Visiting the Marshall McLuhan Salon, Berlin – a field report


Internationaler Studiengang Medieninformatik

As we had just encountered Marshall McLuhan as a media theorist, our lecturer Dr. Kastner left it up to us taking a voluntary field trip to the Embassy of Canada attending the second event of the McLuminations. The topic of this session was McLuhan the artist. Since I am studying a more logic subject I was a bit afraid if I would be able to follow the conversation to the full extent.

The McLuhan Salon in the embassy is a small but modern round lounge with state-of-the-art technical equipment featuring the complete archive of McLuhan’s work. Since it is a small room it was quite packed with participants and the whole scenery was filmed by a professional cinematographer. The concept of this two hour long event was, to show rare videoclips of McLuhan and discuss the interpretation of his statements while being led by three competent experts. The three moderators were quite diversive and did have a few polarizing views and interpretations of McLuhan’s theories, which came to light whenever the discussion about a beforeshown videoclip sparked.

Eventually it was very surprising to see video recordings from the early sixties (even before his greatest work The medium is the message) where McLuhan made very advanced statements for that time. It was quite amusing to see a TV discussion where I felt as if McLuhan, who expressed his predictions about the influence of media in the future, was able to time-travel and tell facts from the future. After another video clip a moderator stated that todays TV program is designed so complex that the viewer itself cannot relax anymore, but controversially gets tired because of watching TV. This caused some laughter and conversation between the participants of course.

The last half an hour was designed to offer room for comments and discussion, where a view people discussed the theory of artists being todays only real media critics even able to intellectually challenge the recipient of media and make him wonder about his situation.

It turned out that the whole event was very precise and challenging made for an audience consisting of lecturers and scientists. Being an undergraduate in my first semester myself while not having much knowledge about the theories of McLuhan I was a bit disappointed not being able to gather many new impressions.

But this might change in the near future and I can say that I will attend another session of the McLuminations.

By Martin Heinrich

Photos of the visit

One Response to “Visiting the Marshall McLuhan Salon, Berlin – a field report”

  1. 1 richard altman

    in the spirit of representing the pre sent. this is an unapologetic edit of the man in a way he would hopefully appreciate. great shire alex

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