FEEDBACK #1 – Marshall McLuhan & the Arts – A Touring Project, with Programs in The Hague, Berlin, Paris & Toronto

18Oct17
Marshall McLuhan by Yousuf Karsh (1967) (c) Karsh Estate
With Marshall McLuhan (CA), Peter Blegvad (UK), Disnovation(SW/DE), Harun Farocki (DE), Darsha Hewitt (CA), Mogens Jacobsen (DK), Willy Lemaitre (CA), !mediengruppe Bitnik(DE), MRZB (IT), Christof Migone (CA), Reynold Reynolds(US), Thomas Bégin (CA), Wolfgang Spahn (DE), Hito Steyerl(DE), Stephanie Syjuco (PH) & Angela Washko (US).
Exhibition: 22.09.2017 — 19.11.2017
Opening + performance: Thomas Bégin & Wolfgang Spahn
Friday 22.09.2017, 8 PM
2 locations: West Museumkwartier, Lange Voorhout 34 West; Groenewegje 136

Extras: 2-day Symposium Feedback 28.09 & 29.09
1-day Symposium Man and His World 21.10
1-day Symposium Radical Transdiciplinary Academics 5.11
Workshop Wolfgang Spahn 31.10
Workshop Reynold Reynolds 15.11 — 18.11
Museumnacht open air cinema 21.10
Book presentation Reynold Reynolds 19.11

Recursive exhibition and symposium project. Celebrating the synthetic practices of the Toronto School, featuring the radical experimental publishing work of Marshall McLuhan as art. Feedback brings artists, designers, scholars, and thinkers together to probe, encounter and contest the light-speed electronic information environments we inhabit today.

Exploding out of the wreckage of World War II the early cyberneticists Norbert Wiener and Claude Shannon, sketched out a future where even thinking could be automated. In the electronic information of global instantaneous mass-communication of the satellite and TV age, Marshall McLuhan saw the end of the rational tradition of enlightenment Humanism, and the emergence of a ‘Global Village’ and ‘Global Theatre’ where people would be caught up in their interconnectivity and develop new social art forms.

The pace of technological transformation, automation and globalization have resulted in massive human migration, precaritization, displacement and new transitional modes of existence. The Internet, built to maintain command and control of the US military in an extreme emergency has become a commercialized infrastructure where unprecedented new forms of communication and exchange are emerging. Publics are formed and dissolved algorithmically according to need, no longer at the level of opinion or knowledge, but according to advanced social cybernetics of politics and the advertising economy. The medium is the message.

Feedback is the second in a series of projects (first was Without Firm Ground, Flusser and the Arts, March 2006), which explore the potential for a synthesis of philosophy and theory in works of arts to fathom and understand the accelerating pace of social transformation brought on by technological and scientific progress. The exhibition will feature fourteen provocative and invigorating propositions from drawing to sound sculpture, from online performance actions to obsessive hardware hackery, which grapple with the substance of the information machine we live in.

Installed across two locations visitors will discover the series of Dew-line newsletter and Explorations journals, archive materials, video documentation of McLuhan and works by young artists from all over the world.

Marshall McLuhan (CA, 1911 – 1980) had already noted in the 1960s that the speed and pervasiveness of electronic communication were superseding the rational and reflective abilities of literacy. The technologies that brought us here are built through rational disinterested scientific method, but generate an immersive environment where we lose grasp of private identity and long for a pre-literate togetherness in a ‘Global Village’. His ‘Global Village’ came to exemplify the uncritical Summer of Love communality of the Hippies, but it was a misappropriation and misunderstanding of McLuhan’s meaning. For McLuhan, the ‘Global Village’ was a place of violent terror, where there was constant surveillance and where privacy was ‘merely ignored’, as he frankly describes in a famous interview with Canadian talk show host Mike McManus.
McLuhan rose to prominence as perhaps the most famous cultural critic of his age with an analysis that directly engaged with the transformations emerging with the introduction of electronic technologies. His involvement was gestural, reason alone would not suffice to grapple with the contemporary conditions, there was a techno-cultural revolution afoot, which was completely disrupting how human beings had perceived the world for hundreds of years.

Curators: Baruch Gottlieb & Marie-José Sondeijker
DEW Line Newsletter exhibit co-curated with Graham Larkin
Explorations exhibit co-curated with Michael Darroch with additional documentation from Simon Rogers.

The project Feedback #1, Marschall McLuhan and the Arts in The Hague is the first station of the exhibition symposia and workshops touring program, which will include programs in Berlin (2018), Paris (2018), Toronto (2019).                                           (Thanks to Paolo Granata)

See list & bios of participating artists here: https://goo.gl/urrqov

West Museumkwartier
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