN + ART Lab, Berlin, Germany
  • Feedback #3 (26.09.2018 – 06.01.2019), The ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany

Source: https://goo.gl/DoKtDb

Detroit above, Windsor below, the Detroit River in between

Click on image for expanded view

Cesar Hidalgo, director of the Collective Learning group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, would like you to know that Marshall McLuhan was right. And he has the datasets to prove it. In a new paper, “How the Medium Shapes the Message: Printing and the Rise of the Arts and Sciences,” named after the media philosopher’s renowned phrase, “the medium is the message,” Hidalgo and his MIT colleagues show that communication technologies, “from printing to social media, affect our historical records by changing the way ideas are spread and recorded.”

“We completely agree with McLuhan,” Hidalgo said to Nautilus.“ What he was saying was not that messages were irrelevant, but the medium by which they were transmitted was more consequential. The famous example is the Nixon and JFK debate. People who watched on TV thought the good-looking JFK won, and ones who listened on radio thought Nixon won. It was the same content but what people observed, or what they thought happened, was very different depending on the medium they were using. We found every communication technology changes the way in which we interact.”

Hidalgo and his colleagues composed the short video below to give props to McLuhan and show how mediums, from oral culture to printing to TV, transformed society. During the oral age, political and religious leaders were the talk of the town. But the advent of printing gave rise to artists and scientists, while TV spurred the rise of entertainment and sports heroes. Causation or correlation? Watch and read the MIT group’s work to find out.             

A related study:-

The Medium Shapes the Message: New Communication Technologies May Bias Historical Record

The introduction of communication technologies appears to bias historical records in the direction of the content best suited for each technology, according to a study published February 20, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by C. Jara-Figueroa and colleagues from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

Studying the societal impact of new communication technologies is challenging, due to limited data on historical events as well as the difficulty of parsing observed correlations. The authors of this study used a dataset of almost 14,000 biographies, classified by primary occupation on Wikipedia or Wikidata. They analysed the impact of the printing press, radio, and television, on the biographical content that was recorded following their introduction. They found that the introduction of printing (1450-1880) was associated with an increase in the number of painters, composers, and scientists recorded in Wikipedia’s biographical records, as well as a decrease in religious figures. 
Cities thought to be early adopters of printing were more likely to be the birthplace of recorded scientists and artists than cities which adopted printing later.
The introduction of radio (1880-1950) was associated with a significant shift towards the performing arts in Wikipedia’s biographical records. Finally, with the introduction of television (1950-2000), the authors found an increase in recorded sports players and a further increase in the number of performing artists.
The authors believe their results may indicate that historical figures whose work was best suited to available media — for example, musicians for radio, and sportspeople for television, were most likely to be recorded in historical records.
The authors emphasize that their data relies largely on Wikipedia, a community-edited resource, and also note that the memorability and fame of recent individuals is prone to change over time. However, they note this indication that prevalent communication technologies rapidly affect the biographies present in our modern digital historical records warrants further investigation–and may contain clues to the “heroes” we will produce for future historical records.
The authors add: “[Marshall] McLuhan was right! A team of MIT researchers used big data to study the effect of communication technologies on collective memory. They found that new communication technologies change the occupations of people who achieved global fame”.  (Source: https://goo.gl/VZ3GfC)

Marshall McLuhan anticipated that learning and work would become increasingly interrelated: “… it is becoming clear that the main “work” of the future will be education, that people will not so much earn a living as learn a living…. Industry and the military, as well as the arts and sciences, are beginning to consider education their main business” (McLuhan & Leonard, 1967, 25). In this, he was in agreement with and possibly influenced by his friend and colleague Peter Drucker, who coined the phrase “knowledge worker” in his 1959 book Landmarks of Tomorrow, writing in his 1994 essay The Age of Social Transformation

The great majority of the new jobs require qualifications the industrial worker does not possess and is poorly equipped to acquire.  They require a good deal of formal education and the ability to acquire and to apply theoretical and analytical knowledge.  They require a different approach to work and a different mind-set.  Above all, they require a habit of continuous learning.  Displaced industrial workers thus cannot simply move into knowledge work or services the way displaced farmers and domestic workers (the dominant jobs at the turn of the last century – R.M) moved into industrial work.  At the very least they have to change their basic attitudes, values, and beliefs”. 

Here are some additional McLuhan quotes on Learning a Living to drive home the point:

“The business community itself is becoming more and more a community of learning and of relearning, so that the huge industry expenditure on education today arises from a constant need to keep executives apprised of new information necessary for decision-making. And this is characteristic of all people in business, no matter what stage or level they are operating at, so that learning and the absorption of information in business itself has become a major part of the business operation”. – (1958, December). Culture is Our Business: The Meaning of the New Electronic Media. National Association of Educational Broadcasters journal, p. 4

“Already it is becoming clear that the main “work” of the future will be education, that people will not so much earn a living as learn a living. Close to 30 million people in the U.S. are now pursuing some form of adult education, and the number shoots skyward. Industry and the military, as well as the arts and sciences, are beginning to consider education their main business.”McLuhan, M. & Leonard, G. (1967). The Future of Education: The Class of 1989. LOOK  Magazine. Feb. 21, 1967, p. 25.

“Men could, for the most part, get through a normal life span on the basis of a single set of skills. That is not at all the case with electric speed-up. The acquiring of new basic knowledge and skill by senior executives in middle age is one of the most common needs and harrowing facts of electric technology. The senior executives, or “big wheels,” as they are archaically and ironically designated, are among the hardest pressed and most persistently harassed groups in human history. Electricity has not only demanded ever deeper knowledge and faster interplay, but has made the harmonizing of production schedules as rigorous as that demanded of the members of a large symphony orchestra.” – Understanding Media (1964), p. 355

************

‘Learning a living’ becoming critical as technology displaces workers

Employers and employees need to prepare for automation and its aftermath, experts say

By Terry Pender   –   Jan. 29, 2018

As work is automated more jobs will be created that require different skills, and corporations that want to thrive must help their employees prepare.

That message was delivered by David Mallon, chief analyst at Bersin, Deloitte Consulting, during a Skype presentation Tuesday that kicked off The Future of Work and Learning, a series of events and workshops organized by Manulife, Communitech, the University of Waterloo and Deloitte.

Big data, analytics and artificial intelligence are expected to displace large numbers of workers in sectors of the economy that so far have largely been untouched by automation. Estimates vary, but it is expected technology will displace millions of Canadian workers in the next 12 years.

“How can we ensure our region can continue to grow and thrive?” Michael Doughty, chief executive officer of Manulife Canada, said while introducing Mallon.

Over the next four months a series of workshops and events will explore how work and workplaces are changing, and how employees and employers can best adapt. To drive home his message of change, Mallon used a phrase from Canadian information theorist Marshall McLuhan — the future of work is about “learning a living.”

Mallon, who is based in Seattle, said studies in the United Kingdom by Deloitte looked at sectors of the economy before and after widespread automation. One of the main observations is that just about every job was impacted in some way even if it was not eliminated. Source: https://goo.gl/PYiL5g

Robots in an automobile assembly plant

A young Eric McLuhan in front of a painting of his father in front of James Joyce

A young Tom Wolfe

Marshall McLuhan’s ABC

In these TVO (TV Ontario) interviews, Canada’s foremost media academic Marshall McLuhan explains some of his more famous insights and aphorisms in key interviews with Mike McManus in 1977 and author Tom Wolfe, while his son Eric McLuhan and wife Corinne, in recent interviews, comment on McLuhan’s legacy and expand on his theories.

The following embed code does not reproduce the video here as it should. However, I have discovered that if you click on the code as if it was a URL, it will have the same effect as a link and will connect you to the 51-minute series of interviews:-

OR, click on this link: https://goo.gl/NMHWz1

TV Ontario has also provided a full transcript of the interviews, which unfortunately presents the interviewee comments of Corinne McLuhan, Eric McLuhan, Tom Wolfe, Marshall McLuhan in capital letters. Mike McManus’s interviewer questions are in small letters:-

A caption reads “McManus. 1977.”
Then, it changes to “Marshall McLuhan.”

Mike says BETWEEN TODAY’S CHILD WHO’S
BEEN RAISED ELECTRONICALLY, AND
WHO MUST LIVE IN A LITERATE
WORLD, AS WE ARE STILL IN A
LITERATE WORLD, THERE’S A
2,400-YEAR GAP BETWEEN THAT BOY
OR GIRL AND HIS PARENTS —

Marshall says AND HIS PARENTS WHO GREW UP
IN A LITERATE SOCIETY.
WELL, THE ALPHABET, THE PHONETIC
ALPHABET, THE BEGINNINGS OF
WESTERN LITERACY, CAME IN ABOUT
500 B.C., AND BETWEEN THEN AND
NOW IS APPROXIMATELY 24, 2,500
YEARS AND WE ARE THE FIRST
POST-LITERATE GENERATION, AS IT
WERE.
THAT IS WE HAVE BYPASSED THE
LITERATE WORLD OF HARDWARE AND
THE LINEAL LEFT HEMISPHERE
TECHNOLOGY.
WE HAVE BYPASSED IT BY MOVING
ONCE MORE AGAIN INTO THE
ALTOGETHER WORLD, THE HOLISTIC
WORLD OF THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE
PEOPLE WHO ARE THE THIRD WORLD
PEOPLE.
SO, WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR
CHILDREN IS WE’RE WATCHING THEM
BECOME THIRD WORLD.

Mike says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Marshall says WELL, IT MEANS THAT THEY FEEL
MUCH MORE GROUPY AND TRENDY THEN
THEY DO PRIVATE OR
GOAL-ORIENTED.

Mike says I SEE.

Marshall says AND SO THE DISC JOCKEYS
HELPED US ALONG IN A HUGE WAY
AND THERE’S ALL THE NOSTALGIA —
BY THE WAY ONE OF THE BIG MARKS
OF THE LOSS OF IDENTITY IS
NOSTALGIA.
SO, THE VIABLES ON ALL HANDS IN
EVERY PHASE OF LIFE TODAY,
REVIVALS OF CLOTHING, OF DANCES
OF MUSIC OF SHOWS OF EVERYTHING,
WE LIVE BY THE REVIVAL.
IT TELLS US WHO WE ARE OR WERE.

Now a man in his late forties appears in an interview, in a home living room.

A caption reads “Eric McLuhan.”

Eric has short brown hair, a trimmed white beard, and wears a striped shirt.

He says AT THE TIME THAT MY FATHER
MADE THESE REMARKS, WE WERE
WORKING ON THE LAWS OF MEDIA.
REVIVAL IS ONE OF THEM.
EVERY INNOVATION BRINGS BACK
INTO PLAY SOME OLD FORM IN A NEW
WAY, NOT JUST BY RECASTING OLD
FORMS AS ART FORMS, BUT ALSO BY
GIVING THEM A NEW, SORT OF,
SALIENCE.
SO, THE MOTOR CAR, LET’S SAY,
BRINGS BACK THE KNIGHT IN
SHINING ARMOR, THE CAR ITSELF,
THE TIN SUIT IS NOW NOT JUST
SOMETHING YOU WEAR AS CLOTHING
BUT YOU PUT THE HORSE INSIDE IT
ALONG WITH YOU AND YOU HAVE THE
KNIGHT OF THE ROAD.
YOU HAVE THE OLD THING IN A NEW
FORM.
EVERY INNOVATION DOES THIS.
MOVIES COME BACK IN A NEW WAY AS
ART FORMS.
TELEVISION IS A NOW GETTING
RETRIEVED AS AN ART FORM, A
REVIVAL.
THE MINUTE IT STOPS BEING
CASTIGATED IN THE MEDIA AND
BEING REGARDED AS ESTHETIC
EXPERIENCE YOU KNOW THE REVIVAL
IS UNDERWAY AND SOMETHING BIG IN
THE ENVIRONMENT HAS CHANGED.

You can read the entire transcript of the interviews here: https://goo.gl/AiE3KJ

A Tetrad, illustration by Andrew McLuhan

As the College Printer at the Kelly Library, at the University of St Michael’s College, UofT, I’m heading up a team finalizing preparations for the launch on Monday, January 21 of the Canadian Fine Press Exhibition. Five University libraries are participating in the exhibition, opening their doors to show their special collections of hand printed chapbooks and ephemera.

Limited edition AND online book:

What is of particular note for the list is the release of a limited edition fine press publication being produced by the Kelly Library called A Tetrad, Measuring McLuhan’s Impact, demonstrating McLuhan’s tetrad concept. The chapbooks are letterpress printed on cotton paper and hand sewn.

As a true exploration in the future of the book, this chapbook extends to an online version of the book where McLuhan enthusiasts have the opportunity to add glosses in the interactive tetrad begun there, essentially co-authoring the ongoing text with their own input.

The online version of the Tetrad chapbook is located here: https://kellyexhibits.ca/tetrad
To add your own gloss to it click on the SUBMIT A GLOSS box. If accepted, your contribution will include your name and will remain online for at least a year.

  • Deborah Barnett, Print Studio, St Michael’s College, University of Toronto

The Tetrad chapbook is part of the Canadian Fine Press Exhibition

With exhibitions at five locations on the University of Toronto campus, the Canadian Fine Press Exhibit celebrates a wide range of letterpress publications, hand-printed ephemera, chapbooks, and other fine press works to be found within the university’s special collections and libraries.

The exhibition runs concurrently from January to May 2019 and includes spotlights on poetry chapbooks, Toronto area fine presses, individual printers and designers, and the career of printer and designer Glenn Goluska (1947-2011).

Discover numerous examples of artisanal publishing at its finest, as well as the stories behind the presses and printers that made these works possible.

Click on the image for a readable view

Imaginations, a peer-reviewed “multilingual, open-access journal of international visual cultural studies,” published a special issue of essays on McLuhan’s processes as they relate to art theory, the reaches and deficiencies of his scope, his collaborative projects and the thinking he continues to inspire in December of 2017.

To ease into the anthology, Mohammad Salemy’s brief essay on McLuhan’s role in the 1967 international media event produced by the BBC, Our World, is a fine place to start. Including a transcript of McLuhan’s first words to the global masses, Salemy highlights McLuhan’s prophetic consciousness of the impact this new immediacy in communication would have on human culture.

In an attempt to lift humanity from its anesthetized acceptance of the perceived inevitability of sociopolitical systems, McLuhan turned to artists to recontextualize the familiar. Kenneth R. Allen’s essay exploring “Marshall McLuhan’s Counterenvironment within the Stream of Defamiliarization” traces the lineage of these processes to early 19th century thinkers.

McLuhan’s taste for creative collaboration came from his desire to tackle “things from many angles at once.” A few essays in this issue of Imaginations explore specific project-based relationships with a healthy dose of sentimentality. Both Elena Lamberti and Alexander Kuskis’ contributions illuminate McLuhan’s digestion and elevation of the works and philosophies of sculptor/filmmaker Sorel Etrog and mixed-media collage artist P. Mansaram, respectively.

Jessica Jacobson-Konefall, May Chew and Daina Warren challenge McLuhan’s theory of media as message through the content-driven work of Cree multi-disciplinary artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle and bring to light McLuhan’s own perceptive limits based in anthropocentric colonial ideologies. Jody Berland’s contribution encourages defamiliarized reflective observation through the lenses of the animals humans interact with on domestic and agricultural levels.

Particularly poignant in the age of “fake news” is performance artist and writer Henry Adam Svec’s journey into “hoax art” and its relation to McLuhan’s media theory and creative practice. Svec plays into the power of suggestion with humour and delight.

These, among the rest of the essays in the collection, offer an invaluable bibliography on media theory and McLuhan’s influence and influences. Though some contributions may require some auxiliary research to fully absorb, this special issue of Imaginations only deepens the rabbit hole for curious minds searching beyond familiar systems for humanity’s true reflection.
Source:  Volume 73, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 15, 2018), https://goo.gl/TpteSz

Marshall McLuhan & the Arts was first published online in 2017 in Imaginations Journal 8:3. See https://goo.gl/5Ug2WD

It was later published in print by the University of Winnipeg in 2018. See https://goo.gl/sv22N2


Panchal Mansaram, who prefers to be identified as just Mansaram, was helped by Marshall McLuhan when he and his family immigrated to Canada from India in 1966. Later, McLuhan collaborated with Mansaram on a collage painting that was influenced by McLuhan’s ideas titled Rear View Mirror 74 (RVM 74) by personally adding some of the textual content. I published an article about McLuhan and Mansaram which was published first online in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, which you can read here https://goo.gl/6dUQn4 and then later in print by the University of Winnipeg (see here https://goo.gl/gGGqn8 ).

P. Mansaram: The Medium is the Medium is the Medium

February 2 – March 23, 2019

Curated by Indu Vashist and Toleen Touq
Co-presented with SAVAC

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto

The exhibition The Medium is the Medium is the Medium presents works by media artist P. Mansaram and thinks through the artist’s decades-long practice of repetition. For Mansaram, repetition is art practice, repetition is meditation, repetition is spirituality, repetition is falling in love, and as he says, repetition is a way to finding god. Strategically using recurrence and reproduction through a variety of medium including drawing, painting, collage, text, sculpture, xerox, silkscreen printmaking, and film, Mansaram’s work invokes unending feelings of travel: through time, dimension and territory.

Spanning more than five decades, the selection of works highlights both material and spiritual elements from the artists’ surroundings and everyday life–including characters, symbols and spaces–to convey the artist’s meditative and transcendent processes in both form and content. In that regard, the ways in which Mansaram assembles different media and creates a sense of place present the viewer with a nuanced narrative of the diasporic experience.

Over the past decade, SAVAC has presented Mansaram’s work in several group programs and we are delighted to be able to shine a spotlight on his long career in this solo exhibition. Continuously tinkering with old works in response to contemporary shifts, Mansaram holds the rare ability of keeping an ever-evolving artistic practice that is both timely and germane.

Mansaram was born in 1934 in Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India and studied at the Sir J. J. School of Art. Shortly after studying at the Rijks Academie in Amsterdam, he migrated to Canada in 1966. In 2016, the ROM acquired over 700 pieces from the artist’s archive reflecting over 50 years of his work.

P. Mansaram: The Medium is the Medium is the Medium is presented in collaboration with SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre), a nomadic artist-run organization dedicated to fostering imaginative thought among artists and curators of colours, and integrating them into the Canadian contemporary arts ecology.

Additional Exhibition Resources           Press Release

Opening Reception 

Saturday, February 2, 2019, 5-7pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Extended exhibition hours from 7pm – 12am at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the University of Toronto Art Centre for the Night of Ideas.

Yoga Nidra with Taryn Diamond

Monday, February 11, 2019, 6pm
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Registration is required. Sold out.

Curatorial Tour with Indu Vashist and Toleen Touq

Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 6:30pm
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Artist Talk with P. Mansaram

Saturday, March 16, 2019, 1pm
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Drop In Guided Tours

Tuesdays at 2pm, beginning February 5, 2019
Meet at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Our Supporters – We gratefully acknowledge operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.
Source: https://artmuseum.utoronto.ca/

See also on this blog An Unpublished Interview with Marshall McLuhan (1967) by Artist P. Mansaram at https://goo.gl/X8Zx3o


Blair McDonald, a TRU professor in the JCNM program delivered a special lecture on the Canadian media icon Marshall McLuhan. (Photo by Aidan Grether)

The semester’s final session of the Arts Colloquium Series featured Blair McDonald, a professor of journalism, communication and new media, who presented on the influence of Marshall McLuhan [at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC).

Faculty members and students gathered in TRUSU’s Board Room on Nov. 21 to listen to McDonald present on the topic: Extending Legacies: Reappraisals of McLuhan’s Understanding Media.

Examining a few of McLuhan’s prophetic claims, McDonald discussed different ways in which McLuhan’s teachings could possibly influence future artists, researchers and critics, who now exist in a digital world.

McDonald also made reference to McLuhan’s 1964 book entitled, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man on the future of media.

Displaying one of his former reading lists from when he was a student at Trent University, he explained it was from a class where they explored one of McLuhan’s most famous quotes, “the medium is the message.”

McDonald acknowledged that the phrase has generated confusion from the time it was conceptualized and admitted that even today in his own classroom, McLuhan’s quote “reads rather cryptically with a new generation of students.”

“The medium is the message can be understood as a remarkable shift in media studies away from content analysis– so particular entertainment and media shows– into a discussion of media forms,” he said.

He explained that this incorporates everything from print to telephone, to television and radio. Moreover, he added that “how these forms themselves forever change the local landscape of mass communication and the people using them,” must also be taken into consideration.

Clarifying some of McLuhan’s ideas on technological determinism, McDonald talked about how technology can shape changes in culture.

“Technology shapes cultural change and then cultural changes are primarily caused by changes in communication, so we see that interconnectedness,” McDonald said.

He also mentioned that an example of this, which he teaches in his second-year Media History class, shows that the printing press made the creation of books possible.

McDonald explained that as a result, mass literacy was then considered an essential component of survival within that particular culture.

“It kind of removes the world of literacy and reading information as something which only elites can have and opens it up to the mass public,” McDonald elaborated.

McDonald also asserted that reading McLuhan’s work feels as if the media theorist is filling his brain with “new tracks.”

“He’s really unlike any kind of thinker that I have encountered in terms of his scope for the history of media and its effects on civilization,” said McDonald. “For the general public, McLuhan is one of the few intellectuals of the twentieth century who became a household name around the world.”

The Arts Colloquium Series is an event that allows faculty members to share their research and works in progress.

“It is a series that has been going for about five or six years now that is organized by some arts faculty members and it’s to encourage and nurture a collegial environment and culture of research amongst faculty members across campus,” stated Lisa Cook, one of the organizers and an associate professor of anthropology at TRU. Source: https://goo.gl/56uLz4