Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan: iProbes & iPhone Photographs



Distributed for Intellect Ltd (UK) by the University of Chicago Press
240 pages | 100 color plates | 9 x 9 | ISBN: 9781783200306 |Published Jan, 2014 ( http://tinyurl.com/nftz463
In this timely and highly original merging of theory and practice, conflict photographer and critical theorist Rita Leistner applies Marshall McLuhan’s semiotic theories of language, media, and technology to iPhone photographs taken during a military embed in Afghanistan. In a series of what Leistner calls iProbes—a portmanteau of iPhone and probe—Leistner reveals the face of war through the extensions of man. As digital photography becomes more ubiquitous, and as the phones we carry with us become more advanced, the process of capturing images becomes more democratic and more spontaneous. Leistner’s photos result from both access and impulse. Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan will appeal anyone with an interest in the conflicts in the Middle East, the seminal communications theorist, or iPhone apps and photography.

Contents –  Foreword

Hipstamatic Blues by Julian Stallabrass

The Process

Smartphones + War in Afghanistan – Marshall McLuhan b. 1911 in Alberta Canada – The embed – Semiotics – Figure + Ground – Reading McLuhan – Musa Qala – The social media – River City – iPhone + the Hipstamatic app – The thingness of things – The iProbes – Prophylactive therapy

The Extensions of Man

Camera obscura – Electric light – Typewriter – Telephone – Phonograph – Smartphone

McLuhan + Fiore + The Printed Book

The iProbes

iProbe 01_The iphone Camera + the Hipstamatic app ; iProbe 02_Phone Texting ; iProbe 03_Body Armour ; iProbe 04_Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs) ; iProbe 05_Figure / Ground ; iProbe 06_Improved Explosive Devices (IEDs) Made of Wood ; iProbe 07_Fuel Dispensers ; iProbe 08_Loudspeakers and Sermons from the Mosque ; iProbe 09_Mobile Telephony: “Can You Hear Me Now?” ; iProbe 10_The Written Word: “Proceed At Your Own Risk” ; iProbe 11_Unmaned Ariel Vehicles (UAVs); iProbe 12_Sandbags and HESCO Concertina Barriers ; The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:00­–11:10)

The Tetrads: Laws of Media

Notes – Bibliography – Colophon – Acknowledgements – About the author

YouTube trailer about the book:

Read the U of T News interview with Rita Leistner: http://tinyurl.com/os88xp5
Previous postings on this blog about her work: http://tinyurl.com/oumezvn ; http://tinyurl.com/mhhz8a6  ; http://tinyurl.com/km6ldlr

3 Responses to “Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan: iProbes & iPhone Photographs”

  1. Thank-you so much for posting my book on the McLuhan Galaxy! I’ll keep you posted when we launch the book. We’re looking at Toronto and New York in the fall.

    • You’re welcome, Rita. I’ve posted on your work before on my blog. I admire your work. Yes, please do let me know when you launch the book in Toronto and New York. My academic friends in the Media Ecology Association in NY will be interested in the launch there, as will my associates in the McLuhan Legacy Network in Toronto. For your information, the McLuhan Galaxy blog has about 500 subscribers worldwide, is extensively linked to, is reflected on Facebook, Twitter, and is also the official blog of the McLuhan Estate: see http://www.marshallmcluhan.com/ (scroll down). Have a look at some of my recent postings and consider subscribing to it: https://mcluhangalaxy.wordpress.com/ ………..AlexK

  2. Thank-you Alex, I am now a fan and a subscriber! With much respect, Rita.

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