Thuistezien 303 — 13.01.2022

Global Warning!
Bundle on Marshall McLuhan

Image uit het boek: The medium Is the Massage: Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, 1967, Bantam books.
The publication ‘Global Warning!’ is a bundle of six essays written by Jared Ball, Katherine Niemeyer, Gary Genosko, Ewa Wójtowicz, Thierry Bardini and Baruch Gottlieb about the relevance of Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) in times of mass media, technological development and crises. McLuhan’s famous slogan ‘The medium is the message’ can be seen to have predicted the growing importance of becoming aware of the mediums and their vast networks of influence on our ways of thinking and (scientific) reasoning. During multiple ongoing crises, natural, political, existential, or viral, we have found ourselves confined to our homes. The digital medium of the internet reigns supreme; work meetings, hangouts, lectures, even sermons have moved onto virtual platforms in a seemingly smooth manner, despite some glitches and WiFi issues. While offering new ways of connecting in testing times, with creativity running high and fast, we might not, or might not be able to, stand still to reflect on the bigger implications. What is the background of these technological developments, who is in charge of them and how are we shaped by them? And subsequently, how can we shape the world through them freely?

In the paradoxical stand-still of COVID isolation, the essays dwell on what it means to stand still in a time of acceleration. Jared Ball is a professor of communication studies and notes on the relationship between technology, political uprise and (military) violence. Media theorist Katharina Niemeyer offers a poetic meditation on living on ‘Covid Island’. Author Gary Genosko works on cultural theory and the digital underground and his text warns of the popular logistical medium of the ‘model’. Ewa Wójtowicz is a media arts researcher and art critic; she delves into the role of the artist during the ‘mess-age of cultural implosion’. Agronomist and sociologist Thierry Bardini takes the ‘virus power’ as exemplary for the notion of a deposition that disjuncts a machine. Filmmaker and lecturer in philosophy Baruch Gottlieb broadens the concept of environment, nature, and ecology and describes the virus as a ‘progress report’ of the ‘Operating System called modernity’.

The publication was brought together on the occasion of the project ‘Feedback #5: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts’ presented at the Museum for Communication Frankfurt, in conjunction with the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020. 'Feedback #5' is the fifth station of the recursive exhibition program, which includes presentations in The Hague (2017), Leipzig (2017), Berlin (2018), Windsor (2019), Detroit (2019), Karlsruhe (2020), Toronto (2023) and Paris (2023) conceived by West Den Haag and curated by Baruch Gottlieb in collaboration with the Embassy of Canada Germany.

Image from the book: The medium Is the Massage: Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, 1967, Bantam books.

The publication can be downloaded as a PDF in Dutch and English and can be purchased in a physical form online as well as in the Alphabetum in West Den Haag.
English version

Text: Yael Keijzer