McLuhan in Europe 2011


transmediale, Berlin’s premiere festival for art and digital culture in collaboration with the Marshall McLuhan Salon of the Embassy of Canada in Berlin, together with a network of selected European and Canadian partners are preparing a major event in the context of the 100th anniversary in 2011 of the birth of Herbert Marshall McLuhan. Although McLuhan was not a futurologist, he identified the mode and societal contours of the media oriented life we now experience in the 21st Century with greater accuracy than many of his contemporaries. Known for coining and popularising terms such as ‘global village‘, and ‘the medium is the message‘, McLuhan’s writings went further and deeper than his charismatic catchphrases, exploring notions of a complex and cacophonic world contracted in time and space by electronic technologies.

The cultural network project McLuhan in Europe 2011 will explore, critique and celebrate the impact of this Canadian media and telecommunications visionary on European art and culture through a series of manifestations to occur in various locations, contexts and timeframes across Europe in 2011. While looking at, embracing and celebrating the relatively unwritten history of McLuhan in Europe, the events will also look at the development of contemporary media, tactile and mobile cultures, the politics of media culture in the context of the divided Europe and other themes that emerged out of McLuhan‘s primary period of intellectual production. A key aim of the McLuhan in Europe 2011 project will also be to strengthen and develop European-Canadian relations, particularly in the context of art, communications, and technology. While the focus of activity will take place in Europe over the course of the year, selected Canadian partners will also play a role which gives them access to and exposure within Europe.

A first meeting of interested persons, in the form of an open brainstorming, took place Saturday Sept. 05, 2009 during the Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria, and a preliminary launch of the project with an inaugural keynote by McLuhan scholar Darren Wershler took place during the FutureEverything Festival in Manchester, UK, May 12 – 15, 2010.

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