McLuhan Revisited

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by prof. Derrick de Kerckhove (University of Toronto), presented on New Media Days, Katowice 2008, www.dninowychmediow.pl

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  • McLuhan Revisited

    1. 1. McLuhan Revisited Derrick de Kerckhove McLuhan Program, Faculty of Information Studies University of Toronto Classical Pursuits
    2. 2. Alors, McLuhan, toujours mort? McLuhan in Winnipeg 1933 B.A. (U of M gold medal in arts and sciences 1934 M.A. (U of M)
    3. 3. The next medium, whatever it is- it may be the extension of conciousness- will include television as it's content, not as it's environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individuals encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind (1962).
    4. 4. The three ages of mankind
    5. 5. Connecting in the global village <ul><li>After three thousand years of explosion, by means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies, the Western world is imploding. During the mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned. Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man - the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society, much as we have already extended our senses and our nerves by the various media </li></ul>
    6. 6. Technology and generations
    7. 7. “ Every kid knows that within three years, everything will have changed - including himself and the goal”
    8. 8. The radio kid
    9. 9. The TV kid (hippie)
    10. 10. 1981 The hyperkid Negotiating meaning with the screen Externalizing the mind to the screen and more…
    11. 11. Digital Natives and hyperkids Source : Mark Prensky / www.marcprensky.com > 10 000 hrs of video games > 250 000 emails and text messages > 10 000 hrs of cellular phone > 20 000 hrs of television > 500 000 commercials < 5 000 hrs reading books
    12. 12. These kids are fed up with jobs and goals, and are determined to forget their own roles and involvement in society. They want nothing to do with our fragmented and specialist consumer society. Living in the transitional identity vacuum between two great antithetical cultures, they are desperately trying to discover themselves and fashion a mode of existence attuned to their new values; thus the stress on developing an &quot;alternate life style.&quot; We can see the results of this retribalization process whenever we look at any of our youth--not just at hippies (1969).
    13. 13. In the same way that industry now makes the consumer the producer by means of motivation research, educators now recognize the education problems to be motivation rather than consumption of packaged information (1959)
    14. 14. This kind of environment that we have, an information environment, electrically programmed, turns the entire planet into a teaching machine, and it’s a man-made teaching machine. One of the results of the man-made environment becoming a teaching machine is that the audience becomes workforce (McLuhan, 1966).
    15. 15. Our children from early infancy are engaged in extraordinarily hard work, and that work is mainly just growing, growing up because to grow up in a modern electronic environment is a fantastically complex job. One of the peculiarities of an electronic environment is that people become so profoundly involved with each other that they lose the sense of private identity (1966). FaceBook
    16. 16. The more they know about you, the less you exist (Marshall McLuhan)
    17. 17. The critic of television <ul><li>Television involves millions in the problems and emotions of people both near and far. An involvement that goes with our instant technologies transforms the most 'socially-conscious‘ people into conservatives. </li></ul><ul><li>But even more, movie and TV have the almost uncontrollable power of inflating the most casually selected persons into million-horsepowered entities. </li></ul>
    18. 18. video sharing site youtube.com goes online <ul><li>At the peak of the morning rush hour in London, bombs explode in three crowded subway trains and aboard a bus. </li></ul><ul><li>At least 52 people die, along with the four bombers, and 700 are injured -- the deadliest attack in Britain since World War II. A commuter snaps this image with his mobile phone as passengers exit an underground train tunnel near King's Cross station. </li></ul>Timeline 2005 2005 Everybody a broadcaster
    19. 19. In the electric age, all space is HERE and all time is NOW (1973)
    20. 20. The Era of the tag
    21. 21. The Medium is the Tag <ul><li>ca. 1990-96 - Internet , e-mail , web (diffusion) </li></ul><ul><li>ca. 1997 - Video giocchi (images) </li></ul><ul><li>ca. 1998 - Media conglomerates , streaming media , electronic commerce ( the economy) </li></ul><ul><li>ca. 2000 - Telefonia mobile, SMS , broadband , (third phase of electricity) </li></ul><ul><li>ca. 2002 - blogs , peer-to-peer file sharing (connected intelligence) </li></ul><ul><li>ca. 2004 - Social software , GMail , del. icio . us , Flickr , tagging e folksonomies (the era of the tag) </li></ul><ul><li>ca. 2006 YouTube, Innocentive, Second Life, Wikinomics (the “objective imaginary”) </li></ul>
    22. 22. fields trees cloud sky climate lake water + locality, sensations, type of photography… The era of the tag
    23. 23. On the Internet every message is divided in small packets. A “packet” is a short sequence of data, with a protocol that contains an address and some administration to find its way via routers and switchers to its destination. Thus any message can finds its way as well as the order of its reconstitution thanks to a tag. The tag is the soul of the Internet
    24. 24. fields trees cloud sky climate lake water + locality, sensations, type of photography… So realistically, in the beginning was the tag, the unique address of the digital packet to make it available for the construction of images and the building of meaning from anywhere to anywhere for any given purpose. The tag is what allows to break down all the traditional categories and classifications and rebuild connections according to need, context and circumstances instead of forced environments of knowledge and design.
    25. 25. From the hierarchy of categories Clay Shirky
    26. 26. To links Clay Shirky
    27. 27. To interlinks Clay Shirky
    28. 28. To the disappearing of categories Clay Shirky
    29. 29. A humble barcode
    30. 30. Tim Berners-Lee Semantic Web
    31. 31. The semantic web and tags… (fonte: Shirky, 2005) … are projections of the division of labour between the two hemispheres of the brain
    32. 32. Division of labour in cognitive processing <ul><li>Each eye is split vertically into a left and a right visual field </li></ul><ul><li>The vision of both left visual fields is processed in the back of the right hemisphere </li></ul><ul><li>The vision of both right visual fields is processed in the back of the left hemisphere </li></ul><ul><li>There is a clear division of labor between hemispheres </li></ul><ul><li>The right hemisphere holds the vision while the left analyzes it </li></ul>
    33. 33. <ul><li>“ The next wave of technologies might ultimately blend pared-down Semantic Web tools with Web 2.0’s capacity for dynamic user-generated connections” (John Borland) </li></ul>
    34. 34. In any problem whatever, one in a million would see no problem. The real problem is how do you reach this person who has the answer (1974)
    35. 35. In the old industrial process you could only produce single items in large quantities, with the computer it will be possible to produce any number in any shape (1963)
    36. 36. After having extended our limbs and our senses in our electronic nervous system, it is but a short step to also export our consciousness (1963)
    37. 37. We will be able to record and to keep every instant of our life and play it back for study and entertainment (1973)
    38. 38. In the electric age, we wear all mankind as our skin
    39. 39. The personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology The new electronic independence recreates the world in the image of a global village. Information and images bump against each other every day in massive quantities, and the resonance of this interfacing is like the babble of a village or tavern gossip session.
    40. 40. Global Implosive All times are NOW Ubiquitous Volatile The overhauling of our traditional political system is only one manifestation of the retribalizing process wrought by the electric media, which is turning the planet into a global village.
    41. 41. Acceleration + Implosion + Globalization + = Loss of ground = Loss of identity = Loss of local talent = Loss of public space = Reaction: fundamentalism = Electronic Maelstrom, hijacking population
    42. 42. Implosion “ Terror is the normal state of any oral society, for in it everything affects everything all the time” (1959)
    43. 43. “ No passengers, all are crew on spaceship Earth” <ul><li>As the speed of information increases, the tendency is for politics to move away from representation and delegation of constituents toward immediate involvement of the entire community in the central acts of decision&quot; (Forecast for New Media and Democracy in Retrospect, 1964). </li></ul><ul><li>In the ‘80s, representative government will cease. Instead the public will take over. Just as Nielsen ratings have given us not ‘what the public wants’ but the public itself, so detached and distant representative government will be replaced by direct experience of the public via home-computer feedback (1979). </li></ul><ul><li>The user is the content </li></ul><ul><li>With Buckminster Fuller in 1976 </li></ul>
    44. 44. Canada, the borderline case Physics of population distribution Centre-margin relationship A critical distance Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity
    45. 45. In Canada, many are cold, but few are frozen (1973)

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