EDGY MEDIA On Borders, Migrations, Media Studies & Media Arts

03Mar19

Unfortunately, none of this information seems to have been disseminated in time from the folks at the University of Windsor to the McLuhan community of interest in and associated with the University of Toronto or elsewhere in Canada. It no doubt was shared with the McLuhan Centre, but that once authentic centre for McLuhan and related studies no longer offers McLuhan-specific programming and is consequently not supported by the McLuhan community of interest in Toronto.

FEEDBACK #4: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts, SoCA Gallery, 2019. Photo credit: Nadja Pelkey

University of Windsor, School of Creative Arts: 17 February 2019 – 9 March 2019
College for Creative Studies, Detroit: 15 February 2019 – 23 M
arch 2019

Marshall McLuhan was an academic and a historian of literature with a passion for slang word games and jokes whose audacious observations on media and technology made him one of the most famous public intellectuals of the 1960s and an icon of pop culture. And despite all the shock of the new, McLuhan’s approach remains as fresh and pertinent today as it was back then. Maybe now that the electronic environment has finally become second nature, we are able at last to encounter the importance of McLuhan’s practice.

Feedback: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts is a recursive series of exhibitions and symposia with a focus on McLuhan’s radical, experimental publication practice. A prototype for a new form of intellectual for the electronic age, McLuhan eschewed peer review and published his ideas experimentally, often collaboratively in the popular press, testing for reactions. This active “live scholarship” was roundly scorned by many of his academic colleagues, admiringly envious of the dynamism of his ideas and the seeming endless appetite for them in the mass media. McLuhan allowed himself to be taken up in the media, and the media rewarded him with fame.

Critical and concerned about the effects of new technologies, McLuhan found hope and even redemption in art’s capacity to catalyse and manifest the as-yet-invisible social and physiological implications of technological transformation. This is evidenced in the radical originality of his discursive language, replete with poetry and puns, and in projects which irreverently transgressed disciplinary conventions and taboos in order to elaborate vital exchanges between the specializations.

“To prevent undue wreckage in society, the artist tends now to move from the ivory tower to the control tower of society. Just as higher education is no longer a frill or luxury but a stark need of production and operational design in the electric age, so the artist is indispensable in the shaping and analysis and understanding of the life of forms, and structures created by electric technology.
… No society has ever known enough about its actions to have developed immunity to its new extensions or technologies. Today we have begun to sense that art may be able to provide such immunity.” –
McLuhan, Understanding Media, Chapter 7

This exhibition, anchored in archival material from McLuhan’s most daring projects, examines how contemporary artists fulfill McLuhan’s prescription, elaborating the feedback circuit between technology and its social matrix, to generate the techniques and capabilities needed to confront our most urgent challenges today.

In tune with notions of entanglement we receive from advanced physics, we no longer have access to an absolute outside from which we can observe and analyze our conditions. We need to learn to analyze while still being part of what we are trying to understand, and this, according to McLuhan, requires the skills and sensitivities of artists.

For Feedback #4 (Detroit) see https://goo.gl/ctPwzR

Conceived and curated by Baruch Gottlieb and Marie-José Sondeijker


Previous iterations of Feedback:

  • Feedback #1 (22.09.2017 – 19.11.2017), West Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands
  • Feedback #2 (27.01 – 24.02.2018), EIGEN + ART Lab, Berlin, Germany
  • Feedback #3 (26.09.2018 – 06.01.2019), The ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany

Source: https://goo.gl/DoKtDb

Detroit above, Windsor below, the Detroit River in between


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