Symposium: Innis, McLuhan, & the Media: Path to Enlightenment or Dead end? Montreal


An Event celebrating 25 years of the Joint Ph.D. program in communication (Université de Montréal, Concordia University, UQAM)Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT), 1201, boul. St. Laurent, Montréal

On April 25th, we invite you to join us in celebrating 25 years of the Joint Ph.D. program in communication.  For that purpose, we invite you to a free one-afternoon symposium — held at the Société des Arts Technologiques — dedicated to the ideas of Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan — whose one-hundredth birthday was celebrated last year. We will have two panels of three presentations each, featuring the works of our colleagues and students (see program hereafter), and a keynote address by Jeffrey Schnapp, founder and faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard, introduced by Luc Courchesne, in the “McLuhan Massage Parlour” at Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT).

Dr. Schnapp will present a talk entitled “Marshall McLuhan and the Electric Information Age Book” based on his recent book, The Electric Information Age Book (co-authored with Adam Michaels (Princeton Architectural Press, January, 2012). This book explores the nine-year window between 1966 and 1975, when a group of designers, graphic artists, and editors literally invented the future of the paperback book. The period begins in 1966 when Jerome Agel and Quentin Fiore, in collaboration with Marshall McLuhan, employed a variety of radical techniques—verbal visual collages and other typographic pyrotechnics—to produce a book in the shape of “an inventory of effects:” The Medium Is the Massage. Schnapp’s keynote address will be presented in the context of Luc Courchesne’s immersive installation entitled “le salon de massage McLuhan” (in collaboration with Mike Wozniewski, Benjamin Bergery, Luc Martinez et David Duguay). This interactive experience, inspired by McLuhan’s, Fiore’s and Agel’s book, marks the one-hundredth anniversary of McLuhan’s birth in a medium that he could only have dreamed about. During Dr. Schnapp’s keynote, the public will be located at the center of the Satosphere dome, while Luc Courchesne will “move” inside The Medium is the Massage whose every page has been redeployed in the 3D space of the Satosphere dome, the biggest immersive projection room in the world. This gigantic dome, with its 54-foot diameter and 45-foot height, is equipped with eight video projectors and 157 speakers to allow immersive and participatory exhibits of this kind.

On April 25th, the medium will thus be the message, the mental and audiovisual massage of the cybernetic age!

PROGRAMME: 1:00 pm – Welcoming Address

1:15 pm – Session 1 – Decoupling Innis and McLuhan?

Chair –Sandra Gabriele, Professor
Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University

“Le concept de moyen de communication dans l’École de Toronto”
Luiz Martino, Professeur, Faculdade de Comunicação, Universidade de Brasilia

“Innis, un homme de son temps ? McLuhan, un homme de l’espace ?”
Gaetan Tremblay, Professeur, École des médias, UQAM

“The Rise of McLuhanism, The Loss of Innis-sense: Rethinking the Toronto School of Communication”
Bill Buxton, Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University

Shirley Roburn, PhD Candidate, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University

3:00 pm – break

3:15 pm  –  Session 2 – Probing McLuhan

Chair – Lorna Roth, Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University

“Marshall McLuhan and the Economies of Citation”
Darren Wershler, Research Chair in Media and Contemporary Literature, Department of English, Concordia University

“Le concept de forme chez McLuhan. Plaidoyer pour un changement d’ethos
Oumar Kane, Professeur, Département de communication sociale et publique (UQAM)

“McLuhan’s legacies: An Animal-studies perspective”
David Jaclin, PhD Candidate, Département de communication, Université de Montréal

Respondent: Christina Haralanova
PhD Candidate, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University

5:00 pm – break

5:30 – Keynote

“Marshall McLuhan and the Electric Information Age Book”
Jeffrey Schnapp, Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures and Comparative Literature, Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

“Le salon de massage McLuhan”
Luc Courchesne, Professeur, École de design industriel, Université de Montréal

7:00 – 8:00 Reception

Jeffrey T. Schnapp is Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures at Harvard University, where he also teaches on the faculty of the Department of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design, and serves as faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In February 2011, he co-founded a new laboratory under the aegis of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society: metaLAB (at) Harvard. Though primarily anchored in the field of Italian studies  (before moving to Harvard in 2011, he occupied the Pierotti Chair of Italian Studies at Stanford) Dr. Schnapp has played a pioneering role in several areas of transdisciplinary research and has been at the forefront of a new wave of digital humanities work. His research interests extend from antiquity to the present, encompassing the material history of literature, the history of 20th-century architecture and design, and the cultural history of science and engineering. Trained as a Romance linguist, Schnapp is the author or editor of twenty books and over one hundred essays. His book Crowds was the recipient of the Modernist Studies Association prize for best book of 2006.  He has recently co-authored The Electric Information Age Book: McLuhan/Agel/Fiore and the Experimental Paperback.

Luc Courchesne Based in Montreal, Luc Courchesne is a founding member of the Society for Art and Technology [SAT], and since 1989, professor of design at Université de Montréal, where he teaches media and experiential design. Over the last thirty years he has made a major contribution to the emergence of media arts. His early work on interactive portraiture and landscape contributed to a revolution in these genres with his installations and “panoscopic” images, which transform spectators into visitors, actors and inhabitants of his experiential crafts. His work is part of major collections in North America, Europe and Asia and has been shown extensively in galleries and museums worldwide, including: Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo’s InterCommunication Center (ICC), Paris’ La Villette, Karlsruhe’s ZKM/Medienmuseum, Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain, the National Gallery of Canada, Barcelona’s Fundacion La Caixa and Beijing’s National Art Museum of China.

The Joint Ph.D. Program in Communication is unique in North America. Created in 1987, this dynamic, inter-university program combines the talents of some 50 professors, a hundred and fifty students, and the staff of three institutions: the University of Montreal, Concordia University, and the University of Quebec at Montreal. One of the challenges and, indeed, strengths of the program is its bilingual nature.


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