Edmonton Remembers and Honours Native Son, Marshall McLuhan

27Jan15

This home at 11342 – 64th Street was once the home of famous Canadian media visionary Marshall McLuhan. Photo by Alex Kuskis.

Decades after his death, media visionary Marshall McLuhan’s spirit still looms over Edmonton.

Not only is his childhood home in Highlands — where he spent the first four years of his life — being converted into artspace, local professors, writers and artists continue to take inspiration from the philosopher.

Ambient musician Mark Templeton and filmmaker Kyle Armstrong are the latest to pay tribute to McLuhan, who died in 1980. Their collaboration, Extensions, is a haunting abstract of original and sampled sound and video. Shuddering rhythms, chopped vocals and snippets of spoken-word dialogue intermingle with shots of wires, blurry figures, clouds, rocket ships and some of McLuhan’s quotes, including: “To say that ‘the camera cannot lie’ is merely to underline the multiple deceits that are now practised in its name.”

Some of Armstrong’s multiple deceits include shots of what could be seen as either a field or a lake, wafts of smoke or underwater shadows, an upside mountain or the underside of a whale. Such duplicity also extends to the ambient soundtrack, partly composed of manipulated audio from stock film footage. “Kyle would send me sound files from films and I’d use them as sources,” says Templeton. “He wouldn’t tell me where the footage came from, but I didn’t really want to necessarily know in case it subconsciously affected how I approached it.”

The pair first performed their work at one of the Art Gallery of Alberta’s Refinery parties in 2014. As of Jan. 28, Extensions will be available on DVD (and LP), the first release on Templeton’s new label, Graphical Recordings, or graphicalrecordings.com. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/pr6oc7y )

EXTENSIONS by Mark Templeton + Kyle Armstrong.  Vinyl LP.

In an attempt to dissuade us from ever posting on Twitter again, conceptual electronica bandits Mark Templeton and Kyle Armstrong combine forces on Extensions, an audio representation of Canadian media commentator Marshall McLuhan’s predicted ‘digital collective consciousness’. If such a thing as cerebral noise exists, this record has kicked the scene off to a great start in 2015. ( http://tinyurl.com/lghxxb5 )

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