Lecture Graham Larkin: The Real Message – McLuhan’s Media Practice, Berlin


11/25/2011 | 16:00 EST | Marshall McLuhan Salon, Berlin

In a 1959 talk and a 1964 book Marshall McLuhan famously declares that “the medium is the message.” By 1967 the title of a typographically adventuresome book turns “message” into “massage”. In each case McLuhan is urging his audience to care less about the apparent content of communication (what happens to be “on” TV or “in” a book) and more about the psychodynamics of the particular medium (the effects of television or the book per se). Although later interpreters have viewed the medium=message/massage tenet as central to McLuhan’s thinking, there has been little sustained attention to the practical role of inscription, publication and broadcast in his work. In short, it is time to pay closer attention to the media practice behind McLuhan’s media theory. The present talk, based on extensive researches in the McLuhan fonds at Library & Archives Canada, will survey the evidence for McLuhan’s quotidian encounters with the very media that he investigates.


Graham Larkin lives in Ottawa, where he was curator of European & American Art at the National Gallery of Canada from 2005 to 2011. His researches into the early history of cataloguing and collecting include a doctoral dissertation (Harvard 2003) on the origins of the catalogue raisonné in 18th century print albums. While completing his dissertation he assisted information designer Edward Tufte with the award-winning book Beautiful Evidence. Dr. Larkin has taught seminars and curated exhibitions at Harvard University, and at Stanford University where he was a Humanities Fellow from 2003-5. He has published in various journals including Print QuarterlyWord & ImageArtForum and Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

This event will be held in English. Admission is free. Please register below in advance. A valid photo ID is required when entering the Embassy of Canada. http://tinyurl.com/7s9xt7g

Register online   –   Access via Leipziger Platz 17, 10117 Berlin S+U Potsdamer Platz

2 Responses to “Lecture Graham Larkin: The Real Message – McLuhan’s Media Practice, Berlin”

  1. Wondering what is the current contact for Dr. Larkin? We met at Simon Fraser University in the fall of 2010 regarding some work by Sandow Birk..

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