McLuhan as Foresighter: A Rearview Mirror Look at 2020 Media Futures, Toronto


Presenter: Greg Van Alstyne, Director of Research, sLab, OCAD University
Respondent: Dr. Robert Logan, Chief Scientist, sLab, OCAD University

Tuesday November 8, 2011, 7:00 pm
OCAD University Auditorium
100 McCaul Street, Toronto
What might our media be like by 2020? How can McLuhan’s rich legacy illuminate this question today? Drawing from the year-long 2020 Media Futures project, we will glimpse Canada’s media landscape in 2020. At the same time we’ll examine McLuhan’s approach in light of contemporary strategic foresight methods, finding unexpected contrasts and surprising parallels in dimensions as diverse as art, uncertainty, method, storytelling, strategy, and provocation.
About the Speaker:
Greg Van Alstyne | Director of Research at sLab and Associate Professor at OCAD University
Greg Van Alstyne is a design educator and creative director with more than twenty years of experiences including interaction, communication and exhibition design, design strategy, strategic foresight and innovation consulting. His current research investigates the relationship between design and emergence in innovation ecosystems, and the future of the book. He has developed graphic, environmental and interaction design for publishers, agencies and brands in Canada, United States and Europe. Greg’s MS thesis at Polytechnic Institute of New York University explored the role of digital media in understanding and achieving sustainability. He was the inaugural director of the Institute without Boundaries, a post-graduate, interdisciplinary design program established by Bruce Mau Design and George Brown College. He directed and mentored students and teams in the conception, design and production of Massive Change: The Future of Global Design, a multi-platform project including a major exhibition, book, events and other public outcomes. In the 1990’s Greg was founding head of the Department of New Media at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, where he co-produced the first MoMa web site, interactive environments with MIT Media Lab for The Un-Private House, and other projects. Greg holds a BA (hons) and an MS in Integrated Digital Media.
Dr. Robert Logan | Chief Scientist at sLab. OCAD University
Robert Logan has a variety of experiences as an academic involved in research in complexity theory, information theory, biology, environmental science, linguistics, industrial design and media studies. He published with and collaborated with Marshall McLuhan. He was also active in the business world operating a computer training company 1982-2000 and a Web development company from 1994 to 2000 through which he did extensive consulting in knowledge management. He was active in politics from 1974 to date. Among his many activities he served as advisor to PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau, as policy chair of the Ontario wing of the federal Liberal Party and as an advisor to various federal cabinet ministers. He is an author or editor of 12 books as well as numerous articles in refereed journals. He is currently engaged in consulting in the electricity sector as an associate of Elenchus Consulting and as the Chief Academic Officer of the Sir Adam Beck Academy. He continues to teach the Poetry of Physics at the University of Toronto where he is Prof. Emeritus. He also teaches a Think Tank course at OCAD U where he is the Chief Scientist of the Strategic Innovation Lab.
Strategic Innovation Lab at OCAD is a centre for research in design, innovation, and strategic foresight. sLab integrates academic investigation, professional engagement, education and skills development for private, public, and notfor- profit stakeholders. We’re a growing community of researchers and practitioners, design and business professionals, teachers and students, who are passionate about envisioning possible futures.
 OCAD University

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