An Essay on Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrads


The Tetrad: a dialectical model of media ecology theory

Author: Gerrit Verstraete   –   3/28/2013
McLuhan designed the tetrad to provide a scientific basis for media observations. The tetrad applies to all media and human artifacts, a phenomenon that is universal and simultaneous. Into the complex of this paper is introduced the proposition that scientific research as applied to media can also be applied to art, design and new media (ADN), with research that goes beyond the science of  investigating “reciprocal interplay of observable and generalized data” (Dict.1975) to include the intuitive and methodological processes of the creation of art. Media ecology theories support the idea that the tetrad can be a dialectical model for examining art, design and new media to determine the validity of such theoretical support.

This paper explores media ecology theories to demonstrate that critical thought remains subject to the biases of the artist and the viewer. Many expressions of art, design and new media are created as an explicit or implicit voice of the artist’s reflection of the biases of his or her work. Media ecology studies examine these biases with an aim to understand how communications media, including the forms of art, design and new media, help create the environment in which people and society interact and how the arts in general play a major role is such interaction.

In this paper I will focus primarily on the making of art as the principal subject for applying McLuhan’s Laws of Media to art’s relationship to technology and new media.  Original source:

                                                                                   Gerrit Verstraete

 Download paper from here Gerrit Verstraete 

2 Responses to “An Essay on Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrads”

  1. 1 An Essay on Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrad’s | Society for Media Psychology and Technology (APA Division 46)
  2. 2 Entry 3: Media Forms and Their Impact on Society – Digital Literacies: Critical Digital Publishing Task

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